The Story of Curry

Vindaloo, chettinad, korma, tikka masala, saag, malabar and makhni are just few of the varieties of Indian curries. From different parts of the country, these curries are unique in colors, textures, tastes, and names.


Did you know that there’s no such thing as “curry” in India?!

And we can picture your expression with a, ”whaaa…??”


Yes, what you know as “curry” is really a British invention! The notion of curry came during the British colonial Raj in India. The Brits loved the spicy difference Indian food made to their palate, and so the ubiquitous ‘curry’ was born.

Simply put, to the Indians curry means gravy; and though many of the preparations in Indian cuisine come in this form, the word does not. India has been synonymous with the curry since time immemorial.

But, that was just some fun trivia for you cause really, what’s in a name?

The point is mild or fiery hot any curry is guaranteed to be full of exotic flavors and…nom-nom-nom…totally divine to taste!

The fun of the diversity of India is in the food.  It doesn’t matter that Coorg’s dark tangy-tasting Pandi pork curry is far different from Bengal’s creamy Prawn Malai Curry or that the rich red Kashmiri Roganjosh is a world apart from the peppery hot Chicken Chettinad of Tamil Nadu or the light and sour fish curry of Assam. We have such a variety, it is spectacular!

So the next obvious question is— what on earth is curry powder?

The common feature in all the diverse gravy dishes is the use of complex combinations of spices. Hold your breath, and just like curry there’s no such thing as curry powder either!  

It’s definitely not Indian; it’s an out-and-out Western creation of the 18th century. Curry powder is nothing but a premade mixture of spices in a distinct recipe. It was initially prepared by Indian spice merchants to sell to members of the British Colonial government and army returning to Britain.

Popular spices in the curry powder include turmeric, chilly, ginger, coriander, cloves, cinnamon, peppercorns, cardamom, cumin seeds, garlic, saffron, mace, fenugreek, caraway seeds, and poppy seeds.

Overwhelmed? Don’t be! In case you didn’t know, we offer a whole range of ready-to-use spice blends for some of India’s classic curry dishes! East India Pantry whole spices and spice blends are available at your favorite pit stop for all things Indian- Saffron Valley! But a word of caution, like any spice mix it goes flat with time and loses its distinctive aroma, so buy in small quantities and freeze for a longer shelf life.

While curry is a super mood booster and tantalizer for your taste buds, there are many health benefits to this zesty mix as well. Look at the ingredients list, almost all of them have multiple therapeutic benefits.

This is the story of curry. It is evident from the crowds in Indian restaurants that the world’s love affair with curry continues unabated.

Hope that was a currylicious taste buds teaser!

Till next time, Namaste. 

FoodAli WrightComment