What Is the Difference between Chinese Curry and Indian Curry?

August 29, 2022

If you are a fan of Asian dishes, this is one article that you should not miss as I’m planning here to discuss the differences between Chines curry vs Indian curry. This piece is more towards discussing curries of two countries and what you should select if a situation arises to choose one. Let’s take a minute and see how does Chinese curry differ from Indian and vice versa.

What is Curry?

Is curry Chinese or Indian? Well, experts in the industry say that the place of origin is the Indian subcontinent. In the simplest forms, a curry is pretty much the gravy of a dish seasoned with spices.

In Indian cuisines, in particular, people call “curry” for almost all dishes that have gravy, and this is kind of complicated to westerners. I bet you have come across recipes such as chicken curry, dhal curry, or fish curry if you have some sort of knowledge about subcontinent food. 

So, what’s the difference between Indian and Chinese curry? Let’s move forward and discuss.

What Is Indian Curry?

The definition of Indian curry is more or less the same that I explained in the previous section of the article. It is a gravy or sauce that is combined with meat or vegetables. In India, the curries are often served with rice.

These curries include different sorts of spices, and Indian curries have a reputation for being much spicier than Chinese and other parts of the world. 

In addition, there is a bucketful of variants of curries in India, and the ingredients are different from one to another and from one part of the country to another. 

Why Should You Try Indian Curry?

I can understand that this question might sound stupid if you already love spicy Indian dishes, but it is my duty to elaborate on it, given there are newbies reading this article. I have listed a few points I find interesting in Indian curries.

  • There are various different curries available that are ideal for those who want to diversify their eating patterns.
  • There are tons of spices in Indian curries, and most of these spices contain loads of beneficial nutrients.
  • Indian curries are unbelievably appealing, especially if you love spicy dishes.
  • There are amazing non-vegan curry options, and the human body needs a variety of food to keep you fit and healthy.
chinese curry powder vs indian curry powder

What are The Main Indian Food Spices?

When it comes to subcontinent food, you will be amazed to see the number of spices they are using to prepare dishes. Actually, there are over 40 Indian spices, and most curries include a number of them to produce the gravy that we are talking of. These are the most popular out of the lot.

  • Turmeric
  • Cumin
  • Coriander
  • Cardamom
  • Garam Masala
  • Pepper
  • Cilantro
  • Ginger
  • Garlic
  • Fenugreek
  • Cinnamon
  • Fennel
  • Star Anise
  • Nutmeg
  • Cloves
  • Mustard seeds
  • Red Chili
  • Curry leaves
  • Pandan leaves

All in all, if you ask me what does Indian curry tastes like? I would say Indian curries are spicy and flavorful. 

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What Is Chinese Curry?

To be fair, curry is not that popular in Chinese compared to India, and if you inquire about curry in China, most probably you won’t be getting a proper answer to it. Anyway, Chinese curry is less spicy than Indian curry, and it is more watery as well. Chinese people do use spices in their curries, but far less than the Indians, and I would say Chinese curry is much creamier.

Moreover, the Chinese use sauces such as soya sauce to make the gravy with the combination of a couple of spices such as star anise, coriander and pepper. I will bring you a comprehensive comparison of the difference between Chinese curry and Indian curry later in the article. Until then, keep in mind that spices are the main factor that divides the two curries. 

Why Should You Try Chinese Curry?

Similar to Indian curries, Chinese curries also do have valid reasons for you to have a crack at them. Here are a few for your observation. 

  • Chinese curry is easy to cook as it requires a few amounts of ingredients, and if you can be more creative, you can come up with your very own Chinese curry without much fuss.
  • Given the size of the country, there are a considerable amount of variations to the curry. The taste is often lighter and fresher. 
  • The usage of sauces is immense. Although I’m not a big fan of excessive usage of sauces, I know most people like them to be present in dishes.

What Are The Main Chinese Food Spices?

As I said earlier, in comparison, the Chinese use fewer spices in their dishes as they put more emphasis on sauces. However, it doesn’t mean that they hate spices. Most commonly use these different spices to improve the taste of their foods and keep Chinese foods for longer period. If you intend to try a Chinese dish at the comfort of your home, it would be best if you stick with the below-mentioned spices to relish the true Chinese taste.

  • Cinnamon
  • Pepper (white pepper in most dishes)
  • Star Anise
  • Cloves
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Fennel
  • Dried Chili
  • Bay leaf
  • Cumin
what's the difference between indian and chinese curry

Types of Indian Curries and Chinese Curries

Curries, curries and curries. You read this all over the article, but what are these curries? Let’s figure it out.

Types of Indian Curries

You know, the Indian subcontinent and India itself is a massive place. So, there are many delicious curries out there for you to try. Here are my favorite ones, as well as most out there, just like me.

Types of Chinese Curries

Here are some of the popular Chinese curries.

Chinese Curry vs. Indian Curry – Major Differences

By now, you should have a rough idea of the difference between Chinese curry Indian curry. Let me walk you through some differences of main aspects with regards to curries. 


Chinese curries get the flavors mainly from ginger and lemongrass. Also, they rely heavily on the intensity of fire to extract the aroma. In contrast, Indian curries are based on a significant amount of spices, and there are layered tastes in most curries. 


Sauces are what blend the taste to Chinese dishes along with rice wine and sugar. When it comes to Indian curries, they prefer spices and different kinds of oils. 


Both Indians and Chinese do use the meat for their curries. As we all know, Chinese meat ingredients can be kind of unorthodox, but Indians like to stick with conventional meat types. 


In terms of serving Chinese people like to keep it simple and straightforward. As an example, you can enjoy a vegetable curry with rice without requiring anything. Most of the time, you will have to deal with only one curry and change the amount of sauce to manipulate the heat and saltiness.

However, Indians are contrastingly different in that aspect. You would see them eating several other curries along with rice. As an example, there would be chicken curry, dhal curry and vegetable curry, at least in a traditional Indian dish. 


As far as I see, Chinese curries are easier to prepare compared to Indian curries simply because of fewer ingredients. When there is a fewer number of ingredients, you don’t have to be an expert to come up with a good-tasting curry; at least, that is how I see things. 

However, it is very easy to under or overpowers an Indian curry if you don’t have adequate knowledge on the subject. The timing of the ingredients has to be very precise in order to generate authentic Indian taste.

chinese curry vs indian curry - Major Differences


Is Curry Powder Chinese or Indian?

There is a distinctive difference between Chinese curry powder vs Indian curry powder. Anyway, when you take “curry powder” into consideration, it has to accept that it is from the Indian subcontinent, not from China.

That doesn’t say that the Chinese don’t use curry powder. Of course, they do, but not the ones that Indians are using for their curries. 

Is Chicken Curry Chinese or Indian?

As I explained, the word “curry” originates from the Indian subcontinent, which itself provides the answer to this question. Chicken dishes have been there around the world for ages, but “chicken curry” is more or less belongs to India and subcontinent countries.

However, make no mistake, there are some mouthwatering Chinese chicken curries, but Indian chicken curries stand out for me. 


We have reached the end of this article, and I’m pretty much confident that now you know the difference between Chines curry vs Indian curry. So, tell me, if one asks you, “is curry Indian or Chinese” what would be your answer. If you have read the article from the beginning up to this point, you should be able to provide a thorough explanation. As always, if you have anything to ask from me with regards to the topics I have discussed, I’m here to help you 24*7. Have a great day!

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