Spice Lounge Kitchen | The History of Curry in Britain - Spice Lounge Kitchen
4th August 2016

The History of Curry in Britain

One of the favourite dishes of our country is curry – it has become a British institution over its long history. Whether it’s sitting down in a curry house or ordering from your favourite takeaway, Indian cuisine is undoubtedly the country’s favourite. This, however, hasn’t always been the case.
So, how did Britain come to love curry so much?

Origin of the Name

The word curry is now ubiquitous for the entire menu of a restaurant or establishment with a selection of Indian cuisine. However, this word does not share its origins with the food it describes. As early as the 1400s all hot food was known as ‘cury’, which is from the French word cuire, which means to cook. The modern form has been adapted from this word and also the Tamil word kari, which describes a spiced sauce that the food is usually made up of.

The First British Curry

In 1747 the first curry recipe was published by Hannah Glasse. It was a hugely different recipe to how we know it today – more an English stew with a touch of rice added into the mix than an Indian sauce with a rice accompaniment. This was usually cooked with chicken or rabbit and several spices. It was not until the introduction of chilli peppers from Mexico and South America that the modern curry started to form. It revolutionised the recipe, making it the phenomenon that it is today and bringing the cuisine to the worldwide stage.

Curry Houses

The entrepreneur Sake Dean Mahomed opened the first curry house in 1810. This was known as the Hindoostanee Coffee House, though curries had been served in coffee houses around London for some time before that. More ‘upscale’ restaurants developed in the early twentieth century; Veeraswamy in London’s Regent Street was one such restaurant that opened in 1926 and stands as the oldest surviving Indian restaurant in Britain. The menus in these establishments were often inspired by the wider South Asian cuisine and adapted for British tastes. However, the desire for more authentic Indian cuisine has become more and more the norm in modern curry houses.

So, do you want to explore the world of authentic Indian cuisine and experience the deep history behind every forkful? Don’t hesitate to book a table and explore the wonderful world of curry here at Spice Lounge. Simply call us on 0131 476 9999, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter to keep up to date with all of our latest news and updates!