Northern Indic Kari/kaRhi and Tamil kaari

lcfatima

Senior Member
English USA
The English word 'curry,' though not traditionally used to mean wet gravy in any desi language, must come from Tamil kaaRi (which I believe means saalan, tari, rassa, jhol, like we discussed here).

Platts says kaRhi and curry probably come from tarkaari. (We also discussed tarkaari) We concluded that tarkaari means vegetables. I think it also means a dish of cooked vegetables, like sabzi or bhaaji have both implications.

We have kaRhi plants from which we take kaRhi patte. We also have a dish called kaRhi, which contains kaRhi patte invariably as far as I know, and is made with chickpea flour (besan) and usually some type of dairy like buttermilk or yoghurt (though there are dairy free versions).

The issue I keep coming back to is that Tamil has kaaRi. Wouldn't it be that non-Dravidian kaRi/kaRhi usage is connected to the Tamil? Maybe they are cognates?

Or do you think kaRhi comes from tarkaari as Platts asserts? Platts also mentions kaari, as in kaari-bhaat. I haven't ever heard of this kaari, although I think I may have heard some people saying kaRhi as kaRi with no aspiration. I also wonder where the word kaRhaai/kaRaahi (the cooking vessel) fits in the picture.
 
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  • Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    The English word 'curry,' though not traditionally used to mean wet gravy in any desi language, must come from Tamil kaaRi (which I believe means saalan, tari, rassa, jhol, like we discussed here).

    Platts says kaRhi and curry probably come from tarkaari. (We also discussed tarkaari) We concluded that tarkaari means vegetables. I think it also means a dish of cooked vegetables, like sabzi or bhaaji have both implications.

    We have kaRhi plants from which we take kaRhi patte. We also have a dish called kaRhi, which contains kaRhi patte invariably as far as I know, and is made with chickpea flour (besan) and usually some type of dairy like buttermilk or yoghurt (though there are dairy free versions).

    The issue I keep coming back to is that Tamil has kaaRi. Wouldn't it be that non-Dravidian kaRi/kaRhi usage is connected to the Tamil? Maybe they are cognates?

    Or do you think kaRhi comes from tarkaari as Platts asserts? Platts also mentions kaari, as in kaari-bhaat. I haven't ever heard of this kaari, although I think I may have heard some people saying kaRhi as kaRi with no aspiration. I also wonder where the word kaRhaai/kaRaahi (the cooking vessel) fits in the picture.

    muHtaramah Fatima SaaHibah salaam.

    For a moment I thought I was reading a passage from a cookery book! I am afraid, I can't offer too much help on this topic but I shall be brave and have a go.

    I do have Tamil friends whom I shall be seeing in the near future. I will try to remember and ask them about kaaRii. Regarding "kaRhii patte", I have been told by a reliable source that the word is "karii patte" and that these leaves are not connected with cooking "kaRhii" because they are almost exclusively added to daals and vegetables.

    I have looked up "kaarii-bhaat" in Platts and can't add anymore to what you have already stated. As for "kaRhii", the dish, could it be linked to the verb "kaRhnaa"?

    Finally, "kaRaah" (cauldron) and "kaRaahii" (small cauldron)...I do not think there is any connection with "saalan". I say this because in my own experience, although a "kaRaah" can be used for making "saalan" on a large scale (for wedding guests, for example), it is almost exclusively used for making Halvaa. The "kaRaahii" , being a deep pan is also used mainly for Halvaa but is also used for making pakoRe or anything that needs to be deep-fried. As you might know, in the Punjab "kaRaahii" itself means Halvaa too. Sorry, can't be of any further help.
     

    lcfatima

    Senior Member
    English USA
    Thanks for your input. You know, come to think of it, it is kaRi patta and not kaRhi patta. Thanks for the correction.

    Yes, the Tamil kaaRi is the keystone here.
     
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