Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

Curry: a Global Favorite

Lentil Curry with Cashews and Yogurt

Once upon a time the word “curry” referred simply to Indian food. Not so anymore! The word which likely stems from “kari” — meaning “sauce” in the South Indian dialect of Tamil — now refers to a variety of spiced, savory dishes from around the world, including India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, as well as Japan, Thailand, Ethiopia, Burma, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Curry dishes can be made from a variety of meats, fish and poultry, vegetables and legumes. Wet curries are saucy, often made with yogurt or coconut milk like in our Spicy Vegetable and Potato Curry, or puréed lentils and other pulses. Dry curries are cooked with very little liquid, which evaporates while cooking, leaving a deliciously spiced and aromatic dish of meats, vegetables or legumes like in Lentil Curry with Cashews and Yogurt.

Coconut Curry Chicken Wraps

Turmeric imparts that characteristic yellow/orange color to curry powder. Additional spices usually include coriander, ginger, cumin, cayenne and black pepper. Other favorite spices might include fenugreek, cloves or allspice, cinnamon, cardamom, bay leaves, caraway, fennel and mustard seeds. There are as many variations of curry powder as there are people creating them! Cooks around the world rely on an assortment of spices and varying flavors, creating inspiring delights like Spicy Beef and Potato Curry.      

Thai-Style Red Curry with Turkey and Green Beans

I was lucky to have spent time in India, which gave me an appreciation for good curry. The gorgeous platters of legumes and vegetables simmered in a variety of unique curry sauces seemed endless! Here are some savory, delicious ideas and recipes:

  • Add curry sauce or curry powder to rice while cooking. It’s also great with other grains like millet, quinoa and couscous.
  • Sprinkle curry powder over shrimp, chicken or beef when stir-frying or sautéing.
  • Chicken Curry is absolutely fabulous! Serve it with basmati rice.
  • Add curry powder to enchiladas, tacos, quesadillas and burritos. Try our Black Bean and Sweet Potato Enchiladas for an easy, healthy weeknight meal.
  • Shredded coconut and coconut milk are often incorporated into curry dishes. Coconut Curry Chicken Wraps blend Thai green curry paste with coconut milk, cilantro and chicken for a tasty lunch or light supper. And, for an outstanding sauce, look no further than our Curry-Coconut Peanut Sauce. Try it with chicken, beef, tofu or tempeh.
  • Add curry powder to dry rubs and wet marinades. 
  • Chicken and Vegetable Curry Soup is a quick and easy dish made with bok choy and carrots. It’s delicious served with jasmine rice!
  • Add curry powder or curry paste to chicken, turkey, ham, egg or shrimp salad. Make hearty sandwiches like our Tangy Curry Tuna Salad Sandwiches
  • Thai-Style Red Curry with Turkey and Green Beans is a great way to use leftover turkey, but you can use chicken, tofu or tempeh instead. 
  • My personal favorite: Indian-Spiced Veggie Burgers

Curry lovers, what’s your favorite recipe? Do you have a preference for curry powder, curry paste, or a purchased curry simmer sauce?