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Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/1785

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1601
INDIAN COOKERY

in that condition, or they may be converted into purées: the yam sliced also makes delicious sweet fritters. Horseradish is grown, but not abundantly, and very frequently the root of the moringa or drumstick tree is scraped and used in its place.

Fruit is well known to be plentiful in India, but many varieties cultivated there lack the fine flavour that characterizes the English fruit of the same class. Peaches are poor and not well flavoured, grapes are thick skinned and have a strong muscat flavour, plantains are insipid, and a taste for the turpentine flavour of the mango is not easily acquired, although most people who have lived long in India are fond of them. Amongst the best of the fruits indigenous to the country are bananas, dates, melons, and cocoanuts. English vegetables, with proper care, grow well, and Indian cooks, properly instructed, will cook them, as well as anything else, in the way we are accustomed to have them cooked at home.

The culinary arts followed by the Hindus and Mohammedans of Asia differ considerably, for while meat is rigidly excluded from the diet of the former, the Mohammedan indulges in it freely. The Hindu delights in farinaceous foods such as cakes of wheat and other grain, rice variously dressed, also curries prepared from vegetables, ghee, oil, acid- vegetables or fruit, the whole flavoured with spices; and the piquancy is further heightened by the chutneys and pickles served with them. The principal dishes of the Mohammedan are curries, pilleaus, brianes, hashes, and cakes.

A glance at the Oriental recipes for curries at once explains hthose served in England differ so widely from the preparations in India. Some of the ingredients employed are unknown to us, all of them are used in a green state, and consequently impart a better flavour to the dish of which they form a part. Ghee, a substance largely used in making curries, differs from ordinary clarified butter, inasmuch as it is flavoured with ground cloves and green mint, cooked in the butter while it is being clarified. Curries are best when made in an ear^henware vessel like the natives' "chattie," or the French casserole, and stirred with a wooden spoon. When making a curry in a stewpan. great care must be taken that the metal is well tinned. In India curries are very generally served with thin wafer-like cakes, called Papodums, and thin strips of dried fish, known as Bombay Ducks.

The pilleau is a purely Oriental dish, and may consist of moat, venison, poultry, or kid. Frequently the principal substance is stewed down, and the gravy containing the essence used to flavour the rice, the articles themselves seldom appearing in their original state. Sometimes the inferior parts of the meat, or whatever is being used, is reduced to a strong gravy, and mixed with parboiled rice, and the prime parts either roasted, grilled, or boiled separately. "When the is absorbed the gravy, the prepared meat is placed in the centre of it in a closed stewpan, and cooked very gently for a considerable