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The Nanyang or Southeast Asian nations take pride in the use of spices such as chili, cinnamon, coconut milk, curry, fennel and lemongrass.

Feature of the Season: Curry

Curry is a variety of spiced dishes featured prominently in the Indian and Southeast Asian cuisines. Three spices found in most curry powders are turmeric, coriander, and cumin. In the recent decades, curry's popularity has spread to the international cuisine. Consequently, each culture has adopted spices in its indigenous cooking by adapting to its very own unique tastes and cultural sensibilities.

The most common Chinese variety of curry sauce is usually available in the powder form which appear to have descended from Singaporean and Malaysian variety. As for soup-base curry dishes, Chinese curry is often watery unlike other Asian curries, which usually have a thicker consistency.

Curry of Indonesia

Highly localised Indonesian gulai and kari reflect the meat available such as chicken, beef, water buffalo and goat. The curry is made with local ingredients such as chili peppers, kaffir lime leaves, lemon grass, Galangal, Indonesian bay leaves, candlenuts, turmeric, asam gelugur, asam kandis, shrimp paste, cumin, coriander seed and coconut milk. Rendang is a popular West Sumatran cuisine that involves a process of slow cooking in thick coconut milk for a number of hours to tenderise and flavour the meat, often water buffalo.

Curry of Malaysia

A distinctive legacy by being at the crossroads of ancient trade routes has left a mark on the Malaysian cuisine. Curry has been heavily embedded in the cooking pattern of Malaysia that all sorts of things are curried in Malaysia including mutton, chicken, shrimp, cuttlefish, fish, aubergines, eggs, and vegetables. Malaysian curries typically use curry powders rich in turmeric, coconut milk, shallots, ginger, belacan (shrimp paste), chilis, garlic and tamarind. Rendang is also a popular form of curry consumed in Malaysia and it is generally drier and contains mostly meat and more coconut milk than a conventional Malaysian curry.

Curry of Thailand

Due to the use of fresh herbs, spices, and other fresh ingredients, Thai curries tend to be more aromatic than Indian curries. Thai curries are sometimes described by color; red curries use red chilies while green curries use green chillies. In Thai cuisine, local ingredients such as chili peppers, kaffir lime leaves, lemon grass and galangal are used in their dishes. Coconut milk is used in the Central and Southern Thai cuisine unlike the Northern and Northeastern Thai curries which generally do not contain coconut milk. Curry of Vietnam

Vietnamese curry is considered a Southern food known as càri. The curry is usually eaten with a baguette, steamed rice or rice vermicelli. More soup-like than Indian curry, Vietnamese curry features coconut milk, potato, sweet potato, taro roots and green onion.

Health Benefits of Curry

Studies have shown that ingredients in curry could prevent certain diseases such as colon cancer and Alzheimer's disease. Some even claim from a number of studies that the reaction of pain receptors to the hotter ingredients in curries release endorphins in the body, in other words, aphrodisiac element is produced from curry.