Some like it hot: Nine things you may not know about Britain’s curry houses

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By 1982, there were 3,500 Indian restaurants in Britain. Now there are about 15,000.

Bangladeshis run and own about 90 per cent of Indian restaurants.

The UK’s first Indian restaurant, called The Hindostanee Coffee house, in opened in 1809 in Portman Square, London. But within three years of opening the owner, Mr Mahomed, applied for bankruptcy.

People of Indian descent comprise about 1.4 million people in the UK, making them the single largest ethnic minority population in the country. There are also more than 1.1 million people of Pakistani and almost half-a-million of Bangladeshi ethnicity.

By 2000 there were about 8,500 curry houses in Britain employing some 70,000 people, turning over more than £2 billion annually, and serving 175 million meals per year.

The Samundari Khazana curry, consisting of caviar, sea snails, a whole lobster and even

edible gold is the world’s most expensive curry at £2,000 a portion.

The curry business is worth about £4.1 billion of the UK’s economy and the nation’s favourite dish has been the chicken tikka masala for more than a decade.

A British-themed restaurant in Manhattan has made a phaal so hot it includes the Bhut Naga Jolokia chilli, used to make tear gas.

Curry houses are facing competition in the form of supermarket ready meal curries and a worldwide shortage of cumin – a vital ingredient in the dish – which could spark a menu price rise in restaurants.