Does a Curry By Any Other Name?


Back in June when I went to visit Rooms, I bought a shit ton of groceries at this tiny Asian market, Tran’s.  One of the purchases was curry powder.  Now, I don’t have much experience with this combination of spices.  I know ES friend Maidelitala would flavor her exotic veggie dishes with the blend, but I was nervous figuring out how to incorporate it into my cooking.  Um, yea, no idea why I was so nervous.  Curry powder makes everything delicious.  Mine is:

Indra brand: coriander, turmeric, black pepper, red pepper, cumin, cinnamon, all spice, clove, garlic powder, ginger, fenugreek and other spices

Now I haven’t experimented with other curries really, although I do have curry paste I’m really pumped to use.  But I do have one question, that I posed to our twitter crew: if curry powder is added to a dish, does it automatically make it curried? I don’t know the answer, but I do know it makes this awesome tasting soup sound even awesomer.

My first curry experience post jump 

Curried Sunshine Soup


I roasted a sunshine (of the kabocha family) squash a few nights before to add to my leftovers of brussel sprouts, potatoes and curried parsley sauce (served that with tatsoi and Kashi 7 grains.)  So with my already cooked squash, I was able to create this soup in a lot less time.  Oh, and the roasting – diced up the squash in fairly large chunks, tossed with oil, salt and pepper and roasted at 4o0(ish) for about 30 or more minutes.  And as I learned from the Mt. Pleasant farmers market director, Rebbie, I didn’t even have to peel the skin.  Very exciting!

Okay, so to start that soup: I saute 1/4 onion in oil, then add in 2 garlic cloves and one small serrano chili.  Add in 3/4 of the cooked diced squash and mash up.  Pour in 3-4 cups of water, a scant tablespoon of yellow curry powder, a few springs of thyme and brought to a boil.  Then cover and simmer for 20 minutes.  Take the pot off the heat and immersion blend the mixture until completely smooth (the squash’s skin will blend right in.)  Add in some half and half and then a ton of kosher salt (as this recipe calls for water and not sodium-filled store bought broth/stock.)  Keep on tasting.  We went through three or four additions of salt-then-cream-then-salt-then-cream before we hit it just right.

Add in the reserved diced squash, let it heat through and then pour into a bowl.  I liked having the mixture of textures and something to chew on in between smooth spoonfuls.  Although the still-diced squash was still perfectly soft.  But feel free to blend all of the squash.  You can sprinkle a few leaves of thyme on top if you’d like.

So excited this turned out better than my previous soup.

You may also like


  • Maidelitala November 25, 2008  

    mmmm….. I’ve gotten really into diced squash recently. I used to hate squash (as a kid) becaause I’d only had it pureed, but now I know that was just the texture snob in me. As for your question about curry making things automatically curried, I have to say no. I mean, I add a dash of curry to all sorts of things for an extra umph , but I don’t think a dash of curry on a vat of broccoli and soy sauce means the broccoli has been “curried.” I think that to curry a food you really have to let it sit and simmer in the curry powder or paste. You have to let the food at hand understand what it will be, absorb the boldness of the curry flavors and discover a renaissance within the currying process. That’s just my opinion.

  • gansie November 25, 2008  

    and that’s why you’re our poet laureate
    (see: ES facebook page)

  • Pingback: Spuds + Pork = Crazy Delicious November 25, 2008  
  • Aariq November 25, 2008  

    “Curry” in my mind, means at least 3 separate things. First, it is the name of a leaf commonly used in south indian cuisine. Second, it is a blend of spices basically invented by the Brittish to make things taste like Indian food (curry powder). And thirdly, it is simply any spicy, creamy stew. For example, Thai curry and Japanese curry are not made with curry powder, or with curry leaves. Curry leaves are also not commonly one of the ingredients used to make curry powder. So to answer your question, I’d pose another question “What does ‘curry’ even mean?”

  • gansie November 26, 2008  

    oh wow. love the analysis, aariq. although – i def cannot answer your profound culinary Q.

Leave a comment