What is Curry?

The classic curry sauce, like the one you might find at our Auburn teriyaki restaurant, is a familiar enough sight for many people. But what is curry, exactly? The answer is actually quite complicated.

In truth, the concept of “curry” is a bit of a Western contrivance. It is thought that the word was derived from the Tamil word for sauce, “kari”. Therefore, trying to order a curry in its native land may prove to be a frustrating affair. Further, while you’d be likely to find dishes that taste similar to curry, true curry dishes do not exist in India.

It’s also a common misconception that curry is, by itself, a spice. Curry is actually an umbrella term used to describe a selection of spice mixtures. The standard spices found in what we call curry include coriander, turmeric, fenugreek, cumin, and red pepper. Some people will add to this caraway, cinnamon, clove, fennel, green or black cardamom, or nutmeg.

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