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June 25, 2010

Britain's love affair with Indian curry hits 200-year landmark

London: It's been 200 years, but Brits are still in love with the taste bud-tingling and eye-watering Indian curry. The founder of Hindoostane Coffee House in George Street in 1810 - Sake Dean Mahomed - was the one who acted Cupid. But the real winner who stole the profits was the Veeraswamy, opened by Anglo-Indian Edward Palmer at the British Empire ­Exhibition of 1924 - so popular that it is almost always full even today. The spicy food was a culinary adventure for those who were bored with bland, rationed British food. And quick to follow were the likes of chicken tikka massala, naan bread, Bombay potatoes and lamb pasanda. Starting with 3,500 in 1982, there are 12,000 curry restaurants in Britain today - and Bangladeshis run more than 80 percent of those. Brits spend 5million pounds a day in Indian restaurants. Surprisingly, many so-called Indian dishes originated in Britain, chicken tikka masala, vindaloo, jalfrezi and madras curry, for example. Even one of the earliest known recipes for meat in a spicy sauce, dating from 1700BC, appeared on tablets found near Babylon in Mesopotamia - what is now Iraq. "It has become a deep-rooted part of Britain and its culture," The Mirror quoted Pat Chapman, who runs the 45,000-member Curry Club, as saying about the curry.

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