Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A Whole New Perspective on Curry

Truth...I'm embarrased to say, the first time I ever tasted curry was in London, England when I travelled there for the first time at the ripe old age of twenty one. Somehow, it never made it into my mother's repertoire and even when I was boss of my own kitchen, I didn't make it very often.

My take...curry = Indian; the more Southern the hotter the dish; lots of work to prepare (of course it is when you make a giant feast and invite the world), so best eaten out.

Gradually my horizons expanded (through restaurants at first) Pad Thai, Singapore Noodles, Jamaican goat curry roti, now you find curry dishes on just about every menu of every restaurant.

That said, I'm still learning and the latest in my treasure trove of cookbooks is Curry Cuisine which does an awesome job of explaining which countries cook which curries, what spices each uses and tons of other interesting info (like Japan first started cooking with curry through their British connections in the mid 19th Century. Check out my review for the whole scoop.

And, how uninformed of me to lump "curry" with India...Northern India and its many regions, Southern India and Pakistan are all so varied in their use of spices and cooking methods, not to mention Vietnam, Laos, Caribbean....

I tried this Pakistani Lamb & Tomato Curry, expecting lots of heat and was pleasantly surprised with its mild and mellow flavors.
I served it with another Pakistani dish - Chickpea & Rice Pilau, thinking I'd need it to counter the anticipated HEAT. It was gloriously aromatic and quite a lovely combination. Now I have to choose my next cultural curry...I wonder where I'll end up?

What's you latest food fixation? And which book explains it best?


Goody said...

Curries really expanded my vegetarian cooking years ago. It also helps that so many are quick to prepare. The book that really helped me understand what goes well together was The Spice Box, Vegetarian Indian Cooking by, Manju Shivraj Singh.

I have no idea if it is still in print (I treasure my very well-worn copy) but if you can find a copy, grab it.

As for the Asian curries-oh my gosh, isn't everything a million times better with coconut milk? Then, when you have a small bit left from the curry recipe you have an excuse to make coconut gelato...don't want to waste, you know ;)

Ruth Daniels said...

You really do have me drooling and I will be hunting for the book. Thanks for dropping by and sharing your thoughts.