Quite possibly the most popular Indian dishes in an Indian restaurant are the curry dishes. These dishes use varying levels of curry to bring a little heat to the palate. Combined with saffron, lemongrass, coconut milk and a few other signature spices, these dishes are like no others anywhere in the world. If you take your date to an Indian restaurant and you really want to impress him/her, learn to identify curry and its various levels of "heat."
Orange curry is usually sour in flavor with very little heat. It has more of a tropical fruitiness to it than the hot pepper kick, even though hot peppers are still used to give it the mildest bit of heat. For anyone that is not used to spicy dishes or is afraid of the burn from the curry chiles, orange is the most timid one to try.
Yellow curry is up next. It has a slightly quicker burn than orange curry, and is perfect for anyone who has eaten spicy before and is not afraid to try a different kind of spicy. There is also more coconut milk used to sweeten these dishes, which provides a nice balance between hot and sweet.
Red curry cranks up the heat with the addition of more dried, ground red chiles. If you are already a connoisseur of spicy heat in your food, then this is probably the appropriate level of hot for you. Red curry is especially nice with beef, duck or pork, but if you are allowed the choice of which meats to use, you could try it with chicken or fish too. Milder fish or freshwater fish work well with red curry because the fish taste does not overwhelm the experience of the curry flavors.
If you cannot get your food "hot" enough, try green curry. This level of curry will clear your sinuses, make you cry (tears of joy), and have you reaching for your glass of water or beverage frequently. Using the ground powder of hot green chiles as the base for the green curry powder, the chef mixes this curry with just about any meat you want, since you are more apt to taste a little first and feel the burn on your tongue immediately after. It has an almost anesthetic quality, which is why green curry paste also makes a good oral anesthetic if you have tooth pain or mouth sores that prevent you from eating.
To experience any of the above culinary delights, visit Deccan Spice or your local Indian restaurant.