We are a nation of curry lovers.
Our No.1. favourite British dish has been voted as the chicken korma, or chicken tikka masala, and at least 23 million people eat curry regularly.
But when did we become a nation of spice lovers?
‘The Forme of Cury’ was published in 1390s an english cookbook written on medieval English manuscripts. It is one of the oldest English cookery books and its authors are listed as ‘the chief Master Cooks of King Richard II. Many recipes contain what were at the time rare and valuable spices, including nutmeg, caraway, mace, coves, ginger, pepper and cardamon.
It is thought that the word curry comes from the Tamil word kari, or spiced sauce, which was originally a thin, soup-like, spiced dressing served in southern India, amongst many other stew-like dressings for meat and vegetables. Europeans took it to mean any one of their thin dressings, and the Portuguese are credited with popularising it after they colonised parts of India – there is a recipe for kari in a 17th Century Portuguese cookery book.
Although it was the Portuguese who ‘discovered’ India, it was the British who brought spice to the whole world, making it accessible to everyone for the first time!
The Art of Cookery made Plain and Easy
However, it’s Hannah Glasse (1708–1770) who holds the record for the oldest British curry recipe – she was the first person to document the curry recipe into a cookery book ‘ the Art of Cookery made Plain and Easy’ first published in 1747.
It was a bestseller for a century after its first publication, dominating the English-speaking market and making Glasse one of the most famous cookbook authors of her time. The book ran through at least 40 editions, many of them were copied without explicit author consent. It was published in Dublin from 1748, and in America from 1805.
Here is a ‘currey’ recipe taken from her book:-
To make a Currey the Indian way
‘Take two small chickens, skin them and cut them as for a fricasey, wash them clean, and stew them in about a quart of water, for about five minutes, then strain off the liquor and put the chickens in a clean dish; take three large onions, chop them small, and fry them in about two ounces of butter, then put in the chickens and fry them together till they are brown take a quarter of an ounce of turmerick, a large spoonful of ginger and beaten pepper together, and a little salt to your palate. Strew all the ingredients over the chickens whilst it is frying, then pour in the liquor, and let it stew about half an hour. Then put in a quarter of a pint of cream, and the juice of two lemons, and serve it up. The ginger, pepper, and turmerick must be beat very fine.’
Visit the Spice Exchange Street Market on Saturday 29th September at the Ginger and Spice Festival 2018! There’s everything from ginger teas, spicy pies, chocolate enrobed ginger, spice-infused jams, ginger scotch eggs, gingerbread, aromatic gin, local real ale, cured gourmet meats as well as a host of ginger-themed delicacies!
Also enjoy delicious street food and spicy drinks too in the Street Food Bazaar in the Clive and Coffyne Beer Garden!
And best of all – it’s completely FREE to attend!
Takes place in & around the Buttercross – Cheshire Street & The Clive and Coffyne Pub Beer Garden, 10am-5pm on Saturday 29th September. Plus live music and other activities.
For more information about the festival, please visit the festival website www.gingerandspicefest.co.uk