seabassAs you know, I’m more than happy to be labelled the region’s Curry King. However, I have to confess the nickname isn’t strictly accurate.

That’s because there is an awful lot of confusion about the word ‘curry’. So I thought I’d devote this week’s blog to busting a few myths.

To begin with – and this may come as a surprise to many – most traditional Indian food is not curry.

The word is widely misunderstood. In our part of the world, curry refers to a spice blend that creates a distinctly Indian flavour.

But to people in South Asia, curry refers less to spice and more to the consistency of a dish. To them, curry means ‘gravy’. Indeed, it actually derives from the Tamil word kari, which is a type of gravy.

The Portuguese – who were the first Europeans to ‘discover’ India – began using kari to describe any dish containing Indian spices, and that was later anglicised by British colonialists to become curry.

Those early British pioneers brought home spice mixtures, or masala, that changed our eating habits forever – and made Chicken Tikka Masala the nation’s favourite dish.

Here in the North East, Northumberland woman Hannah Glasse is credited with publishing the first ever curry recipe way back in 1747. We had great fun at Raval a while back when we recreated that dish!

However, it’s quite clear that ‘curry’ has simply become a catch-all word for Indian cuisine that doesn’t really do it justice.Raval Luxury Indian Food Newcastle Gateshead

The word doesn’t even appear on our A La Carte menu – not unless we’re referring specifically to ‘curry leaves’. And one thing you definitely won’t be served at Raval is what I call ‘sloppy curry’ – a dish that’s simply swimming in reddish-brown goo! That’s just not the Raval way.

We take great pride in the presentation of our dishes and aim to make them as authentic as possible, giving customers a true taste of India. And that means the word ‘curry’ is almost nowhere to be seen!


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Mr Raval is known to friends and customers alike as the region’s Curry King. His restaurant has been named ‘Best in the North East’ and has won critical acclaim from leading chefs and food reviewers. He is passionate about sharing his love of authentic Indian cuisine.