The origins of highly spiced meat dishes are lost in pre-historic times. Archaeological evidence dating to 2,600 BC suggests the use of mortar and pestle to pound a variety of spices including mustard, fennel, cumin, and tamarind pods which were used in food preparation.
A normal diet in early India consisted of fruit, vegetables, grain, eggs, dairy products, honey, and sometimes meat. The advent of Buddism persuaded many segments of the population to embrace vegetarianism.
An equitable climate allowed for a considerable variety of fruit, vegetables, and grains to be grown throughout the year.
Somewhere about this time the consumption of beef also became taboo, due to cattle being considered sacred in Hinduism. Even today many Indians continue to follow this belief, making the use of beef in Indian cuisine something of a rarity in its country of origin.
It is thought the new Indian ‘style’ was then carried eastward towards Burma, Thailand, and China by Buddhist monks sometime around the 7th century, then south towards Indonesia and the Philippines via coastal traders.
During the Middle Ages travellers to India introduced many new cooking methods and products to the region, including tea and spices and the 16th century Mughal Empire is believed to have transformed much of older Indian cuisines with the arrival of the Chili pepper to India via Portugese traders.
Since the mid-19th century, curry has rapidly increased in popularity in the U.K.
Also at around this time the fast growing sugar industry took many British/Indian workers to the Caribbean and naturally curry went with them.
With the passage of time the favoured elements became fused with the local cuisine of their new homes to create countless new and imaginative dishes. To Pakistan and beyond . . .