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How to Celebrate National Curry Week in the US

Updated: Oct 6, 2023



Curry in Camden Market London: Wix Media



National Curry Week is celebrated in the UK from October 2-9. The holiday recognizes Indian restaurants, and Its workers and focuses on raising money for the poor. Why not celebrate the holiday in the US and support local businesses.


A Brief History of Curry


A journalist named Peter Grove created the holiday in October 1998 because he loved curry. Curry is a spicy dish or stew associated with Indian cuisine and several other cultures. It existed in India over 4,000 years ago. The British defined curry as any dish with sauces. In Britian they served curry in coffee houses starting in 1809. It was a favorite dish of British soldiers stationed in India.


Curry is a stew is made with lamb, chicken, pork, seafood or vegetables with a spicy sauce with varying degrees of heat. Indian curry has several vegetarian curry recipes too. In India, curry is served for lunch with flatbread.


Source: Wikipedia

Britian traded with India in the 1600's and established ports and colonies in India primarily for the purpose of trading. In 1757 the British began to seize land. They ruled India and other countries by force and by colonization.


Britian established the East India Company because they were interested in the trade of cotton, silk, tea and opium. They made and sold prepacked curry powder in India, Europe, and the United States.


Britian promoted curry and that's why it became an international dish. Britian ruled India until the 1940s when India revolted and finally became independent after years of struggle and revolt.


The British during their reign in India focused on incorporating elements of Indian cooking into the British cooking as way to colonize the country and rule India. Indian curry has some ingredients introduced by British colonists in the recipes like chiles, potatoes, and tomatoes.


While the British became wealthy from the trade many Indian people lived in poverty. The British had Indian servants and laborers working on their estates during these times. In the 1800's the British tried to eliminate their cultural practices in India with British culture.


When India became free of British rule, they criticized the use of pre-made curry powder in Indian cooking. Madhur Jaffrey, an Indian and British chef and travel writer, said using premade curry would make all the recipes taste the same. She says that Indian dishes all have distinctive flavors and spices. She is author of Curry Nation and the Ultimate Curry Bible.


Curry is an international dish made in many countries like South Asia, Malaysia, Japan, Africia, India and Thailand. The sauce has chilies, ginger, turmeric, garlic, black pepper, and other spices. Most of us associate curry dishes with India.


Indians from India immigrated to the United States in the 1920s and started restaurants. Many restaurants that opened in the 1950's focused on British curry recipes.


In the 1970's Indian restaurants and chefs started to cook heavy stews using meat, chicken or fish adding chilies and their own special seasonings. These dishes were served with grilled bread. This changed the perception of Indian food, and it became very popular in the United States. Today you will find many Indian restaurants in towns and cities in the United States.



Source: Delhi Rohit Dassani Indian Restaurant in New Delhi India

Ways to Celebrate National Curry Week in the United States


  • Go out to eat at a local Indian restaurant in your town or city. Try a curry dish you never had or another entree. Invite some friends and family to go with you to dine.

  • Order takeout food at the restaurant and eat the meal at home with family or friends if you prefer. You are still supporting your local restaurants.

  • Buy a curry kit at your local supermarket and make it a home. Patak's Original Sells Curry Kits in the United States at Stop and Shop, Walmart, and Big Y. They have some ingredients and instruction on how to make the dish. Street Kitchen sells curry kit found in Walmart's.

  • Look for a simple curry recipe online, shop for the ingredients and make it at home for family or friends. Good sites for curry recipes are Feast With Safiya, The Curry Guy, and Hari Gota


Lamb Curry: 99 Cent Chef



Spicy Hot Lamb Curry



You will need a medium sized frying pan, knife, cutting board, measuring spoons, plate, grater, container, soap and warm water.


Ingredients:


1 medium sized white onion peeled and diced fine

1 tablespoon avocado oil

2 dried or fresh jalapeno peppers or 1 habanero pepper seeds removed for extra heat

1-1/2 pounds of shoulder blade lamb chops cut into cubes bones removed

1/4 cup or more of vegetable broth

1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon chopped garlic

2 tablespoon tomato sauce

1 tablespoon plain yogurt


Instructions:


Wash the onion and remove the skin discard. Dice the onion into small pieces. Put avocado oil into the frying pan and add onion. Put burner on medium heat. Cut dried peppers and remove seeds. Chop into bite size pieces and add to onion.

Let cook for about five minutes.


Meanwhile on cutting board cut lamb chops into small pieces for stew. Remove bone and excessive fat. Bones can be frozen in container or plastic bags to make bone broth. Add the cut lamb to the pan and stir with wooden spoon. Let it cook until browned and add broth to keep from drying out. Wash the cutting board with warm soap and water after cutting meat.


On a plate grate about 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, add other spices paprika, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and turmeric. Add spices to the frying pan and mix in well. Add 1 teaspoon chopped garlic, tomato sauce, and stir in 1 tablespoon of yogurt. Cook about 20 minutes on low adding broth as needed. Serves 2


Make white or brown rice on the side to serve with the curry. Make according to package directions. Serve on the side with curry.


Tips: For those that want milder curry use jalapeno peppers and cut spices to 1/2 a teaspoon.



Lamb Curry: Flicker Pelican April 2012


References:


What Is Curry? It's A Surprising Story of Many Flavors and Cultures, by Vidya Rao, July 2021, Today


Curry: Origins History and Recipes Using Indian Spices by Michele Becchi, Gambero Rosso, February 2022


The Subversive Surprising History of Curry Powder by Rohini Chaki, April 9, 2019, Atlas Obscura


The British Raj in India, by Kallie Szczepanski, January 2020, Thought Company


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