Curry in our A-Z - Cooking Index
Curry is a catch-all term that describes a wide variety of dishes from across the Indian sub-continent and south-east Asia.
The word curry is thought to derive from the Tamil language of southern India where the word 'kari' is applied to any dish eaten with rice. It is thought that the British traders on the Indian sub-continent adapted the word for any sauce based spicy dish served to them, although there is some evidence that the word 'curry' was used locally before the arrival of those traders. Another school of linguistic thought is that it is a corruption of the word 'kahari' which was a popular cooking vessel in Indian kitchens.
A popular misconception in the west is that all curries are dishes made with the use of curry powder.
Generally speaking, outside Britain curry dishes will be referred to by their local names - eg chicken dhansak rather than chicken curry - and curry is a generic term that applies to a wide range of dishes that have a sauce based on spices or chilli.