Durban curry refers to a style of curry that originated in the city of Durban, South Africa, and has become synonymous with the region's Indian community. There are a few key characteristics that set Durban curry apart from other types of curries:
Heat and Spices: Durban curries are known for their bold flavors and no heat (NOT SPICY). They often incorporate a wide range of spices, including, cumin, coriander, turmeric, cardamom, and fenugreek. Red chili powder or fresh green chilies can be added to add to the spiciness of the curry.
Influences from South Indian Cuisine: Durban curry draws inspiration from the culinary traditions of South India, particularly the region of Tamil Nadu. This influence is evident in the prominent use of spices and the inclusion of ingredients such as mustard seeds, curry leaves, and tamarind.
Fragrant Aromatics: Aromatic ingredients like onions, garlic, ginger, and fresh herbs play an important role in Durban curries. These ingredients are often sautéed at the beginning of the cooking process to develop complex flavors and enhance the overall aroma of the curry.
Tomato-Based Gravy: Unlike some other curries that rely on a creamy or coconut milk-based sauce, Durban curries typically feature a rich tomato-based gravy. Tomatoes are cooked down with the spices to create a tangy and robust sauce that coats the ingredients.
Versatile Protein Choices: Durban curries are often made with various protein options, including chicken, lamb, beef, kebabs, meatballs, or seafood. Vegetarian versions with vegetables, lentils, or legumes are also popular. Each protein choice adds its own unique flavor profile to the dish.
Accompaniments: Durban curry is often served with traditional accompaniments such as rice, chutney and sambals. Sambals are condiments made with chopped carrots, onions, tomatoes, chili peppers, and lemon juice, which add a fresh and tangy element to the meal.
Unlike traditional recipes in India, a Durban curry does not include cream, milk, yoghurt or nuts. In Durban very little oil is used, with a lot of cumin and coriander and the vibrant colour comes from a lot of tomatoes.
Durban curry reflects the multicultural heritage of South Africa, combining Indian flavors and cooking techniques with local ingredients and influences. It has gained popularity for its robust flavors, spiciness, and aromatic appeal.