Cooking Techniques

Curry

Kitchen Notes

Aromatic, flavorful, versatile, and satisfying are the words that come to mind when I think of curry. Indian in origin, the term likely comes from the Southern Indian word kari or spiced sauce. Today, curry is part of cuisines around the globe from Thailand to Kenya and from Japan to Trinidad and Britain.

Basic Ingredients

Just about any vegetable tastes good in a curry. Greens, potatoes, peppers, chili peppers, onions, okra, tomatoes, eggplant, cauliflower, peas, cilantro, mushrooms, carrots, spinach, lemon grass, garlic and ginger are mainstay ingredients. Chicken, lamb, beef, shrimp, mussels and firm-fleshed fish are all tremendous in a curry. Ditto legumes like lentils and kidney beans.

Easy Steps

There are so many different kinds of curry, meat and vegetarian, so it’s not really possible to boil it down to a few, simple steps. That said, most curries begin with heating the aromatics, typically cumin, coriander, lemongrass, turmeric, mustard seed, and garlic or ginger in some combination cooked in oil to release their flavor. It’s a step I love because it fills the air with mouth-watering smells. Sauté vegetables and proteins briefly. Add a liquid, such as stock, coconut milk, wine or water and simmer to gently cook your curry so the food and aromatics have a chance to marry. Rice is always a delicious accompaniment.

Tasty Combinations

  • Potatoes, cauliflower, garlic, ginger, coriander seed, cumin seed, jalapeno, turmeric, vegetable stock, cilantro
  • Eggplant, tromboncino (or zucchini), tomatoes, garlic, ginger, cumin seed, cilantro, cashews
  • Chicken, red or green peppers, lemongrass, garlic, ginger, cilantro, coconut milk
  • Shrimp, sweet peppers, hot peppers, lemongrass, basil, fish sauce

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