“Not a Curry” may strike you as an unusual name for a blog that proclaims to be about Indian cooking. However, this indeed is the first important lesson towards a basic understanding of Indian cooking–there is no such thing as “curry”. I first learned about the existence of the mythical “curry powder” when I came to the US.
In the twenty six years of my life in India, I had never heard of this catchall seasoning for Indian food. The term, however, is used, although seldom, to suggest gravy and/or sauce. So, “chicken curry” implies nothing more than chicken in gravy/sauce. It goes without saying that there are thousands of Indian sauces each of which use distinct and unique combinations of spices. Several of these recipes do not even use a single ingredient listed on your regular “curry powder” bottles. Therefore, to call all Indian delicacies “curries” is like calling all American dishes “gravies”. Curry is neither a style, nor a particular blend of spices, nor a technique that when employed magically generates homogeneous effects. Curry is a misnomer that trivializes the complex and heterogeneous characteristics of Indian cooking and overlooks the Indian subcontinent’s highly diverse culinary landscape. By calling it “not a curry”, I hope to situate Indian cooking within the idiom of culinary authenticity and highlight its multifariousness.
On a more practical level, this blog, Predominantly Indian fusion, addresses the needs and demands of the ever-changing, dynamic, transnational culinary spaces. This blog also tries to simplify recipes that are otherwise laborious to fit the needs of a busy family. The recipes use healthier ingredients, and look for substitutes that are cheaper and easier to find.