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The name “curry” actually means “spiced sauce,” but in Sweden, curry commonly refers to a spice blend that must always include turmeric, giving curry its characteristic orange-yellow color. Similar spice blends in the Indian subcontinent are called “masala” instead. There are numerous variations of different types of such spice blends. About twenty spices are more common than others. Typically, the spice tends to divide people into two camps: either you like it – or you don’t. Regardless of which camp you fall into, below you will find ten facts that you probably didn’t know about this orange-colored spice!

The name “curry” likely originates from Portugal…

All too often when referring to curry, we don’t think much about what it actually means. But how did curry get its name? There are different theories about its origins. It may refer to the Frenchcuire,” meaning “to cook,” as some believe. It was also mentioned in the title of an 18th-century book called “Forme of Cury.” The most likely origin of the word “curry” comes from the Tamil wordkari,” which was a soup-like sauce that was first described in the mid-1600s in a Portuguese cookbook. [source]

Used to refer to curry stew in India…

In English and in India, the word “curry” is used to mean “curry stew.” The common feature of this type of dish is that it is usually heavily spiced (though it doesn’t have to be) and usually sauce-based. It can be vegetarian or made with meat, fish, or chicken. In English, the spice blend is referred to as “curry powder.” [source]

Has only existed in the Western world for about 200 years…

It may be hard to believe that curry has only been in the Western world for just over 200 years – but that’s exactly the case. Curry was first introduced in London at an Indian restaurant in 1810. The restaurant owner, Sake Dean Mahomed, was one of the most well-known immigrants for his entrepreneurship. Unfortunately, the restaurant is no longer present on George Street, near Portman Square in central London, as it went bankrupt due to financial difficulties. Nevertheless, this is where the spice began to spread in the Western world. [source]

The first written recipe dates back to 1747…

Indian recipes used to not be written down but rather passed down orally through generations. The earliest recorded curry recipe is from 1747, in the book “The Art of Cookery made Plain and Easy” by Hannah Glasse. It was the first edition that mentioned the curry dish. The recipe was called “To make a Curry the India way” and used only black pepper and coriander seed to flavor the curry. Later, in the fourth edition of the book, she incorporated other ingredients like turmeric and ginger. [source]

A world record to marvel at…

According to the Guinness World Records, the largest curry ever made weighed 15.34 tons and was cooked by Indian chefs and the Culinary Association in Singapore on August 1, 2015. The event took place outdoors in a public park during the Suvai Festival. Suvai is an annual culinary event lasting four days, during which chefs from all over Asia gather to cook and share their cultures. [source]

So strong is the world’s hottest curry dish…

When we go out to eat Indian food, some of us like to have a little extra spice with our chosen curry. If you’re a “spice lover,” you might be familiar with – and have dared to try – Chicken Naga. Chicken Naga is known to be one of the hottest curry dishes. The dish is made with a large quantity of Naga pepper seeds, which measure 855,000 on the Scoville scale. These seeds are 100 times hotter than regular jalapeno peppers. However, it’s not the hottest curry ever made. The title for the hottest curry goes to the infamous “Flaming Fiery Phaal,” made with two of the hottest chili peppers on Earth, namely Scorpion and Naga peppers. It’s so hot that even the packaging carries multiple warning labels and measures 1.5 million on the Scoville scale. Would you dare to try it? [source]

The UK is the world capital of curry…

Although curry didn’t make a significant impact in the Western world until a few hundred years ago, it is believed that people have been enjoying this spice blend in parts of the world for around 4,000 years. But could you ever have guessed that the curry capital of the world is likely in the UK? In London alone, there are over 10,000 restaurants that offer curry-based dishes, which is more than what exists in all of Mumbai, India. Additionally, each Londoner spends about £30,000 on curry dishes during their lifetime. [source]

Tikka Masala is not originally an Indian curry dish…

The world’s most popular curry dish is probably Chicken Tikka Masala. Surprisingly, despite being one of the most popular curry dishes in the Western world, it is not an authentic Indian dish. The dish originated in Glasgow, Scotland. The Pakistani chef Ali Ahmed Aslam, owner of the Shish Mahal restaurant in Glasgow’s West End, created the dish through improvisation as recently. [source]

The difference between dry and wet curry…

Curry dishes can be eitherdry” or “wet.” Dry curry dishes are prepared with very little liquid, which is allowed to evaporate, and the other ingredients are coated with the spice blend. Wet curry dishes contain significant amounts of sauce or sauce based on broth, coconut cream or coconut milk, dairy cream or yogurt, or legume puree, sautéed crushed onions, or tomato puree. [source]

Our “Indian cuisine” originates from India’s northern regions…

In India, there is no such thing as a national food culture. Each region uses different ingredients and cooking methods to create its own Indian cuisine. The northern regions come closest to what we consider to be Indian cuisine. The southern cuisine is typically spicier and less creamy than that of the north. Thickness, consistency, and the amount of rice in the dishes are characteristics that can also vary between regions. [source]


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