Curry is one of the most widely used—and misused—terms in the culinary lexicon. Outside of India, the word curry is often used as a catchall to describe any Indian dish or Indian food in general, yet it is rarely used within the country. Curry answers the question, ‘What is curry?’ with a lively historical and descriptive account of a dish that has many incarnations.
In this global history, food writer Colleen Taylor Sen describes in detail the Anglo-Indian origins of curry and how this widely used spice has been adapted throughout the world. Exploring the curry universe beyond India and Great Britain, her chronicles include the elegant, complex curries of Thailand; the exuberant curry/rotis of the Caribbean; kari/raisu, Japan’s favourite comfort food; Indonesian gulais and rendang; Malaysia’s delicious Nonya cuisine; and exotic Western hybrids such as American curried chicken salad, German currywurst, and Punjabi-Mexican-Hindu pizza. Along the way, Sen unravels common myths about curry and Indian food and illuminates the world of curry with excerpts from popular songs, literary works, historical and modern recipes, and illustrations depicting curry dishes and their preparations.
A vibrant, flavourful book about a food that is increasingly becoming ubiquitous, Curry will find a wide readership.
India has always been part of the global economy. For thousands of years, the subcontinent was the centre of a vast network of land and sea trade routes—conduits for plants, ingredients, dishes and cooking techniques to and from the rest of the world. Foreign visitors have long marvelled at India’s agricultural bounty, including its ancient indigenous plants, such as lentils, mangoes, turmeric and pepper, all of which have been central to the Indian diet for thousands of years.
Today, Indian food in its many incarnations has become a world cuisine. This reflects an increased awareness of the virtues of a traditional Indian diet, especially the centrality of fruits, vegetables and grains and the extensive use of spices, the benefits of which have been confirmed by modern science.
Yet what is it that makes Indian food so recognizably Indian, and how did it get that way? Feasts and Fasts: A History of Food in India is an exploration of Indian cuisine in the context of the country’s religious, moral, social and philosophical development. It addresses topics such as dietary prescriptions and proscriptions, the origins of vegetarianism, culinary borrowings and innovations, the use of spices and the inseparable links between diet, health and medicine. It also looks at special foods for festivals, street foods and the splendour of Mughal feasts. This lavishly illustrated book gives a mouth-watering tour of India’s regional cuisines, containing numerous recipes to interest and excite readers.