Chocolate And Curry Is The Unexpected Flavor Pairing You Should Know

In the culinary world, there are flavor combinations that never cease to amaze us: Pineapples on pizza, pickles and peanut butter, maple syrup on bacon — the list goes on and on. For some cultures, unexpected pairings are an everyday norm; for example, Mexican drinking chocolate breathes a fiery twist on the traditional European version by incorporating spicy notes of cinnamon and chili. Or, take mole, a chocolatey chili sauce. Similar to the way Mexico adds chili or cayenne into hot chocolate, many Japanese and British enjoy putting chocolate in their curry.

Surprisingly, this combination makes sense. Cooking and baking is all about balancing polarizing flavors, while at the same time harmonizing congruent notes. When we break down the profiles of chocolate and curry, we can see that there's a balanced blend of sweet, spicy, and bitter, and together, those make a very rich, complex, albeit unique take on two classic stand-alone flavors. Ultimately, the creaminess of the chocolate can highlight the richness of the curry, while the chocolatey sweetness can tone down any pungency curry might bring to a dish.

How to make chocolate and curry work together

For starters, it's important to ensure that you are using the right type of chocolate to make this unique combination work. Most Japanese dishes that incorporate chocolate and curry together use unsweetened dark chocolate because it's both bittersweet and creamy at the same time. Cocoa powder works, too, since there is no added sweetness that might overwhelm a dish. We advise staying away from milk chocolate when it comes to combining it with curry, as milk chocolate is milder, less earthy, and far more sugary sweet, which basically defeats the purpose of what we're trying to achieve with this duo.

Typically, curry and chocolate are seen together in curry stews, where they merge to create a decadent sauce, but sometimes, you'll see curry powder being used in hot chocolate and desserts like cupcakes as well. It's also important to note that all curries are not built the same — there are more than 25 different types of curry dishes all over the globe. While adding chocolate to them is neither traditional nor common, this is definitely a flavor pairing worth playing around with and trying.