“Not a Curry” may strike you as an unusual name for a blog that proclaims to be about Indian recipes or 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 Indian 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.
This blog also endeavors to preserve lost or dying Indian culinary traditions by going back to old methods of cooking, searching long lost recipes, and trying old cooking methods in order to reduce food waste and collectively slow down global warming.