Forty-Four Mouth-Watering Facts About Curry.

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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I’ve done ‘peanut butter‘ and ‘chocolate‘ and ‘coffee‘ in other posts. Today it is another fasab food favorite, the curry.

A curry, properly made, has to be one of the most delicious foods in the world.

I have spent many happy evenings with friends enjoying this delicacy in one form or another. Personally I like it with some naan bread or sometimes with rice. Either way is socially acceptable and extremely tasty.

Mouth watering already?

Very good, let’s get straight to the facts.

Enjoy.

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dishes of curry

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The word curry comes from a Tamil word ‘kari’ or ‘karil’, meaning spices or sautéd vegetables.

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The meaning changed when Portuguese traders used it for the sauces with which rice was served.

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Essentially, the term curry was invented by the English administrators of the East Indian Trading Co. and later continued by British government employees.

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The British army in India further changed the meaning as its liking for hot sauces introduced the modern idea of curries being hot.

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Surprisingly, the term ‘curry’ isn’t used very much in India. There are many types of curry-style dishes, which have their own characteristic regional variations.

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Curry Powder is a mix of spices, rather than a spice in its own right. It usually consists of turmeric, coriander, cardamom, cumin, sweet basil, and red pepper.

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Some of the most common types of curry are ‘Korma’, ‘Massala’, ‘Dhansak’, ‘Phall’, ‘Rogan Josh’, ‘Dopiaza’, ‘Madras’ and ‘Vindaloo’.

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Curry is said to have a number of valuable health benefits, including the prevention of cancer, protection against heart disease, reducing Alzheimer’s disease symptoms, easing pain and inflammation, boosting bone health, protecting the immune system from bacterial infections, and increasing the liver’s ability to remove toxins from the body.

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In addition to being an established and firm favorite in Britain. and increasing popular throughout Europe and the United States, curry forms a major element of the diets of several Asian countries including India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Maldives, Burma, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, China, Japan and Fiji.

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Chili (or Chilli) is the most popular spice in the world and can help combat heart attacks and strokes and extends blood coagulation times preventing harmful blood clots.

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Contrary to common western belief, curries are not always ‘hot’, they can be mild, medium and hot.

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curry with rice

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The earliest known curry was made in Mesopotamia in around 1700 BC, the recipe for meat in a spicy sauce appearing on tablets found near Babylon.

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The Scoville scale is the measurement of the pungency (spicy heat) of chili peppers or other spicy foods.

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The ‘Bhut Jolokia Chilli Pepper’ (also known as the ‘Naga Jolokia’), is the hottest pepper in the world, accompanied with its own health warning! This pepper is also known as the ‘Ghost Chilli’ or ‘Ghost Pepper’, and is grown in the Indian states of Assam, Nagaland and Manipur.

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The first commercial curry powder appeared in about 1780.

In Britain Indian food now surpasses Chinese food in popularity, with Indian restaurants outnumbering Chinese restaurants by two to one.

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The word ‘balti’ means bucket. Balti is more a style of cooking than one particular curry.

In specialist ‘Balti Houses’ the balti is a meal in itself which contains both meat and vegetables and is eaten straight from the karahi using curled up pieces of naan bread. In standard Indian restaurants the balti is more of a stir-fried curry containing plenty of fried green peppers and fresh cilantro (also known as coriander).

South Indian food is more spicy than North Indian food.

The first curry recipe in English appeared in Hannah Glasse’s ‘The Art Of Cookery’ in 1747.

The world’s biggest ever curry was a 13 tonne Biryani, including 187lb of chilies and 6600lb of rice. It took 60 chefs to make in New Delhi in June 2008. And required three cranes to move the container and a 3ft high furnace to cook it!

In Western Europe and the U K, curry powders available contain more turmeric than anything else, and tend to be toned down to palates used to bland food.

curry with naan bread

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The tallest poppadom stack in the world stands at a massive 282 poppadoms. The record was set by a chef from the Jali Indian Restaurant in Blackpool.

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In 2008, Bath and North East Somerset Council advised a man to sprinkle curry powder on his wife’s grave to keep squirrels and deer away.

Tim Stobbs, aged 42 years, currently holds the world record for munching an impressive 15 poppadoms in 5 minutes! The annual World Championships, in aid of Cancer Research UK Scotland, is held every year at St Andrews University.

There are about 10,000 Indian restaurants serving curry in the UK, the vast majority of which are run by people from Bangladesh, not India.

To make a ‘hot’ curry mild, just add some coconut milk.

The word ‘masala’ means spice mix.

In 1846, William Makepeace Thackeray wrote ‘A Poem To Curry’, as part of his Kitchen Melodies.

Britain’s first curry house, called the Hindustani Coffee House and located in London’s Portman Square, opened in 1809. Now there are more curry houses in London, England than in Mumbai, India.

Chili can help combat heart attacks and strokes.

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One of the hottest curry dishes ever made is known as the Bit Spicy 3 Chili Phall which is even hotter than the infamous ‘Chicken Naga’, made with a high volume of Naga pepper seeds. More than 100 times hotter than jalapeño peppers!

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People crave a curry because the spices arouse and stimulate the taste buds.

curry powder

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Vindaloo was originally a Portuguese dish which took its name from the two main ingredients which were ‘vinho’, wine/wine vinegar, and ‘alhos’, garlic. Over time it was spiced up, hotted up and otherwise changed by the indigenous peoples of the ex-Portuguese colony of Goa.

The ‘Big Jim’, a large chili hailing from New Mexico, currently holds the world record for the largest chili ever grown. This plant frequently produces chilies that are over a foot in length, which is hugely impressive considering that the plant itself never grows more than two feet!

The town of North Curry is in Somerset while West Curry is in Cornwall.

Madras and pathia are both hot and sour dishes. Kashmiri a more subtle and creamy dish usually made with lychees or bananas – or both.

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Scientists at Nottingham Trent University have discovered that people begin to crave for a curry because the spices arouse and stimulate the taste buds.

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One in seven curries sold in the UK is a chicken tikka masala, making it the most popular Indian restaurant dish in the UK. It is thought to have originated in Britain after an enterprising Indian chef had the idea of adding a tomato and onion paste to the grilled chicken to satisfy the British preference for food that isn’t dry.

The largest naan bread ever made was a whopping 2.75m in diameter and contained meat dumplings – the equivalent of 167 normal sized naan breads. The bread took over ten hours to finish and required twelve chefs, 30kg mutton, 125kg flour, 16kg onion and 90kg of water to cook it.

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Southeastern Asian cultures have always mixed a number of spices to flavor their dishes, usually according to recipes handed down from generation to generation.

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A common way to categorize Thai curry is by the color of the curry paste used to make the curry dish. Green and red curry paste are the most typical. Yellow and sour curries (also sometimes known as orange curry, gaeng sohm) are also well known. Each has its own particular combination of herbs and spices to make up the curry paste that makes it unique.

‘Panang’ and ‘masaman’ curry are probably the most popular Thai curries in the West, because of their rich tastes.

Finally, if you are eating a curry which is just too hot for you, don’t drink water, that only makes it hotter!

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