How will the pandemic change the long tradition of ‘cookbooks’ from the kitchens of India? - ALL Jobs News

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Tuesday, 25 August 2020

How will the pandemic change the long tradition of ‘cookbooks’ from the kitchens of India?

One of the most interesting books in my collection is a slim volume called Anglo-Indian Cookery at Home by Henrietta A Hervey, who describes herself as “the wife of a retired Indian officer”. Published in 1895, it gives us recipes for all sorts of concoctions that had resulted from the collision of two very different worlds in the 19th century: that of the English memshibs and their Muslim khansamas. There are things like Fish Molee, described by Mrs Hervey as a favourite breakfast dish, the mulligatawny amidst other “dholls” and Madras’s pepper water, besides curries and curry powders.

Ball curry, khoormah curry, kabob curry, “dry” (mince) curry…all are carefully calibrated and recorded; a register of a world that interrupted the ponderous Mughal civilisation and abbreviated its laboriously slow-cooked kormas, kebabs, kofte, keemah to “curries”. These curry recipes seem unbearably simplistic compared to their Mughal inspirations, where dum was an art and spices were added in layers to compose a scent sculpture of sorts.

Instead, Mrs Hervey advises: “Get together 2 tablespoon of coriander, six cloves garlic, six red chillies, half ounce ginger, one tablespoon salt. Grind all to a paste. Take two pounds of mutton, mix with paste, mix in two tablespoons butter, two cups milk...

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