The word curry comes from the Tamil word kari. Most of the great curries of the world originate from south-east Asian countries. The art of curry making has spread throughout the world and in South Africa we are indeed fortunate that we have the hot KwaZulu-Natal curries brought to our shores by the Indians and the very different mild Cape curries made so popular by the Cape Malay population.
Some KwaZulu-Natal curries can bring tears to your eyes, but along with the heat there's also plenty of flavour. They are an unique combination of mixed spices, fresh ginger, garlic, coriander, and curry leaves. And then we can't forget the famous "bunny chow", started in KwaZulu-Natal but now eaten everywhere in South Africa.
Cape Malay curry is a curiously tasty mild mixture of sweet and savoury - achieved by adding dried fruit like peaches, apricots and raisins plus cream or yoghurt to mild spices.
Curries in South Africa are mostly served with rice and various sambals.
Curries are flexible - you can adjust the quantities of the spices to suit your palate.
Keep cooked curry in the fridge for up to 3 days - it improves with age.
Blend your own curry powder or curry paste, this way you make only what you need and don't have to rely on bland and tasteless commercial varieties.
For a sweet and spicy curry, mix your favourite curry powder with heated smooth apricot jam or add 45ml brown sugar to 60 ml tomato paste and mix into your curry about 20 minutes before the end of the cooking time.
Tamarind is frequently used in curries for its souring effect, if tamarind is not available, use buttermilk mixed with a little vinegar.