Prawn Curry In Coconut Milk

About Curry

A curry is a dish with a sauce seasoned with spices, mainly associated with South Asian cuisine.  In southern India, leaves from the curry tree may be included.

There are many varieties of curry. In traditional cuisines, the selection of spices for each dish is a matter of national or regional cultural tradition, religious practice, and preference of the chef. Such dishes have names that refer to their ingredients, spicing, and cooking methods.  Outside the Indian subcontinent, a curry is a dish from Southeast Asia which uses coconut milk or spice pastes, commonly eaten over rice.  Curries may contain fish, meat, poultry, or shellfish, either alone or in combination with vegetables. Others are vegetarian. Dry curries are cooked using small amounts of liquid, which is allowed to evaporate, leaving the other ingredients coated with the spice mixture. Wet curries contain significant amounts of sauce or gravy based on broth, coconut cream or coconut milk, dairy cream or yogurt, or legume purée, sautéed crushed onion, or tomato purée.

Curry powder, a commercially prepared mixture of spices marketed in the West, was first exported to Britain in the 18th century when Indian merchants sold a concoction of spices, similar to garam masala, to the British colonial government and army returning to Britain.


Hannah Glasse’s recipe for curry, first published in her 1747 book The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy. It is the first known anglicised form of kaṟi. (The recipe uses the symbol “ſ” for the letter “s”).

Curry is an anglicised form of the Tamil: கறி kaṟi meaning ‘sauce’ or ‘relish for rice’ that uses the leaves of the curry tree (Murraya koenigii).  The word kari is also used in other Dravidian languages, namely in Malayalam, Kannada and Kodava with the meaning of “vegetables (or meat) of any kind (raw or boiled), curry”.  Kaṟi is described in a mid-17th century Portuguese cookbook by members of the British East India Company, who were trading with Tamil merchants along the Coromandel Coast of southeast India, becoming known as a “spice blend … called kari podi or curry powder”.  The first appearance in its anglicised form (spelled currey) was in Hannah Glasse’s 1747 book The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy.

The word cury in the 1390s English cookbook, The Forme of Cury, is unrelated, coming from the Middle French word cuire, meaning ‘to cook’.


Archaeological evidence dating to 2600 BCE from Mohenjo-daro suggests the use of mortar and pestle to pound spices including mustard, fennel, cumin, and tamarind pods with which they flavoured food.[14] Black pepper is native to the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia and has been known to Indian cooking since at least 2000 BCE.

The original curry pre-dates Europeans’ presence in India by about 4,000 years. The three basic ingredients of the spicy stew were ginger, garlic and turmeric. Using a method called “starch grain analysis”, archaeologists at the University of Washington at Vancouver were able to identify the residue of these ancient spices in both skeletons and pottery shards from excavations in India. Examining the human teeth and the residue from the cooking pots, signs of turmeric and ginger were evident.

The establishment of the Mughal Empire, in the early 15th century, also influenced some curries, especially in the north. Another influence was the establishment of the Portuguese trading centre in Goa in 1510, resulting in the introduction of chili pepper, tomatoes and potatoes to India from the Americas, as a byproduct of the Columbian Exchange.

The British lumped all sauce-based dishes under the generic name ‘curry’. It was introduced to English cuisine from Anglo-Indian cooking in the 17th century, as spicy sauces were added to plain boiled and cooked meats.[20] Curry was first served in coffee houses in Britain from 1809, and has been increasingly popular in Great Britain, with major jumps in the 1940s and the 1970s.  During the 19th century, curry was carried to the Caribbean by Indian indentured workers in the British sugar industry. Since the mid-20th century, curries of many national styles have become popular far from their origins, and increasingly become part of international fusion cuisine

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