Which Curry is Sweet? My Top 5 Sweet Curry Suggestions

Menu Menu on the wall which curry is sweetest of them all? Sweet tasting curries can be absolutely amazing, but you will need to know what's what if you are going to pick the right one. Which curry is sweet? Well, today I'm going to show you 5 types of sweet curry that you should definitely try. I'm also going to talk you through how they are made and what's in them... 

Which Curry is Sweet?

Generally, the sweetest curries will be dishes such as Pathia, Dhansak and Pasanda. They are made with a raw Indian sugar called jaggery. In the case of Pasanda, it also features coconut and raisins. Both have a sweet element.  Other dishes may be sweet, but this can vary depending on the recipe.

Which is the best to order?

Well, it depends entirely on your tastes and preferences. Read about how these curries are made and what they contain before making you decide.

How is Curry Made to be Sweet?

There are a few ways that Indian takeaway chefs make curry sweeter. Some are authentic, and others are the ‘westernized’ way. Regardless of the method used, they are all really tasty. Here’s how they do it: -


Perhaps a little obvious, but adding sugar is a common way that authentic Indian chefs add sweetness to curry dishes. You’ll often find a large bag of white sugar tucked away for use in certain dishes.

However, they don’t always use refined sugar. You’ll find jaggery in most Indian kitchens.

What’s jaggary?

Jaggary is a form of unrefined sugar. You may also hear it called ‘palm’ sugar. It is made by collecting the sap from either sugar cane or palm trees. It looks very different to ‘regular’ sugar, a slightly chalky brown cake that is pretty solid. As it is cooked, it dissolves into a caramel-like substance.

Many sweet curries feature a lump or two of jaggary.

Mango Chutney

It isn’t all about adding refined sugar. In many curries, the chef will include a tablespoon or so of mango chutney.

Mango chutney is made from sweet and ripe mangoes cooked down into a sort of thick puree before being combined with melted sugar. Much in a similar way to jam or fruit preserve. The chutney is often combined with a few savoury elements, including cumin seeds, turmeric and other Indian spices.

Curries with mango chutney are delicious. Not only do you get all of the sweetness, but you’ll often find a hint of fruity mango too!

Oh, and it’s great with poppadoms!


Coconut, and in particular coconut cream and coconut flour, have a subtle sweetness. This is nowhere near as pronounced as either sugar or mango chutney.

You’ll find coconut features heavily in dishes such as korma and Pasanda. If the chef uses coconut cream, this can also add a real richness to your curry. You’ll find that curry dishes with coconut flour also have a thicker and more granular texture.


You won’t find raisins in too many curries, but they are occasionally featured in dishes like biryani.

You may think that raisins in curry are a little weird.

But, here’s the thing.

As raisins cook, they soak up a lot of the cooking liquid and swell up, making them super juicy. They tend not to break down easily either, meaning that you’ll get mostly savoury elements with the occasional pop of a sweet surprise.

Caramelized Onions

As I said at the start, it isn’t all about adding sugar. There are subtle ways to add sweetness to curry.

If you’ve read my article on base gravy, you’ll already know Indian food features onions. Lots of onions. Well, you are about to see some more.

As the onions cook, the cell walls rupture and release sugars. Due to something called the Maillard reaction, these sugars cook and burn slightly, making them turn slightly sweet.

If you’ve ever had fried onions on a hotdog, you’ll know this sweet taste already. The same principle is used in Indian curry to add a sweet element!

The sweet taste produced by caramelized onions is a little more discrete and is nowhere near as sweet as sugar.


Now and again, you might spot a few sweet curry recipes that contain fruit.

Which kinds?

A favourite tends to be pineapple. It cooks relatively quickly and holds its structure well. It’s hotly debated whether pineapple has a place in a curry. Some places say it is, while others say pineapple is pure sacrilege!

You’ll occasionally find sweet curry made with mango too!


You might be surprised to learn that some curries do contain nuts. These can have a massive impact on making a curry sweet.

In particular, almonds. When gently toasted and then ground, almonds take on a really sweet flavour, containing a little sugar. You’ll often see them in either powdered form or occasionally sliced and toasted before being served as a garnish on curry.


Finally, we have tomatoes. Plenty of dishes feature tomato as a base, and many will have a sweet element.

Some curries will feature fresh tomatoes, but generally, Indian chefs use tomato puree. This is watered down and added to a hot pan where it reduces until it turns thick again. It is this technique that adds sweetness.

What Types of Curry are Sweet | 5 Tasty Suggestions

Looking for a sweet curry? Here are the most common types of sweet curry that you’ll find on most menus.


  • Sweetness level: 4/5
  • Heat: 3/5
  • Best served with: King Prawns

Pathia isn’t just sweet. It’s also a little sour. It also happens to be one of the tastiest curries around.

Remember the flavour elements I discussed above?

Pathia is loaded with nearly all of them. A typical Pathia recipe normally contains: -

  • Sugar
  • Fried onions
  • Mango chutney
  • Tomato puree

It is a really sweet curry. But don’t worry about it being too rich or overwhelming. It is perfectly balanced with sour elements such as tamarind, lime or lemon juice and fresh coriander.

Partial to prawn Pathia? You need to read this…


  • Sweetness level: 4/5
  • Heat: 4/5
  • Best Served with: Chicken

People sometimes get Dhansak and Pathia mixed up. This is because they look a little similar and have a similar taste profile.

Just like a Pathia, Dhansak is both sweet and sour in equal measure. It does contain many of the same ingredients, but there are subtle differences.

Remember me talking about fruit above? This is where Dhansak gets its sweet (and slightly acidic) taste. It contains: -

There is another key difference with Dhansak. It tends to contain lentils, making it a lot thicker than Pathia.

The thing to watch out for with Dhansak is that it is a little hotter than Pathia too! Here’s how to cool down a hot curry.

Deciding on Dhansak? Check this out.


  • Sweetness level: 3/5
  • Heat: 1/5
  • Best Served with: Chicken

Korma isn’t famous for being overly sweet; however, compared to the truly savory curries such as Dopiaza or Madras, it is much sweeter.

If you’ve already read my article on korma sauce, you’ll know that it is rich, creamy and indulgent. It also happens to be one of the mildest curries around, so it is ideal if you don’t like spice.

Where does korma get its sweetness? It contains: -

  • Coconut flour
  • Sugar
  • Onions (in the base gravy)
  • Powdered nuts (such as almonds)
  • Cream or yoghurt

You might have noticed that it doesn’t contain any tomatoes. As a result, this dish is slightly richer and less acidic than either Pathia or Dhansak. Occasionally chefs will also include powdered almonds, which add an extra hint of sweetness.

You can find a great Korma recipe right here

Chicken Tikka Masala

  • Sweetness level: 3/5
  • Heat: 2/5
  • Best Served with: Chicken

Chicken Tikka Masala is probably the most famous curry in the world. This bright orange curry is mild and is packed full of tasty Indian flavours.

While I have included it on my list of the sweetest curries, it is worth asking or checking the recipe before eating. As it is such a popular dish, there are many variations. Some are sweeter than others. Here’s what it contains: -

  • Tomatoes
  • Onions
  • Cream
  • Sugar (sometimes)

The first three ingredients will make your curry taste sweet, but different places will have their own ideas on adding sugar. Adding sugar can help to reduce the acidity of the tomatoes.

You can read more about Chicken Tikka Masala here.


  • Sweetness level: 5/5
  • Heat: 1/5
  • Best Served with: Lamb or Chicken

Pasanda is one of the sweetest and mildest curries around. It tends to be a firm favourite with kids and those people who are really spice averse.

It gets its sweetness from various sources, some of which you’ll know. With one or two surprises, aside from tomatoes, it contains nearly every sweet element you could think of. Here’s what is used to make Pasanda sweet: -

  • Coconut flour
  • Coconut cream
  • Sugar
  • Raisins
  • Powdered almonds
  • Red wine…

Wait, what? Red wine?

You bet! When red wine cooks, it loses its acidity and takes on a rich, almost jammy quality. You’ll notice from the above that it also features a large amount of coconut. Coconut cream, in particular, is really sweet.

When this is combined with raisins and sugar, it is almost too much.

This is a great choice if you love sweet curry, but you’d better be sure as it is really sweet.

Which Indian Curry is Sweet? | Final Thoughts…

If you are looking for the sweetest curry around Pasanda is probably going to be your best option. For a more balanced dish, korma is a great choice. And, for the sweet and sour, opt for either a Pathia or a Dhansak, depending on how much spice you can handle. Sweet curry can be a real treat, and there’s plenty of choices!

About to order? Check out my guide to the 15 best Indian curries for other suggestions.

Enjoy Making Curry Yourself?

Hey folks, thanks for reading this article. I hope you found it useful, and that you learned something new allowing you to make your curry extra special. Here are a few things that can really elevate your curry game to the next level. 

These are affiliate links, so if you use them I receive a small commission, but this won't cost you any extra. In all honesty, I use very similar items myself, and wouldn't hesitate to recommend them to my friends.

A Complete Curry Kit: - Literally, everything you'll need to make curry all in one place. Cookware, storage, utensils, even the spices! This is my dedicated guide to getting you up and running all for the price of few takeaways.

Curry pans: - You need one, and one only. A frying pan exactly like this is really easy to use, and is exactly the type that authentic Indian chefs use to make the type of curry that you'll have in your local takeaway. You can see my full reviews of several pans right here...

Spice Storage: - Being organised is half the battle in making great curry. Spices can be notoriously hard to keep tidy. That's why I tend to use a spice rack like this. You can arrange your spices by size, heat, or any way you choose. I've got a detailed review of several Indian spice racks in this guide.

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