I once had an argument with an Indian guest when he started to compare his Mom’s cooking with the Haute cuisine of Alain Ducasse. He insisted Indan cuisine is as complex to prepare, and at the time I had never been to India, but I was still pretty sure French Haute cuisine was more complex. I won’t go far off-topic, Indian cuisine and curry, in particular, is what I consider one of the great culinary foods. A regional tribal food, culture-based ideas using local ingredients and it is made in Jamaica, South west Indies, Thailand, Cambodia, and in many other countries including India. No doubt there are layers and layers of flavor all critical to each cook, and most useful recipes are handed down, sometimes a part of a marriage dowery. Curry originated in the Indian subcontinent and the word comes from the Indian Tamil word “Kari” meaning a sauce or soup to be eaten with rice.
Historically, the word “curry” is said to be first used in British cuisine to denote dishes of meat (often leftover lamb) in a Western-style sauce flavored with curry powder. The first curry recipe in Britain appeared in The Art of Cookery made Plain and Easy by Hannah Glasse in 1747.
Making curry I have my own thoughts on this subject and I will share them. Lesson #1 is never underestimating the flavor intensity and health benefits of Indian cuisine or the spices used: https://mesubim.com/2016/11/15/health-before-taste-india/ Curry in Japan is a national food but here it is always almost never spicy, and even if you ask spicy, it is so mild. And Japanese often pour the curry sauce over the rice and in India that is uncommon or uncouth.
What I discovered from cooking curry is the individual ideology of developing your own taste. Taking various contrasting flavors and many intense spices to find your own curry destination. Recently I tried this curry pictured below, and it is named Bombay curry but the curry is Kashmir styled and it was uber-hot.
The expertise is in your ability to choose which of those flavors you prefer. If you eat Kashmir curry at India’s northern tip lies the cold and rugged Kashmir region. The curries there rely on the warmth of aromatic spicing and often include an extra measure of spice, cinnamon, and cardamom.
Curry is considered by many just another curry but if you enjoy cooking, making curry takes considerable effort and is a fantastic experience. If you dissect the steps and take the time to develop curry flavors there are few foods to compare. Then there is standard curry sold in packages and in Japan, it is amongst the number one packaged foods sold.
Since I started cooking curry and I go through multiple phases and over time, a process of trial and error I learn what not to do. I developed my own thoughts on curry. Obviously Curry has numerous variations depending on the region depending on the ingredients. I never claimed to be an expert on curry, and my recipe is a western adaptation of what I do when I cook my own curry at home.
First of all, curry needs plenty of character and you have to think of composing curries like composing a song, using notes so you have high notes, medium and low notes, and you have to decide which ingredients are going to play the which role.
In Ayurveda they have their own division of foods into what is called Shadrasa, or six basic flavours and in order to appreciate Indian cuisine, you are required to identify these tastes, separate and re-combine them in a way where your body and mind reflects, relaxes end benefits – ritual.
1.sweet, /sugar and honey/
2.sour, /citrus fruits sour cream, yogurt, vinegar and fermented food/
3.pungent, /chili pepper, mustard, ginger, garlic and onion/
4.bitter, /bitter gourd and bitter melon and some herbs/
5.astringent /unripe banana, chickpeas, okra.
Buy no doubt there are certain ingredients like cinnamon and the use of sweeteners such as honey or chili peppers. It all depends on your personal taste and I remember once telling a well-known Indian celebrity that I make the best curry, and he said, “you make it as well as my chef, and I said of course yes” but I was just be provocative.
So my recipe is based on using Japanese beef and I use various cuts but it must be fatty otherwise the Japanese Gyu does not get tender, or maybe it does but stringy.
I use chicken wings and I use the wings because many people in Japan use chicken broth to make their sauce but I try to shorten the steps and simply add the chicken wings into the current and simmering it slowly while it absorbs the taste of the curry and imparts own personal characteristics.
Recipe: you saute in stages and that requires some patience. Step #1 is colour the meat, step #2 is de-glaze and step #3 is add the spices and Step #4 is add wine and honey and Step #5 get ready to mix the meat with the onion and ginger which is cooked until golden.
Remember searing meat you need to color it and use some kind of alcohol to de-glaze but I use Mirin and Shoyu, two ingredients that work well together. I use a little dashi as a secret touch and often drop kombu into the mix but later on. And I had some red wine and some honey in order to give a combination of color in sweetness. Have your own curry ingredients that are commonly used; cumin, fenugreek, cardamom, tomato, coriander, turmeric, cinnamon, nutmeg, and once I take it from the skillet to the pot to combine the two. But before I do that I take some fresh ginger with a little bit of olive oil and sauté and then mix the two and drop in some fresh celery stick with green leaves.
The rest is simple: use the wings, add some liquid and reduce and reduce slowly over low heat until everything is cooked and tender.