Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Paris in July - Paris and Curry?

This is a post for Paris in July.

Paris and Curry? Surely a marriage made in heaven?

I have just posted a blog about my latest, tasty (yes) book; Curry - A Global History by Colleen Taylor Sen (you can read the review here).

The book tells about the relationship between curry and different regions and countries in the world. As we all know it is really a big dish in Britain, but it has conquered quite a lot of other places as well. In fact, the whole world. It is the most famous dish in the world. So, the big question is; what about Paris? Did she take the dish to her heart? Let's see what Taylor Sen has to say about it:

It seems the French were less accepting of the food from their colonies as was the British and the Dutch. One reason could be that France's own cuisine has a long, and strong position. Today it is difficult to find any traces in French food of their long association with India, which lasted until 1954. The first Indian restaurant was not opened until 1975, and then by a member of an Indian government delegation. He was upset about the lack of Indian restaurants in the city. Indian restaurants are outnumbered by restaurants serving North African and Vietnamese food.

The first publish curry recipe came in 1814 by famous restaurateur Antoine Beauvilliers in his cook L'Art de cuisiner. The University of Paris Exhibition of 1889 established a decree what a curry powder should contain: "34 grams of tamarind, 44 grams of onion, 20 grams of coriander, 5 grams of chilli, 3 grams each of turmeric and fenugreek, 3 grams of cumin and 1 gram of mustard seed." The recipe is typical of a south Indian curry powder. In the famous Larousse gastronimique you can find an almost surrealistic (we are in France after all!) mixture of French, British and Indian cuisine. "The onions are sautéed with ham, apples, garlic, thyme, bay leaves, cinnamon, cardamom and powdered mace. Curry powder is then simmered with tomatoes and almond or coconut milk and the dish is finished with a dollop of heavy cream."

So this is a mission for you who live in Paris. What about Indian restaurants today? Are they more common? Popular? Easy to find?

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