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Old 12-03-2013, 09:37 AM   #1
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Curry Powder is not actually Indian?

I have discovered this great BBC documentary series on you tube. It it called Rick Stien's India. There are at least 6 episodes of an hour each. I just finished the third one. Apparently, curry powder was invented by the British when they returned home. It was a one spice creation designed to simplify the cooking process to recreate the recipes from India. Most Indians regard it as a horrible abomination.

It is a great series. Watch if for a few minutes and it will have your mouth watering and you will be running to the kitchen to cook something, or Indian grocer to stock up on supplies.

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Old 12-03-2013, 10:33 AM   #2
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That's true. I've always loved Indian food, so a couple of years ago I started taking Indian cooking classes and learning as much as I could about the cuisine. There are many different spice combinations used, and, although you do see some prepackaged blends like garam masala and Bengali panch phoron, most are created specially for each dish. I cringe when I see so-called "Indian" recipes that call for curry powder. It would be the equivalent of using BBQ powder to create all the subtle variations in barbeque seasonings.

India is a huge country, and there are also a lot of regional dishes that vary from place to place. The difference between northern and southern dishes is very striking, and there are some interesting recipes from places like Goa, where pork is used quite a bit.

Curry powder does have its place, though. Just not in Indian cooking.
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Old 12-03-2013, 10:41 AM   #3
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In the third episode they feature one region that prides itself on using nearly no spices in their cooking. One guy prepares a chicken korma using very little, if any. He uses tons of onions, over one cup, ginger, garlic, though.
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Old 12-03-2013, 04:03 PM   #4
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It was reading about the making of curries that made me buy a spice grinder and whole spices. The differences between different types of curry I found amazing. One of the better sites for Indian recipes I find is Mamta's - home cooking at it's best.

Mamta's Kitchen
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Old 12-03-2013, 05:04 PM   #5
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Thanks for the link Roch. I just watched the whole episode and "subscribed" to it.

Those heavy duty blenders that they use to grind spices, etc. are called "mixies". They are more expensive in 110 volts than in the 220 volts used in India.
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Old 12-03-2013, 05:27 PM   #6
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Blending spices in the pan makes every dish a little different. A spice tiffin in on my Christmas list this year (love indian food)



This one: Spice Tiffin | indianasapplepie

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Old 12-03-2013, 06:07 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Janet H View Post
Blending spices in the pan makes every dish a little different. A spice tiffin in on my Christmas list this year (love indian food)

This one: Spice Tiffin | indianasapplepie
That is cool, Janet!

I will definitely have to check out your link, Rock. I do remember reading somewhere that curry powder was British invention.
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Old 12-03-2013, 08:23 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocklobster View Post
I have discovered this great BBC documentary series on you tube. It it called Rick Stien's India. There are at least 6 episodes of an hour each. I just finished the third one. Apparently, curry powder was invented by the British when they returned home. It was a one spice creation designed to simplify the cooking process to recreate the recipes from India. Most Indians regard it as a horrible abomination.

It is a great series. Watch if for a few minutes and it will have your mouth watering and you will be running to the kitchen to cook something, or Indian grocer to stock up on supplies.
Well, yes. When the Brits lived in India even lower level expats would have had several kitchen "wallahs" but when they left India they rarely had a houseful of servants in England to prepare their food and if they had a cook she wouldn't have the knowledge to prepare the individual spices for "curries" even if she could easily obtain them.

The trouble with prepared "curry powder" is that it is often used as a "one size fits all" mix whereas different recipes actually require different combinations of spices.

Curry comes from a generic word meaning "sauce" and isn't specifically a dish in its own right in India or Pakistan, as it has evolved in the west.
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Old 01-13-2014, 07:36 PM   #9
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You have to remember this is a TV show so take it with a pinch of salt. I love Rick Steins show's and books but even he is guilty of misrepresenting. Indians use powders.

I also took issue with his offense at the use of the "curry" word. There is a distinction between UK "curries" and Indian "curries" and they really aren't similar, so I don't know why he took issue with the word. Curry is as much English as Indian.

We also owe a large debt to small region of south American for providing the chilli and the tomato. The Indians have the Portuguese to thank for the chilli just as the Japanese have the English to thank for the curry. 100 years ago Indians would have used peppers not chilli for heat, so we can say that curry has evolved massively in the last 100 years.

Anyways, powders are especially popular here in the UK, and we use them for BIR style curries. What I find is that most often for these dishes you do not use a powder as a "single spice" but create you create your own blend from a combination of powdered spices, turmeric, cumin, etc.
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Old 11-29-2014, 07:56 PM   #10
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I like to get an economical curry powder (Blue Mountain is good) from an Afro- Caribbean store and then add about 1/4 garam masala. It would probably work even with dollar-store curry powder.

I also have lots of emptied spice jars with other "curry" powders that I purchased in small boxes from an Indian food store (Indians probably use the whole box for one pot of curry). I cut out the label with the name and ingredients and tape it to the jar.

Always save your shaker jars. They sell them at Bed Bath and Beyond but they are overpriced and the holes are too large for most spices.
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