Curry is a generic description used throughout European and
American culture to describe a general variety of spiced dishes, best known in
Indian cuisines, especially South Asian cuisine. In most South Indian languages,
the word curry literally means 'side-dish', which can be eaten along with a main
dish like rice or bread.
Left: A variety of vegetable curries
Curry is a generic term, and although there is no one
specific attribute that marks a dish as "curry", some distinctive spices used in
many, though certainly not all, curry dishes include turmeric, cumin, coriander,
fenugreek, and red pepper.
Curry's popularity in recent decades has spread outward from the Indian
subcontinent to figure prominently in international cuisine. Consequently, each
culture has adopted spices in their indigenous cooking, to suit their own unique
tastes and cultural sensibilities. Curry can therefore be called a pan-Asian or
global phenomenon, with immense popularity in Thai, British and Japanese
In British cuisine, the word "curry" is primarily used to denote a sauce-based
dish flavoured with
curry powder or a paste made from the powder and oils.
However, the use of fresh spices such as ginger and garlic, and preparation of
an initial masala from freshly ground dried spices are sometimes used.
Left: Curry powder.
The popularity of curry among the general public was enhanced
by the invention of "Coronation chicken" to commemorate the coronation of Queen
Elizabeth II in 1953. Curry sauce (or curry gravy) is a British use of curry as
a condiment, usually served warm with traditional British fast food dishes such
as chips. Curry sauce occasionally would include sultanas.
In a relatively short space of time curry has become an
integral part of British cuisine, so much so that, since the late 1990s,
Tikka Masala has been referred to as "a true British national dish".