Features & Business
WAYS OF MAHARAJAS’CUISINES
By Jasmine Kaur
Maharajas - the word is cast in royal essence. It creates an imagery of marvelous and extravagant lives of the elite rulers of India in the minds of the readers. The Maharajas were connoisseurs of good food and regaled with myriad delicacies through the best of cooks brought from all over the globe to satisfy their appetite.
It was symbolic as to whose table provided the most unusual and luxurious fare. The recipes given in this book aim to delight the palates of the critics and gourmets. In addition to it, the words “cooking delights” leads to the visualization of magnificent and remarkable culinary arts. This book “The cooking delights of the maharajas” by Digvijaya Singh brings to you some of the most exotic dishes from the princely house of Sailana.
Digvijaya Singh, the author, is not only a gourmet but a superb cook as well. His love as well as knowledge of cooking has led him to write this unique recipe book which exposes us to many new and delicious Indian dishes. As you move forward, the readers will be surprised that it is no ordinary cook book but it also contains some extremely helpful hints which can enable an amateur too to cook intelligently. In the first few pages, he provides us with meanings of terms and methods like which pans to use for different purposes, the weights of the specified ingredients, Bhunao process, Baghar, Dhungar and Dum tehniques, Mughlai terms like Kalia and Korma, Do Peeaza, water usage and a lot many other essentials. Another highlight of this book is that it provides a host of names of ingredients and their Hindi counterparts from common ones (alum is phitkari, black cardamom is for Badiillachi) to some unknown ones (Yam for Ratalu, cuttle bone for samandharjhag).
I am sure reading this you would definitely raise the eyebrow. An exceptional aspect of this book is that names of most of the recipes have a distinct meaning like the scrumplicious KaliaSaphed that has its uniqueness in the fact that all ingredients used are white. It may seem to you that this love for cooking runs in the blood as the author’s grandfather was also fond of exploring and experimenting with the dishes. He received the recipe of Korma Asafjahi, the best known of the Hyderabadi cuisine, by the Nizam and therefore is close to Digvijaya’s heart. This book is an attempt by the author to revive the fine art of Indian cooking before it vanishes. As you move on reading the book, you will get more tempted towards making and tasting these extraordinary dishes as their pictures are also presented which will make your mouth water. Some of the delicacies are so enticing and appealing that you surely can’t resist them.
A favourite of the Mughal kings on the excursions to Kashmir is KaliaKesar which takes about 30 minutes for preparation and approximately an hour and a half for cooking. It is an easy recipe which has mutton, onions, almonds and Kewada water as its main ingredients. You just have to follow a few simple steps like heating the ghee and frying the onions to golden brown. Then add the meat to it with coriander seeds, garlic, almonds and Bhunao and cook till the meat is tender. Add the left out water to the water extracted from the meat and squeeze it through muslin to get maximum flavor. Cook the meat with onions and salt in a pan. In a separate pan, mix malai, saffron, yellow colour and Kewada water and then add meat to it. Stir it and put on Dum till the ghee films the surface of the gravy. MachchiDampukh, a fine recipe from the gharana of LokRajya Lakshmi of Jhabua takes exactly one hour to prepare and cook each. Starting with skinning the fish and removing the bones, it is cut into 2”*2” pieces and washed thoroughly. Then mustard is grinded with water and salt and is mixed and kept for 12 hours. Mustard, salt, red chillies, turmeric, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, cloves, cardamoms, cinnamons, pepper corns, ginger and garlic are mixed with fish. Then a layer of tomato and onion slices are laid on a pan and the fish is evenly placed with mustard oil. The fish is then all set to be baked till it is well browned. And your Machchi is ready to be served. After having the savouring meat and fish, it’s time to lure your sweet tooth with the GulabkiKheer which requires just fresh rose petals, milk and sugar. Boil the rose petals with the milk and then add sugar and boil till it is of thick consistency. Serve cold. The recipes in this book are in their pure form.
The exciting dishes given in this book are with a style that carries all the flavor and fervor of a Maharaja’s personality and in that it makes you feel like a famous royalty.
About the author:
Maharaja Saheb of Sailana, Digvijaya Singh, earned an MA from Banaras Hindu University. A connoisseur of food, he also enjoys bird-watching, painting, classical music. An avid gardener, he spends long hours watching over his rose-gardens and cacti patches. The book draws from the culinary adventures of this former ruler of Sailana, Madhya Pradesh.
COOKING DELIGHTS OF THE MAHARAJAS
BY DIGVIJAYA SINGH
Hardbound; Price: Rs.400