The Differences Between Thai, Indian & Japanese Curry Dishes

The Differences Between Thai, Indian & Japanese Curry Dishes

Curry is famous as a spicy dish loved by many people around the world. India is considered the "cradle" of all curries in the world. However, it is not for that reason that Indian curry can "monopoly" the top spot in the world. Besides the curries from India, the world has two other names that are equally outstanding. It is Japanese and Thai curry. The same dishes have many rich flavors, but in each country, curry has a very special identity.

Indian Curry

Indian curries are made with dry spices like coriander, turmeric, cumin, fenugreek, and chili powder to provide intense, lingering flavors. They are combined with yogurt, oil, ghee, or dal, a purée made from chickpeas or other lentils.

Although there are many distinct types of Indian curries, Korma, Madras, and Pasanda are the most widely consumed.

Indian curry is often served with lentils or chicken, but never beef. Tikka masala is one of the most popular varieties, usually served over chicken, mutton, or vegetables. Because most dishes have a soup-like consistency, they’re typically served over rice. Thicker versions are served with bread like naan or roti bread. They are widely used in the cuisines of the Middle East, Central Asia and South Asia. Besides, Com Ni is a long-standing daily dish of the Cham people. The main cooking method is to cook rice with milk and spices.

Indians make curry sauce from dairy products such as yogurt, fresh milk, whole milk, etc. There is a famous theory about the history of curry that says: The word "Karil" came later. – a precursor to the name “curry” given by the British later – which is a diminutive of the word “Kadhi” or “Khari”, which is a type of yogurt in sauces in Northern India. That's why Indian curry sauce has a characteristic mild sour taste. Besides, the sauce is also processed extremely thick to match the traditional eating culture of the locals.

Thai Curry

Thai food uses a variety of ingredients including hot chilies, lemongrass, ginger, garlic, shallot, shrimp paste, and dried herbs like cumin, coriander seeds, and turmeric. These fresh ingredients make Thai curry spicy and flavorful.

Although using many different materials, each type has each distinct curry flavor. Green curry with coriander, lime leaves, basil for those who do not like spicy food. Yellow curry with turmeric powder, coconut water, lemongrass should be more fragrant and viscous than other types. And red curry with chili, pepper, fish sauce is most spicy and bold in Thailand.

Thai curries start as a paste but become more soup-like as other liquids are added. They commonly contain vegetables, chicken, or seafood, and are topped with fresh herbs like mint or cilantro. Thai people prefer to concentrate on the refreshing flavor from ocean, therefore seafood is the major ingredient in Thai topping

Contrary to Indian and Japanese curries, Thailand is famous for its signature ingredient of wet rice agriculture - coconut milk. Thai broth also has a certain amount of fat. But it's the vegetable fat, which has a milder flavor than the fat of milk. Thai curry does not have a sour taste like India's, nor does it have a strong taste like that of Japan. Instead, the seductive sweetness from coconut milk. The consistency of the broth is also much more liquid than the other two curries.

Japan Curry

Japanese curry sauces are made with spice powders, flour, and oil to give it a distinct brown color. This base remains consistent, but the spice levels vary.

The ingredients to make the right Japanese curry include onions, celery, carrots, potatoes, etc. There are also turmeric, red peppers, and saffron pistil for coloring. Pepper, chili, and ginger create a spicy taste. And there are cloves, cinnamon, and cardamom seeds to help stimulate the taste buds. It is because of these ingredients that Japanese curry sauce is considered extremely healthy and contains very little harmful cholesterol.

Japanese people consume curry frequently, so they created curry cubes to speed up preparation. In addition, this is the primary distinction between Indian and Thai curries and Japanese curry. They named the curry they produced Roux. Flour, frying oil, and the aforementioned elements are all concentrated in roux. They are completely cooked, cooled, and then formed into pellets (cubes) or flakes that are solid.

Besides the extremely diverse curry broth ingredients mentioned above, residents of the land of Japan also focus on using pure Japanese spices such as soy sauce, Mirin wine or Miso broth to season the dish. According to them, these spices will help the dish have a characteristic bar taste and contribute to the Japaneseization of the foreign dish.

Japanese curry will definitely make you dizzy with a lot of different toppings from cattle meat (pork, chicken), to seafood and vegetables. The most commonly used topping is deep-fried pork cutlet. There are also deep-fried seafood such as shrimp, squid or salmon cake with cream sauce, etc. Vegetables are also a favorite Japanese topping. Dieters often use them for their weight loss process. In particular, some regions also use fruits such as apples to make toppings for this dish.

Indian, Japanese and Thai curries, which is the easiest curry to eat?

Indian curry is evaluated as not everyone can feel its taste. Because the sauce is fairly thick, many individuals who try it for the first time may find it a little challenging to eat. However, once you experience its mouthwatering flavor, you'll undoubtedly get addicted.

In comparison to Indian curry, Thai curry has a more delicate flavor and is simpler to consume. However, It won't work for individuals who don't like spicy food.

Finally, the Japanese curry. This is probably the easiest curry of the three. Firstly, we can adjust the spiciness and consistency of the sauce flexibly according to taste. Secondly, Japanese curry sauce is also widely used in primary and secondary schools. It is a favorite food of Japanese children (more than sushi).

(Source: TBS “JNN Databank” (Male and female 13 to 69 years old, n=7397, November 2017)

5 Interesting fact about curry!

1. The word "curry" was actually invented by the British, not to refer to the dish but to the sauce

Many people believe that the word "curry" was invented by the British, derived from the Tamil word "kari" which means "sauce". The name curry can be used for any dish that includes fish, meat, and vegetables cooked in sauces and spices. In fact, the word "curry" means the sauce, not the whole dish as many people think.

2. In the UK, any Indian restaurant can be called a curry restaurant

Such restaurants first appeared in London at the beginning of the 19th century. After India gained independence from the British Empire in 1947, curries began to open in many places, not only in London, but also in other cities of the land of fog.

Veeraswamy restaurant - The currently London's oldest serving Indian restaurant.

3. January 12 is National Curried Chicken Day!

Curries are very popular in Asia and India but the growing populations of Indians around the world has made the food a hit with most other countries as well. From Asia to the Caribbean, this dish has a huge following among those who like a bit of heat in their food.  In some Southern parts of the USA, the people eat a dish called Country Captain Chicken. This is a stewed chicken dish flavored with curry powder.

4. Queen Elizabeth II's Coronation

Preparing the food for the banquet of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, Spry proposed the recipe of cold chicken, curry cream sauce and dressing that would later become known as coronation chicken. Coronation chicken may have been inspired by jubilee chicken, a dish prepared for the silver jubilee of George V in 1935, which mixed chicken with mayonnaise and curry.

5. The hottest curry is Chicken Naga

Nagaland is one of the smallest states in India with a population of fewer than two million people. Located in the far northeast of the country, bordering Myanmar (formerly Burma) it is famed for the super hot Naga Chilli and this Naga Chicken dish. Used in curries it gives a slightly sweet and tart flavour as well as fierce heat, producing a dish that is on par with a Vindaloo in the hot stakes. The dish contains lots of naga pepper seeds which measure 855,000 on the Scoville Scale.  (these seeds are 100 times hotter than jalapeno peppers.)

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