The Advocates: Favored Curry

BY Anita Lo

September 11 2009 6:00 AM ET

This Eastern staple can be used to spice up your table all year round

To study the term curry is a lesson in multiculturalism. In India it simply refers to a sauce -- any kind of sauce -- whereas in English, curry commonly refers to a stew made with curry powder, a blend of spices that generally includes chili, cumin, coriander, and turmeric. And different curries are made all over the world. In Japan the curries are rich with butter and flour and are considered Western food, as the British were the first to introduce it there. (They also developed the blend of spices called curry powder.) The Brits generally think of their curries as Indian, but these were made mostly by cooks from Bangladesh. Then there are the Southeast Asian curries, often flavored with coconut milk; West Indian curries, with notes of citrus and coriander; and spicy South African curries brought over by Malay slaves and tamed by Danish palates -- there’s even a German currywurst. In the United States curry is generally considered cold-weather food, but in hotter climates spicy food is eaten to cool you down -- the chilies make you sweat, and sweat is the body’s air-conditioner. So whether it’s a cool fall day or a hot Indian summer, it’s the perfect time to curry a loved one’s favor by making this sauce.

Recipe: Japanese-Style Pork Curry

Ingredients:
1 pound pork shoulder, cubed
3 tablespoons oil
salt and pepper
1 onion, diced
1 cup carrot, cut into rounds
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
3 tablespoons curry powder
1 quart chicken stock

Method:

Heat a pot on high. Season the pork with salt and pepper. Add the oil and swirl, then brown the pork, turning once. Turn the heat to medium and add the onion and carrot and cook, stirring occasionally until the onion is translucent, about five minutes. Add the butter and the flour and cook, stirring constantly for another five minutes. Add the curry powder and stirring constantly, cook another half minute until fragrant. Stir in the chicken stock and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the pork is tender and the curry is thick and well-flavored, about one hour. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve over plain white rice.

Pairings: Beverages to complement your curry

Gewürztraminer, Francis Tannahill “Dragonfly” 2006, Washington State
Made by winemaking couple Cheryl Francis and Sam Tannahill, this white has the heft and complexity to stand up to curry’s rich multitude of spices. Look for tropical flavors of lychee, guava, and pineapple with floral notes of lavender and roses. About $25

Magic Hat #9, South Burlington, Vermont
This English-style ale is flavored with apricot extract, which is a classic pairing with curry spice. It is a full-bodied beer with mild bitter notes that will cut through the richness of the dish. $9 for a six-pack 

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