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Curry Spices

Curry mixes can include many spices — roughly 20 different kinds are used in different combinations, depending on the flavor desired. Common curry spice blends include cinnamon, cumin, coriander, cardamom, nutmeg, asafoetida (which shares a root with the word “fetid,” referring to the aroma of this spice before it’s cooked), fenugreek, fennel seeds, saffron, and, perhaps most significant of all, turmeric.

The specific ingredients, ratios, and methods of preparation vary from country to country, region to region, and even family to family. But the nice thing about this, of course, is that it’s impossible to get a spice blend “wrong.” As long as you like the taste, you can’t mess it up.

The trick with curries is to get the flavors of those spices into the dish itself in ways that enhance rather than overpower the other ingredients. Most curries are liquid-based, which is reflected in the etymology of the word. Linguists identify the origin of the word curry from the Tamil word kari, which means “sauce.”

In Thailand, home of red, green, and yellow curries, these dishes are called gaeng (also written as kang, gang, or geng), which means “any wet, savory dish enriched and thickened with paste.” Hats off to a language that can put all of that in one word!

(Excerpt taken from the Food Revolution Network)

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