I personally don’t love spicy foods, but for those of you who do, you will enjoy this post.
I started off my search with an article titled Spice World: 10 Top Countries for Curry, and I realized there are a plethora of curry varieties out there. So, I’ve chosen a few countries to zero-in on: India, Jamaica, and Thailand. My goal is to explore the differences among curries in these three countries.
India and Vindaloo
Vindaloo is a very spicy Indian curry which is currently popular in the UK and the US. The word vindaloo, according to the anglo-indianfood blog, comes from the Portuguese word “Vinha De aAlhos”. Vinha meaning wine or vinegar, and Alhos meaning garlic. Hence, the first form of vindaloo was a vinegar and garlic based pork stew, served in Portugal.
When vindaloo appeared in India, it was reinvented with the addition of spices. Allegedly, the spices were used to preserve the raw meat (source). A typical pork vindaloo marinade consists of cumin, turmeric, mustard, chilly, pepper, and a ginger-garlic paste. Once marinated, the meat is fried onions, curry leaves, and a tomato puree. Although I could not explicitly find a source, I am almost certain vindaloo is a “dry” curry, meaning it has less of a sauce too it, and more of a coating of spices. This dish is known to be the most spicy Indian curry.
The iconic curry first came to the Caribbean in the 19th century, when Indian indentured workers began work in the British sugar industry (source). Jamaicans added their own flare to the dish through the use of allspice and pimiento, as well as scotch bonnet peppers instead of chili peppers. Visually, Jamaican curries tend to have a bright yellow color, and they also have thinner sauces than Indian curries.
According to jcskitchen.com, curry is a traditional staple in Jamaica. It is served at virtually every restaurant, and is expected to be present at parties or special gatherings. the most popular curry dish in Jamaica is curried lamb. Top-secret family recipes for curried lamb are passed down from generation to generation. If one’s lamb is faulty, they will be the talk of the town in Jamaica, and not in a good way.
According to templeofthai.com, Buddhist monks from India brought curry to Thailand. It was first introduced at a palace feast honoring King Rama in the beginning of the 18 century. Out of this feast came two of the most popular Thai curry dishes; Masaman and yellow curry. Masaman curry consists of a mix of spices including nutmeg and cinnamon, and yellow curry is made with turmeric, ground coriander seed, and red chilies powder.
Thai curries are known to be “wet” curries, because they have a lot of broth. Most Thai curries are either water, or coconut milk-based. Those that are water-based are often spicier, because there is no coconut fat to cut the heat.