As background, I had recently read that typically curry dishes from Kerala always start with frying onions and curry leaves. I was hoping to find more information on this, imagining in my head some kind of 'meta-recipe' or 'recipe-factory' for curries:

  1. fry onions and curry leaves for a while
  2. throw in any root veggies (I'm improving from here out because I don't really know)
  3. then leaf veggies
  4. cover the pot
  5. add kalonji seeds at the end?

(As I said, I don't know what that looks like, or even how many key points there should be, I only know about the first one, and I wanted to ask a Q on the site). I don't want a specific recipe, I want to know the key parts that are shared by basically all such recipes, which is kind of like capturing a cuisine, say, or some large subset of a cuisine. For me, the more general, the better, so I don't get caught up in the specifics and can really focus on why certain things get added in a certain order, and what really defines the meta-recipe. This would also allow me to create 'mashups' (don't ask) of different cuisines, say.

So, will I get downvoted to oblivion and closed, or should I ask my question about meta-curry?

3 Answers 3


Probably the best question you can ask is along the lines of "Why do most curry recipes seem to recommend this specific order of activities?" (and, obviously, describe the order).

A question such as the above demands some expertise on the subject, and can't be answered well by "here's how I like to do it" (which is what we're trying to avoid). I'd suggest looking at a few recipes, even linking to them, and asking about any patterns you can readily identify.

That being said, I don't think your question as currently defined is going to get stomped on; as long as some effort goes into the question and it's not something as basic as "how do I make a curry?" then it should be fine. You can probably avoid any mention of the word "recipe" by simply focusing on the cooking methods and what's happening to the ingredients.

Erik's proposed wording would definitely be accepted, though I prefer to see questions that are a little more focused as explained above. N.B. That's a personal preference, not a site policy.

  • +1 agreed - that's more focused than what I proposed.
    – Erik P.
    Commented Feb 24, 2011 at 1:01

In my personal opinion this is probably on-topic. It's likely to get the best answers if you can be very specific about what exactly the question is that you'd like to get answered. So something like: "What are the defining characteristics of Kerala curries?" might work reasonably well, but focusing on a particular detail might work even better.


I like the idea of meta-recipes. It's a way to summarize the essential elements of a dish.

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