The Curry Monster


A Brief History of Curry

It is much debated where the word “Curry” comes from, one theory is that it is from the Pakistani word Karahi which is a sort of wok or from the Tamil word Kari which means vegetables or meat cooked with spices, with or without sauce.


The fact remains that it is the UK’s most popular food from the humble Korma to the ring burner Ceylon or Phaal.


The first Indian restaurant in the UK was opened in 1810 at 34 George St, Portman Square, London by Dean Mahomet, a resident of Patna who moved to England in 1784. It was called the Hindoostan Coffee shop and despite the misleading name actually served Indian food. He went bankrupt in 1812.


The oldest surviving restaurant in the UK is London’s infamous Veeraswamy which opened in 1926 and is still going strong.


Some common dishes are outlined below but it’s always worth looking for the chef or house specialities.


·        Korma/kurma - mild, yellow in colour, with almond and coconut powder.

·        Curry - medium, brown, gravy-like sauce.

·        Biryani - Spiced rice and meat cooked together and usually served with vegetable curry


·        Dupiaza/Dopiaza - medium curry the word means "double onion" referring to the boiled

         and fried onions used as its primary ingredient.

·        Pasanda - a mild curry sauce made with cream, coconut milk, and almonds or cashews.

·        Roghan Josh (from "roghan" (fat) and "josh" (energy/heat - which as in English may refer

         to either "spiciness" or temperature)) - medium, with tomatoes and paprika.

·        Bhuna - medium, thick sauce, some vegetables.

·        Dhansak - medium/hot, sweet and sour sauce with lentils (originally a Parsi dish). This

         dish often also contains pineapple.

·        Madras - fairly hot curry, red in colour and with heavy use of chili powder.

·        Pathia - hot, generally similar to a madras with lemon juice and tomato purée.

·        Jalfrezi - onion, green chili and a thick sauce.

·        Sambar - medium heat, sour curry made with lentils and lemons.

·        Vindaloo - this is generally regarded as the classic "hot" restaurant curry, although a true

         vindaloo does not specify any particular level of spiciness. The name has European origins,

         derived from the Portuguese term "vinha d'alhos", a marinade containing wine ("vinho"), or

         sometimes vinegar, and garlic ("alho"), used to prevent the pork from going off in hot


·        Phaal - extremely hot dish using ground chilies, ginger and fennel.