1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Curry

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CURRY. (1) (Through the O. Fr. correier, from Late Lat. conredare, to make ready, prepare; a later form of the French is courroyer, and modern French is corroyer), to dress a horse by rubbing down and grooming with a comb; to dress and prepare leather already tanned. The currier pares off roughnesses and inequalities, makes the leather soft and pliable, and gives it the necessary surface and colour (see Leather). The word “currier,” though early confused in origin with “to curry,” is derived from the Late Lat. coriarius, a leather dresser, from corium, hide. The phrase “to curry favour,” to flatter or cajole, is a 16th century corruption of “to curry favel,” i.e. a chestnut horse. This older phrase is an adaptation of an Old French proverbial expression estriller fauvel, and is paralleled in German by the similar den fahlen Hengst streichen. A chestnut or fallow horse seems to have been taken as typical of deceit and trickery, at least since the appearance of a French satirical beast romance the Roman de fauvel (1310), the hero of which is a counterpart of Reynard the Fox (q.v.).

(2) A name applied to a great variety of seasoned dishes, especially those of Indian origin. The word is derived from the Tamil kari, a sauce or relish for rice. In the East, where the staple food of the people consists of a dish of rice, wheaten cakes, or some other cereal, some kind of relish is required to lend attraction to this insipid food; and that is the special office of curry. In India the following are employed as ingredients in curries: anise, coriander, cumin, mustard and poppy seeds; allspice, almonds, assafoetida, butter or ghee, cardamoms, chillies, cinnamon, cloves, cocoa-nut and cocoanut milk and oil, cream and curds, fenugreek, the tender unripe fruit of Buchanania lancifolia, cheroonjie nuts (the produce of another species, B. latifolia), garlic and onions, ginger, lime-juice, vinegar, the leaves of Bergera Koenigii (the curry-leaf tree), mace, mangoes, nutmeg, pepper, saffron, salt, tamarinds and turmeric.

The cumin and coriander seeds are generally used roasted. The various materials are cleaned, dried, ground, sifted, thoroughly mixed and bottled. In the East the spices are ground freshly every day, which gives the Indian curry its superiority in flavour over dishes prepared with the curry-powders of the European market.