a simple non-vegetarian menu

I have spoken with several people about how to get started using this cookbook. Many are capable cooks but have yet to explore this cuisine. And many are people who would not describe themselves as capable. All of them have said to me they find this cookbook quite imposing.

This simple non-vegetarian menu is the type of meal we often prepare for ourselves. It also makes a good starting place for people new to this cuisine. It is straightforward to prepare, is not time-consuming and doesn’t need special equipment of exotic ingredients.

There is a related post that deals with a similar, but vegetarian menu.

From its beginning this cookbook reflected what I produced in our own kitchen. It is what I cook for the family and when entertaining. I was lucky to have recipes and notes from over a hundred years ago. These notes were not from the person cooking the dish, but the Memsahib supervising the cook. Because of this, it assumed prior experience and access to the right ingredients.

Consequently, I am going to provide more basics and accessible dishes. This is the first such article and suggests a starting point for using this cookbook. This article contains a simple non-vegetarian menu an adequate cook might produce from this cookbook.

For this first meal I advocate keeping it simple. Don’t bother with entrees or desserts – that can come later. Don’t try to make pickles and chutneys just yet. That too will come later.

The menu I suggest is rice, chicken korma and a salad. For dessert you might serve some fresh fruit, such as rockmelon, berries, or watermelon. This will help soothe your palate.

Note that the chicken korma recipe has no chilli. This is not a hot Indian food meal. That may come later.

This exact menu is a family meal we often serve at home.

So, some guidelines.

  • Follow the recipe as presented. These have been cooked many, many times and work. You think you know how to cook rice? Please use my method. Techniques such as toasting the fresh whole spices before grinding is a fundamental method, and almost every recipe in this book uses it.
  • Don’t make substitutions. For example, dried ginger and fresh ginger are quite different ingredients. Further, don’t substitute the chicken with something else – the spices, ingredients and method are specific to this dish.
  • Source the right ingredients. Other than what may be considered pantry items, this menu only needs asafoetida, which is a commonly used ingredient in this cooking. A quick trip to any Indian grocer will solve this. You should only buy the smallest package as you will use it often, but not much at a time.

How do you prepare this?

Go shopping and get all the ingredients. Marinate the chicken the night before. You might prepare the salad before you start cooking, but don’t add the dressing until you serve. Make sure you keep the cucumber juice to make the dressing.

Before cooking, soak the rice. This is a suitable time to take the chicken out of the refrigerator and infuse the saffron.

Prepare all your ingredients and have them at hand.

Start cooking the rice. Once you have sealed the pot, cook the chicken. If the chicken takes longer to cook, that is fine, as the rice will continue to steam in its own heat. Don’t overcook the chicken.

Once everything is cooked, dress the salad, and follow the presentation tips in the recipes.

Let us know in the comments how you went?

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