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Dinner with the Raj - Main Course

Koobbe, or Bread and Meat

 We have been favoured with a receipt for this savoury preparation, which, at sea, in camp, on Indian hunting excursions, and long marches in India, is found to be very convenient. Make a dough with yeast as for bread; when yeast cannot be obtained, use whites of eggs or milk. Roll out the paste very thick and wrap meat unto it of any kind, cut and seasoned in any way that is most convenient or agreeable. This dish may be either boiled or baked. This species of camp-cookery is carried to some perfection in India. It is applicable to all kinds of game, poultry, and meat.  Fowls thus cooked, may be stuffed with hard eggs, chopped parsley, oysters &c.; veal with forcemeat; goose, pig, and duck, either with apples or onions, as the sauce is wanted. The stuffed things must be well skewered, or sewed before they are put into the dough, which forms a crust about the meat; thus combining bread, meat, and sauce in one dish.

Mistress Margaret Dods


Chicken Curry with Chick Peas

 8 oz chickpeas, soaked overnight, 1 chicken, cut into pieces, 8 oz onions sliced, 2 tbsp coriander seeds, salt, ½ tsp pepper, 2 inch piece of root ginger, ¼ tsp ground cinnamon, ¼ tsp cloves, ¼ tsp ground cardamom, 2 oz ghee or butter.

Place the chickpeas in a saucepan with water covering them by a depth of two fingers. Bring to the boil and simmer for half an hour. Add the chicken pieces, sliced onions, coriander seeds, salt and pepper to taste, and cook for 45 minutes, or until the chickpeas and chicken are tender. Ten minutes before the end of cooking, strain off most of thecooking liquid. Place in a small pot with the ginger, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom. And boil until the liquid has reduced by three quarters.

Meanwhile, pick out the chicken pieces from the curry and fry them in hot ghee until lightly browned. Place the chicken back in the pot along with the spiced cooking liquid, reheat the curry and serve with plain boiled rice.  

Mrs Beeton


Beef Curry

Ingredients – A few slices of tolerably lean cold roast or boiled beef,  3oz of butter, 2 onions, 1 wineglassful of beer, 1 desert-spoonful of curry powder.

Mode – cut up the beef into pieces about 1 inch square, put the butter in a stewpan with the onions sliced, and fry them of a light brown colour. Add all the other ingredients, and stir gently over a brisk fire for about ten minutes.  Should this be thought too dry, more beer or a spoonful or two of gravy or water, may be added; but a good curry should not be very thin. Place it in a deep dish, with a edging of dry boiled rice, in the same manner as for other curries.  

Mrs Beeton


Butter Milk Curry

Fry the onions in a stew pan. Cut the meat into joints, wash it and put it dripping into the pan, let it stew till the gravy is drawn, the add the curry powder and a tea cup full of buttermilk and stew until the gravy is returned into the meat. Serve it with boiled rice.



Brinjal Curry

2 round brinjals (aubergines), 1 heaped tablespoonful coriander, 3 cloves of garlic, 2 pinches cumin, 4 dried chilies, ¼ of a large cocoanut, 6 green  chilies, 8 slices ginger, 2 tablespoonsful vinegar,1 tablespoonful oil, 10 small onions, saffron, salt, curry leaves.

Grind a small bit of saffron and a little salt to a fine paste, slice the brinjals round, about  ⅛ of an inch in thickness, rub the slices well with the ground saffron and salt and keep aside. Next grind to a paste the coriander, garlic, cumin, dried chilies, and a small bit of saffron. Extract the milk from the cocoanut properly. Keep by the first thick milk.

Place the oil in a chatty on the fire and when heated throw in about 4 small onions sliced and a few curry leaves; when the onions are brown, add the ground curry stuff and fry for a time, then pour in the 2nd and 3rd milk extracted from the cocoanut, mix well, add a little water if necessary to boil the curry stuff; and then put in the green chilies sliced or cut lengthwise, slices of ginger, and the remaining six onions sliced, together with the vinegar. Keep stirring to prevent the curry from curdling when the vinegar is poured in; after one boil add the first thick cocoanut milk. When the gravy is thick, and the oil has cleared on the top of the curry, take it off the fire.

Put the saffron-smeared slices of brinjal fried quite brown, into the gravy while warm. Add salt to taste and serve.  



Bobotee—A Delicate Kind of Indian Curry

One onion; one ounce of butter; one cupful of milk; one slice of bread; six or eight sweet almonds; two eggs; half a pound of minced cold meat or undressed meat; one tablespoonful of curry powder.

Slice an onion and fry it in butter, soak in milk a small slice of bread, and grate six or eight sweet almonds, beat two eggs into half a cupful of milk, and mix the whole well together, with half a pound of minced meat, a small lump of butter, and one tablespoonful of curry powder. Rub a pie dish with butter and the juice of  a lemon, and bake the curry thus made in not too hot an oven. Serve it with boiled rice in separate dish.  This curry is very little, if at all known in England, and it is remarkably delicate and nice.   



Dholl Curry

Pick, clean and wash a teacupful of red or any other dholl, boil it  until quite tender in 3 teacups of water, drain and set aside.  Heat a tablespoon of ghee and fry in it 1 sliced onion, a teaspoon each of ground ginger, garlic and saffron, add a little salt and the boiled dholl; stir it well with a pestle, adding about 3 green chilies, well chopped. Let it simmer for five minutes. Before taking it off the fire, put in a tablespoonful of very thick cocoanut milk.   



Dry Cauliflower Curry

Parboil a cauliflower and cut it up small, melt a dessertspoonful of ghee in a saucepan, add one onion cut into slices, fry it to a light brown, then add a saltspoonful of powdered turmeric, two or three green chilies cut in slices, the cauliflower and a little salt, fry for five minutes, then add half a grated cocoanut, stir it over the fire till it gets quite dry; before serving add a dessertspoonful of  vinegar. Cabbage and French beans made in the same way are very nice.

Quoted by David Burton


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Strange But True

  • list arrowWould you wee in your dining room?

    Victorian gentlemen did! Some dining rooms (like ours) had a special cupboard to house a chamber pot so all the gentlemen could go for a wee without leaving the table (once the ladies had left the room, of course!).


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