Thursday 27 November 2003
A curry can be defined as a dish made with spices, cooked in oil with a sauce made from puréed onions, garlic and ginger.
Here are some more tasty facts and figures:
- The origin of the word 'curry' can be traced back to the Tamil word 'kari' meaning spiced sauce.
- Indian food is the UK's favourite cuisine. In the latest keynote survey, retail sales accounted for 42% of total sales of ethnic foods and was valued at £250 million.
- The term 'curry' isn't really used in India. There are many types of curry style dishes, which have characteristic regional variations.
- One of the earliest known recipes for meat in a spicy sauce appeared on tablets found near Babylon in Mesopotamia, dated about 1700 BC.
- The Indian food industry in the UK is worth £3.2 billion and accounts for two-thirds of all eating out.
- The first commercial curry powder appeared in about 1780.
- Britain's first curry house opened in 1809. Called the Hindustani Coffee House and located in London's Portman Square.
- Indian food now surpasses Chinese food in popularity, with Indian restaurants outnumbering Chinese restaurants by two to one.
- Indian restaurants in Britain serve about 2.5 million customers every week.
- Chicken tikka masala remains the most popular Indian dish. It's thought to originate in Britain after an enterprising Indian chef had the idea of adding a tomato and onion paste to the grilled chicken – to satisfy the British preference for food that isn't dry.
- There are about 9,000 Indian curry houses in the UK, employing an estimated 70,000 staff.
- In London alone there are more Indian restaurants than in Bombay and Delhi.
- The word 'balti' means bucket.
- On average we each eat 4.4 kg of rice every year, according to data from the Rice Association.
- The latest keynote survey reported that curry fans spent £480 per minute in supermarkets and a leading supermarket sells 1.1 million packets of chicken tikka masala each year.
- It is estimated that ethnic food sales will reach £792 million by the end of 2003.
- Scientists at Nottingham Trent University have discovered that people begin to crave for a curry because the spices arouse and stimulate the taste buds.