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5min read

World Vegan Month 2020: Curry Around The World

by Toni Olukiran

5min read

November is world vegan month, created to raise awareness of and celebrate veganism globally. In this series, we look at the diversity of specific foods across different cultures and share some of our favourite vegan variations.

Food is one of the most fascinating ways of navigating and learning about the history of many cultures, and curry is one of the prime examples of this. Curry is a dish that is so integral to so many cuisines and cultures that it's almost impossible to pin down what exactly it is. 

It’s also unique for a food group to become such a staple food across these cultures, working itself to be an integral part of national cuisines despite it being Indian in origin. This is due to the massive Indian diaspora globally, as well as its colonial past. For example, in the West Indies where curry is integral to cooking, there is a significant Indo-Caribbean population particularly in countries such as Guyana. 

On the other hand, some countries like Japan or Korea have in turn adopted curry into national cuisine not through a significant Indian population but rather through another country with exposure to Indian curries. The British popularised curry around the world when India was under British rule, leaving an interesting and lasting legacy through the national dishes of Japan. (Fact alert: curry is eaten more widely in Japan than the native sushi!). Though curry is prepared differently and uses a range of ingredients across various countries (and even households), it is still intrinsically linked to Indian cooking.

So what does curry look like around the world?


Meera Sodha's vegetable sambar


The birthplace of curry, Indian cooking consists of an innumerable amount of curries, as there are variations between different regions. The many different curries that have become popularised elsewhere have its roots in traditional dishes like daal, butter chicken and saag aloo. We love Meera Sodha’s Vegetable sambar with coconut and tamarind for a taste of South Indian cuisine. 


bowl of Thai green curry

Thai curries do not derive from Indian cooking; they are labelled as curries by the western world but the Thai red and green curries we are familiar with are traditionally called Kaeng. Thai curries are native to Thailand and are referred to as curries because they resemble South Asian curries in consistency and ingredients (ie. use of meat, fish of vegetables). You can make our vegan version inspired by the traditional Thai Green curry or Kaeng khiao wan for a zingy, creamy dinner here.

The Caribbean

bowl of jamaican curry with rice

Lots of countries and territories across the Caribbean cook curries frequently, where it is a big part of the national cuisines. Curried meats, fish and vegetables are direct influences from Indian cooking, often wrapped in roti which is another direct influence from South Asian cooking. Try our sweet potato and black bean curry for a vegan version of the Jamaican staple. 


Katsu curry in dish

Japan’s history with curry is interesting as it only became popularised in restaurants and supermarkets in the late 60s, however, it has since become one of its most popular national dishes and even exports. Many of us love kare katsu (katsu curry, looking at you, Wagamama), and it’s popular in Japan alongside kare raisu. It’s different to the curries of other countries, as the base is a roux. Flour, oil and the curry spice are fried together which makes it far thicker than the Indian curries it is inspired by. 

The UK

bowl of daal next to bowl of limes

The UK loves Indian curry, and the nation's favourites — tikka masala and korma — are a British interpretation of the original and traditional butter chicken typically eaten in Delhi. Indian-inspired curries are eaten often in lots of British households, and if you’re looking for a vegan version of a hearty curry, we’ve got you covered with this daal

And if you want a curry without the cooking, we’ve got plenty of those at allplants. Bhaji daal, Cauli Tikka Masala and lots more are ready for you to heat and eat.

Know of any other cuisines that love cooking with curry? Let us know in the comments!


By Toni Olukiran
Toni Olukiran

Toni is one of our lovely Content Marketing Assistants, and when she’s not writing posts about everything from Jamaican cooking to vegan champagne, she’s making a Spotify playlist (she was at 200, at her last count) or playing tennis in the park.

Read more from Toni

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