Curry: The Spices of Life

Green Curry Chicken with Rainbow Chard and Mushrooms

The Twin Cities is a melting pot of various multicultural cuisines, so a person inquiring about restaurant recommendations that prepare good spicy food, might be met with some consternation.   After perhaps narrowing down the neighborhood, and how spicy the spectrum level should be, establishments such as East Side Thai (879 Payne Ave, St Paul,), Gorkha Palace (23 4th St NE Minneapolis, MN,) or Harry Singh’s Original Caribbean (2653 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis) may easily be popular choices that are suggested.

These are all restaurants with curry cuisines, with many others that do similar fare.  But are all curries the same?  No my young pad thai, they’re not!

Consider the preceding example restaurant cuisines…Thai, Indian, and Caribbean.  Dishes that are prepared ‘curried’, the use of a complex combination of spices and herbs, have commonly an Asian origin, with there being a number of variations that are specific to region, cultural tradition, and just plain preference.  However, you can distinguish the differences.

Indian cuisines, and Caribbean for that matter, both rely on dry spices, or curry powder to produce a spice level that lingers on the palate. These types of curries are mostly prepared with spices like turmeric, coriander, cumin, chili peppers.

Thai curries however, are prepared as pastes, usually with fresh chilies, lemon grass, ginger, garlic, shallots, kaffir lime leaves, and cilantro.  All to provide you with that heat upfront when you are consuming your meal!  Even then, these pastes offer their own levels of heat that are not obvious until you taste them.

  • Sweet Green Curry; originates from Central Thailand commonly known as the hottest of the curries, but also very sweet as it is prepared with large amounts of lime juice and coconut milk. Vegetables are often prepared in this sauce.
  • Red Curry; another spicy, fiery one because of the amount of red chilies that’s used to prepare it. Gives the dish a reddish color, and mixed with coconut milk to form the sauce. This is a great curry for various meats (lamb, chicken, beef).
  • Yellow Curry; less spicy of the three types of Thai curries, rich with turmeric, and coconut milk

And there you have it… a fresh knowledge of curry types that will help you they next time you’re out at your favorite spicy spot!  Check out this great Green Curry Chicken recipe.  It’s wonderful over basmati rice.  You can find curry pastes similar to the ones in this article at your local Asian markets, like Shuang Hur, or Dragon Star.  Take a picture and share the presentation of your dish with us!

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