What is Coconut Curry?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 25 February 2020
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Coconut curry is a type of curry which utilizes coconut milk or coconut cream in the base for the curry sauce, adding a rich, creamy texture and flavor. Thailand is particularly famous for its coconut-based curries, although curries from across Southeast Asia may feature coconut. Restaurants which serve food from this region of the world often have coconut curry on the menu, as do establishments which offer fusion cuisine, and coconut curry can also be made at home.

Curries are a large family of dishes which are distinguished by being classically spicy, and having a dense, gravy-like sauce. The word “curry” is derived from kari, an Indian word referring to a specific type of curry, but English speakers have long lumped a variety of dishes under the label of “curry,” from spicy Thai red curries to creamy Indian dishes. Coconut milk as a base is a common ingredient in some regions, with people in other areas using milk or yogurt in their curries, or preferring a pure vegetable or animal stock as a base for the sauce.


The process of making coconut curry involves blending the curry spices, simmering them in coconut milk and broth, and adding the ingredients of the curry. In some cases, the ingredients may be fried or roasted before being simmered in the curry sauce, while in other instances, the ingredients are cooked in the sauce itself, becoming infused with flavor in the process. Coconut curry is often served over rice or with a flat bread to sop up the liquid.

For cooks who want to make curry at home, curry spices can be blended by hand, but it is also possible to purchase ready-made curry mixes, such as red, green, and yellow curry from Thailand. When using a curry mix, cooks should start by adding small amounts of spices and tasting periodically, monitoring the flavor until the appropriate level of spiciness is reached. Refrigerating or freezing leftover curry spices is recommended, to help them keep their flavor.

Some things which can be prepared in coconut curry include: chicken, pork, fish, beef, tofu, tempeh, and duck, along with vegetables like carrots, eggplant, mushrooms, potatoes, peas, and broccoli. Coconut curry is a highly flexible dish, and cooks can adjust the ingredients and level of spicing to meet their taste. For an added coconut flavor, some cooks like to sprinkle toasted coconut onto the dish before serving it.


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Post 2

Coconut curry is the best of both worlds. I love coconut and I love curry, and mixing the two turns into heaven on a plate!

I need to find a really good recipe for coconut curry. I've seen some online, but I'm not sure if they're *good* recipes. I don't want to spend the money on the ingredients for a curry and then use a recipe that isn't a good one. I guess I'll have to look for recipes with reviews so I can pick one that has worked for people consistently.

The very thought of coconut curry just makes my mouth water. It is a diabolically delicious dish!

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