Color is a critical indicator for how we approach food.
Color Psychology in Food
- Green typically signals vitamins and nutrients, a healthy choice, and possibly grassy flavors.
- Red often tells us what we’re about to eat is sweet, or ripe and rich in umami.
- White, perceived as the absence of color, suggests a lack of taste altogether.
Bland, boring, devoid of notable nutritional value, white fails to elicit the same sort of instant hunger that a bold, brilliantly colored dish can.
Such a shame for what is actually a reflection of every color in the spectrum. White is the ultimate shapeshifter, concealing a world of different spices. That’s why curry, found in every brilliant hue under the sun, is a particularly dangerous dish to cloak in bright white.
Consider this recipe your newest painful pleasure. Introducing, curry of another color.
What Is White Curry?
Creamy coconut milk is a common base for curry, smoothing out the harsh edges of hot spices with a rich and cooling finish. Most are tinted with yellow turmeric, and/or red or green chilies, but there’s more than one way to add a fiery bite to your food. My unconventional white curry uses pale Hungarian wax peppers to bring the heat, along with tiny but mighty bird’s eye chilies, small enough to disappear into the stew without any visual impact. From there, only white vegetables and plant protein join the party. White button mushrooms add umami richness and Asian pears contribute a subtle sweetness that’s essential to the nuanced, balanced flavor profile, but there’s plenty of room for adaptation.
Ideas For Additions
Make this recipe your own and try all sorts of different vegetables instead! Think there aren’t enough white produce picks to keep things exciting? Think again. Consider the following:
- Lotus root
- White corn
- Navy or cannelini beans
- White asparagus
- Hearts of palm
Don’t count the “lack” of color on this dish as a red flag. The amount of heat concealed in that creamy sauce could set off alarm bells for the unprepared. Don’t forget to serve with plenty of white rice to soak it all in!