Curry was introduced to Japan by the British. The British brought curry from India back to Britain and introduced it to Japan after it ended its policy of self-isolation. Curry in Japan is categorized as a Western dish

Curry

“Bhuna” redirects here. For the place, see Bhuna, Fatehabad. For other uses, see Curry (disambiguation).

Curry is a variety of dishes originating in the Indian subcontinent that use a complex combination of spices or herbs, usually including ground turmeric, cumin, coriander, ginger, and fresh or dried chilies. In southern India, where the word originated, curry leaves, from the curry tree, are also an integral ingredient. Curry is generally prepared in a sauce.

There are many varieties of dishes called “curries.” For example, in original traditional cuisines, the precise selection of spices for each dish is a matter of national or regional cultural tradition, religious practice, and, to some extent, family preference. Such dishes a… Continue Reading (30 minute read)

4 thoughts on “Curry was introduced to Japan by the British. The British brought curry from India back to Britain and introduced it to Japan after it ended its policy of self-isolation. Curry in Japan is categorized as a Western dish”

  1. Gemmabeta

    Curry started out in the Imperial Japanese Navy. The naval rations of the day was almost entirely white rice*, and the diet was giving sailors beriberi (thiamine/vitamin B1 deficiency). During the worst days in the late 1800s, about 1/3 of the IJN naval personnel was actively dying of beriberi at any given time. So basically, a ship captain was in a constant race against time to finish his mission and get his men back on land before they all die.

    English-style curry was cheap, and it contained enough flour and meat to provide sufficient thiamine. Friday is still curry day in the modern Japanese Navy.


    *In the IJN, back around 1850-1950, all food and drink was rationed/you have to pay for out of your own salary, but sailors were specifically permitted to eat (for free) unlimited amounts of white rice, which for a poor Japanese peasant from 1850s was an unimaginable luxury, so people would gorge themselves on it and little else.

    The guy who introduced curry and thiamine-fortified foods for the IJN literally wagered his head on the new experimental diet:

    > Tsukuba [the IJN ship chosen to test the rations] set out on Feb. 2, 1884. Kanehiro Takaki was uneasy. He had promised the emperor success—his life was on the line. “I would have immediately committed harakiri, begging pardon for the great mistake,” he said when asked what he would have done in the event of failure. But Takaki needn’t have worried. A telegram followed in September. “Not one patient; set your mind at ease.”

  2. windingtime

    I’m not a food historian, but I wonder if that’s why japanese curry has a bit of a western brown gravy taste to it.

  3. lylekay

    Indian food is the national cuisine in Britain.

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