Food blogger sparks debate with call to stop using word curry ‘popularised by lazy white people’

A South Asian blogger has called on people to stop using the word “curry” to describe Indian dishes over claims it is rooted in British colonialism.

Chaheti Bansal, a 27-year-old food blogger, posted a recipe on Instagram in June and called on people to “cancel the word ‘curry.’”

In the clip, which has been viewed over 3 million times, she says the term has, for quite some time, been misused by “white people” to depict any dish made in India.

“There’s a saying that the food in India changes every 100km and yet we’re still using this umbrella term popularised by white people who couldn’t be bothered to learn the actual names of our dishes,” she claims. “But we can still unlearn.”

She further told NBC News that “curry shouldn’t be all that you think about when you think about South Asian food.”

Bansal clarified that she did not want the word to be entirely cancelled, instead, it is about “ending its use by people who don’t know what it means”.

Chef Sanjyot Singh Keer, a former producer of MasterChef India, also highlighted that Indian cuisine is “much more than just curry.”

He told The Independent that the word “curry” was introduced by the British. “Some say that it is an anglicised version of the word ‘Kari’ (which itself means different things from in every region, ranging from “side dish” to “blackened”) which is Tamil.”

“Our food cannot be summed up with that word and our cuisine is an amalgamation of so many different cultures prevalent in India,” said Keer, who is also a content creator and founder of Your Food Lab.

He also suggested that people from around the world should “come to India” and try the local food themselves, which “will surely change their perspective.”

“Indian food is much more than a spiced gravy liquid dish which is referred to as curry.”

Apart from the usage of the word “curry”, Bansal also talked about “diversity” in Indian food that “doesn’t get recognised”.

“My partner is Sri Lankan, I have friends that are Malayali, friends that are Tamil, and yes they use the word curry,” she said. “I enjoy their curry. Even their curry names have very specific traditional names paired with them, or it’s referring to something very specific. But you shouldn’t just lump all of our foods together under this term.”

Food blogger Nisha Vedi Pawar, who goes by the username @lovelaughmirch on Instagram, agreed with Bansal.

She told NBC South Asia: “It’s just like for American food. You wouldn’t want everything dipped in like Old Bay right?”

“You wouldn’t want to put everything with good old American French’s mustard. The same way, we don’t put everything in a tikka sauce,” she said.