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Dinner with the Raj - Fish Course


Prawn Foogath

Shell, head and tail a dozen prawns. Take a cabbage and steep it in salt water for half an hour, after which, drain and shred it finely; then place it in a saucepan, sprinkle with salt, and steam for a few minutes, or until the cabbage is parboiled. Now drain it. In afrying-pan heat a tablespoonful of ‘ghee’ or butter; throw in someonion, sliced, two green chilies, or capsicums, and four cloves ofgarlic, chopped fine; also the prawns. Fry the whole together for some minutes, stirring often. Now add your cabbage, mix it well with the other ingredients, pour in the milk of a whole cocoanut; give one boil, and serve with rice.   

Henrietta A Hervey


Rice a la Soeur Nightingale  (An English Kedgeree)

6oz long grain rice, salt, 1lb smoked haddock fillet, 2 square slices bread, crusts removed, 3-4oz unsalted butter, 3 hard-boiled eggs, pepper, a pinch of nutmeg, 1 tablespoonful of grated Parmesan cheese, salted. Cook the rice in plenty of boiling water until tender.  While it is cooking, pour boiling water over the haddock, and leave to stand for five minutes. Drain the rice when ready. Cut the bread slices into four triangles each. Fry in  1 1/2 oz of the butter until golden on both sides. Remove with a fish slice, leaving any fat in the pan, drain on absorbent paper then keep warm. Separate the whites and the yolks of the hard-boiled eggs into separate bowls. Chop the whites. Remove any bones and skin from the fish and flake the fish coarsely. Mix with the chopped egg whites. Add the remaining butter to the frying pan and  toss the rice in tit over gentle heat, adding seasoning and nutmeg to taste. Mix in the fish and egg white mixture, and pile in a cone or pyramid on a hot dish.  Sieve the egg yolks and cheese together, and sprinkle over the mixture.  Put in the oven for 4-5 minutes, until cheese begins to colour. Garnish with fried bread and serve at once.



Sardine Curry Puffs

1 bay leaf, 2 whole cloves, ¼ teaspoon cardamom seeds, 1 tablespoon ground coriander, 2 teaspoons ground cumin, 1 teaspoon ground turmeric, 4 small red or green chilies, finely chopped, 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped, 2 tablespoons vinegar, 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, 1 small onion, finely chopped, 12 sardines, drained from their oil, the juice of 1 lemon, 1 teaspoon salt, 1lb puff pastry, 2 eggs, beaten.

Place the bay leaf and cloves in a heavy pan and dry roast them over a medium heat until the bay leaf browns and the spices become aromatic. Grind in a spice grinder, together with the cardamom pods.

Blend together this powder, coriander, cumin, turmeric, chilies and garlic and add the vinegar. Blend into a paste. Heat the oil in a saucepan and fry onion until it is soft. Add the spice paste and fry for at least three minutes, stirring constantly. Add 6 fl oz of boiling water and cook and stir the curry sauce for 10 minutes, until it is reduced and fairly thick.  Now add the sardines carefully and stir once, gently, to ensure they are mixed in with the sauce. Sprinkle with the lemon juice and the salt and remove the pan from the heat. Sir once again and let the fish cool and marinate in the sauce.

Roll out the puff pastry to 1/8 inch and cut it into 5-inch rounds. Place a large piece of sardine and a little sauce in each, brush the edges with beaten egg and then fold the pastry over and crimp the edges to seal.  Glaze the tops with the reminder of the egg.  Bake in the oven for 25 minutes, or until the pastry is risen and lightly browned. Serve hot or cold. 

Family recipe quoted by Jennifer Brennan


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