The Delicious History of Curry

Originating in South India as a sauce cooked from turmeric, ginger, garlic, cumin, and a multitude of other spices, curry is becoming a popular dish worldwide for its healthiness and versatility. Already a common dish — both in homes and restaurants — in the Caribbeans, South Africa, and South and East Asia, curry has always been able to adapt to the tastes of different regions without losing its essential flavor.

The earliest curries cooked in 2500 BC likely contained ginger, garlic, and turmeric, notes Slate. Cambridge University experts suggest curry may have been eaten with rice, lentils, beans, and wheat. Today, curry is often accompanied by potatoes, carrots, and even ramen (noodles) in Japan and Taiwan, while many in Britain eat it as a spicy stew. In Thailand, curry is often prepared with sweet coconut milk, pineapple, and basil. Not only does curry remain recognizable and delicious, its versatile nature allows cooks to use fresh, local ingredients such as fish, chicken, or vegetables according to availability. The spices in curry are also good for health, with turmeric being anti-inflammatory and effective in controlling blood sugar levels, and most of the spices in the mixture being rich in antioxidants.

Commercial curry powder — a pre-made mixture of spices — appeared in English-speaking Europe in 1747, according to Menu Magazine. Since then, curry has evolved into one of the easiest dishes to enjoy at home, with ready made curry paste and curry cubes being sold in many grocery stores and “ethnic” food stores even in North America. There’s no need to choose from a wide range of spices or to stand over the stove for hours: anyone can throw a few favorite ingredients into a pot, cook it for a few minutes, and then add instant curry paste or blocks. It’s the ultimate health food.