"Curry" and its origins?

Geeta Bharathan geeta at LIFE.BIO.SUNYSB.EDU
Thu Feb 5 16:53:34 UTC 1998

On Wed, 4 Feb 1998, Pierre-Sylvain Filliozat wrote:

> Knowledge about curry came in Europe right from the beginning of 16th
> century through the Portuguese, most probably from Goa region.

This was exactly my problem with the OED's derivation of curry from the
Tamil word kaRi, since in almost the same breath (or was it Hobson
Jobson?) they talk of it being first used as "caril" by the Portugese.
Given that the Portugese landed on the west, and not east, it was a little
difficult to reconcile these two etymologies.

So it seemed like it had to be  either

  Dravidian (koDagu?) kaRi--> Portugese caril --> English curry
  Tamil kaRi --> English curry ; AND west coast kaRi --> Portugese caril.

 The name in
> Kanna.da is ka.di. There is a kind of cookery book in medieval Kanna.da,
> entitled Suupa 'saastra, composed by Mangaarasa in the 15th century. It
> describes ka.di as a preparation consisting of balls of uLu.n.du (Phaseolus
> radiatus) and rice well ground, mixed in equal quantity with salt, pepper,
> cumin, curry-leaves and coriander; the ball is fried in oil; and when
> cold,it is dripped in butter-milk.

This is fascinating, but I have a problem with suggesting this as the
origin of the western concept of "curry", since this ka.di is a very
specific dish, not the coverall concept of a


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