5 Dishes Infused With Curry

The allure of spice

Photo: Ermis [CC by SA-2.0]/Flickr

Curry is a well-traveled sauce consisting of a family of well-matched spices. Subject to endless interpretations and sparring matches, curry is claimed by heat-seeking food lovers around the globe. As much an evocative cooking style as a recipe, curry has earned a spot at the kitchen table of health-conscious eaters who appreciate the emphasis on flavor over fat and cream. If you like to feel the burn or are just curious, try these five curry-inspired dishes.

Curried Chickpeas With Rice

Photo: NADKI/Shutterstock

Midway between a wrap and warm salad, this quick curry works great with pantry staples. Curried Chickpeas With Rice Ingredients

  • 4 cups cooked couscous
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon ginger root, grated
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 pinch cayenne powder
  • 2 15.5-ounce cans chickpeas, drained
  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 romaine lettuce, rinsed and stemmed
  • Dollop plain yogurt, to taste
Prep time: 10 minutes

Total time: 25 minutes

Cooking directions

  1. Cook couscous according to package directions. Set aside.
  2. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat about 1 minute. Add onion and garlic. Saute until tender, 5 or 6 minutes. Add curry and other spices and stir about 1 minute until fragrant.
  3. Add chickpeas. Stir and heat about 3 minutes. Add diced tomatoes. Cook 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat when ingredients darken, transitioning from reddish to reddish-brown.
  4. Align 2 overlapping leaves to plate lettuce. Add a helping of cooked couscous and 2 tablespoons of curried chickpeas. Top with yogurt.

Yield: 4 to 6

Butternut Squash with Spinach Curry

Enrique Gili.

Great for creating curry converts leery of eating exotic fruits and vegetables. Butternut Squash With Spinach Curry Ingredients

  • 4 cups cooked basmati rice (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons red curry paste
  • 1 2-pound butternut squash, peeled and chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 4 plum tomatoes, halved and quartered
  • 4 ounces fresh spinach, rinsed and torn
Prep time: 20 minutes

Total time: 40 minutes

Cooking directions

  1. Cook basmati rice according to directions. Set aside.
  2. Heat oil in large heavy-bottomed cooking pot about 1 minute. Add onion. Saute until tender, 5 or 6 minutes. Add curry paste and cook about 3 minutes.
  3. Add squash to pot with water. Cover pot and simmer until squash becomes tender, about 12 minutes. Add tomatoes. Cook about 6 minutes. As tomatoes begin to break down, add spinach. Heat about 2 more minutes, or until spinach wilts and turns bright green. Serve with rice.

Yield: 4

Curried Popcorn

Enrique Gili.

The Bollywood edition of this movie theater staple is an addictive alternative to salted and buttery popcorn. Curried Popcorn Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup popcorn kernels
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Prep time: 5 minutes

Total time: 10 minutes

Cooking Directions

  1. Combine first 5 ingredients in mixing bowl. Stir and set aside.
  2. Using a 5- to 6-quart cooking pot with tight fitting lid, heat oil on high about 1 minute. Add 3 kernels and close lid. Oil is ready when kernels pop.
  3. Add remaining kernels. Move pot rapidly from side to side over high heat, holding lid slightly ajar to allow steam to escape. Remove from heat when kernels stop popping, about 2 minutes. Allow to cool. Dress with olive oil and toss with curry seasoning.

Yield: 1 large bowl

Roasted Tandoori Chicken

Photo: Ramon grosso dolarea/Shutterstock

A savory and succulent chicken dish that’s a delicious alternative to outdoor grilling. Roasted Tandoori Chicken Ingredients

  • 4 cups cooked basmati rice
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 fresh-squeezed lemon
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 1/2 pounds bone-in chicken thighs and legs
  • 1 wedge lemon, optional garnish
Prep time: 20 minutes

Total time: 1 hour

Cooking directions

  1. Cook rice according to package directions.
  2. Combine coriander, cumin, turmeric, cayenne and garam masala in mixing bowl. Set aside.
  3. Heat oil in heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat about 1 minute. Add curry spice mixture. Cook and stir 30 seconds to 1 minute, until fragrant. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
  4. Return seasoning to mixing bowl. Combine with yogurt, lemon, garlic and fresh ginger. Stir until marinade takes on creamy consistency between the color of terra cotta and burnt umber.
  5. Skin and trim excess fat from chicken. Set aside skin.* Place chicken pieces in 9x12-inch baking dish. Coat chicken with marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 1 to 6 hours.
  6. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place baking dish on center rack and cook chicken 25 to 30 minutes, or until juices run clear. Then set oven to broil to enhance crispiness. Place on top rack and cook an additional 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Allow to cool. Plate chicken with rice. Pour remaining contents of baking dish over chicken to make glaze and curry gravy.
  7. *Optional: Coat chicken skin with excess marinade and cook in oven following step 5 for the ultimate in meat candy.

Yield: 4

Spicy Curry Noodles

Photo: etorres/Shutterstock

Short of melting the noodles, this dish is always good and never boring. Spicy Curry Noodles Ingredients

  • 8 ounces Asian noodles, dry weight
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk, divided
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, peeled and minced
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 red pepper, sliced thin
  • 5 shiitake mushrooms
  • 3 green onions, stemmed and sliced, tops reserved
  • Dash red chili oil, optional
Prep time: 15 minutes

Total time: 30 minutes

Cooking directions

  1. Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cool water. Set aside.
  2. Combine curry powder and spices in mixing bowl. Stir.
  3. Heat oil in large heavy-bottomed skillet about 1 minute. Add curry seasoning. Stir and cook 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until fragrant. Add dash of coconut milk. Stir. Add yellow onion, garlic and ginger. Cook 2 to 3 minutes more. Add soy sauce and stir.
  4. Add pepper, mushrooms and green onions. Cook over medium-high heat, until pepper becomes tender. Add remaining coconut milk. Stir. Add noodles. Stir-fry combined ingredients until noodles absorb soy-coconut-curry sauce. Plate and serve.
Yield: 2-4