Japanese Curry may be my standard, and I love Thai curries, but when it comes to next level complexity and spiciness I gotta go with Vindaloo.
It’s got an interesting history in that there is disagreement on what constitutes “real” Vindaloo, with some purists taking the stance that super spicy Vindaloos evolved to mask flavor nuance with overpowering heat.
There’s also an issue of potatoes: the dish has its history in a Portugese dish called “carne de vinha d’alhos” which is roughly “garlic and wine meat” but phonetically similar to the Hindi word for potato, “aloo”. So while the dish didn’t originally have potatoes, it’s become more common to find it as an ingredient.
I enjoy Vindaloo regardless of these differences. Although heat can be a mechanism to dumb down a dish, it isn’t always the case, and I’m not gonna sweat it if I get some potato cubes going on.
What matters to me is the base ingredients, with the combination of cumin and garlic in particular reminding me in some ways of the Mexican food I grew up with, but also very different with the other ingredients around it.
It’s simultaneously familiar and foreign, and wonderfully complex and spicy. I just finished a bowl before I typed this out and I already want more.