There is a variety of dishes or plated food that is prepared with curry originating in the Indian subcontinent.
Though curry dishes make up a significant part of India’s food culture, there is vastly more to Indian cuisine than curry.
Curry powder though is not used in India, as authentic curry dishes from India use the leaves of the curry tree, which is related to the citrus family.
The powder is a blend of different spices which may or may not include curry leaves.
The spices usually include ground turmeric, cumin, coriander, ginger, and fresh or dried chilies among others.
Who Invented The Curry Powder
If curry powder is not a spice mix in authentic Indian cuisine, who then coined the term curry powder?
The term curry powder was coined by the British according to the author of the book, “The Oxford Companion to Food.”
The author Alan Davidson writes, “the kind sold commercially represents an attempt by the British manufactures to provide in ready-made form a spice mixture corresponding to those uses in South India.”
You will not find a dish in India prepared with the spice mix called curry powder, but rather only with curry leaves.
In other parts of the world, when you here the word curry, it invokes an image of warm, spicy, delicious food. Such as our Coconut Basil Chicken Curry.
This dish is incredibly fragrant with coconut milk as its base.
After the curry is finished, you add fresh lemon juice, lemon zest, chopped cilantro and basil then stir in, and wait for the herbs aromatic fresh smells to get your taste buds going.
Coconut Basil Chicken Curry with Vegetables
1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts, thinly sliced
1 1/2 tablespoons yellow curry powder
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper using more or less to your taste
kosher salt and black pepper
3 tablespoons sesame oil or extra virgin olive oil
2 zucchini or summer squash, diced
2 ears sweet corn, kernels removed from the cob
2-3 medium shallots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
1 inch fresh ginger, grated
1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1 can (14 ounce) coconut milk
juice and zest from 1/2 a lemon
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup fresh holy basil, roughly torn (can use sweet basil)
2 cups cooked basmati rice
toasted sesame seeds for serving (optional)
In a medium bowl, toss together the chicken, curry powder, turmeric, cayenne, 1 tablespoon oil, and a pinch each of salt and pepper.
Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil shimmers, add the chicken and brown all over, about 5 minutes.
Next add the zucchini, corn, shallots, garlic, and ginger. Season with crushed red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Cook the veggies another 5-10 minutes or until they just begin to soften.
Stir in the coconut milk and 1/3-1/2 cup water. Stir to combine, bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, cook 5-10 minutes or until the sauce thickens slightly. If the sauce thickens too much, add additional water to thin.
Remove from the heat and stir in the zest, lemon juice, cilantro, and basil.
Serve along side or top over rice.