Food has always been the highest form of representation of every culture, it’s the one thing everyone holds with deep pride.
For centuries, great Empires rose and fell fighting to control the spice trade during the 15th century, a war that continued 200 hundred years before ending in the 17th century. The European nations of Spain, Portugal, England, and Holland; all strived to gain control over the prosperous Indonesian Spice islands. However over the last few centuries that lust for spice has been tamed and poured into one of India’s greatest Culinary expressions, Curry.
The definition of Curry is a variety of dishes usually prepared in a sauce and with the combination of spices or herbs, usually ground turmeric, cumin, coriander, ginger, or (fresh) dried chilies.
The more popular European dishes, like Masala, typically has meat or vegetables to make its Curry and can be either cooked, fried, or sauted but is usually a blend of heated spices.
In the past, spices were predominantly used as a food preservative or for health enhancing purposes but what many people may not be aware of, is that Spices play a bigger role in the world of Nature than you might think.
What humans may consider as an aromatic fragrance or a means to flavor food from particular spice, Nature uses these aromatic chemicals as a defense mechanism against bacteria, fungi, insects and mammals; to protect the plant after it has finished flowering.
Spices are usually collected from a flowering plant, dried and then used for Culinary or Medicinal purposes; where as Herbs and be used as is, leaves & roots, but any other part of the plant is often dried can be used as a spice.
Below are a few examples of popular Curry dishes from the European areas.
Pub Style Chicken Curry
Cited directly from: https://www.lifeinpleasantville.com/pub-style-chicken-curry/
1 tbsp vegetable oil
4 split chicken breasts cut into 1 inch cubes
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 medium onion chopped
4-5 medium carrots chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
4 cloves garlic finely chopped
1-2 Thai red chili peppers finely chopped
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 1/2 tbsp mild curry powder
2 tsps flour
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsps minced ginger
2 cups hot chicken stock
1 cup table cream (18% M.F.)
1 tbsp Sweet Mango Chutney
Heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat and add chicken pieces.
Season with kosher salt and pepper.
Cook until chicken is white on all sides, four to five minutes.
Add onions, carrots, garlic, and chili pepper.
Cook over medium heat until onions are softened, another 5 minutes or so.
Stir in tomato paste and coat vegetables and chicken.
Toss in curry powder, flour, turmeric, cumin and ginger. Stir until dry.
Add in chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add in cream and once it returns to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Stir in mango chutney just before serving.
Serve over Basmati rice with Naan bread for dipping.
Lighter chicken curry
Cited directly from: https://www.olivemagazine.com/recipes/meat-and-poultry/lighter-chicken-curry/
madras curry paste 2 tbsp
onion 1, chopped
garlic 3 cloves, chopped
ginger a thumb-sized piece, chopped
plum tomatoes 3, chopped
tomato purée 1 tbsp
low-fat coconut milk 400ml
chicken breasts 2, cut into bite-sized pieces
basmati rice 200g
sugar snap peas 200g
lime 1, juiced, plus wedges to serve
coriander a few leaves, to serve
Blend the curry paste, onion, garlic, ginger, tomatoes, tomato purée and some seasoning in a food processor until smooth, then tip into a deep frying pan. Cook over a medium heat for 10 minutes until reduced, darkened and smelling fragrant. Tip in the coconut milk and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Add the chicken and simmer gently for a further 10 minutes or until the sauce has thickened and the chicken is cooked through.
Put the rice into a pan with 400ml of water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a simmer, put on a lid and cook gently for 12 minutes until cooked and all the water has been absorbed.
Tip the sugar snap peas into the sauce and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the lime juice and a little seasoning, and serve with the rice, coriander leaves and lime wedges.