IS CURRY INDIAN?

Among the several conversations around Indian food, one treacherous one lies in "curry", assumingly Indian. In truth, curry is not Indian but British.


It is pretty fascinating how a verbal gymnasium can sometimes alter the human understanding of someone else's comprehension.

Every cuisine has always seen some changes when it moves from its authentic, self and Interestingly, Curry results from one such change.

Curry is not an authentic Indian dish.

The British must take the entire credit for introducing and coining the word "curry" while trying to recreate the flavours of South Asian dishes in Britain when they left India.


The whole idea of "curry" or ready-made "curry powder" is a British thing. 

Curry is more of a British household name than Indian.

Britain made curry famous. It even made chicken tikka famous.

Why can't I order curry in India?

If you ever visit India and try to place an order for a curry in a local restaurant, your order will be approached with a raised or a confused brow.

There is no such thing served as curry, and curry is not a dish there and neither a spice.

Of course, now, with travel awareness, the curry has made its way into the International Menu cards.

 The locals currently serve Indian curry to foreign visitors with altered recipes to match the western taste.

So, what is Indian curry?

After spending more than a decade of my life in the UK, I now understand that "curry" outside India means a "stew", a dish with sauce.

Any dish based on a sauce or a gravy made with onions,ginger-garlic and tomatoes as a base is referred to as curry outside India.

For instance, chicken curry is chicken cooked in the ingredients above with curry powder.

What is curry powder?

Outside India, "curry powder" means a "spice mix" closest to the Indian "garam masala" that is generally made using cumin seeds, coriander seeds, peppercorns and turmeric.

However, there is no fixed recipe for this spice mix; the rest of the world has only adopted this mix and have made it their own.

What is garam masala?

In India, a combination of spices and sometimes herbs are referred to as "masala", and "garam" means "heat/hot".

The spices that are heat causing or generate heat are known as "garam masala".

With twenty-eight states and with a 1.2 billion population constituting the whole of India, every home has its own recipe to suit its palette.

There are different variations to this mix depending upon the region, seasons and availability of the ingredients.

And curry powder is not the same as garam masala in India.

What are curry leaves?

Let's get these leaves out of the curry confusion of Is curry Indian.


One can undoubtedly credit the "curry confusion" to the name of these leaves. However, these have nothing to do with curry or curry powder.

In India, curry leaves are dark-green leaves from the citrus family and are more medicinal, way too pungent to be directly consumed.

Hence, these leaves are tossed and tempered into the hot oil to infuse their aromatic, earthy flavour into a dish. 

They are more common in south-Indian dishes than north Indian households.

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No matter the confusion of is curry Indian or British, it has not suffered an identity crisis but has built an international identity of its own.

In all goodness and the most likeliness of Indian cuisine being enjoyed worldwide, National Curry Day in the UK benchmarks the success of this dish.

And to keep things less complicated, acceptable and straightforward for everyone, on my blog, when I say curry, it merely means "a dish with gravy".

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