Butter chicken. Picture: Supplied
Butter chicken. Picture: Supplied

A guide to some of the world’s most famous and tastiest curries

By Lutho Pasiya Time of article published May 26, 2021

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The ultimate dinner to make when you are in need of a comforting dish, curry can take many forms.

Whether it’s a spicy Thai, a creamy Indian, or a tasty Japanese curry, there's something for everyone.

What is curry?

Our brains might immediately go to a dreamy mix of coconut milk, meat, and spices.

But the term “curry” has swelled to include a number of dishes throughout the world that are simmered in or covered with herbs and spices.

Yes, the curry category is that broad.

History of curry

According to The Vegaunary, 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.

It consists of a mix of spices of which coriander, turmeric, cumin, and red chillies are almost always a constant.

In the rest of the world, curries are made from scratch by using these spices whole or grinned along with others for mixtures that vary according to regional traditions.

Below we look at some of the world’s famous and tastiest curries.

Vindaloo, India

Vindaloo is a flavourful curry dish that is popular in England and the Indian regions of Goa and Konkan.

It is typically made with marinated pork, but it can also be made with chicken, beef, mutton, or paneer.

The name of the dish stems from the mispronounced Portuguese dish called Carne de vinha d’alhos, meaning meat marinated in wine vinegar and garlic.

Durban curry

When people talk about the cuisine of South Africa, a culturally and ethnically diverse country with no less than eleven official languages, Durban curry comes up in the first breath.

While the recipes and ingredients differ from family to family, broadly, Durban curry has a deep-red colour indicative of the spice level, a slick of oil, and, if it’s not a fish curry, large chunks of soft potatoes.

Curry goat, Jamaica

Curry goat is said to be arguably one of the most popular dishes in Jamaica and is made for special occasions.

The dish features goat meat that is tender and aromatic due to its mix of coconut milk, garlic, onion, allspice, thyme, Scotch bonnet peppers, tomatoes, and turmeric, which gives it the characteristic yellow colour.

Thai curry, Thailand

Thai curry is usually a soupy dish consisting of coconut milk or water, meat, and curry paste.

Unlike the thicker Indian curries, Thai curries have a more soup-like consistency, and the cooks prefer to use fresh herbs and aromatic leaves instead of spice blends that are prevalent in Indian curries.

Butter chicken, India

Probably the best known of all Indian dishes, butter chicken, also known as murgh makhani, is a staple dish at most Indian restaurants.

The dish originated in Delhi during the 1950s when a man named Kundan Lal Gujral opened his restaurant called Moti Mahal.

Below is a simple butter chicken recipe that you can try.

Serves: 6


60g butter or margarine

1 tbsp oil

1kg chicken fillet, cut into cubes

2 medium onions, finely chopped

4tsp garam masala

4tsp ground koljana

2tbsp garlic and ginger paste

2tsp chilli powder

1tsp salt or to taste

3 cardamom pods

5 black peppercorns

150ml natural yoghurt

2tbsp tomato puree

150ml milk water – half water, half milk

2 bay leaves

2tsp cornflour or maizena (optional)

200ml fresh cream or coconut cream


Heat butter and oil in a pot. Sear the chicken pieces until they are brown. Remove from the pot.

Fry onions until they are golden and soft.

In a separate bowl, blend together all the spices, yoghurt, tomato puree, and chicken pieces.

Add this to the onions.

Add the milk and bay leaves and leave to simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chicken pieces.

Turn the chicken pieces over and simmer for another 15 minutes.

Mix the flour with the cream. Add to chicken. Cook for a further 10-15 minutes.

Garnish with fresh coriander.

Recipe by Salwaa Smith - Cape Malay Cooking & Other Delights

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