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'British Indian' Cookery On Line


Sam Salmon
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Ran across this link to what's called Indian Cooking from the 1800's but to my eye looks more like British Indian cooking.

To my mind an Indian recipe for Bubble & Squeek is a dead give away. :raz:

In any case some fascinating material and a reminder of how much work keeping a kitchen was in those halcyon days of yore.

Enjoy!

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Yes it is Anglo-Indian, but it is much closer to 'Indian' food then the Anglo-Indian "currys" now sold in the UK. I imagine that local cooks were employed by this level of household as there are many dishes that would not be familiar to the British (veg like 'drumsticks for instance). The traditional British dishes (roasts etc) and the Indian food are kept pretty seperate in the cook books, but I wonder how exactly the traditional foods would have turned out in the hand of a native cook.

I when through a period of collecting all the 19th century Indian cookbooks or recipe collections I could lay my hands on, and have made a few of the recipes.

"Fish curry"

gallery_1643_978_696557.jpg

"Malay curry"

gallery_1643_978_45716.jpg

Sadly, they are not photogenic at all.

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Adam: you're really adventurous. The food looks good, photogenic or no.

Okra, sigh.... Waiting for summer...

Thacker, Spink and Co is an ancient (OK, only ~ 125 years old) Calcutta - based

publishing house, which has had some truly excellent titles.

If people find copies, untouched by white ants (termites) or damp or any other,

they're worth getting and reading.

So glad they are being archived on line.

Milagai

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Thacker, Spink and Co is an ancient (OK, only ~ 125 years old) Calcutta - based

publishing house, which has had some truly excellent titles.

If people find copies, untouched by white ants (termites) or damp or any other,

they're worth getting and reading.

So glad they are being archived on line.

Milagai

I have one of there books, "The People's Indian Cookery Book; New and Popular Culinary and Household Recipes" by Olivia C. Fitzgerald, 1900, Calcutta, which is where the two recipes above come from.

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My partner Jill, who knows about these things, points me at

"The Raj at Table", a Culinary History of the British in India by David Burton, published by Faber 1993 ISBN 0-571-14390-3

I also have a set of Wyvern (Col Kenney-Herbert), including "Culinary Jottings from Madras" of around 1900, who on return from India founded a cookery school. However that was somewhat later. Even later (1915) is the Economical Cookery Book (for India) by "G.L.R." Printed at the Rangoon Times Press Price 3 rupees

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I have the "Wyvern" book, and there is a very good section on "Curry" in "The Cook's Oracle" by William Kitchiner.

Another on going project of mine. About 150 years of Anglo-Indian curry. They start at the Glasse's recipe, which is the first record of 'Curry' in an English cookbook, to Lady Clarke at the end of the 19th century. There is no selection for these recipes, other then my access to the books. I now have a few more books, so I should add to the list. The odd thing is that the British seem to have replaced Medieval type spiced dishes, only to replace them with another style of spiced dish. People are always saying the the British like bland food, but I would argue the opposite.

Hannah Glasse, 1747

Coriander , Pepper

Coriander toasted. Onions not pre-cooked. No acid.

J. Skeat, 1769

Coriander, Turmeric, Cayenne Pepper, No acid.

No onions. Garnished

Charlotte Mason, 1773

Uses ‘curry powder’, browned onions. Acid is orange or lemon.

A. Kellet, 1780

Ginger, turmeric, pepper

Hammond, 1829 edition.

Curry powder. Browned onions, no acid.

William Kitchiner, 1820

Tumeric, coriander, black pepper, mustard, ginger, allspice, cumin, cardamom. Onions not pre-browned. No acid.

Rundell, 1825 (58th Edition)

Curry powder; coriander, cumin, cardamom, turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg.

Browned onions, Acid, lemon juice.

Meg Dods, 1829

Advises reader to mix their own curry powder and not to be taken in by a ‘one powder suits all recipes’ product. Curry powder; ginger, coriander, turmeric, cayenne. Browned onion.

Acid, vinegar, lemon, orange.

Francatellis, 1875

Captain White’s curry paste. Browned onion. Acid, sour apple.

Marshall, 1890’s

Home brand curry powder. Browned onion. Acid, sour apple.

Lady Clarke of Tillypronie, 1841-97.

Numerous collected recipes. Often ready made curry powder and curry paste, but many variations including discussion on the ‘true curry of Upper India’.

There is a great deal of variation, but in general an English curry in this period is:

Onions browned, meat added with curry powder/paste, liquid added and the stew is cooked until done. Common variations are an addition of an acid, coconut or cream (I suspect the latter is a local replacement for the coconut milk).

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There is a great deal of variation, but in general an English curry in this period is:

Onions browned, meat added with curry powder/paste, liquid added and the stew is cooked until done. Common variations are an addition of an acid, coconut or cream (I suspect the latter is a local replacement for the coconut milk).

coconut is not a ubiquitous ingredient in indian dishes ...

coastal cuisines use it; interior it's less common.

cream, yogurt, butter, nut (almond or cashew especially) pastes, etc

are used very often to get that richness....

milagai

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  • 4 weeks later...

Sam, thank you so much! The link is absolutely great. I believe the Pish-pash, Country Captain and Jhal Frezee are definitely Anglo-Indian dishes, created by Indian chefs working for English households.

A lot of the terminology is Bengali, the use of the word "danta" for stems of greens for instance, "dharrus" for lady's finger (okra) and "bagda chingree" for large prawns. However, some others are in Hindi like "khuttah curree" and "bhajee" and the entire spice list in the beginning of the curry section.

I was very puzzled by some of the recipes calling for "tyre" as an ingredient, till I realized that this might be a transliteration of the Tamil "Thayir" meaning yogurt.

This might be wild speculation, but the mish-mash of ingredient names and the use of lemongrass (originated in India, but virtually unknown in Indian cooking) makes me wonder if the recipes do not come from a Mog (Mag) cook. During British India, it was very common for the English in Calcutta to employ Mog cooks in their households. Besides the fact that they proved to be excellent cooks, they also had the advantage, being Buddhist, of having no compunction about cooking beef or pork, something that Hindu and Muslim cooks might have objected to.

There is some conflict over the ethnic roots of Mogs, but geographically speaking they came from the Chittagong hills on the border of undivided Bengal (now Bangladesh) and Burma. Here's a Hobson-Jobson discussion on the origins of the Mogs:

http://bibliomania.com/2/3/260/1280/20117/1/frameset.html

And this quote is particularly interesting:

1866.—“That vegetable curry was excellent. Of course your cook is a Mug ?”— The Dawk Bungalow, 389.

Edited by SwatiC (log)
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My partner Jill, who knows about these things, points me at

"The Raj at Table", a Culinary History of the British in India by David Burton, published by Faber 1993 ISBN 0-571-14390-3

I also have a set of Wyvern (Col Kenney-Herbert), including "Culinary Jottings from Madras" of around 1900, who on return from India founded a cookery school. However that was somewhat later. Even later (1915) is the Economical Cookery Book (for India) by "G.L.R." Printed at the Rangoon Times Press Price 3 rupees

Eegads, man. I note that Balic has the 'Wyvern' as well, and with my copy, that makes three. Must have been some sort of colonial pandemic; although mine is the seventh edition-perhaps it took a while longer to journey here.

from the thinly veneered desk of:

Jamie Maw

Food Editor

Vancouver magazine

www.vancouvermagazine.com

Foodblog: In the Belly of the Feast - Eating BC

"Profumo profondo della mia carne"

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