Despite its origins in India, British people love a good ol’ curry – with 23 million people regularly eating curry dishes. In fact, the curry has now taken place alongside some of our classic favourites like fish and chips and shepherd’s pie. But how much do we really know about our favourite takeaway?
At My Family Secret, we have dedicated years to creating the perfect low fat curry sauces for families to enjoy. Drawing inspiration from traditional recipes, but bringing them up to speed with modern-day mealtimes.
Today, we want to share with you the history of curry, and how exactly it became a British favourite!
Believe it or not, curry is actually an umbrella term that refers to a number of dishes originating from Indian cuisine. Usually containing fish, meat or vegetables. Traditional curries were defined by their complex combination of spices or herbs which make up a wet or dry sauce.
The definition of ‘curry’
It is often thought the word ‘curry’ was taken from the Tamil word ‘Kari’ – meaning spiced sauce. This was originally a thin, soup-like, spiced dressing served in southern India. However, the word ‘curry’ has changed its definition over centuries and is now something of a “ubiquitous menu word.”
How the definition of ‘curry’ can vary across the world
In India, curry refers to a gravy or stew-like dish, containing Indian spice mix Garam Masala and other local ingredients. While in the Western world, we think of curries as a spicy or flavoured dish containing curry powder – or some other spice variety.
The history of curry
The first time curry graced British dining tables dates back to the 1700s. This was when soldiers and tradespeople returned from the East. In fact, the first curry recipe was found in Hannah Glasse’s ‘Art of Cookery Made Plain and East’ from 1747. This taughtBrits how to make a curry ‘the Indian way’ by using boiled chicken, turmeric, ginger and onions in a cream. While it’s not exactly the same way we make it today, it’s not far off!
By the 1800s, this early wave of Indian influence on British cooking had inspired Bengali immigrant, Saik Dean Mohamed. He opened the first Indian restaurant. Started production on curry powder and master-up the very first Indian takeaway. However, it flopped years later as it was tradition at the time to have servants prepare your meals at home – but that would change!
When Queen Victoria landed on the throne, many turned their nose up at having the house smell like curry but the Queen embraced it. Fascinated by India, Victoria kept a majority Indian household staff and curry was on the menu most days.
It wasn’t long before it spread through the aristocracy and upper classes. Making curry a normal sight on the tables of the rich and famous.
From then on, curry just got more and more popular in the UK. With Brits even inventing their very own curry dishes. The chicken tikka masala in the 1960s.
If reading about ‘the history of curry’ has got your taste buds tingling, why not try one of our fresh curry sauces! We recommend our low fat Green Thai Curry Sauce – the hotter of all the Thai curry sauces. Or take a look at any of our other blogs about our family sauces here.
Always wanted to make a traditional Moroccan tagine? Take a look at our Lamb Moroccan Tagine Recipe made with one of our low fat curry sauces.