curry sauces

various dates

Curry is not a single spice, but a blend of several spices that can vary greatly by location. The most common components are turmeric (yellow color,) ginger (spicy bite,) cumin, coriander, hot peppers (spicy heat.) In India where this originated, people usually use the component spices at varying times during the cooking process. In the Western world, curry is sold as a blended mix or paste.

Curries can have different colors, depending on the amount of specific ingredients:

Curries may be dry or wet.

a. the first printed curry recipe

Pic1: the oldest printed curry recipe

The first-ever printed curry recipe is found in Hannah Glasse’s 1747 cookbook, “The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy.


These are instructions on how “to make a currey the Indian way” that involves stewing chickens in water and then seasoning the meat with finely beaten ginger, turmeric and pepper, followed by a little butter, cream and lemons.


This method is described further down on this page  as the dairy-free method, and in my Curry Gravy recipe with vegetables instead of chicken.


b. DRY curries

2017-04-11 a.o.

Dry curries are cooked with very little liquid which is allowed to be absorbed or to evaporate, leaving the other ingredients coated with the spice mixture. I usually cook curry rice that way, by adding curry powder to the rice water.

With curry rice, I often cook the sauce together with the rice (similar to paella) and sometime add vegetables or fruit as well, here broccoli. Pineapple is also a good choice with chicken.  

Add at least half the recommended amount of water to get a wet curry.



Pic2: cooking dry-curry rice
Pic3: dry-curry rice with stir-fried chicken


This is what you need for 2-4 servings:

  • ½ cup long grain rice
  • water: as recommended on package
    + ½ cup extra
  • 1 cup broccoli
    OR pineapple or other
  • S&P
  • curry powder
  • 2 tsp. oil dough


  • Combine rice, recommended amount + ½ cup extra of water  in a shallow pan.
  • Stir in S&P, curry powder to taste. (½ - 2 tbsp.)
  • Add the vegetables or fruit now for softer, or add later for crisper vegetables.
  • Cook the rice for the recommended time.
  • Stir in the oil dough ½ tsp. at a time to thicken the extra liquid.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Serve with stir-fry chicken (Pic1+3) or other meat of choice.

B. wet curries

2015-12-13 a.o.

Wet curries contain significant amounts of sauce based on broth, coconut cream, dairy cream, legume purée, sautéed crushed onion, tomato purée or yogurt. Chicken broth is a good choice if the sauce will be served with chicken.

I use this method when I cook/stew non-absorbent ingredients in the sauce like chicken, seafood or vegetables other than rice. I have also made curry soups.

When I make this sauce, I often briefly simmer stir-fried chicken, beef or seafood in the sauce to coat them with the sauce before serving.

Coconut cream/milk is optional. Regular milk or cream will do fine.
That means curry sauce can also be prepared as a béchamel-derived sauce.



Pic4: wet-curry chicken
Pic5: wet-curry chicken over dry-curry rice


This is what you need for 2 cups:

  • 2 cups milk
    OR 1 can coconut cream / milk
  • 2 tbsp. butter / oil 2 tbsp. flour
  • 2 tbsp. curry powder
    OR powdered turmeric / ginger / hot pepper
  • S&P
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, finely cut


  • Make a white roux.
  • Add (coconut) milk to make béchamel sauce.  Let thicken. Add more milk if too thick.
  • Stir in curry powder to taste.
  • Simmer over medium heat 15 minutes.
  • Mix in parsley (Pic3)
  • Serve over a bed of rice. (Pic4)

Dairy-free method:

  • Stir-fry / stew the chicken in butter.
  • Add curry & spices to the broth.