Wednesday, 11 February 2009


Currently, the term curry is used broadly, in English, to refer to almost any spiced, sauce-based dishes cooked in various southern and southeastern Asian styles. Though each curry has a specific name, generically any wet side dish made out of vegetables and/or meat is historically referred to as a "curry" - especially the yellow, Indian-inspired powders and sauces with high proportions of turmeric. The dishes are given specific names that indicate the meat and/or vegetable, method of cooking, or the particular spices used.

In India the word "curry" is heavily used in the southern part of India in languages such as Tamil. "Curry" is analogous to "sabzi" in the north. The word "kari" has its origins in Old Tamil which means "flesh". The word for gravy (of any sort) is "kolambu" in Tamil. Therefore any gravy prepared with meat in it, was known as "kari kolambu" which means "meat gravy". In a later development, any gravy with meat in it came to be called "kari".

The spice mixes are known as "masala". Curry powder and Garam masala are both masalas. There is a particular north Indian and Pakistani dish, which is given the name kadi and uses yogurt, ghee, and besan. In Northern India and Pakistan, the word "curry" usually means "gravy", likely because it sounds similar to the word "tari" (which means "gravy" in many North Indian and Pakistani languages, and comes from word "Tur" which means "wet" in Urdu and Persian)[1]. Bengali dishes called "Torkari" or vegetables stewed/dry in gravy is another potential source for the anglicized "curry".


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