When you take a look at curry powder you probably see a dull, brown, dirt looking powder. But let me assure you, there is much more history and culture behind this one spice and dish than the eye can see. This spice has a incredible history that goes back as much as three continents as well as hundreds of years and over many cultures. Spanning from Britain to Asia to all the way back to the United States. It is used in an endless amount of ways and has satisfied and still does satisfy endless amounts of people and cultures around the world . In this paper I will discuss the early history of curry and curry powder.
Talk about where it originated and how it came about then I will talk about the traditions and many cultures it is used in and lastly I will talk about why it is significant to the cultures it’s found and used in.When it comes to writings of curry there is one that is thought to be in a cookbook by the title of The Art of Cookery, Made Plain and Easy, which was published in Britain around 1747, by a lady named Hannah Glasse. In the book the dish was written about and was called “a curry in the Indian way”.
It’s a type of spicy marinated chicken curry dish that is served with a good amount of rice. In the book, there was a spice mixture recipe written, this was thought to possibly be one of the earliest explanations of curry powder, it was; “Take a quarter ounce of turmeric, a large spoonful of ginger and beaten pepper together, and a little salt to your palate…The ginger, pepper, and turmeric must be beat very fine.” (Glasse 101,original spelling). So, where was curry originated?Curry is usually stereotyped by people who think it is a Indian dish and that it must have originated from somewhere in India.
However, it’s very different. Neither curry powder or curry are Indian. Actually, curry is known to be linked to Britain’s colonization of India.
Adding onto currys weird origin no one really knows the origin of the word “curry”. There is definitely some debate on where the word came from. “Many, say it comes from the Tamil word meaning “stew”, “kari”. Many other people think a theory that the word“curry” comes from the Middle English word “cury”, which means cooking.” (Taylor, Curry: Where Did It Come from?). A lot of ingredients that make a good curry have been used for a long time in the Western world area. It’s been used for hundreds of years. “Some recipes date back that were cooked for Richard II, written in a scroll known as The Forme of Cury, where it uses ingredients like ginger.
” (Leftwich, Curry). With europeans new found desire for such spices they started to search for them. It brought around the new “Age of Exploration” (Leftwich, Curry and Curry Powder). It was largely one reason why the Brits invaded India in the first place.
It led to the colonization of India by the British, just from the sheer fact that they had these highly coveted spices. With the new colonization of India the British did not only gain access to the curry powder spice but also got access to valuable spice trading and trading routes. These new trading possibilities opened up the market to many people in Britain. It began the boost in popularity for this crazy new curry powder spice by the British. And with this new curry powder a new favorite dish came around that people fell in love with, Curry; Which is a spicy, stew-like dish made with of course, curry powder.
With the large curry, and curry powder popularity in Britain and colonized India. With all this new hype around curry powder and the dish curry it eventually moved and found itself far away in a new continent, the United States. After the first curry powder recipe came about witten in the English cookbook, The Art of Cookery, Made Plain and Easy, another came about in the cookbook, Directions For Cookery, In Its Various Branches. This cookbook was published in Philadelphia around the year of 1840. In the recipe book there was a recipe by the name of “Mullagatawny Soup, As Made in India”. Likely thought to be one of the earliest writings of a curry powder recipe to be seen in a .
United States cookbook. In that cookbook the recipe read; “take a quarter of an ounce of China turmeric, the third of an ounce of cassia, three drachms of black pepper, two drachms of cayenne pepper, and an ounce of coriander seeds. These must all be pounded fine in a mortar, and well mixed and sifted.” (Leftwich, Curry). If you were to read further in Directions For Cookery, In Its Various Branches you would find an elaborate curry paste used traditionally for a chicken curry. The recipe said; “Take two table-spoonfuls of powdered ginger, one table-spoonful of fresh turmeric, a tea-spoonful of ground black pepper; some mace, a few cloves, some cardamom seeds, and a little cayenne pepper with a small portion of salt.
These last articles according to your taste. Put all into a mortar, and add to them eight large onions, chopped or cut small. Mix and beat all together, till the onions, spices, &c. form a paste.” (Leftwich, Curry).
Whoever wrote the recipe says “lamb, veal, or rabbits” are very good meat substitutes. As cookbooks started to come more modernized and more used on a regular basis and with the fact that curry was picking up popularity and more and more people and cultures were making it and putting their own twists on the dish. A recipe book with the name The Housekeeper’s Assistant published in 1854 made a more generalized curry powder recipe that was fairly detailed. The recipe included actual amount of the different spices and ingredients you put in rather than leaving it broad and mostly up to the person making it. Around 1887, curry powder had really begun to blow up and go a bit mainstream. A recipe soon found itself in the The White House Cookbook, a cookbook that is comprised off all recipes used and cooked in the actual White House. Quite the accomplishment for the dish and spice.As spices and spice mixes became more desirable and wanted by people a new company was founded to make regular purchase of spices easier.
The the popular spice brand, McCormick’s, was founded around 1889, up north from the White House. This company started and formed this industry of easily accessible packaged spiced and spice mixes. One of the ones sold was of course, curry powder. And from then on it has evolved in what it is today, where you can get practically any spice or spice mix with just a quick trip down to your local grocery store.Moving away from the history of this amazing dish and spice let’s talk about the types of curry and it’s incredible significance to all the cultures it’s found in. So, how many curries are there?. Well, there are so many curries and curry style dishes that it’s impossible to count.
Every country that has curry has many, many varieties and variation of curry, even in places and even continents like the United States. Because there are so many curries I’m just going to go over the main big 3 currys that are seen most frequently;The first type of curry is Indian Curry, known as a type of stew dish in india. A spice mix of garam masala with cumin, chili, ginger, coriander, garlic, onion and tumeric.
Curry in India differs due to regional ingredients. People often say that the spice tends to “lingers on the palate” (Evans,Curious About Curry) longer than something like a thai curry which is more of a upfront, in your face spice. Leading into Thai curry its main ingredient is coconut milk and doesn’t usually use curry powder at all.
Traditionally there are 4 different kinds of Thai currys. They are red, green, Phanaeng, and also Massaman curries. The red curry is traditionally the most popular of the currys.
Chefs usually add up to 20 red chilies to make their curry red and very hot. Some Chefs like to use chili powder instead of the red chilis, which gives a nice red color and giving a deeper flavor. While the green is made with the addition of fresh coriander, lime and basil. Green curry sauce isn’t really green in color however. Phanaeng curry is a type of peanut curry dish, and finally Massaman has a kind of sour type taste. People who eat these thai curries usually eat them with some type of rice as a lunch or dinner dish.
They don’t, however, tend to enjoy this meal for breakfast ever. Finally, the last curry I will talk about is Japanese curry. This curry is more similar to Indian curry rather than Thai curry. This curry was thought to be brought to Japan by the British Navy. Eventually, the Japanese Navy made its own kind of curry for its crew. The curry is actually one of the most popular meals for the Japanese culture.
Studies have shown the Japanese people eat around 62 servings of curry per year, which breaks down to mean that most people in Japan tend to enjoy curry more than once a week. Compared to Indian curry, Japanese curry still varries in spice level but is known to be sweeter. It is a type of cooking that mixes Asian and western cooking styles. Thai curries are usually made using a wet paste.
There are a ton of curry paste variations but ingredients usually consist of chiles, galangal, lemongrass, kaffir lime, shrimp paste, shallots, garlic, coriander. This paste is normally cooked off to release its aromas and flavor then other ingredients are added with the addition of coconut milk, fish sauce, and other seasonings.In conclusion