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Now the word CURRY is racist: Food blogger says it’s time to cancel the ‘British colonial’ term


Now the word CURRY is racist: Food blogger says it’s time to cancel the ‘British colonial’ term for south-Asian food

  • South Asian American Chaheti Bansal, 27, shares home cooking recipes online
  • She told followers it’s time the word curry fell out of use due to its western origin
  • Ms Bansal says it is used by white people who ‘couldn’t be bothered to learn the actual names’ of Indian dishes and lumps very different  Asian cuisines together

South Asian American food bloggers have called on people to cancel the word curry because of its ties to British colonialism.

In the latest fallout since the increased scrutiny over the country’s imperial history, critics say the word curry is too often used to lump very distinct foods from different regions together. 

Chaheti Bansal, 27, who lives in California and shares her home-cooking online, shared a video recipe where she called on people to ‘cancel the word curry’.

In the video, which has since been viewed more than 3.6million times after it was shared by Buzzfeed Tasty, Bansal added: ‘Not in all cultures but specifically in Indian cuisine because I don’t understand what that word means.

‘There’s a saying that the food in India changes every 100km and yet we’re still using this umbrella term popularised by white people who couldn’t be bothered to learn the actual names of our dishes. But we can still unlearn.’

Food bloggers are calling for the word curry to be cancelled because of it’s British colonial origins and the way it is used by westerners as an umbrella term for very different cuisines

The 27-year-old has since told NBC Asian America it’s not about ‘fully cancelling the word’ and said it’s just about ‘ending its use by people who don’t know what it means’. 

The outlet reports that South Asian American cooks say they’ve spent their lives confronting ‘misconceptions’ about their foods, and now, they just want to celebrate it.

Ms Bansal told NBC: ‘Curry shouldn’t be all that you think about when you think about South Asian food.

Pictured: Chaheti Bansal as featured on her various  social media channels

Pictured: Chaheti Bansal as featured on her various  social media channels

‘You can travel like 100km, and you can get a completely different type of cuisine.

‘And it’s a completely different language and a different culture. And it just goes to show that there’s so much diversity in our food that doesn’t get recognized.’

But she also said that the word is used regularly in South Asian countries.

She added: ‘My partner is Sri Lankan, I have friends that are Malayali, friends that are Tamil, and yes they use the word curry.

‘I enjoy their curry. Even their curry names have very specific traditional names paired with it, or it’s referring to something very specific. But you shouldn’t just lump all of our foods together under this term.’

While there are many different explanations for where the word curry came from, the most popular is that it was invented by the British who misheard the Tamil word ‘kari’ which means ‘sauce’.

It’s first use dates back to the mid-eighteenth century when members of the British East India Trading Company were trading with Tamil merchants in south east India. 

Critics believe the word curry is too often used to lump a wide range of Asian food together

Critics believe the word curry is too often used to lump a wide range of Asian food together

Historically, food offered in British curry houses is Indian food cooked to British taste however, there has been an increasing demand for authentic Indian food.

Some of the most popular dishes in the UK, including chicken tikka masala, were inspired by Indian cuisine but adapted for western tastes, and as a result rarely reflect the traditional dishes made in India. 

Instagram food blogger Nisha Vedi Pawar, 36, echoed Bansal’s sentiment and told NBC: ‘It’s just like for American food. You wouldn’t want everything dipped in like Old Bay right?

‘You wouldn’t want to put everything with good old American French’s mustard. The same way, we don’t put everything in tikka sauce.’ 

Earlier this year, food delivery giant Just Eat revealed Indian was the third takeaway of choice for Brits during 2020, beaten only by Chinese and Pizza. 

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