Curry recipe discovered in 220-year-old cookbook marks birth of Britain's obsession with Indian food

The book contains other recipes popular during the Georgian period, including boiled calf’s head, turtle soup and Sally Lunn bread bun

A recipe for chicken curry has been discovered in an English cookbook from more than 200 years ago in one of the earliest examples of the birth of the national obsession with Indian cuisine.

The hand-written recipe, which includes chicken, rice powder, curry powder and veal gravy, was one of 142 in a book created by the cook at Begbrook House near Bristol in 1793, The Daily Telegraph reported.

It was found by monks after a private collection of books was donated to Downside Abbey in Radstock, Somerset, by descendants of the family who lived at Begbrook, which was burned down by suffragettes in 1913.

The recipe book could now be published because of the level of public interest in it.

Dr Simon Johnson, keeper of the Abbey's archives and library, told the Telegraph: “You can tell it’s been very well used. It’s in a pretty good condition, but there are a few splatters of something or other all over it.”

The book contains other recipes popular at the time, including boiled calf’s head, turtle soup and Sally Lunn bread bun.

“It’s in the hand of the actual cook and there’s a variety of recipes such as plum loaf and how to cure a ham,” Dr Johnson said.

“It seems to be a working kitchen cookbook as opposed to being for special occasions.

“It’s evoked so much interest because it’s a Georgian, Regency cookbook. I think people are generally interesting in the more domestic parts of history. The social history is forgotten - the day-to-day running of a house.”

However the curry recipe is not the oldest on record, a title held by one written by a cook called Hannah Glasse in 1747.

Comments