23 of Our Finest, Richest Curries

February 28, 2017

What does the word “curry” even mean? Curry’s provenance is perplexingly murky, but one way to grapple with this word’s flexibility is to embrace all the different dishes that go by this name.

Curry’s definition is malleable, adaptive to the environment it's in: My mom’s curry is different from my dad’s, and they’re both from the same part of India. And that's to say nothing of the variances between North Indian curry and South Indian curry, which are many shades different from any Massaman curry I’ve had from Thailand, or Japanese kare rice, or South African bunny chow.

Here are some of our finest curry recipes. Though most of them don’t taste anything like the curry I grew up eating at home, they're curries I love as much as I love my mother’s.

What's your favorite kind of curry? Let us know in the comments.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Deneb Zeenat Latif
    Deneb Zeenat Latif
  • Panfusine
  • Whiteantlers
  • Shalini
  • Mayukh Sen
    Mayukh Sen
Mayukh Sen is a James Beard Award-winning food and culture writer in New York. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the New Yorker, Bon Appetit, and elsewhere. He won a 2018 James Beard Award in Journalism for his profile of Princess Pamela published on Food52.


Deneb Z. March 2, 2017
My all time deshi curry will be the Bengali style Murgir Jhol (chicken curry honestly with a thin gravy) with a few pieces of potatoes thrown in. Equally great with plain rice as with roti/paratha. Have you tried the version we make on the other side of Bengal Mayukh?
Mayukh S. March 2, 2017
Of course I have! I LOVE murgir jhol.
Panfusine March 1, 2017
What falls under the term 'curry' (the wet, stews) is categorized as 'Kootu' in South India. 'Kari' is the term used for drier stir fries and sauteed vegetables. Kootus can either be coconut based -- the most well known of them being the 'avial' - or dal based.
Whiteantlers February 28, 2017
I don't know specific names of curries that I enjoy, only that I love this kind of cooking. Delighted to see this article on a damp, pre-spring day. I will look forward to making my house fragrant and my kitchen warm with a few of the recipes here. Thanks for making my day once again. : )
Mayukh S. February 28, 2017
Shalini February 28, 2017
Two of my favourite saucy Indian dishes are Bengali in origin. Maybe you've had them, Mayukh? Doi Maach, (Mustard Fish), and Malai Curry, (Prawns in a Malaysian Coconut Sauce).
Mayukh S. February 28, 2017
Shalini! I'm allergic to maach. I know that's basically unheard of for Bengali people, but here I am :(