are stews flavored with a particular blend of spices. The
dishes have their roots in India, but there are versions everywhere in
Curry-like spice mixtures -- mustard seed, cumin, saffron, etc -- have
a long history. They've been found in excavations dating to 2500 B.C.
in the Indus Valley of what is now Pakistan, according to `A
World of Curries'' by Dave
DeWitt and Arthur Pais, and are mentioned in the Vedas, the
sacred literature of the Hindus.
First grown in abundance along the Malabar Coast of Kerala in India,
curries began a worldwide journey courtesy of the
In the Pacific Islands, curries come with pineapple; in Vietnam and
other Southeast Asian countries, they include lemon grass and
coconut milk. You'll
find peanuts in some African curries.
Curries became especially popular in the U.S. in the 1920. M.F.K.
Fisher, the renowned food writer,
loved the taste of curry and wrote of making deviled eggs with it as a
Although the definition of curries and the specific blend of curry
ingredients is multitudinous, there is some agreement about their
preparation. Most cooks that the blend first must be roasted:
Heat the whole spices in a dry skillet just enough so that they begin
to color and you can smell them. Then, cool the spices before grinding
When you are set to cook your curry, fry the spice mixture briefly in
hot oil to coax the release of its flavors.
Place mustard, cumin, coriander, cardamom and cinnamon in a small
non-stick skillet. Toast over medium high until seeds start to darken
and are aromatic.
- 1 1/2 tablespoons
- 3 tablespoons cumin
- 4 tablespoons
- 1 tablespoon
- 1 3-inch-long piece
cinnamon stick, broken up
- 1 tablespoon ground
Stir frequently. Remove from heat. Stir in cayenne and turmeric.
Cool mixture, then put it into a spice
grinder and grind to a fine
powder. Store in a cool, dry place in a glass jar with a tight lid.
Keeps 3 months. Makes about 3/4 cup.
from the producer
International Food: Indian