A guide to curries
A turkey curry is a great meal at any time of year. We've talked before about how the ability to make a good curry is a skill everyone should have in the kitchen, but the word “curry” covers such a wide range of different dishes, to the point where it’s hard to pin down exactly what a curry is. You might think of it as Indian food, but curries also have roots in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. You might think a curry has to be hot, but there are plenty of really mild, healthy recipes and often you’ll find Chinese cooking is actually hotter. You might imagine a curry as chunks of meat and vegetables floating in a sauce that needs to be wiped up with naan bread, but in actual fact there are plenty of dry recipes as well.

So to help you out, here’s a list of the basic types of curry, going from mildest to strongest. We’ve even linked to a few of our own curry recipes.
Turkey tikka masala
Mild curries
Korma is a classic dish for the beginner, whether you’re new to eating or cooking curries. Using coconut and almond, this is a very mild curry, although as you learn to love spicier food you may find this dish is a little too sweet. Try our turkey korma recipe and see what you think.

Tikka Masala
For many British people the tikka masala is the default choice of curry. It's a mild, buttery sauce that isn't sweet like the Korma. A nice all-rounder that isn't too challenging to the palate. We've got a great turkey tikka masala recipe right here.

A very fruity, mild curry that tops up the meat with fruit such as pineapples, bananas, raisins and lychees, this is an extremely sweet curry that isn't for everyone. The end result is rather like a hot version of coronation chicken.
Medium curries
Dopiaza is literally translated as “double onion”. The sauce will have plenty of onions cooked into it, and then to serve, raw onions should be sprinkled over the top. This dish has a really distinct flavour that makes for a great meal, but maybe isn't the best option if you've got romantic plans for the evening!

To make a good balti you want the ingredients cut into large chunks and served in a sauce thicker than your usual curry. Usually a balti won’t be served with rice but with naan bread, which doubles up as a tool for eating it.
Hot curries
Now we’re getting to the real challenges. Jalfrezi uses large quantities of capsicum peppers, resulting in a colourful dish that’s great to look at. As for the taste, depending on how much green chilli you used it can be anything from a lively medium to burning the roof of your mouth off.

Madras is one of the hotter curry dishes, but done well it should also be flavoursome – this isn't a standard curry loaded up with chilli powder to look macho. Using a combination of spices such as tamarind, ginger, chilli, paprika and turmeric, among many others, done well this dish has a complex and challenging flavour.

Very hot curries
One of the legendarily hot curries, vindaloo must contain potatoes (the “aloo” bit of the name) to be the genuine article. The potatoes do help take some of the edge of this dish, but it’s still blisteringly hot. Have lots of rIce, raita and a cold drink to hand.

Phaal is about as hot as it gets. You shouldn’t try this unless you’re an extremely experienced eater of curries, and even then probably only on a dare!
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A guide to curries