Curry houses are a beloved cornerstone on Britain’s high streets, and with good reason, for they have been around for almost two centuries now.
It all began in the 1700s when colonial returnees found themselves longing for the India they had left behind. And while it was impossible to recreate many things - that exotic and exuberant culture, the palpable heat, and the vibrant people – it was possible to emulate the wonderful Indian cuisine, albeit rather poorly. This led to Indian-inspired dishes being served in coffee houses and homes, as ladies did their best with the few spices and condiments available: coriander seeds, salt, peppercorns and lemon juice.
In the end, it would be a young migrant named Dean Mahomed who would finally sate Britain’s hunger for curry when he opened the Hindostanee Coffee House in a wealthy corner of London. Here, diners could reminisce about their adventures on the subcontinent while tucking into rich and decadent dishes that were fragrant and hot, not like the weak imposters available in the home.
This led to a boom in the spice trade, and it is rumoured that the Indian cuisine became so popular that kormas, dopiazas and madras dishes were being eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Over the years our hunger for exotic fare has grown and changed, but nothing will ever satisfy our appetites on a Friday night like an authentic Indian Curry.
Get a little spice in your life with a Friday Night Curry subscription