Curry. The mere mention of the name creates tremors in my stomach and a warm feeling spread to my tongue. It is in curry’s name I have suffered through a blindingly spicy, ridiculously delicious Indian curry and summited the flavor peaks of Mount Delectable Thai Green Curry. What I’m trying to say: curry is amazing.
If you’re a bit unsure of what curry is and you’re wondering what I’m ranting about, curry is a general term for dishes from South and Southeast Asia with the primary spices found inside being turmeric, coriander and cumin. Each culture that makes ‘curry’ uses its own spice mixture to suit their unique tastes, but it’s often served with jasmine rice and naan, a leavened flatbread.
My first curry ever was in a little Indian restaurant in Manhattan as a teenager. I wish I could remember where it was, but I think that memory was burned away right after my first bite of that curry and rice combination.
To say it was hot was to say that jumping in a pit of lava was a relaxing Jacuzzi. It was the most amazing sensation; my entire body began to burst into sweat, my mouth started to water uncontrollably, and I began to silently weep into my napkin. I can’t imagine what a passerby would think: “Oh, that guy is a curry virgin.”
It was curry, but with each bite, with each taste bud dying to the intensity of the Scovilles punishing my virgin tongue, I felt hair begin to grow on my chest. I cannot recall how I made it home that evening because by the end of the meal, I couldn’t see anymore. I don’t know if it was tears or my taste sense stealing my vision to try to toughen my tongue against the spicy onslaught, but I remember my friends laughing hysterically as they guided my way to the subway station to head back home.
Of course the next week I was back for more when I regained my sense of taste, but the inevitable truth to any spicy food is that no matter how much you enjoy it going in, often the parts involved with the going out aren’t as enjoyable.
That isn’t to say that all curry is spicy, only my friends are jerks and ordered for me. You can have a savory and sweet Thai curry with coconut milk, which is very, very good. Or you can simply not ask for such hot curry when you’re at a restaurant or cut back on how many chilies or how much chili powder you add when cooking on your own.
As for making curry, there’s is a billion recipes out there on the internet for every curry under the sun. Since it is so widespread and varies from culture to culture, it’s difficult for me to recommend just one because they’re all so different. However, I think a Thai Green Curry would be a pretty good place to start for newcomers since the coconut milk tends to cool down a recipe.
To find ingredients such as curry paste and fish sauce, look to local Asian markets. They often stock a variety of different curry pastes for different curry dishes. The closest Asian market to campus is the Asian American Market
located at 2824 Stanley St. and there is also one across town called Lor’s Market & Vietnamese Restaurant at 3511 Church St.