Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Recommended Posts

On one of these threads I recently described how raw jackfruit is cooked by some Muslim communities as a sort of mock meat dish and is called Tree Goat. I've been reading an interesting book, "Indian Mansions: A Social History of the Haveli" by Sarah Tillotson, where I came across this wonderful bit of information. She's talking about how cooking was done in the havelis, and how the vegatarian - non-vegetarian differences were maintained, usually with separate cooking areas:

Any cooking utensils from the vegetarian kitchen which might come into contact with the others had to be ritually cleaned. But though men might pollute their stomachs and cooking pans, purity was maintained at least for the family account books: when the munim (accountant) gave the servants money to buy food, he carefully recorded eggs and chickens as 'white potatoes' and 'moving vegetables'.

I love the idea of moving vegetables! And it occurs to me that this sort of deception is probably more common than the other one, of pretending vegetables were meat. Didn't Bengali Brahmins have a phrase for fish that translated as 'fruit of the sea'? Doesn't anyone know others?

An example of this being done, though without a special name was in a restaurant in Gujarat where the (ostensibly) strict Jain guy I was eating with, asked the waiter to make sure the bill said vegetable curry rather than the chicken curry he'd just eaten. The waiter seemed quite used to requests like this.

Another old example from Madras, with alcohol not meat, is an 'Iyengar soda'. Which was simply a whisky and soda served in a silver tumbler so that the Iyengar (very strict Brahmin) men could pretend they weren't drinking alcohol.


Link to post
Share on other sites
Another old example from Madras, with alcohol not meat, is an 'Iyengar soda'. Which was simply a whisky and soda served in a silver tumbler so that the Iyengar (very strict Brahmin) men could pretend they weren't drinking alcohol.

similar story from pondicherry where some places without a liquor license would serve customers' their beer from a tea pot.'special tea' was what one requested and the film of grease in the cups was complimentary!

when buying beef in clandestine fashion one needs to ask for mutton 'of the big one'the small one' being- mutton! :wacko:

Edited by gingerly (log)
Link to post
Share on other sites

Another old example from Madras, with alcohol not meat, is an 'Iyengar soda'. Which was simply a whisky and soda served in a silver tumbler so that the Iyengar (very strict Brahmin) men could pretend they weren't drinking alcohol.

great topic.

i've alslo heard of these drinks called "marundhu soda"

(medicinal soda) for similar reasons.


Link to post
Share on other sites

Maybe the situation has now changed...

Unless it has changed in the past five months. On New year's eve when asked for a jin and tonic we were told at a Taj group Hotel at Cochin, Kerala that new year's eve was alcohol free day and they could't serve jin at the bar. But the waiter added that he would be happy to bring it to our room. When he brought it the bill was for just tonic! He said that they will bill for the jin next morning.

Ammini Ramachandran


Link to post
Share on other sites
i've alslo heard of these drinks called "marundhu soda"

(medicinal soda) for similar reasons.

Some things are universal, apparently.

My grandfather in Newfoundland was a deeply opinionated man. One of his quirks was that he had nothing but scorn for those who drank alcohol. His house, though, was never without a bottle of brandy for medicinal purposes; specifically for those occasions when he had a "bad head" (headache).

For 50 years or so, he had a "bad head" quite reliably every Friday evening. :laugh:

“Who loves a garden, loves a greenhouse too.” - William Cowper, The Task, Book Three


"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning


Link to post
Share on other sites
Another old example from Madras, with alcohol not meat, is an 'Iyengar soda'. Which was simply a whisky and soda served in a silver tumbler so that the Iyengar (very strict Brahmin) men could pretend they weren't drinking alcohol.

And what my mother said when i described this thread to her is

all the old Brahmin guys doddering into the Century club Bar

and drinking their "marundhu sodas" out of silver tumblers

(silver ritually purifies anything it touches); drinking it

the SI Brahmin style "from up" (i.e. throw your head back

and glug the liquid without the cup touching your lips)

called "oopar se" in Hindi or "thooki kudikiradhu" in Tamil'

not only that, but they would cover their mouths with their

angavastrams (the upper cloth in the dhoti set)and drink

through that.



Link to post
Share on other sites

I was visiting friends in Haridwar a holy city in the North so pure that no meat is allowed in the city bounds. At dinner I quizzed my host about the fish on the table to which he replied that it was ' ganga fal' ( friut of the ganges.

Also in delhi during the days when alcohol could not be served in restaurants, we would go to chinese restaurants and ask for 'cold tea'. They would pour beer into a teapot and we would sip it in those little cups for jasmine tea and the bill would have some very expensive cold tea on it.

Bombay Curry Company

3110 Mount Vernon Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22305. 703. 836-6363

Delhi Club

Arlington, Virginia

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...
I've just picked up an excellent looking book on traditional Udipi recipes - 'Udipi Cuisine' by U.B.Rajalakshmi

thanks for the reminder!i've retrieved my copy and came across this-

milk is forbidden during ksheera vrata,but by adding a drop of buttermilk to the milk,it is considered as buttermilk which can be consumed.this is called anukoola shastra(practice of convenience)which does not interfere with the vow.


Link to post
Share on other sites
My Bombay Gujarati/Jain friends have a code when referring to Non vegetarian expeditions in front of their Families.

A 2 wheeler is Chicken and 4 wheeler is Lamb/Goat/Mutton.

I forgot, they also refer to Non vegetarian food as :



I fry by the heat of my pans. ~ Suresh Hinduja


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Similar Content

    • By Sheel
      Prawn Balchao is a very famous Goan pickle that has a sweet, spicy and tangy flavor to it. 
      For the balchao paste you will need:
      > 8-10 kashmiri red chillies
      > 4-5 Byadagi red chillies
      > 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
      > 1/2 tsk turmeric powder 
      > 1 tsp peppercorn
      > 6 garlic cloves
      > 1/2 tsp cloves
      > 1 inch cinnamon stick
      > Vinegar 
      First you will need to marinate about 250 grams of prawns in some turmeric powder and salt. After 15 minutes deep fry them in oil till them become golden n crisp. Set them aside and add tsp vinegar to them and let it sit for 1 hour. Now, make a paste of all the ingredients mentioned under the balchao paste and make sure not to add any water. In the same pan used for fryin the prawns, add in some chopped garlic and ginger. Lightly fry them and immediately add one whole chopped onion. Next, add the balchao paste amd let it cook for 2-3 minutes. Add in the prawns and cook until the gravy thickens. Finally add 1 tsp sugar and salt according to your taste. Allow it to cool. This can be stored in a glass jar. Let this mature for 1-3 weeks before its use. Make sure never to use water at any stage. This can be enjoyed with a simple lentil curry and rice.
    • By Deeps
      This is one of my daughter favorite dishes, being mild and less spicy she loves this rice dish.  Its super easy to make and goes well with most Indian curries.
      Do try this out and I am sure you will be happy with the results.

      Prep Time : 5 mins
      Cook Time: 5 mins
      Serves: 2
      1 cup rice(basmati), cooked
      1/2 cup coconut, shredded or grated
      1 green chili, slit
      1 dried red chili
      1 1/2 tablespoon oil/ghee(clarified butter)
      1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
      1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
      1/2 tablespoon chana dal(split chickpeas)
      1/2 tablespoon urad dal(split black gram)
      1 teaspoon ginger, finely chopped
      A pinch of hing (asafoetida)
      Few curry leaves
      Salt to taste
      1) Heat oil/ghee(clarified butter) in a pan in medium flame. I used coconut oil here because it tastes best for this dish.
      2) Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, chana dal(split chickpeas), urad dal(split black gram), green chili, dried red chili, ginger and curry leaves. Fry this for 30 seconds in medium flame. The trick is to ensure that these are fried but not burned.
      3) Add a pinch of hing(asafoetida) and mix well.
      4) Now add the cooked rice and coconut. Stir well for about 15 to 20 seconds and switch off the flame.
      5) Finally add salt into this and mix well. You could add peanuts or cashew nuts if you prefer. Goes well with most curries.
    • By loki
      Vietnamese Pickled Eggplant
      These use tiny white eggplants that are nearly impossible to get here.  I tried to grow them without success (this time).  I did not have these so used unripe cherry tomatoes.
      2 lb eggplant (tiny white SE Asian types) or green cherry tomatoes.
      1/4 cup salt
      1 TBL galangal root
      1 TBL ginger root
      12 green chilies - thai peppers or serranos
      6 cloves garlic
      1/2 cup onion finely chopped
      2 cup Granulated sugar
      2 cup water
      1/4 cup fish sauce
      1. Rinse off eggplant and pierce with a knife - or cut in half if larger than 3/4 inch in diameter.
      2. Put eggplant into jar and add salt - and water to top of jar.  Cover with plastic lid and cover loosely.  Let ferment for 7 days.
      3. Take out eggplant and drain.  Rinse with water.  Put into jars again.
      4. Chop ginger, galangal, chiles, onion, and garlic.
      5. Boil water and sugar, add spices and onion, and heat for 5 minutes.  Add fish sauce.
      6. Pour over eggplants making sure the spices and onion get all around (might have to take out some eggplant and return).
      7. Cover with plastic lid, and refrigerate.
      8. Ready in several days.  Will last a very long time in the refrigerator.
      Notes:  Good alongside other SE Asian dishes, or even alone with rice.  The green tomatoes are not the same texture as the eggplants, but are quite good.  The eggplants are very crispy.
    • By Kasia
      Creamy soup with broad beans
      During my last visit to the fruit and vegetable market I bought so many broad beans that I didn't want to risk cooking everything at once. I prepared a rich, creamy soup with them. The green soup, served with a bit of thick yoghurt and nigella, was very tasty.
      Ingredients (for 5 people):
      1 kg of broad beans
      half an onion
      1 clove of garlic
      1 tablespoon of butter
      4 sprigs of thyme
      1 tablespoon of caraway seeds
      vegetable stock
      5 teaspoons of thick natural yoghurt
      2 teaspoons of nigella
      2 tablespoons of sunflowers seeds
      salt and pepper

      Cook the broad beans in salty water with the caraway seeds, drain and peel them. Try not to eat everything. Chop the onion and garlic and fry them in butter. Put the peeled broad beans, onion, garlic and sprigs of thyme into a saucepan. Pour in the vegetable stock to cover the vegetables and boil for 10 minutes. Take out the thyme and blend the soup to make a smooth cream. Add vegetable stock until you have the right consistence. Roast the sunflower seeds in a dry pan. Serve the soup with thick natural yoghurt, nigella and sunflower seeds.

      Enjoy your meal!

    • By Kasia
      Courgette cutlets
      I found the recipe for courgette cutlets at www.gotujzcukiereczkiem.pl. It appealed to me at once for three reasons. Firstly, the courgette is my favourite vegetable. Secondly, cutlets, pancakes and crumpets are my children's favourites dishes. Thirdly, this dish is fast, simple and is always a success. You must not use FB while frying, because it may end with you ordering pizza for dinner 

      The cutlets are mild and their flavour is spiced up with feta cheese. You can complement them with your favourite herbs. In my kitchen there is always basil, dill, peppermint, rosemary and thyme. This time I chose dill (in accordance with the recipe) and thyme.

      400g of courgette
      1 egg
      150g of feta cheese
      110g of breadcrumbs (+ 4 tablespoons for the batter)
      2 tablespoons of minced dill
      1 tablespoon of thyme
      salt and pepper

      Wash the courgette and grate it. Add salt and leave it in a bowl for 15 minutes. Drain it then mix in the egg, feta cheese, breadcrumbs and herbs. Spice it up with salt and pepper. Make small cutlets with the mixture and fry in oil. Serve with natural yoghurt.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Create New...