Lemon Curry??!?!

I’m a huge Monty Python fan, and have the complete box set of the television series, all the MP movies, and most of the movies that members of MP have appeared in or directed.

In the television series, there were a number of episodes that were interrupted by one of the Python cast coming into the scene and saying “Lemon Curry?” with an incredulous look.
What is the meaning (if any) of this? I know Brits are fond of a dish called Curry, but I’ve never had it and have no idea what’s in it. I thought Curry was a spice mainly used in India. Is it just that Lemon is the last thing you’d expect to find in a Curry dish, similar to saying, for instance, “Orange Pizza” here in the States? Or is Lemon Curry an actual dish that is publicly despised but secretly loved? Can anyone fill me in?

Here’s quite a good definition:

“the term curry itself isn’t really used in India, except as a term appropriated by the British to generically categorize a large set of different soup/stew preparations ubiquitous in India and nearly always containing ginger, garlic, onion, turmeric, chile, and oil (except in communities which eat neither onion or garlic, of course) and which must have seemed all the same to the British, being all yellow/red, oily, spicy/aromatic, and too pungent to taste anyway”

In the west, curry is now usually characterised by the type of curries popularised by restaurants. My definition of a restaurant curry would be :

“A dish made with dried and fresh spices cooked in oil with a sauce made from pureed onions, garlic and ginger. The variety of spices used can be extensive but the commonest are chilli, cumin, coriander and turmeric. Other common ingredients are yoghurt, cream and ground nuts.”

http://www.curryhouse.co.uk/faq/define.htm

Here in England there are a large number of restaurants serving curry. Generally (particularly with takeaway ones), the curry is ‘Westernised’, although there are some quality restaurants that serve Indian (or Bangladeshi) style curries.

The typical curry is chicken, lamb or prawns in a sauce varying from mild (e.g. Korma) through medium (e.g. Dhansak) to hot (e.g. Vindaloo), served with rice or bread (nan) and accompanied by vegetables (e.g. lentils).

Lemon Rice is sometimes served, but I’ve never heard of Lemon Curry.

A survey stated that Chicken Tikka Marsala was the most popular dish in England. Baked chicken with a Marsala, tomato, cream etc sauce.
Apparently it’s not a true Indian dish, but was invented for an Englishman who wanted a sauce to go with Chicken Tikka. The chef only had the above ingredients!

[nitpick]
It’s Tikka Masala. “Masala” is a term denoting a mixture of spices, as in garam masala, chat masala, etc. Chicken marsala is an Italian (or Italian-derived) dish.
[/nitpick]

Lemon, at least a few drops of it, is an ingredient in many curries. The acid tenderises the meat, apparently.

Did you mean masala?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masala

Marsala is an Italian wine often used for cooking:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marsala_wine

Whilst the last replies are indeed correct, the answer is Yes.

“Masala” is also the generic term for “spices,” as in “what spices did you use in this dish?”

And as others have said, lemon juice is a common ingredient in spicy Indian dishes. But it’s unusual to see something like “lemon” to be the featured item in the dish. Also, from a Western point of view, the default perception of anything called “lemon ___” is that it will be sweet, like lemon custard or lemon curd. That kind of lemon flavor seems inconsistent with curry.

But, really, it was just a non sequitur, a Python saying something in an astonished manner.

There is such a thing as lemon pickle–called in Hindi नींबू का अचार nimbu ka acar – made with many of the same spices that are used in curries. That’s probably the closest thing you’ll find.

A bit of googling shows that lemon curry is real. It doesn’t mean curried lemons. It means that lemons are a major flavour in the sauce.
lemon curry chicken: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LtoO3F9pyIY

lemon curry cod : http://www.dvo.com/recipe_pages/healthy/Lemon-Curry_Cod.html

lemon curry veal steaks : http://www.massrecipes.com/recipes/00/03/kalbssxhnitzelincurrysoss233855.html

lemon curry cauliflower : http://www.grouprecipes.com/31639/cauliflower-with-lemon-curry-mustard-butter-sauce.html

lemon curry eggs : http://www.deviledeggrecipes.net/DeviledEggRecipes/LemonCurryDeviledEggs.htm