Curry is prepared by adding spices and aromatics like ginger and garlic into hot oil. When added to hot oil these aromatics release their smell along with their flavors and essential oils.
The smell of the curry is derived from the aromatics, spices and herbs used in making it.
Aromatics like ginger, garlic and onion are used extensively for making the curry base or gravy. Both garlic and onion contain sulfur compounds which do not smell good and the smell tends to linger around from them.
Each spice used in the curry has its own flavor and odor profile that it adds to the dish. When these spices are added to the hot oil they release their fat soluble essential oils that lead to the pungent aroma.
Some Indian spices that have pungent smell and require some time to get used to are :-
Are used a lot in Indian cooking and they impart flavor and aroma to the dishes just like the spices do. Some of the commonly used herbs are :-
- Cilantro or Coriander
- Kasuri methi or Fenugreek leaves
- Curry Leaves
Each of these herbs has a strong aroma and flavor profile that they add to the dish.
While some of the curry ingredients might have a pungent smell to them, most of the ingredients smell different/new and take some time to get used to.
How do you get rid of the smell of curry after cooking?
The first step is to make sure that you cook in a well ventilated area. While cooking make sure the exhaust is on so that the smell and cooking vapors do not go from the kitchen to the rest of the house. Keep a bowl of vinegar on the kitchen counter when cooking to absorb all the smells.
Also, after cooking you can light a scented candle to get rid of any lingering smells.
If it is too late for all these remedies and the smell has already permeated the house, then you can try boiling a bowl of vinegar on the gas and also wiping the kitchen counters etc. with a equal part vinegar and water solution.