In Season… Off For A Ruby
by Robert Veitch
National Curry Week falls on 10-16th October this year, so what better excuse do you need to tuck into your favourite ruby murray?
The word – curry – is derived from the Tamil word Kari, which in itself means sauce. Using the word curry on the Indian subcontinent may well be met with strange looks because each state has their own regional cuisine, none of which are called curry. There are as many variations of “curry” as there are types of beer to accompany your King Prawn Bhuna.
Members of the British East India Company first encountered what we call curry in the mid 17th Century, in India. The meal became popular amongst the British Raj and recipes returned home with civil servants and the military. Back then the sauce was lightly seasoned with ground pepper and cumin seeds. Further seasoning, chillies and greater heat levels would come with time, eventually developing into the extremes of madras, vindaloo and phall that some of you might like, and enjoy.
Queen Victoria was said to like the odd poppadom, although whether they came before a korma or dopiaza is something she kept to herself.
After WWII and the end of Empire, an influx of immigrants from the Indian subcontinent discovered they could earn a living retailing curry. One thing led to another and before you knew it, about a fifth of all UK restaurants were curry houses.
If ever there was an excuse to enjoy a ruby seven nights in a row, National Curry Week is it. And if you’re wondering where the rhyming slang of ruby murray comes from, Ruby Murray was a Belfast born singer, popular back in the 1950s who allegedly performed in London’s famous Brick Lane. Now, I’m heading out for a jalfrezi, would you care to join me?