Why Indian food isn’t curry and other essential facts for National … – Evening Standard

By on October 12, 2017

As National Curry Week kicks off, here are some essential facts about curry and why it isn’t what you think when it comes to Indian food. 

There is no such thing as a “curry” in India

The word curry is simply used to describe the gravy or sauce in a dish in India. Curries have their own names, with different words denoting the presence of sauce including masala, salaan and jhol. 

The origin of the word is debatable

There are conflicting opinions on where the word curry originated with historians settling on Kari, from Tamil Nadu. It is most likely a blanket termed coined by the British   

Curry powder is a western invention

It doesn’t exist in India. Recipe-specific spice mixes are more common. The only ground spice blend used extensively is garam masala and this, too, varies in from region to region and home to home

British Indian Curry is cooked differently to the curried dishes of the subcontinent

As British Indian Curry has its origins in food service, it deploys wholesale cookery methods, including using a pre-prepared curry paste which is bulked out with vegetables like carrot and cabbage. While Indian housewives often prepare their own curry pastes to shorten daily cookery, these are recipe specific not generic pastes

Chutneys in India are different to the ones you get here 

The British fell in love with chutneys (who can blame you) and added vinegar to them to recreate the tart flavours they enjoyed in the absence of the blazing sun and mouth puckering ingredients in India. Indian chutneys are usually freshly cooked and/or raw ingredients blended.

Curry-related lingo is rife with tautology

And it’s guaranteed to infuriate Indians. Lentil dal, naan bread and pulao rice are all suspect terminology because dal is made of lentils, naan is bread and pulao is made of rice. While on the subject, dal is not soup, it is curried and spiced lentils.    

And finally, a note on that oil slick on your curry

You need oil to caramelise onions and cook the spices and ingredients that kick start Indian food. Grease seeping through a curry at the grand finale is a sure fire sign that all your ingredients are cooked and well incorporated. Saying that, you don’t need an oil slick on the top of a curry. We don’t eat like that at home every day.

Mallika Basu is an Indian food writer and columnist. See her recipeshere and follow her on Twitter and Instagram @MallikaBasu_.

Source Article from https://www.standard.co.uk/lifestyle/foodanddrink/national-curry-week-why-indian-food-isn-t-curry-and-other-essential-facts-a3656471.html
Why Indian food isn’t curry and other essential facts for National … – Evening Standard
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