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Spicy Curry

Spicy curry comes in many forms. A blend of numerous herbs and spices. Every region in Asia has its own version of curry. From the Middle East to China, we find many types of curry.

Spicy curry normally comprises of curry powder, onion, garlic, ginger, tamarind and coconut milk or yogurt. Curry powder used for fish is different from the one used for poultry and meat. Some cooks know the secret on how to blend their own curry powder and the distinctive taste differentiates one good curry restaurant to another. Curry houses in Malaysia fall in three general categories: nasi kandar, banana leave restaurant and fancy tandoori house.

There are other types of curry which do not use any coconut milk or yoghurt like Devil's Curry which has its origin from Portuguese occupation in Malacca back in the middled of 15th century. Still, it falls in curry category because it is spicy hot, has gravy and contains a lot of herbs and spices in it.

Curry can be prepared in a saucepan, a claypot, a wok and even in a microwave. The concoction is brewed over slow fire to bring out the flavor of the spices. Normally, a day old curry tastes better than the freshly made one.

There are literally thousands of types of curries. Some are hot, some are mild, some are creamy, runny or dry. Good curry takes practice to make. Usually a new cook is not patient enough waiting for the spices to cook properly before adding in the coconut milk. Even seasoned cooks sometimes make that mistake.

It is also very versatile. Filling with spicy curry flavor is used in pies, dumplings, buns and also pastries. Some types of curries cooked in a certain ways can keep for several days. A type of Malay dried meat curry called "rendang" is popular during the big festival of Hari Raya and "serunding" can keep up to a month in room temperature. Therefore, prepared ready to eat curry can be canned, frozen, and packed in convenient packaging. Its gravy is added with vegetables, seafood, meat or poultry. It is a hearty meal to be taken alongside rice or bread.

When the onion and garlic are sauted, care must be taken not to burn them. Appropriate amount of tamarind must also be measured, too much sometimes causes the gravy to be bitter. The secret is to use low fire, stir once in a while. Must always keep an eye not to let it dry. Old mothers also said garlic and onion pounded using traditional method like pestle and mortar also will result in better tasting curry.

More and more people are getting health conscious, so nowadays, spicy curry made with yogurt and low fat milk are preferable over the ones prepared with coconut milk. Coconut milk is supposed to have a high cholesterol content which is bad for the well being of your heart. There is definitely a difference in taste and smell between freshly squeezed coconut milk and low fat milk. As with all good things, we should consume the better tasting coconut milk in moderation. A friend of mine once taught me to use finely grounded toasted sesame seed as the coconut milk substitute. This option is also supposed to be healthier.

I have two favorite spicy curry recipes below. Try them and hopefully your dishes will come out beautifully.

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