Thai Curry - versus - Non Thai Curries
When I was a kid growing up in the UK in the 50's I hated even the smell of curry only getting a taste for it later in adulthood.
After trying Indian curries and loving them all especially the more spicy (hot) ones. However, eventually I found myself in Thailand and for the first time experienced real flavour instead of mostly heat and a blandish monotone flavour.
Thai curry has the unique characteristic of being able to balance spicy and delicate flavours in such a way as one, does not over power the other.
Thai curry uses a whole different range of spices to generate these contrasts which somehow means you get to enjoy the sensation of all the flavours of all the ingredients providing it's prepared and cooked properly.
Thai curry, for me is much more varied than other nationalities, not just in the spices used but also the basic ingredients of meat, poultry or seafood and of course vegetables and once again has to be prepared properly to fully experience what I'm talking about.
Now there are plenty of folks enjoying Thai curry they have made themselves and one day they will hit upon the "balance of flavours" effect I'm talking about and when they do the first time, it's one of those OMG moments. Wow!! After that moment everything else is just a huge disappointment. Don't want to sound religious but the word "epiphany" springs to mind!
Authentic Thai curry is a truly exquisite dish and need not (for the faint hearted) be avoided, it's possible to make a spicy and a mild curry in the same pan at the same time and please everyone. A simple trick not many chefs know about, but a master stroke for anyone serving a mixed bag of diners.
Now you may have noticed, I haven't even mentioned red curry, green curry and yellow curry, all of which have their own distinctive flavour and aroma. There are watery or oily curries, milky and creamy curries, the latter two usually using coconut milk, but not always.
So when you take into account all those different colours, textures, flavours, aromas, spices, meats and vegetables etc it's no wonder folks end up with a less then perfect balance.
So to sum up, getting the right ingredients ready at the right time, preparing them in the right way and adding them at the right time will give you the results you're looking for. Any thing else just won't be the same, I promise you.
Now I don't want to make it sound difficult, it isn't, but like everything else in life, it's only easy after you have been shown how and "understand why" we do things the way we do with our authentic Thai recipes. Then you can apply those lessons to all versions of Thai curry and have the feast of your life.