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Curry is a transcultural food: which is to say, it derives from the cuisine of one culture (that of India), but did not actually exist in that culture, only coming into being as a result of crossing over into another - namely British culture. The source recipe seems to be Garam Masala (though that means little as the dish varies considerably from place to place), while the name ("kari", with a flat Indic /a/, like the "u" in "up") is the Tamil word for a sauce; so that points at a Southern Indian original. As the earliest curry recipe in English dates from 1747, we are certainly looking at a very old take-up of the dish into British culture, actually antedating the Raj. The British Army are known to have popularised curries as the perfect antidote to an icy winter's morning, and as the British Army went nearly everywhere during the 19th Century, they unsurprisingly took the curry with them - not just all over the Empire, but to their hearts and, eventually, to the inner sanctum of British popular culture, where it has remained ever since.

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