Jan Bilton's lamb, beef and chicken curries
Due to the huge numbers of Indian, Bangladeshi and Pakistani restaurants in Britain (over 9000), the UK has adopted curry as a national dish. According to the National Curry Week website, about 23 million people eat curry regularly.
In Britain the word curry was first used to signify any leftover meat served in a western-style sauce flavoured with curry powder. The word is derived from the Tamil ‘kari’ or spiced sauce which was originally a thin, soup-like dressing for meat and vegetables served in southern India.
However, curry has ‘changed its meaning and become ubiquitous as a menu word,’ says food historian Alan Davidson in the Oxford Companion to Food.
Once it just meant Indian food, but it now denotes various kinds of dishes in different parts of the world. All are savoury and all are spiced but have their own variations.
The Brits are recognised as changing the character of curry as they traded in spices around the world and introducing chillies from South America and Mexico to India. So today’s Indian curries are spiced with chilli and even more popular.
Countries such as Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines also produce their own unique versions. Curries are a universal favourite.