[Sca-cooks] A not-Mughal Indian recipe
ddfr at daviddfriedman.com
Fri Feb 5 13:45:52 PST 2010
At our recent cooking workshop, I tried two of the simpler Nimatnama
recipes. One was all right but pretty dull, but the other I thought
was quite good. Here's the original and my version (second try):
[Nimatnama p. 15] Another recipe, for qaliya rice: put ghee into a
cooking pot and when it has become hot, flavour it with asafoetida
and garlic. When it has become well flavored, put the meat, mixed
with chopped potherbs, into the ghee. When it has become marinated
[!mistranslation!], add water and add, to an equal amount, one sir of
cow's milk. When it has come to the boil, add the washed rice. When
it is well cooked, take it off. Cook other rice by the same recipe
and, likewise, do not make it with cow's milk but put in four sirs of
garlic and whole peppers, and serve it.
Ghee 1/2 c
Asafoetida 1/8 t
Garlic 3 cloves
Salt 1/2 t
Meat 1 1/4 lb lamb
Potherbs 13 oz spinach
Whole milk 1 1/4 c
Water 1 1/4 c
Rice 1 1/2 c
Slice garlic, melt ghee, add asafoetida, fry garlic in ghee about 20 minutes.
Add meat and spinach, fry about ten minutes.
Add milk and water, bring to a boil. Add washed rice, cook about 25
minutes, let sit five minutes, serve.
The only deliberate change was adding salt, which it seemed to need,
judging by the first try. At least one period cookbook explicitly
says that it doesn't mention salt because cooks know to add it, so I
thought that was a plausible interpretation here.
According to the Nimatnama translation, 1 sir = 2.5 lbs troy, but I
do not believe that the variant which I didn't make replaces 2.5 lbs
of milk with ten pounds of garlic and whole peppers. My suspicion is
that either the "four" or the "sirs" is a scribal error or
misreading. The interpretation of "sir" isn't very relevant to my
version, since the milk is the only thing for which a quantity is
It does imply, if correct, that the original recipe is intended to
make about twice the quantity of mine. That might be useful in making
sense of other recipe from the same source.
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