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THE CURRIFICATION OF THE WORLD

Although the ancestral home of 'curry' is the Indian sub-continent, the cuisine has become one of the widest food styles enjoyed in the world and has spread with a variety of amendments and innovations to many countries the world over.

Foremost amongst its fans are the people of Great Britain who have adopted curry as their 'national dish' with over 9000 restaurants and the creation of British/Asian dishes such as chicken tikka masala and balti. Britain is probably the curry centre of the world on a per head of population reckoning but everywhere the cuisine is enjoyed has its own variations and peculiarities.

Nepal

Indian, Chinese and Tibetan flavours and aromas can easily be detected in Nepalese meals. Whilst Nepalese cuisine is somewhat basic, it certainly does not lack in flavour, making extensive use of spices and flavourings such as ginger, garlic, coriander, pepper, cumin, chilies, cilantro, mustard oil, ghee and occasionally yak butter. The staple diet of Nepal's population is Dal (lentils), Bhat (rice) and Tarkari (curried vegetables).

Newars are an ethnic group originally living in the Kathmandu Valley, now also in bazaar towns elsewhere in the hills (Himalayan foothills, up to about 10,000'/3,000m) with widespread use of water buffalo meat Regarded as Newari pizza, Chatamari is a flat bread made from rice flour with or without toppings (meat, vegetables, eggs, sugar). It is highly savoured by the tourists who consider it as a good and healthy substitute to pizza.

Masu is spiced or curried meat (usually chicken, mutton, buffalo or pork) with gravy. Served with rice, it is a main course dish, very popular in Nepal.

Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan cuisine mostly consists of rice and curry meals, and revolves heavily around chillies, spices, vegetables, and seafood. The most famous dish is the coconut sambol, made of ground coconut mixed with chillies, dried Maldive fish and lime juice. This is ground to a paste and eaten with rice, as it gives zest to the meal and is believed to increase appetite. Sri Lankans eat "mallung", chopped leaves mixed with grated coconut and red onions. Coconut milk is found in most Sri Lankan dishes to give the cuisine its unique flavour.

Sri Lankan food is generally spicy. There are 3 main types of curry: White, Red and Black. White curries are, mild, based on coconut milk and are very liquid. Red curries contain a large amount of chilli powder or ground red chillies with a few other spices. Black curries are dark in colour which is achieved by the roasting of the spices until they are a deep brown and are the most typical curries eaten in Sri Lanka.

Indonesia

In Indonesia, gulai and kari (North Sumatra) or kare(kare, a Javanese term for curry) are based on curry. They are often highly localised and reflect the meat and vegetables available. They can therefore employ a variety of meats (chicken, beef, water buffalo and goat as in the flavoursome 'gulai kambing'), seafood (prawn, crab, mussel, clam, squid etc), fish or vegetable dishes in a spiced sauce. They use local ingredients such as chilli peppers, Kaffir lime leaves, lemon grass, galangal, Indonesian bay leaves or salam leaves, candlenuts, turmeric, shrimp paste (terasi), cumin, coriander seed and coconut milk. One popular curry is rendang from West Sumatran cuisine, not Malaysia as is claimed in many British restaurants. Authentic rendang uses water buffalo slow-cooked in thick coconut milk over a number of hours to tenderise and flavour the meat. In Aceh, curries use daun salam koja or daun kari ('curry leaves'). Opor Ayam is another kind of curry.

Rendang is the most famous dish and is considered a "dry" curry, which means the sauce is simmered down to a minimum. Typical Malaysian curry includes cumin, coconut, coriander, fennel, red chillies, shrimp paste, turmeric, lemongrass, garlic, onion, salt, and nuts. In Indonesia, curry paste is often made with coconut, soured fish, limes, peanuts, onions, caraway, chillies, nutmeg, cloves, turmeric, ginger, and poppy seeds.

Malaysia

Being at the crossroad of ancient trade routes has left a unique mark on Malaysian cuisine. Practically everything on the Asian menu can be found here, and the local fare is also a reflection of its multi-cultural, multi-ethnic heritage. While curry may have initially found its way to Malaysian shores via the Indian population, it has since become a staple among the Malays and Chinese too. Malaysian curries differ from state to state, even within similar ethnic groupings as they are influenced by the many factors, be it cultural, religious, agricultural or economical.

Malaysian curries typically use curry powders rich in turmeric, coconut milk, shallots, ginger, belacan (shrimp paste), chillies, and garlic. Tamarind is also often used. Rendang is another form of curry consumed in Malaysia, although it is drier and contains mostly meat and more coconut milk than a conventional Malaysian curry. Rendang is originated from Sumatra and Indonesia but became very popular among Malays in Malaysia and Singapore. All sorts of things are curried in Malaysia, including goat, chicken, shrimp, cuttlefish, fish, fish head, aubergine, eggs, and mixed vegetables. So rich and different are the flavours, that today Malaysian-themed restaurants are mushrooming globally from Canada to Australia, and Malaysian curry powders too are now much sought-after internationally.

One of the most popular kinds of food by the Indian Muslims is called "nasi kandar"(white rice or biryani rice served with other dishes of curry either with chicken, fish, beef, or mutton and usually with pickled vegetables too. It is usually accompanied by some Papadums).

(Malaysian Restaurants for National Curry Week)

Thailand

In Thai cuisine, curries are meat, fish or vegetable dishes in a spiced sauce. They use local ingredients such as chili peppers, kaffir lime leaves, lemon grass, galangal and coconut milk, and tend to be more aromatic than Indian curries as a result. Curries are often described by colour; red curries use red chillis while green curries use green chillies. Yellow curries are more similar to Indian curries, with their use of turmeric and cumin. Yellow curries in Thailand usually don't contain potatoes except in southern style cooking, however, Thai restaurants abroad usually have them. Yellow curry is also called gaeng curry (by various spellings), of which a word-for-word translation would be "soup curry".

Thai curries include Yellow curry, Massaman curry, Gold curry, Green curry, Red curry, Panang, Jungle curry, Khao soi. Curry Laksa: A noodle dish served in curry, blends boiled chicken, cockles, tofu and bean sprouts for a surprisingly good treat.

Cambodia

Chicken Samla is one of the most popular dishes in Cambodia. It's a soupy curry that's more aromatic and less spicy than curries found in other parts of Southeast Asia. It uses a substantial amount of fresh ginger and lemongrass for flavour and fragrance. Serve over rice to soak up the sauce. Other popular curries are Masaman Beef and Cambodian Style pork and butternut squash curry.

Curry paste is called kroeung and it is usually made from lemon grass, galangal, rhizome, turmeric, zest of kaffir lime, garlic and shallot. These seven herbs are the basis for almost every kroeung. Kroeung comes in three colours, green, yellow and red, depending on ingredients used. Red kroeung receives its deep colour from a type of chilli pod which contributes very little flavour to the Kroeung. The green kroeung uses more leaf than stalk of the lemon grass, giving it the green colour. And the yellow kroeung uses stalk of lemon grass only, it is the basis for a famous sour soup Samla Machou Kroeung.

Burma(Myanmar)

If one were to cross Indian and Chinese food, and the result were successful, it would describe Burmese curry with its many dimensions of flavour. Burmese Chicken Curry is a Punjabi-style Chicken dish - but without tomatoes or peppers - but instead: coconut milk and besan (gram flour) with a dash of Thai fish sauce at the finish.

China

Curry is frequently used in southern China to lend flavour to seafood, vegetable and noodle dishes. Chinese curries are light and aromatic and typically consist of green peppers, chicken, beef, fish, lamb, or other meats, onions, chunks of potatoes, and a variety of other ingredients plus spices in a spicy yellow curry sauce, and topped over steamed rice. White pepper, soy sauce, hot sauce, and/or hot chili oil may be applied to the sauce to enhance the flavour of the curry.

The most common Chinese variety of curry sauce is usually sold in the powder form. It seems to have derived from a Singaporean and Malaysian variety, countries which also introduced the satay sauce to the Chinese.

Chinese curry is popular in North America, and there are many different varieties of Chinese curry, depending on each restaurant. Unlike other Asian curries, which usually have a thicker consistency, Chinese curry can often be watery in nature.

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