Pune: Meals travels throughout cultures maybe extra typically and with extra ease than another custom. Typically meals carries with it associated culinary practices, and typically meals combine with present culinary traditions to type new syncretic cuisines.
Within the early Nineteen Forties, Greens Restaurant in entrance of the Sir Parashurambhau School (SP School) was well-known for its “wazwaan” delicacies. It was maybe the primary restaurant in Pune to serve Kashmiri dishes. The restaurateur had employed cooks from northern state to cater to the connoisseurs of the town. Because it was taboo to eat out at a restaurant and eat non-vegetarian meals, many of the prospects would sneak in after it was darkish.
Many well-to-do school college students would avoid wasting cash and eat as soon as a month at Greens. VN Natu, the chronicler of Pune, informed me a number of years in the past that the piece de resistance on the menu was the lamb Rogan Josh.
The Rogan Josh boasts of a heady mixture of intense spices, onions, and typically, yoghurt. It’s a staple of Kashmiri delicacies which was initially delivered to the state by the Mughals, whose delicacies was, in flip, influenced by the Persians. The cooks at Greens used a secret ingredient which imparted a particular flavour to the dish – the lamb could be marinated with pomegranate molasses.
Pomegranate molasses is a Center Japanese seasoning consisting of pomegranate juice. It often doesn’t include any added sugar and is made by naturally lowering pomegranate juice to thick syrup. Each the pure sweetness and the pomegranate’s tartness are heightened throughout this course of, producing intensely flavoured syrup that can be utilized within the kitchen in a myriad of the way.
Despite the fact that pomegranates and their juice have been important to Mediterranean and Center Japanese cuisines for millennia, a number of historical and medieval Sanskrit manuscripts point out vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes cooked with pomegranate seeds and juice. Cookbooks like “Nimatnama” (fifteenth century AD), “Nuskha–e-Shahjehani” (seventeenth century AD), and “Khwan-e-Nemat” (18th century AD) additionally function recipes which make use of the pomegranate fruit.
The trendy identify “pomegranate” (punicam granatum) derives from the Latin “Pomus” (apple) and “granatum” (grained, seeded). Pomegranates are believed to have originated in Persia and the Himalayan area and have been cultivated and held in excessive regard for 1000’s of years.
Pomegranates unfold throughout Europe and by the 14th century have been included in a recipe in one of many earliest medieval cookbooks “Liber de Coquina”. It’s believed that the pomegranate arrived in England within the mid-Sixteenth century throughout the reign of Henry VIII, and Henry and Katherine of Aragon mixed the Tudor rose with the pomegranate of Granada as an indication of their union. By Victorian occasions, it was primarily considered a decorative tree or a medicinal plant, with cures utilizing pulp and bark.
When British housewives began dwelling in India within the nineteenth century, the pomegranate was one fruit they discovered agreeable. Nevertheless, because the pomegranate grown within the Bombay Presidency didn’t examine to the fruit cultivated in Afghanistan, they needed to depend on fruit sellers from Kabul to reach throughout the winter and summer season months.
Ads that includes pomegranate molasses or syrup printed in a number of English newspapers within the Bombay presidency within the Nineties and 1900s inform us that it was a prized commodity. Outlets like Treacher & Co., Cursetjee’s, and Phillips bought bottled molasses. It was claimed that the molasses was of the “highest quality” and was constituted of the very best pomegranate introduced from Kabul, and typically, Muscat. The bottled pomegranate molasses would keep recent for a month.
Pomegranate molasses was not available within the UK then and British housewives in India needed to innovate and design recipes to make use of the ingredient. They did so enthusiastically since using unique foodstuffs like pomegranate molasses was thought-about the peak of sophistication.
Mildly acidic pomegranate married superbly with wealthy meats. Grilled lamb’s delicate gaminess was completely tempered by the astringency of the pom. It was a flavourful addition to drinks. It paired surprisingly nicely with ginger ale. The molasses may very well be used for every kind of different issues, together with salad dressings.
The Parsees of Poona marinated lamb shanks or tenderloins in pomegranate molasses, black pepper, and a few spice combine. Lamb tenderloins have been a luxurious since every lamb had solely two. The meat was cooked shortly and the molasses together with the spices stayed on the floor moderately than being drawn into the flesh.
Naturally braised lamb shank was a favorite winter dish for a lot of because it mixed candy, spicy, and tart components very nicely. The dish employed each pomegranate juice and molasses.
At E Muratore, the well-known Italian restaurant, mutton fillet with pomegranate discount was served with salad. The “pomegranate reduction” within the dish was perhaps the recent pomegranate French dressing which was constituted of pomegranate juice, olive oil, lemon juice, and herbs.
Dr WF Ainsworth, an English surgeon, traveller, and geologist, wrote briefly concerning the dinner served to Anglo-Indians by Muslims within the Bombay Presidency within the mid-nineteenth century in his article “Food and Cookery in India”, printed within the journal “Diet and Hygiene” – “The first dish is almost constantly soup and the ‘pilau’, the intermediate courses consisting of a variety of dishes. Among the more common and characteristic are mutton, in small pieces, smeared with pomegranate molasses, roasted on iron skewers, with slices of apple, and onion between pieces, mutton minced small, and beaten up with spices into balls, and roasted on skewers; mutton, or lamb, stewed with gourd, roots, or herbs; fowls, pigeons, and sometimes quails, or other birds, boiled or roast, but more frequently made into ragouts. A favourite dish consists of mutton, rice, pistachios, currants, almonds, spice, and garlic, which are enveloped in a cucumber or gourd; in the absence of either of these vegetables, the savoury mess is wrapped in the leaves of beet. Sometimes a lamb is stuffed in the same way, and roasted whole. Minced meat, generally mutton, with pomegranate seeds, is spread on thin cakes, and baked on an iron plate. A great variety of pies, and sweet dishes made of honey, or the juice of pomegranate or grapes, and pastry help to fill up the banquet.” This menu is a fantastic instance of a hybrid delicacies with Persian, Indian, and European influences.
Displaced meals cultures typically mix with native meals traditions to culminate into edible syncretism. The wealthy encounter between numerous traditions and customs of many sorts of individuals dwelling on the subcontinent has made cultural diffusion a posh course of. No marvel understanding and acknowledging cultural mixing is intently associated to coexistence and intercultural solidarity.
Chinmay Damle is a analysis scientist and meals fanatic. He writes right here on Pune’s meals tradition. He will be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org