What makes the Jamaican curry powder so different? After all, it is said to be one of the secret ingredients in all our curried dishes. OK... a quick background first?
Curry powder is a mixture of spices of widely varying composition first developed by the British during their colonial rule of India.
The word "Curry", which was derived from the Indian word "Khari" came from Southern India and refers to a sauce of any kind.Since that introduction in India, curry has almost been synonymous with Indian food.
But before that, the British took the idea back home and the concept spread quickly across the western world. That version however had a different and standardized taste since it did not utilize the fresh spices used in India.
So yes, curry was in this hemisphere for a while but we (Jamaica) were not truly introduced to curry until the Indian indentured servants came here back in the 1830s to work on the sugar plantations.
Today we have scores of curried dishes, and we even have curried food festivals. The Westmoreland Curry Festival held annually back in my birth parish, presents some of the most amazing curry dishes.
I wasn't there last year, but the previous year was incredible! There was curried everything; including curried fruits to curried pudding- seriously! All healthy and tasty though. I only had the curried crab that time -but oh, it was sumptuous!!!
So what makes Jamaican curry different? It is the pimento (allspice), that's what I was told. Grace, the top food brand in Jamaica, had a recipe that showed they used turmeric, fenugreek, coriander, cumin, anise, star-anise, pepper, garlic and of course Pimento.
So grab a jar and start enjoying the true taste of Jamaica.
By the way, be sure you don't miss my page on Jamaican curried chicken. It's one of my favourite!