There's no mistaking good curry flavours. The intensity and aroma have the power to transport you to far-off lands - revisiting those you've been to or imagining those you've yet to discover from the cliched comfort of your own kitchen.
Whether you like your curry mild or spicy, there’s a perfect match out there for you, and our curry kits make it super easy to prepare your favourite curry dishes at home.
This week, we’re taking a deeper look at some of the stories and countries behind our most popular curries, from the korma to the vindaloo and from Sri Lanka to Morocco.
Korma or Karma Korma, as we like to say
Korma curry is an Indian dish that traces its roots back to the 16th century. Mughal emperor Shah Jahan was known for his love of food and extravagant feasts. One day, he ordered his chefs to create a new dish that would incorporate all of his favourite flavours. The chefs created a dish that consisted of chicken simmered in a creamy almond and yoghurt sauce, layered with earthy spices like turmeric on top of sweet cinnamon and coriander. The dish was an instant hit, and soon became a favourite among the emperor's courtiers.
Why not give our Karma Korma a try! It can can be made with meat or vegetables, and comes with our own stock (Boom Base) to produce a thick gravy sauce, whole spices, korma spice mix and coconut.
Tikka Masala or Tikka Tarka Masala in the Boom Kitchen
Tikka Masala is a dish that originates from India. The dish is made by marinating chicken or lamb in a yoghurt and spice mixture, then cooking it in a tandoor oven. The Tikka Masala curry flavours are enhanced with tomatoes, cream, and a variety of spices, such as garam masala, coriander, and cumin.
While the exact origins of Tikka Masala are disputed, the dish has become a popular menu item in Indian restaurants around the world. Tikka Masala is often served with rice or naan bread, and it can be made mild or spicy to suit your taste.
Whether you're craving a delicious Indian meal or looking for something new to try, Tikka Tarka Masala is a curry that is sure to please.
Bhuna or Magic Bhuna when we speak about curry
The story goes that a group of travellers were making their way through the Bhutanese mountains when they came across a small village. The villagers were very hospitable and offered the travellers a meal of Bhutanese rice and vegetables. The travellers were so impressed with the Bhutanese rice that they asked for the recipe.
When they returned to India, they created their own version of the Bhutanese rice, which we now know as the Bhuna Curry.
The Bhuna Curry is made with a variety of ingredients, including Bhutanese rice, vegetables, spices and herbs. The Bhutanese rice is cooked in a special way that allows it to absorb all of the flavours of the ingredients. This makes for a very hearty and flavourful dish. Magic Bhuna Curries are typically served with naan bread or basmati rice.
Jalfrezi or Jalfrezi Heatwave when we feel like something spicy
Jalfrezi curry is a delicious Indian dish with a long and fascinating history. Jalfrezi comes from the Hindu word "jal," meaning "spicy hot." The dish is thought to have originated in Calcutta, India, where it quickly became a popular street food.
Jalfrezi is usually served with rice or naan bread and is a favourite dish of both vegetarians and meat-eaters alike. So next time you're in the mood for some spicy curry flavours, be sure to try our Jalfrezi Heatwave curry - you won't be disappointed!
Vindaloo or Lady Naga Vindaloo when we’re in a party mood
Vindaloo curry is a popular dish from the Indian state of Goa. The name Vindaloo comes from the Portuguese dish carne de vinho e alhos, which is made with wine and garlic. When the Portuguese colonised India, sometime in the 16th century, they brought this dish with them and it was adopted by the locals.
Over time, the Vindaloo curry has evolved into a distinctly Indian dish, with a variety of different ingredients and methods of preparation.
Vindaloo curry is usually quite spicy, but the level of heat can be adjusted to suit individual preferences. While Lady Naga Vindaloo curry is often served with rice or naan bread, it can also be enjoyed on its own as a flavourful and hearty meal.
Ayubowan or Ayubowan Sri Lankan when we’re discussing Sri Lankan Flavour
Many curries hand the leading role to either chillies or mild aromatics. Sri Lankan curries are distinctive in the way they let aromatic whole spices and chillies share the limelight and we love this.
To make an authentic Sri Lankan curry we’d say these ingredients are crucial:
- curry leaves (they also use “rumpe” - pandan leaves but they are a bit harder to source in the UK)
- mustard (crushed seeds or paste).
If you’ve ever been to Sri Lanka you’ll know how coconut trees are everywhere. They’re the fourth largest producer of coconuts in the world producing a whopping 2.6 million tonnes a year (that’s about 250 Eiffel Towers worth from a country a quarter the size of the UK).
Our Sri Lankan Ayubowan curry kit originates from a local street food vendor we met in Mirissa - a small town on the south coast of Sri Lankan now overrun with backpackers on account of its nightlife and picturesque beach (complete with a nice right-hander by the rocks for the surfers among you). Get travel tips for Mirissa here.
As for its name, “Ayubowan” is derived from a Sinhalese phrase meaning, "may you live a long life." Ayubowan Dhammika, we are forever in your for sharing your delicious recipe with us. Alas when we returned to Mirissa, armed with our curry kit inspired by his recipe, we couldn't find him despite our best efforts (not surprising given it had been over 10 years).
Moroccan Tagine or Mellow Moroccan Tagine when we think it’s time to chill
If you’re looking to bluff your way through the subject of Moroccan cuisine we’d say these 2 words are a good place to start: Tagine and Ras el Hanout.Tagine
Tagine is a word with two meanings - it can be used to refer to a stew like dish and also a traditional style of cooking pot.
Image credit Jodi Ettenberg who has written an amazing piece on the origin of the Moroccan Tagine.
The Tagine is an amazing piece of cookware engineering and while we don’t fully understand the science and physics behind it here are 8 things we’ve learned that might explain why they produce such flavoursome moist dishes:
Material - traditionally made from clay. Clay is the ultimate low and slow heat transfer material. Iron will transfer heat 50 times more quickly into food, copper 500 times more quickly.
Height - the Tagine's lid is taller than traditional pan lids. This means the top of the lid is further away from the heat source and therefore stays cooler. Having a cooler lid helps steam in side the pot condense back into water droplets which is a goof thing.
Shape of lid - conical like the landmark theatre Ilfracombe (home town of Boom Kitchen HQ) known affectionally by locals as Madonna's bra.
Picture credit: Visit Ilfracombe.
Tagines are conical and also and slightly convex (instead of domed) which means means condensation droplets trickle down into the dish faster.
Size/Volume - it’s shape makes the pot roomy for lots of moist air to hang around - increase the volume of air and the heat of the air and you can hold more water vapour in it.
Surface area - the higher the surface area of your cooking pot's lid (a Tagine’s is relatively large) the more space you have for water vapour/steam to condense and turn back into water droplets (which is what we want for a moist dish).
Porosity of clay - if you look at clay under a microscope it’s much more porous than iron and steel pots. This encourages air flow inside the pot and it’s said that tiny pours in the clay walls take on flavours over time and give clay cooked food a signature earthiness.
Self cooling water cycle - because heat is transferred more slowly through the clay oven walls there is going to be a more gentle heating and water evaporation process. The clay lid is also going to take longer to heat up - we know already that this promotes condensation but it also means that water droplets are going to call slightly as they make their journey back down into the dish. It’s a bit like having a cooling - car radiator system in your cooking pot.
- Better flavour and nutrient retention - because there is a less aggressive build up of steam, you will get less steam escaping which means you don’t lose as much water soluble flavour or nutrients (e.g. vitamin C and B vitamins) during the cooking process
Pretty cool for a piece of tech that is believed to data back to the eighth century.
Tip: If you do buy or have a clay Tagine be careful about putting it on a hob as it will crack - you can buy a heat diffuser that should make your clay Tagine compatible with a modern stove and save you a whole lot of mess. Make sure you buy the right kind of heat diffuser for your hob.
Don’t have a tagine cooking pot?
Don’t worry - you can get pretty good results by going dutch - as in a dutch oven/traditional casserole pot. Slow cookers or any pot with a lid will do and is all you need to bring Moroccan Tagine flavours to life in your kitchen.
Ras el Hanout
Ras el Hanout is to Northern Africa as Garam Masala is to India and its culinary neighbours. Translated from Arabic ras el hanout means “top of the shop,” or “top shelf” which pretty much says it all - it’s a spice mix with a bit of whatever your spice shop vendor fancied.
As you might expect there is no strict Ras el Hanout formulae - every brand, shop and family will have their own play on the theme.
Boom’s take on Ras el Hanout
- Black pepper
- Chilli powder
Moroccan Tagine is typically made with chicken or lamb, but can also be made with beef or fish. The meat is stewed with spices and vegetables, and the resulting curry is served with rice or couscous. We love a spoonful of mint sauce with our couscous to give it some extra zing - as you’d expect that’s going to pair beautifully with a lamb tagine too.
Chopped apricots and dates are also very at home in a Moroccan style tagine.
All Moroccan Tagines share certain common features, such as the use of fresh ingredients and the slow cooking method that results in tender, flavourful meat. Check out our Mellow Moroccan Tagine Kit and Moroccan Tagine Recipes.
If you’re in the mood for something a little different this Black Friday, why not try out one of our delicious curry kits? We’ve got all your favourite flavours – Korma, Tikka masala, Bhuna, Jalfrezi and Vindaloo. And if that’s not enough variety for you, we also have an Ayubowan kit with a Sri Lankan flavour profile and a Moroccan kit with all the spices and flavours you need to recreate this North African classic at home.
Our curry kits are perfect for novice cooks or experienced chefs alike – they come with everything you need to make a fantastic meal with delightful curry flavours, including step-by-step instructions. So what are you waiting for? Get yourself a Curry Kit this Black Friday and enjoy a taste of exotic adventure without leaving your kitchen!