Curry and its re-incarnations

This article is also available in: Italiano

Curry, a spice that, through its births and rebirths, cannot fail to fully represent the incredible history of India and its flavors

Birth and rebirth of curry

Before starting with our story, a small distinction must be made regarding the evolution of the term “curry” which, following the British domination, took very precise connotations, previously completely absent before. The word derives in fact from the Tamil kaṟi which means “sauce” or “rice dressing” but in an absolutely generic concept, on a par with Garam Masala. The “definition of the term” was created later by the British who will begin to give it very specific features.

The latter, in fact, arrived in India only after the arrival of the Portuguese, who introduced the chilli pepper, a plant native to South America and completely unknown to the Indians, who however began to make extensive use of it. Once in those lands, the British fell madly in love with that specific mix of spices, starting to import it also in the motherland, where it achieved international success and was widespread throughout the Empire.

Conquering the Rising Sun

Particularly the impact it had in Japan, where it was introduced by the British during the Meiji era and in which it quickly became one of the most popular and popular dishes. Its popularity had a very interesting development and very strongly linked to the history of the country. The Meiji era was in fact a period in which Japan “westernized” itself, taking very strong inspiration from every aspect of “Western culture”.


As for the navy, the model chosen was the British one and, as curry stew was often one of the meals reserved for soldiers, it was also adopted as a dish in the Japanese navy. This meant that many soldiers fell in love with it during military service, making it incredibly popular once I got home.

The properties of the curry are essentially those of the turmeric which is its main element.

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