Curry Then and Now
When they ruled India, the British invented the word ‘curry’ as their version of the Tamil ‘kari’ which means sauce. The anglicized version of kari is now commonly used to describe almost any food of South Asian origin, especially that of India. However, there’s a misconception that all Indian food contains curry powder. A Indian curry dish contains meat and vegetables and served over rice and includes an Indian-style sauce made with strong spices such as turmeric. It can also not contain meat, hence, can be vegetarian.
After curry was discovered by the colonizers, the condiment was massively exported to other parts of the world in the 19th and 20th centuries. In the mid-20th century, Indian cuisine became more globally popular, so curry and curry powder became widely available. However, countries like China, Japan, Great Britain, South Africa and the West Indies all have their own unique curry dishes, so its flavor and technique can vary extensively depending on where it’s from.
What’s in the yellow-orange powder? Curry powder is commercially prepared with a mix of spices like coriander, turmeric, cumin, fenugreek and chili peppers. It gets its yellow color from the turmeric which is also the most valuable spice component. The complex mix within curry and the proportions of ingredients vary depending on national, regional, religious or family traditions in different parts of the world.
Curry dishes in India alone are not the same. From the Punjab region, for example, it involves wheat instead of rice, and is heavy on the butter and cream. Dishes from Malayali have coconut and coconut milk, as well as bay leaves. From Tamil, which is probably what most westerners think of when they think of curry, Tamil curry refers to shallow-fried meat or vegetables cooked along with dry spices.
In many parts of the world, you can buy a prepared blend of spices known as curry powder that is used to make a dish of this name. This powder may contain curry leaves, which come from the curry tree (or curry leaf tree), which is native to India. So you see, most people do associate curry with India when in fact, different countries have their own versions. This makes curry a true international food item and curry dishes globally appreciated.
Appreciating Curry in Bellevue
We serve many curry dishes at our popular Indian restaurant in Bellevue, the Spice Route MokSha. For meat lovers or straight vegetarians, our curry selections are classic favorites. Experience authentic Indian recipes that are tasty, healthy and sustainable.