Winter has well and truly arrived. Houses are glazed with snow, coats are tightly buckled, there’s a bite in the air, and nothing quite beats the feeling of being at home in the kitchen, brewing up something comforting and spectacular. Let’s face it, few dishes take away the chill of winter better than curry. Best of all, for those of us passionate about cooking, this cuisine makes for the perfect canvas upon which to express ourselves creatively in the kitchen. So join RiceSelect® as we delve into the magical, multifarious world of curries this winter.

What is Curry?

Let’s start off by answering this simple question. Although the curry leaf lends its name to this popular spice blend, it is not typically used as an ingredient. Rather, curry, as we know it, denotes a particular blend of spices, generally consisting of some or all of the following:

  • Turmeric

  • Ginger

  • Mustard

  • Cumin

  • Black pepper

  • Garlic

  • Coriander

  • Cinnamon

Exploring Different Curry Cuisines: Indian and Thai

When we think of comforting curry recipes, Indian or Thai cuisine are probably what first spring to mind. Both Indian and Thai cuisine boast plenty of variations, which range from hot and spicy to creamy and aromatic, so let’s take a deep dive into what we talk about when we talk about curry.

What Is the Difference between Indian and Thai Curry?

The devil, as is so often the case in cooking, is in the details. Let’s look first at the similarities. Both Indian and Thai curry spice blends tend to count dried red chilies—or chili powder—, cumin, coriander, and garlic. Where they differ is not an exact science, but we can identify a few key distinctions.

Thai Curry

One distinctive feature of Thai curries is that they are often made with coconut milk. This endows them with their signature sweet and creamy flavor. In addition, herbs like lemongrass and galangal, as well as shrimp paste, are commonly found in Thai curry recipes, but not so much in their Indian counterparts. The rice of choice for most Thai curries is jasmine rice.

Indian Curry

Curries from India tend to start with sautéing ingredients such as onions and tomatoes and then adding a blend of spices, sometimes known as garam masala, to form a stew-like texture. Indian curries tend to be more spice-laden and are typically served with basmati rice.

To learn more about the fascinating origins of curry as we know it today, we take a deep dive into this beloved phenomenon of world cuisine in this home chef’s essential guide to curry.

Delicious Curry Variations with Chicken for Winter Feasts

Now that we’ve explored some of the nuances of Thai and Indian curry, let’s look at two chicken recipes from these distinctive culinary traditions and see how they turn out.

For a chicken curry recipe with a zesty, fruity twist, this Thai Panang Chicken Curry is a mouth-watering ambassador for Thai cuisine. Served on a bed of RiceSelect®'s very own Jasmati® rice, it’s both spicy and refreshing, bringing vibrant flavors to your winter meals.

Alternatively, for an Indian chicken curry recipe, this Royal Blend Chicken Biryani, with its unique blend of spices, offers up a symphony of flavors designed to warm you to the core this winter.

Vegetarian Curry Recipe

Another delightful feature of curry recipes is how conducive they are to vegan and vegetarian variations. This Thai Green Vegetable Curry is a comfort classic with a twist. Made with Premium RiceSelect® Black Rice, it combines the refreshing aromas of Thai curry with the fragrant, nutty flavor of black rice to bring you a dish that will not only satisfy everyone at your dining table but also intrigue them.

Creative Uses of Ingredients: Enhancing Your Curry Recipes

At RiceSelect®, we’re all about thinking outside the box when it comes to cooking. We know that one thing that all home chefs have in common is a desire to push the boundaries of flavor and explore new horizons in the kitchen, taking traditional recipes and giving them their own unique spin.

In this Curry Risotto with Baked Salmon, two titans of world cuisine collide, and the results are exquisite. Creamy and aromatic, Italian and Indian flavors complement each other beautifully. Warning: guests may sneak into your kitchen afterwards in search of the blueprint!

Finally, if winter puts you in the mood for curry, well, here’s an interesting take that will warm you to the core while also calling back some of your favorite flavors of summer. This Sweet and Spicy Watermelon Curry recipe brings a diverse range of flavors together in harmony for a dish that’s simply unforgettable.

Imagine the surprised looks on the faces of your guests when they discover how succinctly the sweet flavor of watermelon melds with the strong aromas of a robust curry. If conversation dries up for a while, it’s probably because your culinary skills will have left everyone speechless.

Curry Pairings: Rice, Naan, and Other Tasty Sides

Before you get to the kitchen and start experimenting, it’s worth taking a moment to think about ideas to pair with your curry recipes. Although rice is perhaps the most obvious choice, there are other possibilities that could greatly enhance the dining experience.

  • Naan Bread: No curry in India is complete without a side of Naan bread. This leavened, oven-baked flatbread is chewy and floury, perfect for dipping or just mopping up sauce at the end of the meal.

  • Poppadoms: These light, crispy snacks make for a tasty and convenient entrée, especially before Indian curry.

  • Salad: Not just any leaf salad, but something cool and refreshing that can offset the effect of the spices. In Thai cuisine, cucumber or mango kani salad serves to elevate the flavors of the main dish.

Benefits of Curry in the Winter

Make this winter all about curry in your kitchen. Fill your house with fragrant aromas, and watch as guests flock to your dinner parties for some satisfying winter curries. At RiceSelect®, we are committed to providing you with inspiration in the kitchen. Stay tuned for what 2024 has to offer!