Whether it’s tucking in to an authentic takeaway, or creamy curries are a long-standing family favourite, Indian food is one of the UK’s most-loved cuisines, writes Will Dann.
The UK has adopted curry as a “national dish”, with more than 9,000 Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi restaurants and the creation of British-Asian dishes such as chicken tikka masala and Balti. Not to mention, according to the National Curry Week website, in 2013, 23 million ate curry regularly and last year statistics revealed by Sainsbury’s showed that Brits spend £30,331 in a lifetime on curry.
As it’s currently National Curry Week (9-15 October), it seems fitting to find out what the most popular curries are in the UK.
With the wide variety available from jalfrezi to the fiery vindaloo, it may come as a surprise but, according to research carried out by Just Eat, not only is korma the most ordered Indian dish on the site, it came out top of a separate poll of the UK’s favourite curry, closely followed by tikka masala.
Also to mark National Curry Week, supermarket Morrison’s has released the hottest ever curry made by a retailer, featuring one of the world’s hottest chilies – the naga chilli.
Here are some essential facts about curry and why it isn’t what you think when it comes to Indian food.
British Indian Curry is cooked differently to the curried dishes of the subcontinent
As British Indian Curry has its origins in foodservice, it deploys wholesale cookery methods, including using a pre-prepared curry paste which is bulked out with vegetables like carrot and cabbage. Indian housewives would traditionally prepare their own curry pastes to shorten daily cookery, these are recipe specific not generic pastes
Chutneys in India are different to the ones in the UK
The British fell in love with chutneys and added vinegar to them to recreate the tart flavours they enjoyed in the absence of the blazing sun and mouth puckering ingredients in India. Indian chutneys are usually freshly cooked and/or raw ingredients blended.
Curry powder is a Western invention
It doesn’t exist in India. Recipe-specific spice mixes are more common. The only ground spice blend used extensively is garam masala and this, too, varies from region to region and home to home.