What is curry? Today, the word describes a bewildering number of spicy vegetable and meat stews from places as far-flung as the Indian subcontinent, the South Pacific, and the Caribbean Islands.
But the original curry predates Europeans’ presence in India by about 4,000 years. Villagers living at the height of the Indus civilization used three key curry ingredients—ginger, garlic, and turmeric—in their cooking. This proto-curry, in fact, was eaten long before Arab, Chinese, Indian, and European traders plied the oceans in the past thousand years.