Indian curry – 1868 style

Real Indian curry

The British have been mad about Indian food for a very long time and they were even trying to learn how to cook it in 1868.

Recipe and remarks on Bengal curry 

The Queen, The Lady’s Newspaper 21 November 1868

By Ramzani Khansamah

We have great pleasure in calling attention to the following directions for preparing curry and hope our correspondent, Ramzani Khansamah, will favour our readers with some other recipes for Indian dishes.

Recipe – put in a stewpan 3oz of butter and make it boil thoroughly. Slice into it a large onion, cook until brown and crisp and when done put aside.

Take a tablespoon of curry powder and one of curry or multawny paste, three or four moderately sized onions sliced and teaspoon of salt. Mix these ingredients with 1lb of neck of cut up veal, lamb, a small rabbit or chicken then put them all into the butter (which must be quite boiling) stirring them over the fire till quite brown then cover and simmer slowly for an hour or rather longer – stirring occasionally to keep from burning. When nearly done add the fried onion, chopped finely. Pile the meat or poultry in the middle of a stew dish and pour over the sauce and butter, which should run clear and liquid round the meat. Be sure to serve the rice in a separate dish.

This is the recipe for a real Indian curry and not one of those horrible yellow stews frequently seen in England to the disgust of all beholders.

Remarks about curry – all the meat, poultry, or whatever the curry is made of, should be raw, as curry made with provisions previously cooked is not worth eating. The best things of which to make it are poultry, game, neck of veal or land, calve’s brains or tails etc taking care that the pieces are not much larger than pigeon’s eggs. Almost anything will make a good curry, provided it has not been previously cooked. Be sure to add the neck, pinions, liver, and heart of poultry – small birds such as quails,larks etc must be curried whole. When the curry is to be of fish a small cupful of cream or fresh curds should be added – and these are not bad additions to all curries. Peas, potatoes or any firm vegetables are an improvement but vegetables of different kinds should not be put into a meat curry are an improvement but vegetables of different kinds should not be put into a meat curry. All sorts may be mixed for a vegetable curry.

In serving a curry, the servant should take the dish of rice, into which a tablespoon has been placed, in his right hand and the curry (with spoon) in his left, a;ways presenting the rice before the curry. Of course knives should never be used – spoons and forks must be laid in the plates. The curry is always better if cooked some hours before it is required and then re-warmed but no liquid or gravy must be added to it and it must be served very hot from the fire. Cold curry is simply an abomination. Pickles or chutneys should be handed after the curry is served.

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