50 Types of Curries From Around the World

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Curries have captured people’s taste buds globally. They vary in their ingredients, spices, and herbs, tailored to local regions and culinary cultures. Here’s a glimpse into the types of curry from around the world.

What’s in a Curry?

“Curry” comes from the word “Kari,” a Tamil word meaning sauce. But it’s not just any sauce. It’s a rich blend of spices and ingredients that can vary from one place to another. 

Consider curry a spice adventure where each region throws in its local flavors, making every curry unique.

While curry originates from India, it’s now become a global cuisine. From the bustling streets of Bangkok to the quiet kitchens in Japan, curries have made a home. 

Each country adds its twist, using local ingredients and spices to create something unique.

Curries change with the landscape, too. Every place has unique ingredients and tastes, from the mountains of Nepal to the beaches of Goa. That’s why you’ll find such a wide variety of curries. It’s all about what’s available locally and the traditional cooking methods of each region.

Vegetarian Delights and Meaty Marvels

Whether you’re a meat lover or a veggie enthusiast, there’s a curry out there. Vegetarian curries might include paneer (a type of cheese), potatoes, vegetables, lentils, or chickpeas. The meaty versions boast chicken, lamb, beef, pork, or fish. The endless possibilities make the curry a dish that truly has something for everyone.

Often considered comfort food, curries are more than just food; they celebrate diversity and tradition. Each curry tells a story of its homeland, inviting us to explore cultures and flavors worldwide. 

So next time you dive into a bowl of curry, remember you’re tasting a piece of history, a blend of spices, and a labor of love. 

Let’s see how other places make curries their own and what makes each one special.

Famous Types of Curry Around the World

Although we may not be able to feature all curries that ever exist across the globe, here are some of the most popular ones.

Indian and Pakistani Curries: A Flavorful Legacy

  1. Chicken Tikka Masala: A global favorite, this dish features grilled chicken chunks in a creamy, spicy tomato sauce, with its rich flavors and comforting warmth.
  2. Butter Chicken: Another heartwarming dish from India, where tender chicken is bathed in a buttery tomato sauce. It’s mild, creamy, and perfect with fluffy naan bread.
  3. Chicken Korma: This mild curry is a thick-sauced curry braised in yogurt, cream, and spices.
  4. Murgh Achari (Achari Chicken): A curry with a bold flavor that uses pickling spices and has a distinctive aroma. 
  5. Achari Gosht: Same as chicken achari, but this one uses red meat such as goat, lamb, or beef.
  6. Aloo Gosht: This is a curry that every Pakistani household makes occasionally. It uses red meat, either goat, lamb, or beef, and has a soupy gravy that is best eaten with rice. 
  7. Aloo Keema: A dry curry made with ground beef (or lamb) with potatoes.
  8. Karahi Gosht: A classic curry of red meat. It’s full of flavors thanks to the well-balanced spices that it uses.
  9. Rogan Josh: A beautiful red curry from Kashmir, India, made with tender meat and flavored with cardamom and Kashmiri chilies. It’s a warm, aromatic dish that’s both inviting and exciting.
  10. Daal: A staple in many homes, this curry is all about lentils. It’s hearty and nutritious and can be made in several ways. Daal is proof that simple ingredients can create something extraordinary. Masoor Dal and Green Moong Dal are only a few examples of the much-loved lentil curry.
  11. Kofta: Small, spicy, juicy meatballs, usually made with lamb/mutton and cooked in a curry, often with added potatoes, dry fruits, paneer, and boiled eggs.
  12. Malai Kofta: This is a meatball dish in a korma sauce.
  13. Nentara: A dish similar to korma but using mushrooms, capsicums, onions, and fresh cream.
  14. Shahi Paneer: This is a vegetarian version of korma. The paneer is bathed in creamy, spicy gravy made of spices, yogurt, and cream.
  15. Dopiaza: Meaning “double onions,” this dish is called so because it uses two differently prepared onions, pureed and fried. It is medium hot, rich, and spicy.
  16. Dhansak: This dish uses meat, vegetables, and lentils. It has a mild, sweet, and slightly sour taste.
  17. Jaipuri: It uses ginger garlic paste as an added ingredient to garam masala, a medium-spice dish.
  18. Pasanda: A meat dish prepared by marinating meat in yogurt, chili powder, and other spices.
  19. Pathia: It is a hot, sweet, and sour meat curry made using tamarind, lime, and jaggery.
  20. Aloo Gobi (Potato and Cauliflower): This vegetable dry curry is best served with flatbreads such as chapati, naan bread, etc.
  21. Aloo Palak (Potatoes and Spinach): A classic vegetarian curry that every household in the Indian subcontinent would have a recipe for.
  22. Aloo Matar (Potatoes and Peas): Another popular vegetarian dish using the humble potatoes and green peas.
  23. Aloo Methi (Potato and Fenugreek Leaves): This dry vegetarian curry uses potatoes and fenugreek leaves as the key ingredients. 
  24. Paneer Chana (Paneer and Chana Daal): Using a combination of Indian cheese called paneer and lentils, this vegetarian curry is popular among Indians.
  25. Paneer Matar (Paneer and peas): This dry paneer curry also uses green peas to add flavor and texture, making it delicious to eat with naan. 
  26. Dal Gosht: This curry combines red meat and lentils, making it rich in flavors and high in protein. It is a comfort food well-known among Pakistanis. 
  27. Karela: This curry uses Karela (the bitter Gould) and ground meat. 
  28. Dahi Baingan: A creamy, tangy, and spicy eggplant curry thanks to an aromatic blend of spices and yogurt.

Bengali Curries

  1. Phal: One of the spiciest curries, made with chilies, tomatoes, and bold spices. It’s not for the faint-hearted but a thrill for spice lovers.
  2. Bhoona or Bhuna: A dry curry made with meat (lamb, mutton, chicken, prawn, shrimp, pangasius, rui fish, etc.), spices, chilies, and garlic cooked at high temperatures and is dry. It has a rich flavor and can be medium-hot, similar to a Karai.
  3. Hilsa Fish Curry: The fish is first marinated in turmeric and chili paste and then fried on low heat. It is then served with spicy mustard gravy and rice.
  4. Chingri Malai (or Chingri Macher Malaikari): This seafood curry dish uses shrimp as a critical ingredient. It is cooked in a coconut milk sauce with aromatic spices and served with basmati rice.
  5. Dhokor Dalna: It is made with lentils or dal to make a fried cake and cooked in a spicy tomato-based gravy with ginger, cumin, and coriander.

Indonesian Curries

  1. Beef Rendang: Dry beef curry slow-cooked in aromatic spices, herbs, and coconut milk until the gravy evaporates, leaving the meat melt-in-the-mouth tender. 
  2. Kalio: This curry has spices and herbs similar to Rendang. Kalio also uses coconut milk. The difference is that this one has gravy. 
  3. Kari Ayam: This chicken curry is rooted in Java regions with a slight difference in the variety of spices used compared to the other curries. It’s creamy and spicy, yet it’s light and mild at the same time.
  4. Tongseng: Allegedly invented by the satay seller, this quick braised curry usually uses goat meat. Although people also use chicken or beef nowadays. 
  5. Gudeg: Originating from Java, this dry vegetable curry uses raw Jackfruit as its main ingredient. Traditional Gudeg is usually slow-cooked until all the liquid evaporates. Palm sugar gives the dish a hint of sweetness.

Japanese Curry

  1. Japanese Kare: Japan’s take on curry is thicker, milder, and sweeter than others. It often comes with rice, noodles, or even stuffed in bread. Think of it as the comfort food version of curry, perfect for a cozy night.

Thai Curries

  1. Thai Green Curry: This curry mixes green chilies, coconut milk, spices, and fresh herbs. It’s spicy, aromatic, and utterly delicious.
  2. Kaeng Khiao Wan: It is a popular dish made with fresh chili paste, galangal, shrimp paste, lemongrass, garlic, turmeric, coriander, kaffir leaves, and whole peppercorns.
  3. Massaman: An equally famous curry that tastes nutty, mild, and sweet. This dish uses coconut milk, meat, potatoes, and a curry paste made with roasted spices.
  4. Red Thai Curry: A spicy curry that uses dried red chilies, cilantro root, cumin, galangal, and turmeric, which give it a distinctive red color.
  5. Phanaeng Curry: The hottest form of Thai curry, made with either beef, chicken, duck, or pork vegetables, spices, herbs, coconut milk, panang curry paste, makrit lime leaves, and fish sauce.
  6. Khao Soi: A delicious coconut soup that combines coconut milk and red curry paste. It is generally served with flat egg noodles and a choice of meat, which usually includes chicken, beef, and pork. 
  7. Yellow Thai Curry: This is a milder and sweeter type of curry. It combines turmeric, curry powder, and other native Thai ingredients.

African and Caribbean Twists

  1. Bunny Chow: A dish with half or a quarter loaf of bread hollowed out and stuffed with curry. The curry is a mixture of kidney beans or mutton, chicken, and lamb cooked with spices.
  2. Kuku Paka: This type of curry is popular in Kenya, Tanzania, Zanzibar, and Uganda. This dish uses coconut milk and spices with lime or lemon juice squeezed. It’s packed with loads of flavors. 
  3. Jamaican Fish Curry: This dish uses Indian spices and has a strong and pungent flavor with a not-so-fiery taste. Instead of coconut milk, this fish curry uses creamed coconut.
  4. Caribbean Lamb Curry: It is also famous as a curried goat because Jamaicans use goat more. The spices used in this type of curry are a blend of curry powder, allspice, and herbs such as thyme, bay leaves, and cilantro.

Curries for Every Taste

In an often divided world, curries remind us of our common love of good food and shared experiences. Whether you like your food fiery hot or mild and sweet, some types of curry are perfect for you.

And it’s not just about heat; it’s about flavor. Each spice in a curry blend adds a layer of depth, making every bite a discovery.

This article originally appeared on Pink When.

By Devy Dar

Devy Dar is the founder and creator of So Yummy Recipes, a website where she shares traditional and non-traditional recipes from South Asia, the Far East, and beyond. An Indonesian native living in the UK and married to a Kashmiri-Pakistani, Devy has a BA degree in Japanese studies and language for which she studied and lived in Japan. Her encounter with various cultures and cuisines has encouraged her to help others recreate recipes from those cultures in a practical way with daily ingredients. Her works have been featured in Reader’s Digest, Al Jazeera, MSN, Yahoo, Bon Appetit, and more.