We're not trying curry favor or anything, but we feel compelled to share with you a few of Chow Bella's favorite curry dishes in the Valley. Some of our choices are Thai, others Indian. All are divine. Have some faves of your own? Do return the favor in the comments section and share.
1. Yellow Curry with Rice at Yupha's Thai Kitchen
Though the term "curry" is just a fancy way of saying meat or veggies cooked in sauce, there's nothing pedestrian about the yellow curry - aka menu item #404 - at Yupha's. Chunks of tender, sliced white chicken, thick crinkle-cut potato slices and onions provide the base for a sauce that's so tasty that we practically want to drink it straight out of the bowl (and we have, when our servers weren't looking). Made from coconut milk spiked with hints of coriander, cinnamon and anise, the mild version of the sauce is thick and creamy, with just a touch of heat that makes your tongue tingle while you're lapping it all up.
Lap up the rest after the jump.
2. Red Curry at Thai Basil
We also adore the red curry at Thai Basil. In fact, it's the standard against which we judge every other red curry in the Valley, and Thai Basil (which, thankfully for us, has locations all over town) doesn't mess around with their Thai hot. We like to stick to hot because the spice is perfectly balanced by the sweetness of the coconut milk, and the earthy red curry base. The thick curry sauce bathes a protein of choice and a ton of veggies, like zucchini, carrots, bamboo shoots, green peppers, broccoli, and green beans. And the Thai basil! The smell of that basil pulls the whole dish together.
3. Seafood Green Curry at Sa Bai Thai
Like your green curry with some ocean flair? At Sa Bai Thai, Central Phoenix, co-owner and chef Atchara, ("Holly") Willis creates her seafood green curry using memories of home cooking in her once-home of Chang Mai, Thailand, coupled with working in Thai establishments in the Valley. Featuring pink shrimp, scallops, calamari, small clams, green chili, sliced bamboo shoots, and sweet Thai basil in a pale, green curry, the taste is delicate and sweet, the seafood a scrumptious array of flavors and textures, with
each swallow finished by a tempered sensation of heat.
4. Chickpea Curry at Curry Corner
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At Curry Corner there's a chickpea dish that I completely drool over. Their chicken tikka masala is crazy amazing, but it's the Pindi Chana that I have to get every time I'm there. It's a heady chickpea curry spiced with the aromatics of garam masala, and it hits every pleasure spot in my brain upon first bite. It's saucy, spicy, earthy, and meaty--the perfect protein substitute for a vegetarian. The chickpeas are delicious wrapped in the stick-to-your-ribs potato naan, and the sauce is delicious atop a bed of perfectly cooked basmati rice.
5. Shrimp Curry at Royal Taj
Good shrimp curry is hard to find when you're in a desert as dry as the Valley, yet Royal Taj in Tempe manages to pull it off. The shrimp found in this yellow curry are large, plump, and juicy, unlike the pathetic, freeze dried bites you'll find in most other places.
The curry itself is a yellow blend that also comes packed with onions, bell peppers, and various spices. It contains the perfect level of heat and flavor, leaning toward on the salty side. Easily one of the best seafood curry options the Valley has to offer. Be sure to order with a side of tasty garlic naan.