[Sca-cooks] Medieval Indian cooking

Huette von Ahrens ahrenshav at yahoo.com
Wed Dec 9 05:26:20 PST 2009

I am sorry, Madhavi, but you have me very confused.  When several people mentioned the Ni'matnama as Mughal, you went into a rant about how the manuscript and the people of Mandu were not Mughal.

When Cariadoc just asked what other _Mughal_ cookbooks there were other than the Ain I Akbari, because your rant seemed to indicate that there were more within period sources, you now have recommended the Ni'matnama as being a good source for _Mughal_ recipes.  I am sorry, but you cannot have it both ways.  Either it is Mughal or it is not.  Make up your mind.  In case you can't remember what you have said, I have included his Grace's question and your response to him down below.

I have used the Ni'matnama several times for various SCA lunches and banquets.  I was so happy to find that samosas were period and without the ubiquitous capsicum peppers.  Here is a prime example of a food name that continues for five+ centuries and changes as the people and their tastes change.  The same goes for vindaloo from Goa.  It starts out as a Portuguese pork dish made with garlic and vinegar called Vindalho and with the introduction of capsicums to India becomes now the extremely hot pork and peppers dish.  One could serve the dish called Vindalho at an SCA banquet because it can be traced back to Portugal pre-1600 [according to Madhur Jaffrey] but not Vindaloo.


--- On Tue, 12/8/09, Jim and Andi <jimandandi at cox.net> wrote:

> From: Jim and Andi <jimandandi at cox.net>
> Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Medieval Indian cooking
> To: "'Cooks within the SCA'" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>
> Date: Tuesday, December 8, 2009, 2:54 PM
> My thanks for the correction.
> What sources other than the _Ain i Akbari_ do we have for
> the food of 
> the early Mughals?
> -- 
> David/Cariadoc
> www.daviddfriedman.com
> If you have not checked out the Nimatnama, I would
> sincerely urge you to
> do so. It's a completely jaw-dropping parade of decadence,
> a list of
> royal dishes cooked in a very, very wealthy court. 
> I have cooked several dishes from this manuscript for
> household dinners
> and A&S competitions, and I am cooking a feast from it
> in September. 
> Sources that are translated and easily available? Not many
> other than
> the Ain-i-Akbari. There are a few mentions of food in the
> Babur-nama and
> one scant feast description in the Humayun-nama, written by
> Gulbadan
> Begum. Those quotes are mostly referenced in A Historical
> Dictionary of
> Indian Food by KT Achaya. There are several traveler
> memoirs referenced
> in Food and Drinks in Mughal India by Satya Prakash Sangar,
> but that's a
> difficult book to use, since the author lumps all of the
> Mughal period
> together, and only the first 75 years fall within our
> period. 
> Madhavi
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