In 2019, ubiquitous Japanese curry house chain CoCo Ichibanya restaurant announced plans to bring its popular “curry rice” to (CNN) – India in 2020. It might seem counter-intuitive to eat CoCo Ichibanya’s relatively mild, sweet Japanese dish in the land of curry.
Curry is not a single spice, nor is it related to the namesake curry tree (though the leaves are used in many dishes in India).
The catch-all umbrella term refers to a “spiced meat, fish or vegetable stew,” either freshly prepared as a powder or spice paste or purchased as a ready-made mixture,” writes Colleen Sen in her book “Curry: A Global History.”
According to Sen’s book, the word curry most likely comes from a misunderstanding of the southern Indian word “kari,” which “denoted a spiced dish of sauteed vegetables and meat.”
Curry, which is thought to have originated as early as 2500 BCE in what is modern-day Pakistan, has since evolved into a truly global food, having traveled the world through colonization and immigration, indentured labor, trade and entrepreneurship.