Curry… the 5 letter word that is so close to my heart. A word that gets me excited, salivating and just plain Hungry. It’s engraved in my DNA. After all, I was born in the same land where curry was born. So this lady can tell you a thing or two about curries. I have eaten so much curry in my life that I can spot and identify some cracking delicious curry recipes if I see them.
Here is my list of some of the most awesome, mouthwatering, finger licking Curry Recipes from all around the world. Curry is a gypsy you know, as it has gone to the four corners of the world and been embraced with open hearts.
What is Curry?
Curry is not a single spice. The catch-all umbrella term refers to a “spiced meat, fish or vegetable stew”, which usually involves either a freshly prepared powder or spice paste or a ready-made mixture purchased from store.
The word curry most likely comes from a misunderstanding of the Southern Indian word “kari” which means a spiced dish with sautéed vegetables and meat.
In the 17th century, the Portuguese, who colonized Goa in Western India, took the word “kari” to mean a spiced stew over rice. Kari eventually became “caril” or “caree” in Portuguese, then “curry” in English.
Curry is thought to have originated as early as 2500 BC in what is modern-day Pakistan. Since then it has evolved into a truly global food, having traveled the world through colonization and immigration, indentured labor, trade and entrepreneurship.
Today curry is everywhere, from chicken tikka masala in the UK to fiery green curry in Thailand, Kare raisu in Japan to curry goat in Jamaica. If you are curry lover, follow your cravings around the world through these destinations below…
Table of Contents
Indian and Indian Subcontinent Curry Recipes
Indian cuisine is incredible diverse and complex, with local specialties and traditions varying from state to state and community to community. It’s impossible to sum up India’s various curry recipes in a few lines. I have tried my best to keep it to a few of those with mass popularity, as many others revolved around those.
1. Chicken Masala
I am going to start you on this curry trail with a simple homestyle curry that I grew up on. This chicken masala curry has staple Indian herbs and spices.
You can make it as hot or spicy as you like by making a few adjustments, just the way you would enjoy. Pair it with a plateful of rice, perhaps some rotis or naan and you are all set.
2. Pork Vindaloo
Vindaloo is not just a curry… It’s an experience. The Portuguese imported the basic theme to this recipe to India in the early 15th century. It’s pleasantly hot, tangling, tangy and slightly sweet. It got infamous for its HEAT in curry house vindaloos of Britain.
But authentic Indian Vindaloo need not be head spinningly hot, but is a harmonious balance of sweet, sour and spice. You can make Vindaloo out of anything. Pork, chicken, beef, even shrimp. Take a look at my gorgeous bowl of pork Vindaloo. Doesn’t it make you want to dig in with some crispy fresh naan?
3. Butter Chicken
Probably one of the best known curry recipes to anyone going to an Indian restaurant, and probably the first someone might try as it doesn’t look as intimidating as some of the other fiery contenders.
Tender and juicy grilled or roasted chicken morsels, marinated in spiced and herbed yogurt, and later mixed in one of the creamiest and most decadent tasting tomatoey sauces. Life cant get better!! This one is the MOST popular in its homeland, as well as all over the world.
4. Goan Fish Curry
Goa… India’s sun, surf and sand state located on the western coast is famous for its fresh seafood. How can I not give you their famous fish curry? The foundation of the curry is a quick curry paste you make with fresh aromatics and Indian spices (If the list of spices seem too long, don’t fret. It will still taste great even of you miss one or other or use substitutions).
The magic happens when you create onion-tomato sauce along with this special paste and coconut milk. Yes, all creamy and rich in the end. Look at the color of that Currrrryyy!!
5. Kerala Prawn/ Shrimp Curry
Kerala is one of India’s southern states with its own culinary practices and traditions. Southern cooking in India is very different than the Northern Indian dishes that are more familiar to the world. It’s know for its use of coconut oil, coconut, curry leaves and a lot of usual Indian spices.
The use of tamarind to get little sourness is very common in South Indian dishes. This shrimp curry is a great mix of spice, cream and comes with hint of tang. Simple yet absolutely delicious.
6. Rogan Josh
Mutton is what we lovingly call our goat meat. It’s extremely popular in India. I grew up having a goat meat dish once a week, usually on Sunday, which is when families make their favorite or special meal.
Rogan Josh comes from the Kashmir region of India. Succulent pieces of goat or lamb is braised in a gravy flavored with aromatic spices like fennel, cloves, cardamom and ginger.
Don’t get scared by its fiery red color! The culprit for that red color is Kashmiri red chilies, which are know for their vibrant color rather than heat. Give this a try with lamb, which is more easily available.
7. Dal Tadka (Yellow Indian Lentils )
This simple, yellow thing with a plateful of rice in the ultimate comfort food to 1.2 billion of us. This is an every day affair. There are countless varieties ranging from state to state and household to household.
This dal tadka is made in the style you often get in Indian restaurants. Once you give these yellow a lentils try, you wont try them in other boring ways. It has all the sizzle, aroma and flavors.
Korma is one of the beloved curry recipes with Moghul origins. This curry dish is very popular in North India and Pakistan. This is one you will find on every Indian restaurant menu. The word “korma” means to braise. Meat is sautéed, normally in ghee and whole spices, with the later addition of yogurt and fried onions and voila… one rich creamy lip-smacking curry.
This can be made with chicken, goat, lamb, beef or shrimp. Make this chicken korma in your very own kitchen and find out why everybody goes WOW to Indian food..
9. Egg Curry Masala
Now you may ask me, you curry the eggs too?? 🙂 Yes we do! 🙂 We curry practically everything…
Try making your eggs apart from scrambling or poaching… Indian style! They are delicious. Simple hard boiled eggs in our masala curry base. Hmmm, I can eat this one any day and every day.
10. Dal Makhani
This one is North India’s comfort food. A buttery, creamy, luscious lentil curry at its BEST. Black gram and kidney beans cooked in an onion tomato mixture finished off with plenty of cream. Another restaurant staple. All those who frequent Indian restaurants cant miss this one. Now try making it in your very own kitchen with this great recipe.
11. Kheema or Qeema
Kheema, or Qeema, is to Indians and Pakistanis what chili is to Americans and Picadillo is to the Spanish. Here it’s just a regular array of spices and a few regular aromatics with ground meat. In a Hindu majority county like India, ground goat meat or lamb is commonly used, while in Pakistan ground beef is more preferred.
I love a plateful of this delicious minced meat with local bread called “pav”, which is like a dinner roll. Try making this great recipe with the ground meat of your choice.
12. Sri Lankan Curry
Sri Lanka has a long relationship with curry, like it’s neighbors. Thousands of indentured laborers from South India migrated to this neighboring country to work on spice, coffee and sugar plantations owned by Britishers. Over the years, curry developed in a rainbow of colors here, from bright yellow to creamy white, bright red and rich brown.
Sri Lankans love their spices and it shows in their food. Many of them make their own blend of spices and this Sri Lankan curry powder is nothing but a blend of all your regular spices. You can use the same recipe for any of protein of your choice. I make chicken and shrimp curry all the time with the following recipe. It’s absolutely delicious.
13. Chana Masala (Chickpea Curry)
Here is a delight for vegetarians. This chickpea curry, aka chana masala, is a fine example of why Indian cuisine is the way to go if you are thinking of going meatless. There is simply so may choices and ways to make anything so delicious and interesting. The great thing is, it doesn’t need to be spicy and hot, just as much as you like. 🙂
Cook your chickpeas in this easy one pot curry and scarf it down with bowlful of rice or naan roti.
14. Palak Paneer (Spinach with cottage cheese)
Have you tried Indian cottage cheese, aka paneer? It’s so delicious that it invariably finds its way into many Indian curries, especially meatless ones. This time, these soft cheese cubes are simmered in the most flavorful spinach you will ever have.
This recipe gives stovetop and instant pot methods to make it in 30 minutes.
15. Prawn/Shrimp Moilee
This shrimp dish holds a special place in our home, as its my husband’s favorite curry. He chows down pretty much all curries, hot, spicy, et all. But this one is special, as he tried it for the first time on our Honeymoon in Kerala. We ended up getting the recipe from the chef at the resort we stayed in. Now it’s one of our regulars.
It’s delicate, fragrant and fresh with jumbo shrimp in a coconut based gravy with minimum spices. The following recipe comes very close to what we had in Kerala.
British Curry Recipes
Owing to its long relationship with India, the UK has been putting its own spin on curry since the 18th century. Curry like dishes began appearing on coffee house menus after Britishers who lived in India returned home and craved a taste of their life abroad. In no time curry houses became increasingly common and popular.
Later, in the early 20th century, it became mainstream after the arrival of tens of thousands of Indian and later Bangladeshi, immigrants. Many of these immigrants set up restaurants and that lead to invention to dishes like Tikka masala, Madras curries and pathias. The Britisher’s love for curry is so much that curry is their unofficial national dish.
16. Chicken Tikka Masala
The origin of this creation is debated, with both India and Britain claiming it to be theirs. But most believe it was probably created in one of the Indian or Bangladeshi restaurants that sprung up in Britain in the mid 1900s. Whatever the debate, it’s equally loved on both continents.
These aromatic chicken chunks in creamy tomatoeey sauce might remind you a little bit of butter chicken, but there are subtle differences. I absolutely love the recipe below and it will show how easy it is to recreate one of the very iconic dishes in your kitchen.
17. Chicken Madras
Madras curry is said to have originate from the South of India and gets its name from the city know an Madras (now Chennai) where English merchants arrive in 1640. However, many claim it was created in curry houses in Britain during 1960s. This one is a fairly hot curry, red in color with the heavy use of chili powder. Give it a try if you like it HOT.
18. Pathia Curry
Pathia is an ancient Parsi form of curry from Persia, predominantly available in the curry houses of the UK. It is hot, sweet and sour with the use of chilies and tamarind. To be honest, I wasn’t aware of its existence till a few years back. Now its my favorite. Give it a try, all those Brits love it…
19. Beef Bhuna
Another famous curry house favorite from Britain. This beef bhuna is a delicious, spicy, thick sauced beef slow cooked in a tomato based gravy. Imagine it atop some cashew rice or with fresh crispy naan… yum.
East Asian Curry Recipes
During the 4th Century, Indian traders and Buddhist missionaries are thought to have carried spices and herbs like garlic, shallots, ginger and lemongrass across Southeast Asia. Later, in the 16th century, the Portuguese introduced chili peppers, now a staple ingredient in Thai food, which led to the country’s famous aromatic, spicy curry recipes.
Later on, the British took hired laborers from India to work on rubber and palm plantations in Malaysia and Indonesia. Curry went where the immigrants went. With some help of the Brits again, it even reached the furthest land of rising sun, Japan…
20. Chicken Asado
This Filipino Chicken Asado is simple in nature, yet there are so many flavors going on at the same time. It’s a brilliant combination of tangy, sweet, sour and savory. The chicken is marinated in citrus juice and soy sauce as the main flavor boosters, then braised to perfection in a tomato sauce until the meat is tender and fall off the bone…
21. Pork Menudo
Menudo is a comfy-cozy tomatoey porky Filipino stew, where a fatty cut of pork is simmered for a long time in a tomato based sauce. Result? A rich delicious pot full of aromatics with the usual veggies and not so usual presence of garbanzos and raisins. Very interesting… and tasty!
22. Chicken Caldereta
Another Filipino favorite of mine. This one is a coconut based curry/stew packed with tons of flavors and veggie power. Mild and delicious.
23. Japanese Beef Curry
Curry is more Japanese than you think. Yes, curry is so popular in Japan that it’s regarded as one of the top two national dishes, along with ramen. Even ahead of their sushi and miso soup.
Japanese curry is nothing like other curries you have seen or imagined. It’s more like a cross between stew and curry. It’s a thick, rich, velvety and glossy concoction that’s sweet, savory and umami in nature.
24. Coconut Shrimp Curry
This super easy Thai coconut curry in coconut milk is a breeze to make on some busy nights. Dinner in no time…
25. Thai Fish Curry
Another Thai curry, this time with fish. I can’t get enough of my Thai curries. You can make it as mild or as fiery as you want.
26. Beef Rendang
This authentic beef rendang recipe is a spicy, rich and creamy Malaysian/Indonesian beef stew made with beef, spices and coconut milk. A must try for curry lovers like me.
27. Filipino Pork Adobo
This pork curry recipe comes together with very few simple Asian staple ingredients. It’s braised till the pork is fork tender fork and melts in your mouth… Delish.
28. Chinese Chicken Curry
Have you ever wonder if they make curry in China? Apparently they do! This one comes along quick like their stir fries. 🙂 Who wouldn’t want easy, quick and delicious?
29. Cambodian Chicken Curry (Somlar kari saek mouan)
Somlar kari saek mouan is a deliciously spiced Cambodian chicken curry that is prepared with a fragrant red curry paste known as kroeung kraham. Life is so much more interesting with all these unique and different flavors happening in your kitchen.
30. Penang Curry
Thai Panang Chicken Curry is just like you would get in any Asian restaurant. Give this amazing red chicken curry a try. It’s much easier than you would think.
31. Malaysian Kapitan Chicken
Kapitan chicken (Ayam Kapitan in Malay) is truly a Malaysian curry, the amalgamation of the diverse array of Malay, Chinese and Indian eating culture. A harmonious blend of spices with a few Asian aromatics like kaffir leaves, lemon grass blend beautifully with chicken braised in coconut milk.
African Curry Recipes
In highly diverse Africa, curry can again be traced to colonial times. The slaves from Indonesia, Madagascar and India who worked on the plantations in Africa formed the Cape Malay ethnic community. Their exotic spices and the regionally available produce led to the famous Cape Malay and fiery Durban curries. Slightly milder versions also came in existence to suit the palate of European plantation owners.
32. South African Chicken Curry
A milder and sweeter alternative to Indian and Caribbean curries, this South African Chicken Curry is still jam packed with flavor! This South African Chicken Curry doesn’t even come close to anything you’ve known before. It’s a completely different flavor, yet so delectable!
This one is mild and sweet, albeit with loads of curry powder, reminding you of that curry flavor every single bite.
33. Kedjenou Chicken
Kedjenou is a beloved stew from the Ivory Coast. It’s so simple, yet so spectacularly tasty. Do you want it spicy? Oh, I will show you how to make it spicy!
Do you know you can actually cook with peanut butter? Yes, you can… the African way! This West African maafe, or mafe, is one of the creamiest and yummiest dish you will ever make in your kitchen. Its loaded with rich savory flavors.
Any meat of your choice goes great in this perfectly spiced peanut butter and tomato based sauce.
35. Cape Malay Curry
Spice up chicken thighs in a South African curry, packed with flavorful spices from the Malay district in Cape Town, South Africa. This one pot Cape Malay Chicken Curry will tickle your taste buds with a unique mix of spices.
36. Mauritius Prawn Rougaille
Mauritius prawn rougaille is super easy to make and it is so delicious, hitting all the notes that Mauritius cuisine is famous for. It is a classic Creole sauce. This is an easy shrimp dish with super simple ingredients for a quick weeknight dinner.
Caribbean Curry Recipes
In the Caribbean, curry has a presence in former British colonies such as Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago. The arrival of curry in the region can be traced back to the mid-1800s, after the British Empire abolished slavery in 1833 and freed more than 800,000 African slaves around the world.
Since liberated slaves were no longer willing to work on sugar plantations, the British enlisted indentured laborers from the Indian subcontinent like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka to make up for the labor shortage.
This mass migration resulted in an influx of new cooking techniques, ingredients and dishes including curry. In Trinidad and Tobago, curry has become a symbol of national identity over the past two centuries.
37. Trinidad Chicken Curry
This curry chicken from the Caribbean island country of Trinidad hits close to home. Curry powder and fresh herbs and aromatics in their green seasoning form the base of this super simple chicken affair.
38. Jamaican Curry Goat
This is a hearty goat meat stew from Jamaica. Succulent pieces of goat meat is seasoned and simmered until a rich gravy is formed. It results in tender, melt in your mouth meat over a bowlful of rice. Heaven. You can try the same recipe with chicken, beef or lamb.
39. Curry Shrimp
This shrimp dish has all the Caribbean flavors and herbs and spices. This is such a novel way to cook your shrimp… Island style.
40. Caribbean Mussel Curry
Creamy… coconutty… seefoody… Extra yummy Caribbean Coconut Mussels. Easy, delicious, and sure to please any crowd! Try this delicious Caribbean style curry, but be warned, you will get hooked!
Well there you go… Curries from one end of the world to the other. Curries that are loved, cherished and passed from generation to generation.
Bring them into your life and enjoy the different flavors. Don’t shy away from unfamiliar ingredients, if you miss one or two spices or herbs, still give it a try. I promise you, it’s going to be an awesome curry night!!
- 4 Tbsp cooking oil
- 3 large onions, finely chopped
- 2 large tomatoes, finely chopped
- 3 Tbsp garlic, roughly crushed
- 1.5 Tbsp ginger, crushed
- 4 tsp Coriander powder
- 1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
- 3 tsp Kashmiri red chili powder
- Salt to taste
- Heat oil in a pan over medium high heat. Add chopped onions. Fry onions until golden brown.
- Add ginger garlic paste and sauté for a few minutes.
- Add chopped tomatoes. Add salt and spices (turmeric, coriander powder and kashmiri red chili powder). Sauté and keep stirring until oil starts separating from the masala.
- Add preferred meat and/or vegetable and mix well. Reduce heat to medium low. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until meat/vegetable is fully cooked.
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