[Sca-cooks] Middle Eastern Food

lilinah at earthlink.net lilinah at earthlink.net
Sat Jan 16 16:52:09 PST 2010

kiri wrote:
>I do have a book that I purchased from India that contains recipes for
>pulaos, from "...the kitchens of Shah Jahan".  The only problem is that, in
>addition to their being slightly out of period, and while the history
>appears to be pretty accurate, there is no source given for any of the
>recipes.  However, they do describe the way the dishes were actually
>prepared in period, which I found to be very interesting.  The name of the
>book is "Nuskha-e-Shahjahani" and the translator is Salma Husain, who also
>wrote the introduction.  Supposedly this is from an original Persian
>manuscript...so the attribution appears to be a little weird unless stuff
>from the Court of Shah Jahan was written in Persian!

I got this book some years ago. I commented upon it on my website:

--- Begin Quote ---
Nuskha-e-Shahjahani : Pulaos from the Royal Kitchen of Shah Jahan
translated by Salma Husain
Rupa & Co.: New Delhi, 2004
ISBN 81-7167-989-7

Shah Jahan ruled from 1628-1658, so if it is from his reign, it is 
slightly out of period for the SCA. Unfortunately, the author gives 
only a scantily historical introduction, one that raises more 
questions than it answers, in which she never mentions the provenance 
or even date of the actual manuscript, although she does state that 
it is written in Persian.

[She says] Her book includes merely a selection from the cookbook, 
only 70 rice-based savory and sweet recipes. It only has pulaos, 
quboolis, and kichdis - which are all what we modern folks would 
consider "main dishes". No purely vegetable or fruit recipes and only 
a couple rice based "desserts" (one which interestingly show up in 
late 15th C. and 16th C. Ottoman feasts)
[and which the Ottomans admit is of Persian origin]

I just wish the book had two things:
1. more information about the manuscript;
2. more of the original manuscript's recipes!
--- End Quote ---

Scholars who have read those elusive early Safavid cookbooks point 
out rice dishes make up the majority or the entirety of their 
recipes. So these could be of Persian origin. Still searching for my 
copy of those two books for a translation experiment, for 
Urtatim [that's err-tah-TEEM]
the persona formerly known as Anahita

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