Curry To The World
The world’s love affair with curry outside of India began centuries ago. The popular narrative regarding the introduction of curry to Jamaica, has always been that is was introduced to the island by the indentured servants from India, who started arriving in Jamaica in the mid to late 19th century. It makes sense because curry powder had long been a staple of east Indian cuisine for centuries beforehand. Some say curry powder (at least a form of curry powder) existed on the island before the arrival of the East Indians. The British were thought to have introduced it to the island when they colonized most of the region. Since the British had also colonized India, it stands to reason, they would be familiar with curry powder. The term curry is used to describe an actual dish in India (curry chicken, vegetables, fish etc.), it is not really referencing the spice (powder). The curry powder is used to season the curry dish. The Indians may have improved upon the curry dishes they found in Jamaica by adding additional spices they brought with them from India to make the powder.
The most common ingredients found in Indian curry are as follows, coriander, turmeric, cumin, fennel seed, fenugreek, mustard seed, and red chilies.
Jamaicans added their own twist on it by substituting the red chilis with scotch bonnet peppers, and adding all-spice. Over the years curry may have become the most popular spice on the island, as it is used in a variety of dishes, such as curried goat, curried beef, curried lobster, curried fish, etc. You get it, Jamaicans curry just about everything. The most popular probably being curried goat. One thing to note is that Jamaicans say “curry goat, as opposed to curried goat”
The history of curry is long and vast. Although it is often attributed to the British. it existed in India long before the region was anglicized. The Tamil word Kari has been changed over the years to be known as curry. There is evidence dating back 4600 years suggesting how food was flavored in India at that time (well before the British arrived). There are archeological artifacts and human teeth that contain the residue of the staples of what we know today as curry (turmeric, ginger, etc.). Many countries over the years have adopted curry to their diets. Countries such as China, Japan, Malaysia, The Philippines, The UK, Jamaica, Trinidad, Guyana, Thailand, and South Africa have their own variations and very distinctive curry recipes. It is safe to say, although popular in every corner of the world, India is definitely the birth place of curry. There are literally hundreds if not thousands of different types of curry dishes. The beauty of that is you can always find a dish that is pleasing to your palate, no matter how discriminating it is. You can have it as spicy, or as mild as you like. There is no one size fits all recipe when it comes to curry. Curry is by far the most versatile dish you can have. No wonder the world has fell in love with this amazing dish.
Let’s explore some different types of curry (The dish, not the powder).
1: Chicken Tikka Masala
Chicken Tikka Masala is a savory Indian dish made from roasted roasted marinated chicken chunks in a delicious curry sauce. The curry sauce can vary depending on the chef. The base is usually made from yogurt. The other ingredients added to the yogurt comprise of turmeric, tomato sauce, paprika, and coriander. Other spices can be added to spice things up. The origins of this dish is said to have it’s roots with the British. There are also accounts of the dish originating in Scotland. It is said that Chicken Tikka Masala is the 2nd most popular dish to cook in England. One thing for certain is that wherever this delicious dish originated from, it is certified delicious. An excellent Chicken Tikka Masala can be found here.
2: Goan Fish Curry
Goan Fish Curry is a delicious curry dish originating from the Goa state of India. The main staple of this dish is white fish. In many dishes and recipes other seafood, such as prawns are added to give this dish a distinctive taste. The sauce is usually prepared using coriander, turmeric, cumin, fennel seed, fenugreek, mustard seed, and red chilies. Tamarind can be added as well as coconut to give it a slightly sweet and savory flavor. This dish is usually served with over rice. An excellent Goan Fish Curry can be found here.
3: Chicken Korma
Chicken Korma is a delectable curry based dish that originates from The Indian subcontinent.
There are different types of Korma recipes (vegetable, beef, goat, lamb). They are all delicious.
The typical spices used in this dish are ground coriander and cumin, cinnamon, paprika, turmeric, and tomato paste, combined with yogurt.
Cashes are often added to the recipe to give it a mild, buttery flavor.
An excellent Chicken Korma recipe can be found here.
4: Macher Jhol
Macher Jhol is one of my personal favorites. This is a fish curry that has it’s roots in Kolkata. This Bengali treat is simply a delight. It’s usually made using the rohu fish (from the carp family), eggplants and potatoes. The base of the curry sauce can be made using your favorite curry spices such as coriander and cumin, cinnamon, paprika, and turmeric. Mustard oil is also used to give it a distinctive pungent taste.
An excellent Macher Jhol recipe can be found here.
5: Chinese Curry Chicken
Chinese Curry Chicken is a very popular dish, not only in China, but all over the world. The main difference, is that when making Chinese chicken curry, garlic and ginger is usually fried in the oil before the dish is prepared. The curry paste is usually made with the traditional curry spices (ground coriander and cumin, paprika, turmeric) . Note: You can add your choice of additional spices to get the curry to your taste preference. This dish is made by stir frying chicken, potatoes, and vegetables, and then incorporating your curry paste into the stir fry.
An excellent Chinese Curry Chicken recipe can be found here.
6: Curry Udon (Japan)
Curry Udon is a very simple and easy to make Japanese Udon dish. This dish is made with a dashi-based broth,
vegetable paste, curry spices, or powder, Mirin, soy sauce, chunu sauce, sour cream and Udon noodles. All these ingredients are combined to make a delicious and hearty Curry Udo.
An excellent Curry Udon recipe can be found here.
The nutritional benefits in curry are very impressive.
1:Anti inflammatory benefits
Curry is though to have anti inflammatory benefits because of the concentration of turmeric, which contains curcumin.
Curcumin is known to combat inflammation by regulating certain proteins such as interleukin-6 and tumor necrosis
2: Anti-oxidant benefits
Antioxidants help prevent the damage that can be caused by free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that causes oxidative stress. This stress can is caused by oxidation, which can be caused by environmental factors such as air pollution, cigarette smoke, and even ultra violet light. They can also be caused by the natural metabolic process in which our body processes and break down nutrients. Eating foods with anti oxidant properties help in reducing these free radicals
3: Digestive Aid
The ingredients in curry can help aid in digestion. Acid secretion, and reduction of gas are both said to be aided by the ingestion of black pepper, which is found in most curries.
4: Liver Function
The high concentration of curcumin found in curry, has been found to aid in detoxifying the liver.
5: Bone Health
The calcium found in curry powder (turmeric) helps to maintain good bone health.
There are studies being done (early human testing stage) that have shown that the turmeric that is in curry has gradually increased the bone regeneration, and slows bone loss by up to 50%.
Now that you know a little about curry, here’s wishing you very pleasant and delicious experience the next time you prepare a curry dish, or order your favorite curry dish from a restaurant menu.