Which ingredient in this curry is making my sweetheart smell like the curry?
October 2, 2011 8:19 PM   Subscribe

Which ingredient (or combination of ingredients) in this curry is making my sweetheart smell like the curry?

My sweetheart makes a particular curry with an interesting side-effect: for a couple of days afterwards, the smell of the curry emanates from pores all over her body.


Here are the ingredients: cardamom, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, fenugreek, garam masala, ginger, paprika, turmeric.
posted by paleyellowwithorange to Food & Drink (20 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Does she smell faintly like maple syrup? If yes, it's the fenugreek.
posted by thehmsbeagle at 8:23 PM on October 2, 2011

No, it's not a sweet smell, it's 'pungent'.
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 8:24 PM on October 2, 2011

I'd guess cumin with a side-order of turmeric based on no scientific evidence whatsoever.

Can you try making it without one or another ingredient to eliminate by process?
posted by kcm at 8:28 PM on October 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

Yeah, we're working on that. We were just wondering if anyone knew the answer already.
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 8:32 PM on October 2, 2011

I doubt it's a specific spice in the curry itself, but cooking the curry releases all kinds of stuff into the air. Lemme guess: you wash your hair every day, and she doesn't? It's not emanating from every pore, but if the odor is trapped in her hair, I bet it seems that way!
posted by two lights above the sea at 8:35 PM on October 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

That's an interesting idea. However, she washes her hair daily, so in that scenario it's unlikely that the smell would be lingering in her hair.

Also, I failed to mention earlier: only she can smell the curry on herself - no one else can.
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 8:39 PM on October 2, 2011

Weird question, but is she lactating?
posted by two lights above the sea at 8:41 PM on October 2, 2011

Great question, but no.
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 8:46 PM on October 2, 2011


I make a lot of curries without that particular side effect, however....

I was taking fenugreek supplements and had to stop because I stank from them!

posted by jbenben at 8:50 PM on October 2, 2011 [2 favorites]

Wow, interesting anecdotal evidence, thanks. I guess that'll be the first exclusion in the next cook-up.
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 8:53 PM on October 2, 2011

That's where I was going with the lactating question! I'd bet on that one, too. Check out the fenugreek wiki.
posted by two lights above the sea at 8:54 PM on October 2, 2011

I posted a popular question about Indian food a while back (search: She Who Controls The Spice Controls The Universe) and I am mad about Indian food now that I've got it organized.

I use fenugreek in its natural sorta granulated form, but the stuff that made me stink was powdered fenugreek in a capsule.

Is she using powdered fenugreek in her curries? Or maybe heaps and heaps of the granulated??

I would cut back slightly on the fenugreek and stick to its natural form. I remember it took a few days of the powdered supplements to make me stinky, FWIW.

Good luck!
posted by jbenben at 9:02 PM on October 2, 2011 [2 favorites]

Yeah, it's powdered fenugreek she's been using, and she's just dramatically thrown it in the bin! Thanks for the further information.
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 9:05 PM on October 2, 2011

Cumin shares a scent profile with BO. Could be that.
posted by guster4lovers at 10:33 PM on October 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

That's fascinating, thanks. But cumin doesn't have that effect on her when it's in other dishes, whereas fenugreek is unique to this dish. But if the fenugreek exception doesn't resolve the question, I guess we'll try excluding cumin.
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 11:08 PM on October 2, 2011

My friend's dog ate something with fenugreek in it and stank of it for some time - to the extent that I could identify what the dog smelled of before anyone told me.
posted by emilyw at 12:46 AM on October 3, 2011

I sweat cumin and/or paprika when I eat those spices. (On the plus side, I guess, I don't get garlic breath!)

I don't cook with fenugreek so I don't know about that.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:39 AM on October 3, 2011

If she's the only one who can smell it, she should try rinsing out the inside of her nose. If no one else can smell it, she probably doesn't actually smell like curry, but she may have gotten some of the sauce, or even just the scent, inside her nose and throat while eating, and that's what she smells. Use a neti pot or other nasal rinse, gargle with mouthwash, and see if that fixes it.
posted by decathecting at 8:06 AM on October 3, 2011

If it makes her feel better, I used to work with Kangaroos a lot and they always have a faint odor of curry. Kangaroo Island ones seem to be the worst suspects for this, and I am pretty sure the roo's never ate curry. On topic my husband gets a nice cumin smell whenever I cook with it.
posted by wwax at 8:41 AM on October 3, 2011

decathecting, I thought of that, too, but it's definitely something beyond just the nose. She says that when gathering her clothes to wash at the end of the week, the clothes she wore the day after the cooking/eating have the odour.
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 4:10 PM on October 3, 2011

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