This is Durban curry, continued... a show which has been running since the 1860s, when the first indentured labourers came from India to work in the sugar cane plantations of then colonial Natal. They brought spices, and seeds, and recipes. And when inevitably, the influences and memories of the mother cuisine faded, Durban curry became its own thing.
Recognisably different from its roots: redder, hotter. More tomatoes, more chillis. But growing in its new homeground as it pleased. Varying from cook to cook, chef to chef. That's what we documented in 2014 in Durban Curry, So Much of Flavour. Now, in 2019, we find it's changing again.
Not the classics. They are timeless. But Durban curry is not set in stone. The point about this community dish which has become a national treasure is, precisely and imprecisely, that it has always moved and mutated with the times. It continues, as it did right from the beginning, to respond to new circumstances and needs.
And the point about our first investigation into what made it distinctive is that it was “just a taste". We wrote: “We know there is much more to tell, many more kitchens to visit, and dishes to discover."