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What Is Irish Curry Sauce?

Have you seen Irish Curry sauce on a chip shop menu? Been introduced, offered, or recommended it? Well, you likely want to know exactly what it is. Here is all you will want to know.

So, what is Irish curry sauce? Irish curry sauce is a sweet curry sauce with a hint of spice; it is typically served over chips and is available in chip shops across much of Ireland. It is typically made by adding water to a powder, that consists of a range of different spices.

The story goes that this particular sauce dates back to the 1980s, where it was developed in Drogheda using a blend of spices sourced from around the world.

And while I am not here to verify its history, I would like to discuss what you can expect from it should you order it.

So, let us look at how it differs from traditional curry sauce and then turn to what it is typically made of and tastes like!

What’s The Difference Between Curry Sauce And Irish Curry Sauce?

Irish curry sauce is very different from a regular Indian Curry sauce; it has fewer vegetables, is typically less spicy, and is much sweeter. It is equally different from English chip shop curry sauce, too; being sweeter and spicier than this other version. English curry sauce tends to be fruitier.  

Not only in taste, but there is an observable difference in color and texture, too.

Irish curry sauce tends to have a fragrant orange-golden-brown color, whereas Indian curry sauce is darker brown, and British curry sauce a green-brown color.

What Is Irish Curry Sauce Made Of?

Irish curry sauce is often made from a powder, or blend of exotic spices. You generally just add water. Although this blend may differ depending on the brand/recipe that is followed.

Nevertheless, McDonnells appears to be the most popular Irish Curry sauce brand and many Chip shops are likely to use this particular sauce or a similar equivalent.

You can actually purchase a tub on Amazon.

And as it’s such a popular and widely used brand, we can look at the ingredient list to get an idea of what Irish Curry sauce is typically made of.

Here are the full ingredients, for reference:

Wheat Flour (Wheat Flour, Calcium Carbonate, Iron, Nicotinamide and Vitamin B1), Sugar, Non-Hydrogenated Palm Fat, Curry Powder (11%) (Cumin, Turmeric, Coriander, Fenugreek, Clove, Garlic, Chilli, Black Pepper, Mustard Seed, Ginger, Cassia, Salt), Tomato Powder, Salt, Flavorings (contains Celery), Maltodextrin, Flavor Enhancers (Monosodium Glutamate, Sodium 5′ – Ribonucleotides), Acid (Citric Acid)

So the spices that give this sauce its curry flavor are Cumin, Turmeric, Coriander, Fenugreek, Clove, Garlic, Chilli, Black Pepper, Mustard Seed, Ginger, Cassia.

Along with some “flavor enhancers” too!

From an allergen perspective:

  • Contains Celery
  • May Contain Milk
  • Contains Mustard
  • Contains Wheat

So it’s generally not a vegan-friendly option, although it is suitable for vegetarians.

What Does Irish Curry Sauce Taste Like?

Irish curry sauce is often sweet with a hint of spice. It’s not hot, but it does have a subtle kick. It is very flavorful and a little goes a long way.

As such it’s a very versatile sauce.

While it has been unanimously served and associated with chips, it is also great to eat with rice, noodles, pasta, casseroles, as a dipping sauce, or of course, even as the main sauce for…curry.