The world of curry is far and vast and seemingly neverending. It can be overwhelming trying to find one basic curry recipe since one search on Pinterest will result in 8,000 (okay, maybe that's an exaggeration) different recipes, all with different ingredients, flavors, spices, and origins. The first basic of curry is this: There's Thai curry, and there's Indian curry. Both are very different with some similarities but for now, Thai curry is what this article will focus on because it's one of the most well-known. There are three different types of main Thai curries and once they're broken down, the world of curry can start sounding a little bit like, 'lions, tigers, and bears, oh my!' But don't worry... This guide will answer every question and help curry-lovers to have a complete understanding of one of the greatest dishes ever created.


Three Types Of Thai Curry

The three types of curry are pretty simple to remember because they're grouped based on color: Red curry, green curry, and yellow curry. Each of these colors directly corresponds to the spices that are used to give the broth its rich flavor as well as its hue, which makes it even easier to remember which is which.

Red curry has a base of chili powder and red curry paste which, as you can imagine, gives it quite a kick.

Green curry has a base that's a little more herby with cilantro, lime leaf, kaffir, and basil, which helps to temper any spice with hints of sweet and tang.

Yellow curry gets its color from turmeric, which has a list of health benefits (more about that later) as well as lending a strong, vibrant yellow-orange color to the curry broth. Of all of these, green curry is the most popular in Thailand.

What Spices Are Involved In Curry?

Curry is unique in that every bowl is different. The color of the curry depends on the spices used and curry can vary significantly from recipe to recipe. There's no 'one size fits all' when it comes to curry and its spices can vary greatly, as well. However, there are some spices that are staples in every curry recipe, even if they vary in the amount they're used: Coriander, cumin, and turmeric. Many curries also make use of spices such as mustard, peppercorns, clove, ginger, bay leaf, cardamom, and fenugreek.

Related: All The Vietnamese Foods You Probably Missed On The Menu, But Will Fall In Love With

So, what's in a typical curry powder blend? Usually, the blend will be mostly the first three spices - cumin, coriander, and turmeric, followed by smaller amounts of bay leaf, cinnamon, and clove. All of these ingredients together is what creates the warm, intense heat that can be smelled when the powder is being toasted or cooked with meat and vegetables. The level of spice depends on if chili peppers are added but for non-spicy blends, ginger and/or peppercorns might be used instead. No matter what brand of curry powder is used, curry will always have a brighter and bolder flavor if curry powder is made from scratch with a spice blender or mortar and pestle.

Are There Any Health Benefits?

Surprisingly, curry does have significant health benefits. This actually makes sense considering how many spices are used and it's strongly believed in holistic medicine that spices can be the key to fighting off certain ailments. For starters, turmeric is the spice with the most benefits and is commonly used to fight inflammation due to its antioxidents. It's also believed that turmeric has cancer-fighting properties, due to the amounts of curcumin that's in the spice. That's not all this yellow spice is believed to do, though - fighting Alzheimer's disease and aiding in overall bone health are just some more beneficial properties that tumeric is believed to have. With that being said, it's easy to see why it's become such a popular ingredient in teas, milks, and other foods.

Related: Ecuadorian Food Is One Of The Most Diverse And These Dishes Are Worth Finding

The blend of curry powder as a whole is believed to help with digestion, as black pepper, coriander, turmeric, cumin, bay leaves, and cinnamon are all helpful partners in calming the stomach. This might sound strange considering how spicy curry can often be, but the spices help to counteractive any negative digestive side effects afterwards. Cardamom and basil are also important in the fight for good health, as they're both vasodilators, which can help to lower blood pressure. Lastly, coriander is a great spice all on its own for holistic health - studies have shown that it has antibacterial qualities which help to protect the body from harmful bacteria. So, all in all, curry is far more healthy than many people realize.

Next: Vegan? Want To Try Indian Food? Here Are Your Choices