Whether you love Indian curries but can’t handle the heat, or you’re a renegade looking for any way to up the spice, you’ll find mild curry types, as well as medium and hot curries across the spectrum – ranging in heat and flavour – with our ultimate curries list.
This Indian curries list contains a range of types of Indian curries, complete with starter, side and drink suggestions to make the most out of your meal. Check out our in-depth rundown below, where the Indian curries are ranked from mild curry types to a few Indian curries that pack some real heat. This curry heat scale will make your spice (or mild) dreams come true!
Mild Indian Curries List
Mild curries are regularly made with a blend of yoghurt, coconut, and fragrant herbs for a smooth taste with very little heat, but lots of flavour. Situated at the lowest end of the curry heat scale, these mild Indian dishes are delicious delights. Take your tastebuds on a trip to North India and Pakistan with these mild curry types.
Papadum. Though easily mistaken as a large crisp, Papadums are actually made from dough, making them a very thin, crispy flatbread. They are great with sauces and dips as a starter, but also pair well with dishes of a lower curry spice rating.
Originating in Northern India and Pakistan, the Korma is traditionally made up of yoghurt, coconut milk and almonds, making it one of the mildest curries available. The thick, creamy sauce has a sweet tang to it from the coconut and almonds, and is most commonly made with chicken and served with rice. Korma is a type of curry that gets some grief from hot curry fans, but it’s delicious taste certainly makes up for that!
Similar to a Korma but with a small touch of added spice, the Pasanda was originally made from lamb leg, but today often uses chicken or prawns. The mild curry flavour is attributed to the yoghurt marinade and coconut milk, often with the addition of peppercorns, garlic, cumin, and onions. Pasanda is a real favourite for fans of mild Indian dishes.
Medium Indian Curries List
Medium curries are often made with a fair amount of chilli, which is then neutralised by milder ingredients including yoghurt, cream, fruit or lemon juice. Though we’re moving away from mild curry types and up the curry heat scale, these Indian curries have a little kick but are still palatable for those who aren’t a fan of spice. Take your pick from the medium Indian curries list – is it going to be Punjab or Parsee?
Aloo Gobi. A fragrant and tasty side with your curry, Aloo Gobi is made up of cauliflower and potatoes in a curry sauce. Tasty and filling, it’s a very popular side for vegetarians. No matter the type of curry you’re enjoying this side is a winner.
Boneless chicken traditionally baked in a tandoor oven then coated in a creamy tomato sauce, the tikka masala combines the creaminess of milder curries with a hint of spice from hotter variants to form the perfect medium dish. Origin debates surrounding this queen of Indian curries continue to rage, with Punjab, Birmingham and Glasgow all in contention for the crown.
The Dhansak achieves its medium status with a combination of lentils, chilli, sugar and lemon to form a hot, sweet and sour dish that plays on all the senses. Originally a Parsee dish, it is commonly made with lamb and daal, while some curry houses may also substitute the sugar for pineapple. It’s not high on the curry heat scale, but those looking for a sweet kick will find it with a Dhansak.
Hot Indian Curries List
Hot curries often drop the milder ingredients and increase the chilli content for much hotter flavours – usually resulting in a thicker, richer, sauce. Some prefer their Indian curries spicy (read: tastebud scorching) but these options in the hot Indian curries list aren’t quite at that level, whilst still providing that expected heat. Which option in this curry dishes list makes your mouth water – British Raj inspired or the hot curry inspired by historical Chennai?
Perfect Vegetarian Alternative:
Daal. Equally filling and easily adapted for required spice, this lentil stew is a great alternative as a vegetarian main when coupled up with naan, rice or both!
The Jalfrezi is a straight-up, no-nonsense hot curry. Translating as “hot-fry”, it originally entailed frying up leftovers in fragrant herbs and spices in the time of the British Raj. Now, it is made by stir-frying green peppers, green chillies, coriander and onions to make a dense, hot sauce that lightly coats the meat. It sits up there in terms of curry spice rating, but still isn’t the hottest type of curry you can try!
One of the most common hot curries on the menu finds its way onto this Indian curries list. The Madras is made up of a rich tomato base, resulting in a tangy yet spicy sauce usually cooked with beef. Though the dish is said to have been influenced by flavours from the city formerly known as Madras (now Chennai) in Southern India, the name itself is firmly a restaurant invention. Who knew Indian curries had such rich backstories?
Hottest Indian Curries List
The hottest curries out there don’t happen by accident. They combine a mix of chillies and spices to really pack in the heat and are not for the faint hearted. If you came to this list of Indian curries ranked by heat looking for true spice, then these are your curries. One has a European influence and the other comes from the heart of the British midlands – but which of these Indian curries takes your fancy?
Perfect Accompanying Drink
Fruit Lassi. Blended yoghurt, water and fruit make for a thankfully refreshing beverage for hotter curries, in part due to the high fat content that forms a protective layer against spice. Mango or Passionfruit are among popular flavours. You might need a little help when tackling these hot curry options.
Originating from the Portuguese ‘vinha’ and ‘alho’ (wine and garlic), the original recipe for Vindaloo combined these two ingredients with pork and chilli when introduced to Goa by Europeans in the 16th century. But how hot is a Vindaloo? Since origin, it has been adapted and heated up significantly by Goan influence after the Portuguese introduced the chilli to India – often also replacing the pork with beef or lamb.
When it comes to the top of the list of hot curries, nothing sits above the Phall. Made with a mix of ginger, fennel seed and a combination of dried chillies, the British Asian dish actually originated in Indian restaurants in Birmingham – the city that’s well-known for its versatile curry offering.
Next time you're browsing a menu of curry dishes, you’ll be armed with all the knowledge you need to choose the perfect heat for you… not to mention having a little impressive historical trivia, too.
Are you inspired by our curry dishes list? Why not try your own by grabbing ingredients from your local convenience store today? And don’t forget to sign up to our E-newsletter for more foodie updates and inspiring recipes.
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