How to Make Curry Without a Recipe

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How to Make Curry Without a Recipe

Remember these three basic steps. The ingredient list might change, but the process is generally the same

The blanket term curry is pretty much meaningless — there are Thai curries, Malaysian curries, Indian curries, Japanese curries, and more. To make matters more confusing, curries also differ by region, not just country, so the coconut milk curries found in Southern Thailand taste different from the more acidic curries found in Northeast Thailand. Regional differences are common in other countries, like India, as well.

Click here for our collection of curry recipes.

Whereas most Indian curries are made with a blend of herbs and spices, which often include, but are not limited to curry leaf, fennel seeds, star anise, fenugreek, garlic, ginger, mustard seeds, turmeric, saffron, tamarind, cumin, coriander, bay leaf, and cardamom. Ghee, onions, potatoes, paneer, and tomatoes are also often used in Indian curries.

Here it goes, this is how to make a curry of just about anything. It’s not a recipe, and it’s certainly not authentic, but it gets the job done, satisfies the taste buds, and is malleable to whatever mood you are in at the moment:

There are three basic steps to developing that complex curry taste. First, don’t skimp when it comes to the spices. Toast whole spices for best flavor, and use homemade instead of jarred red curry paste for red pepper curries.

Next, cook the onion until soft before adding the ginger, and garlic (optional). Make sure to cook the ginger and garlic until soft and starts to caramelize for darker, more intensely flavored curries. 

Finally, add something for body. Depending upon the style of curry you want to end up with, you can add anything from puréed peppers to coconut milk.

A combination of coconut milk and fish sauce with steeped lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves will produce a curry similar to a traditional massaman curry.

Combine tomatoes and puréed onions with a garam masala (click here for how to make your own spice blend) for a curry that tastes similar to classic tikka masala recipes.

For Thai-style curries, lime juice and coconut milk are the way to go. Other options include diced spinach, puréed peppers, or yogurt. Experiment with different styles to make your curry just the way you like it.

Click here for 5 Chicken Curry Recipes to try.