Mulk Raj Anand ‘Curries’ 1932

An early work on the subject. The author gives the names of two London suppliers of all the ingredients used in the book - Stembridge in Cecil Court  and C.A. Naidu in Lexington Street, Soho. Anand begins with a tribute to Norman Douglas "...with that subtle irony and happy wit characteristic of him, Mr. Norman Douglas once declared that 'Curry is India's greatest contribution to mankind.' Those whose lucky star has bought them under the spell of Mr. Douglas will understand the sense in which that epigram is true. I laughed heartily when I read the statement...'

Mulk Raj Anand also quotes Aleister Crowley:-

'...Curries with their vast partitioned platter of curious condiments to lackey them, speak for themselves. They sting like serpents, stimulate like strychnine; they are subtle, sensual like Chinese courtesans, sublime and sacred, inscrutably inspiring and intelligently illuminating, like Cambodian carvings.'

Here is a simple recipe from Anand

1/2 lb. lentils
1/2 oz. butter
1 small onion (sliced)
1/2 teaspoonful of black pepper
1/2 teaspoonfulred pepper
1/2 teaspoonful powdered turmeric
Salt to tatse.

Carefully pick the stones out of the dal and soak for about an hour in a panful of cold water. Put it to boil in a panful of boiled water. Sprinkle in some salt and turmeric and stir. When the lentils are tender, fry the sliced onion in melted butter with black and red pepper in a different pan. Pour this fried mixture into the pan containing the dal to the consistency of porridge over a gentle heat. Take care while putting in the butter to keep the lid partly on so that the liquid does not fly back to your face and hands.

A simple dal that might be improved with frying a small amount of cumin seeds and some chopped garlic. The orange dal needs no soaking, but some lentils require much longer than an hour and stones can still be found.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *