If you are lucky enough to have the opportunity to travel the world, then one of the most exciting aspects is sampling the local cuisine and the weird and wonderful delicacies that you would be unlikely to experience here in the UK. Each country has an individual quirky twist that they put on dishes to make every mouthful an unforgettable experience; in some cases good and others, unfortunately, bad.
A worldwide dish that you are almost certain to track down no matter your destination, is curry. Curry is incredibly versatile and there are technically no rules in regards to the ingredients you incorporate. As long as your final creation involves a combination of herbs and spices, then you have yourself a curry dish.
You would be surprised by the number of different variations of dishes you can find in overseas countries, so to give you just a small insight, we’ve devised a guide to our favourite curry recipes from around the world.
10 Curry Recipes From Around The World
Historically, the first curry dish, as most of us know, originated in India and involved a perfectly composed mix of herbs and spices that were prepared in a sauce, and often accompanied by meat. Along with the fast growth in popularity of the dish came never ending variations in cooking methods and ingredients, often based on the preferences of each family.
Nowadays, almost every country around the world from Scotland to Sri Lanka, have their own traditional curry recipe, all of which have key differences that make them stand out from the crowd. If you’re just as interested in the difference in recipes as we are, keep reading!
Keema Matar – India
We thought that we would begin with a recipe closest to the roots of curry, the Keema Matar. Originally associated with the Mughals, an Indian empire dating back as far as 1526, Keema Matar was seen as a luxury dish eaten weekly by Royal Families. If you were to go to a wedding or any other celebration back in the 1500s, it is more than likely that the main dish would have been a Keema Matar.
The name is derived from the main two ingredients used, with Keema translating to ‘mince’ and Matar translating to ‘pea’. The meat used for the mince differs depending on personal preference with goat, lamb and beef being the most popular.
Here at our Indian Restaurant in Milton Keynes, we have spent time creating our very own version of the traditional Keema Matar using lamb mince simmered with various spices, green peas, garlic and ginger.
Gundruk – Nepal
Made solely from vegetables, Gundruk is known as the national dish of Nepal, and it is thought that in one year alone, over 2,000 tonnes of Gundruk is produced in the country. This dish is made by pickling the leaves of various different vegetables such as cauliflower and radishes. The leaves are shredded then placed in a closed pot filled with water and left to wilt for around a week. It is thought that you can tell exactly when the Gundruk is ready as the leaves will have a slightly acidic taste.
Although the Gundruk itself is not a curry, it is commonly used as one of the main ingredients in curry dishes in Nepal as it is seen as an important source of minerals.
Curried Goat – Jamaica
Curried goat is a staple dish in Caribbean culture and most commonly served with fried plantain, also known as cooked bananas.
The meat is seasoned with an array of different ingredients including curry powder, garlic, ginger and thyme, then left to marinate. Once infused with flavours, the goat is slow cooked for hours, simmering with onions and scotch bonnet peppers until the meat is tender, succulent and falls off the bone. It is up to the preferences of the chef how thick and creamy the curry itself is, most recipes involve a thinner, soup-like consistency.
Curried goat is actually one of the easiest curries to make at home, so if you’re interested in having a go, we suggest taking a look at this Grace Foods recipe!
Kuku Paka – East Africa
If you are wary about trying new dishes and not a huge fan of spice, then the Kuku Paka would be the ideal dish for you. Made through a coconut-based sauce, this curry involves little ingredients aside from chicken. In fact, the word ‘Kuku’ in Swahili, a popular language in eastern and south-eastern Africa, translates to chicken.
In many recipes, the chicken is initially coated in a paste made through a combination of herbs, chillis, tomato and onion, marinated then chargrilled. Once thoroughly grilled, the chicken and its cooking juices are added to coconut milk and simmered. For additional texture, many accompany the Kuku Paka with boiled eggs.
Chicken Tikka Masala – Scotland
Here in the UK, the Chicken Tikka Masala is often the automatic ‘go-to’ when visiting an Indian restaurant or takeaway, and continues to be one of the most popular curry dishes. Much loved due to its perfectly infused chicken topped with a creamy tomato sauce; Tikka Masala was surprisingly first created in a small restaurant in Glasgow, Scotland. Now, no matter the restaurant you visit, it is guaranteed that you will see a variation of this delicious dish on the menu.
The chicken is first marinated in a combination of spices such as ginger and chilli pepper along with yoghurt, then cooked in a tandoor oven. A tandoor oven is a traditional Indian cooking pot, which is shaped like a cylinder and fuelled using charcoal to give the meat a smokey taste. Tandoor ovens can be purchased from websites such as Puri, however, do usually come at a high price which means that many opt for DIY methods. If you’re interested in making our own tandoor oven, take a look at this Jamie Oliver guide.
Once cooked, the chicken is served with a rich masala sauce made from tomato, coriander, coconut cream and other spices.
Massaman – Thailand
Along with Thai Green Curry, the Massaman is one of the most common dishes in Thailand and dates back as far as the 17th century. As the Massaman traditionally has Muslim roots, it was created to meet Islamic dietary rules meaning that the most common meats used include chicken, duck or goat rather than pork.
Massaman is a relatively mild curry and differs from any other Thai curry as it utilises spices that are rarely seen in any other dishes. To create a massaman curry paste, over 10 different ingredients including shallots, guajillo peppers and many different spices are blended together. The blended paste is fried with coconut milk, combined with the meat of choice, potatoes and onions then served with rice.
Rendang – Indonesia
Rendang is a spicy dish and ideal for those who love to enjoy a kick, most definitely not for the faint-hearted. Traditionally served at ceremonial occasions only to special guests, the Rendang involves slow cooked meat infused with various different rich ingredients.
Many different types of meat can be used to create a Rendang depending on personal preferences and is coated in a mixture of spices called pemasak. Just some of the spices included in Pemasak are ginger, turmeric, lemongrass, garlic, shallots, chillis and galangal.
Meat is always cooked in a combination of pemasak and coconut milk until all liquid has evaporated and the meat has darkened. Rendang is served with a side dish named Nasi Rames, a combination of rice, cabbage and curry-like sauce.
Cari Ga – Vietnam
Cari Ga is a light and simple chicken curry dish originating from Vietnam and is commonly served with bread to soak up the delicious thin, soup-like sauce.
The Cari Ga involves similar ingredients to those regularly used in common British cooking and is simmered with vegetables for a healthy twist. Unlike many other curries, the sauce is created first, and then the chicken is cooked in the sauce, not chargrilled beforehand.
Lemongrass, garlic and ginger are initially cooked in oil to infuse the flavours, which are then accompanied by a dash of curry powder. Sweet potato and carrots are added for a sweet taste and then topped with coconut milk and simmered. It is only after all ingredients have combined that the chicken added.
Currywurst – Germany
The initial idea of currywurst may break the stereotypical conception of what curry is, and while this is understandable, it does involve the use of curry powder and other additional spices. Therefore, is technically a curry.
Currywurst is a popular, fast-food dish which was, in fact, first created in 1949 in Berlin by Herta Heuwer, a food kiosk owner. She obtained her ingredients from British soldiers who were in Germany at the time. This simple, yet incredibly tasty dish uses fried pork sausages which are topped with a curry powder-spiced tomato sauce and then sprinkled with curry powder.
Japanese Curry – Japan
When visiting Japan, many are surprised at how popular their version of curry is and are excited to sample the different variations. Traditional Japanese curry can be served in three different ways; over rice, over noodles or through a filled pastry. The curry sauce used is, in fact, relatively simple and utilises considerably fewer ingredients than any other global curry sauce. A base of curry powder, flour and oil is fried together then accompanied by various flavourings made to taste.
The most well-known type of Japanese curry that has continued to grow in popularity in the UK over the past few years, is Katsu Chicken Curry. Katsu relates to any kind of meat or seafood that is coated with breadcrumbs and then fried until crispy. The Katsu meat or seafood is placed on Jasmine rice and then topped with curry sauce. Jasmine rice is a variety of fragrant rice which forms a sticky consistency when cooked.
Create Your Own International Curry Dishes!
We hope that we have helped to give some mouth-watering inspiration on the different curry dishes from around the world and there has been one that has taken your interest. The great thing about cooking curry is that you are free to experiment with different ingredients and can even lower the use of curry powder if you are less keen on spicy foods. If you’re in need of some easy to follow recipes, we suggest taking a look on All Recipes, Food Network and BBC Good Food!