Curry ordering 101

Trouble telling your dhansak from your dopiaza? Fancy a handy little table to simplify your curry ordering decisions? No problem, you are very welcome!

Like most people living in Britain, I cannot possibly count the number of time I have decided to indulge in a curry.

My first encounter with the classic Inidan foodstuff was a homemade dish that was basically just meat marinaded in vindaloo paste, and away you were! Since living in England, I have discovered just how sheltered my previous curry munching life had been.

The first few times I had to order, I found myself completely overwhelmed by all of the varieties on offer from my local takeaway or fine Indian dining haunt. As an aside, curry was, in 2015, featured twice in the top ten most popular takeaway foods in the UK – time changes everything of course but it is likely to be this way for a while.

The purpose of this article however is to deal with one particular need which could well do with being answered.

On those occasions when you find yourself overcome with the overwhelming desire to eat something of an Indian persuasion – wouldn’t it be great if there was a handy reminder of what everything on the menu actually meant. It isn’t always obvious, even though it is becoming more common for takeaways and restaurants (with a plug to our current favourite curry house Masala 910) to describe as clearly as possible to the spice seeker just what it is they are ordering.

With that in mind, how about a quick reference guide of just what is what and also what it means for your tastebuds?

What is what

Et voila! Without further ado, here is a pretty accurate table of what the most usual suspects on an Indian takeaway menu will deliver to the palate….

The hotness scale is from 1 (mild) to 5 (sweaty eyeballs!)

Name What it is Hotness
Balti Slow cooked in a heavy metal wok variable
Bhuna Dry with a rich coconut sauce 2
Biriani/Biriyani Spicy rice based curry variable
Ceylon Coconut, chilli and lemon 3
Dhansak Almost sweet dish served with a lentil puree 3
Dopiaza Made with lots of onions 3
Jalfrezi Green peppers, chilli and onions 3
Karahi Dry sizzling with onions and tomatoes 3
Kashmir Sweet curry with fruit, often lychee 3
Korma Creamy curry, often with coconut and almonds 1
Madras With tomatoes, almonds, lemon juice and chilli 4
Pasanda Creamy with coconut and almonds 1
Phal Chillies, and more chillies; stupidly hot 6
Rogan Josh Usually lamb, with yoghurt, chilli and tomatoes 4
Tikka Masala Always a popular, aromatic creamy curry 1
Vindaloo Sour, with tomatoes and potatoes 5

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *