This is a meat mixer one dish which traveled from the Dak Bangla (dak bungalow – government staging house) to the Club.
Modeled after Sher Shah Suri’s concept of Sarai Khana (Travelers Lodge), the British around the 1840 s built a network of Dak Bungalows for the British officer.
The bungalows khansamah (cook), no matter what you ordered, always served country chicken.
It was not due to his limited understanding of English. The chicken was the only meat that could be made readily available as the bungalows were situated in an isolated location in the countryside.
As soon as the khansamah noticed the rising dust of an approaching guest’s horse or, later, car, he would rush out and catch a chicken pecking around the courtyard.
It most probably owes its origin to the same captain of some country budge row (budge row)—a flat-bottomed keel – less barge, locally called Daccai Borja.
Anyone traveling by boat on the Bangladeshi rivers known how vast these water bodies are.
The commuters on these boats had no other option but to rely on the Majhi (caption) of these boats for any food or lodging offered by him.
Any fare dished out by the lockers (deckhands) was more than welcome.
It was on these journeys that the Europeans came across their first jhol and salon.
Fish and chicken curry dishes, expediently turned out by the bouts cooks were accepted by the British with amusement.
Among all these dishes the least offensive was the chicken dish which they named Country Captains Chicken later shortened to Country Captain.
Later in the Club kitchen, the turmeric was replaced with saffron.
The Hobson-Jobson Dictionary (1886) states the following:
COUNTRY-CAPTAIN: this is Bengal the name of a peculiar dry kind of curry, often served as a breakfast dish.
- In a mixing bowl combine the following: saffron+chicken+salt+chili powder.
- Heat the oil in the pan; lob in the onions saute till browned.
- Chuck in the chicken pieces (#1), saute till they are coated with the spices. Pour in enough water to barely cover them.
- Cover with a lid and cook until the meat is tender.
A twist on the Mulligatawny Soup, so dear to the British; a curry concocted by the club chefs to satisfy the ever-increasing demand for something new on the table.
Club curries try to hit the happy medium and are neither too hot nor too mild.
A very important note, always fry the spice paste in hot fat over LOW HEAT, until fat separates from the spices and the raw smell disappears – do not hurry this step.
- Roast chickpeas & grind to a paste.
- Heat a heavy pan over a high flame. Add:oil_onions_curry leaves. Saute stirring till onions are brown.
- Make a paste of the following: ginger + garlic + red chili + cumin + coriander + black pepper + turmeric.
- Add this spice mixture to the cooking onions in the pan. Lower the flame, cook stirring till the oil separates from the spice.
- Chuck in the chicken meat, cook stirring till the meat is well coated with the spice.
- Pour in: coconut milk + 4 cups of water + tomatoes + lime juice + salt. Cook until the meat is ready.
- Stir in the chickpeas paste (31), mix up and cook for a final 10-mins.
Chicken Liver and Mushroom Pate
Canned pate de foie gras was imported from France by the resident British elites and very soon the local Mogh cooks made a passable imitation which was served along with toasted French bread on special dinners.
The addition of mushrooms gave the pate the added flavor to mock the essence & zest of the astronomically costly truffles and the fattened goose liver used in the original French pate.
Pates are no harder to make than meatloaf; what distinguishes them is the overgenerous quantity of their ingredients,
which may include some or all of the following: ground meat/liver often marinated in wine or cognac, fat, tongue, ham, cream, eggs, spices, pistachios and truffles.
Endless combinations are possible to tempt you to eventually develop a pate Maison of your own.
- Rinse chicken livers under cold running water; remove fat and connective tissue.
- In a skillet heat olive oil; chuck in: livers + mushrooms + apple + onion + garlic + thyme + salt + pepper.
- Cook until livers are browned with only slight pink centers, stirring often.
- Pour in apple juice; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, until liquid is nearly evaporated.
- Add milk. Cook, uncovered, for 3-mins or until slightly thickened.
- Transfer liver mixture to a food processor bowl. Cover and process until smooth.
- Press mixture through a strainer.
- Spoon mixture into a serving dish. Cover with a cling film and chill for at least 6 hours or for up to 3 days.
Englishmen understand almost better than any other people the art of properly roasting a joint, which is not to be wondered at;
Because the art of cooking as practiced by most Englishmen does not extend much beyond roast beef and Yorkshire pudding.
You can’t get more English than roast beef.
Baked in ovens, yes, but not roasted on a spit in front of an open fire, turned all the while by Musalshis, basted lovingly by the cook at regular intervals,
the juice and drippings falling down into a pan of batter, transforming it into Yorkshire pudding.
Alas, the name simply comes from surlonge,i.e. above the loin.
- Preheat oven to 200 C degrees.
- Meat must be marbled or wrapped in a layer of fat. Season Sirloin or Rib with salt and pepper and spread with fat.
- Place Sirloin or rib, fat side up, in a shallow roaster ( on a rock if available).
- Roast the Sirloin or rib, in a 200 C degree oven for 10-mins, and then reduce heat to 175 C degrees. Cook for 1 hour 40-mins (20-mins per 500 gm plus 20-mins). Baste every 20-25 minutes.
- When done, remove meat, drain off fat and make gravy with the meat residue in the bottom of the roaster.
- Slice into very thin pieces, diagonally across the grain.
- Serve with mustard sauce or potato salad.
“You first parents of the human race…… who ruined yourself for an apple, what might you have done for a truffled turkey?”
Roasting a chicken takes a little longer than some other methods of cooking chicken,
but it actually requires very little preparation time—its mostly just a matter of patiently of waiting for the bird to finish roasting.
Another merit of roast chicken is that the leftovers just keep on giving.
Roasting two chickens is just as easy as roasting one chicken, and today’s roast chicken dinner is tomorrows Chicken Jhal Frazier, chicken salad, or Chicken sandwich.
Overcooking is the most common cause of chicken being dry and/or tough.
Several factors can affect the accuracy of the cooking time.
The thickness of the meat can significantly affect the cooking time; thin selections of meat will cook more quickly than thicker pieces.
Heat settings can vary from the oven.
Even the size and shape of the pan can affect the cooking time. So, the best way to avoid overcooking your chicken is to regularly check on the progress of the dish as it cooks.
Try to use a roasting rack, and don’t cover it.
Roasts placed directly into a roasting pan may cook unevenly. a roasting rack allows the heat to circulate around the meat, cooking and browning the meat uniformly.
Covering the roast interferes with the browning process.
- Brush chicken (with skin) with oil. (Use flavored oils for superior taste)
- Place it on a roasting tray and grill for 20-mins, turning every 5-mins.
Cold Cuts (Chicken)
Another food made popular by the Club Chefs is Cold Cuts, a slice of prepared chicken, beef, and beef tongue that are sold to the members to take home, as they are too cumbersome and time-consuming to make at home.
The cold cuts are great on their own, accompanied by sweet mango chutney and steamed vegetables (at room temperature).
Moisture loss is inevitable when you cook any type of muscle fiber.
Heat causes raw individual coiled proteins in the fibers to unwind (denature) and then later join together with one another, resulting in some shrinkage and moisture loss.
Acids, salt, and even air can have the same denaturing effect on proteins as heat.
Normally, meat loses about 30 percent of its weight during cooking.
But if you soak the meat in a brine first, you can reduce this moisture loss during cooking to as little as 15 percent.
Of all the processes at work during brining, the most significant is the ability of salt to denature proteins.
The dissolved salt causes some of the proteins in muscle fibers to unwind and swell.
As they unwind, the bonds that had held the protein unit together as a bundle break.
Secondly, it increases juiciness by dissolving some proteins, turning them from solid to liquid.
As long as you don’t overcook the meat, which would cause protein bonds to tighten and squeeze out a lot of the trapped liquid. these natural juices will be retained.
How long to bride depends on the size and type of meat you’ve got.
Larger meats like a whole chicken require much more time for the brine to do its thing.
Small pieces of fish and seafood like shrimp shouldn’t sit in the brine for more than half an hour.
Small thin pieces of meat like fish fillets or shrimp/prawns need immersion for only half an hour or less.
It’s vital to have brine with the correct salt concentration, use 100 g of salt for every 125 ml of water.
Any food-safe non- reactive contains is fine for bringing; the meat needs to completely submerge.
Add water with a measuring cup, keeping track of how much you’ve added.
Discard the brine after reasons, it should never be reused.
Whatever your bringing, remember to rinse the meat or fish well afterward to remove any surface salt.
Properly brined meat shouldn’t taste salty, just very juicy with good flavor.
- Take a large plastic bag that will completely enclose the bird; it needs to be completely submerged.
- Rub the salt directly on the chicken, inside and out, put the chicken in the bag.
- Set the whole thing in a large bowl. Add water to the bag with a measuring cup, keeping track of how much you’ve added. Add the correct amount of salt.
- Stand the bowl in the refrigerator and let the bird soak for 12 to 24 hours.
- Wash the chicken under running water to remove surface brine.
- Place the chicken in a deep pan. Cover with boiling water and simmer till tender. Cooking time depends on the size and age of the bird may vary from 20-mins to an hour.
- Lift out the bird and let it cool to room temperature. store in a refrigerator, if not using immediately.
- To serve cut the chicken into four pieces and serve with a brown sauce on the side.
- Or tear off the meat from the bone and finely shred them. Mix a tablespoon of butter (room temperature) + 2 tsp freshly ground black pepper + salt ( be careful you may require to add only a pinch). And use it as a sandwich filler.
Brined and boiled beef is commonly called Corned Beef.
The dish has nothing to do with corn; it was named as such because in the Anglo- Saxon times in England salt granules were as big as a wheat kernel and what is called corn in England.
The present name for this item on the Club menu is Cold Beef.
- In a mixing bowl; combine the following : water + salt + sugar + saltpetre + garlic.
- Wipe meat clean and place it in a non-reactive container or a deep enameled pot or earthen pot or earthen pot (hari).
- Place a weight over the meat to keep it submerged. Pour in the brine (#1) take care to submerge meat completely and more.
- Place the containers in the refrigerator and let the meat soak for 2 to 3 weeks, turning the meat every 4 days.
- Lift the piece off the brine and wash under running water to remove surface brine.
- Place the meat piece in a deep pot, cover with boiling water and simmer.
- Cook for 5 ½ hours or until a fork can penetrate to the center.
- Take the meat off the cooking liquid and let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate for 2 hours.
- Slice into very thin pieces, diagonally across the grain.
- Serve with mustard sauce or potato salad.
Do not overcook meatloaf; it should be formed, not dry.
The sauce poured over the loaf gives it a good flavor and a light crust.
Presently this item is not available in the Club; although, as late as the early ’70s, the Club kitchen dished out sandwiches made with a slice of meatloaf, a popular repeat for the tennis player of the bygone era.
- Preheat oven to 180 C.
- Grease a 20 *32 cm baking dish, set aside.
- Mix these ingredients well: mincemeat+ oatmeal + tomato + egg + tomato juice + onion + green chilli + salt + pepper.
- Put the mixture in the greased dish and shape like a “loaf” leaving room on each side and ends.
- In a small bowl, mix; molasses + ketchup + mustard, stir until smooth.
- Pour this mixture over the meatloaf (#4) and bake at 180 C for 1 ½ hour or up to 2 hours, if needed.
- Slice the loaf when cold. Serve with a salad or as filler for sandwiches.
Vindaloo is a Goan curry adopted from the Portuguese dish Carne de vindaloo e albums (meat cooked in wine vinegar & garlic).
The term vindaloo is a garbled pronunciation of vindaloo e albinos.
The Portuguese under the influence of their Moorish rulers had earlier adopted the taste of sour and fruity meat marinated and cooked in vinegar, a popular Arab tradition.
The Indian cooks applied the techniques of vindaloo to all sorts of meats, with the duck being the favorite.
The British were first introduced to vindaloo in 1797 when they invaded Goa.
And when the British left in 1813, they took their Goan cooks with them. Thus vindaloo made its way to British Bengal and eventually the kitchens of the Club.
In a wild state, he is a faithful husband ……
but no sooner is he domesticated than he becomes polygamous, and makes nothing of owning ten or a dozen wives at a time.”
- Coarsely pound (do not ground): ginger + garlic + dry red chilli + mustard seeds +1 Tbs coriander seeds+ ½ Tbs cumin seeds.
- In a heavy pot; combine the following: meat + turmeric + pounded spice / mosla (1#) + salt + vinegar + oil + a little water.
- Place the pot over a low flame. Cook, stirring occasionally until meat is tender.
- Heat a griddle / Tawa and dry roast: 2 tsp coriander + 1 tsp cumin.
- Transfer seeds to a mortar and pound to a fine powder.
- Add this powder to the cooking curry. Cook till oil separates and meat is ready.
- Serve with steamed rice.
A once-popular Club dish the Beef Stew of the past has now been replaced the more exceptional Mejbani Ghost.
All kinds of stews became popular among the Bengalis.
We come across the Irish Stew~ in a cookery book which provides us recipes of the Tagores Jorasako household kitchen.
Though the Tagore recipe does not Include the famed Irish dark beer Guinness, which makes all stew Irish,
it does give us an idea of how wide-spread the British culinary influence was among the Bengali aristocrats, be they Brahmos or Muslims.
- Melt butter in a deep pan until sizzling; add meat. Cook over medium-high flame, stirring occasionally until browned (5 to 7-mins).
- Stir in: vegetable juice + stock + carrots + potato + onion + Worcestershire sauce+garlic+thyme+marjoram + tejpata. Mix up.
- Cover with a lid; cook on low flame for 4 hours, or until beef is tender.
- Uncover; remove and discard tejpata. Stir in peas.
- In a small bowl combine the following: water + flour + wine. Whisk until smooth.
- Slowly stir this flour mixture (#5) into the beef mixture, stirring constantly.
- Raise the flame and cook stirring occasionally, until thickened ( 8 to 10-mins)and the peas are ready.
NOTE: If stock is not salted use 3 tsp salt at step #4.
To make vegetable juice grind pulpy vegetables of your choice in a food processor and pass it through a fine sieve.
Squeeze out as much juice as possible.
Best Vegetables like kohlrabi, turnip, ridged gourd, and TESOL gourd are good for their juices.
“ A man`s palate can, in time become accustomed to anything.”
Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821)
Recipe for 2 servings
- Beat each piece of meat lightly. Coat the pieces with ginger+garlic+salt+pepper.
- Marinate for 30-mins.
- Grease pan with oil, add meat & weigh them down with something heavy.
- Pour in a little water and cook until tender, turning once.
- Take off the weight. Toss in the onions, and sprinkle with 1 Tbs water (if required).
- Cook till the onions are ready. The onions must not be crisp but soft when cooked.
The haute cuisine or cuisine Classique of France widely followed the European upper classes; the British were no exception.
French cuisine suffered at the hands of British cooks in Bengal;
Curries must have made a welcome change.
British middle-class homemakers, who celebrated the domestic ideology of thrift as a mark of respectability, found curries an excellent way of using up leftover cold meat.
This is the origin of jalfrezi, the name distorted from the French term Fricassee.
Syed Haq thinks the word Prezi is a warped pronunciation of the phrase:
Fry jee, ( jee roughly translates as Sir or Madam).
With the addition of chilies to the dish, the prefix jail (pungent) was adjoined and the name transformed into jalfrezi ( jail-fry-jee) i.e. pungent fried food, Sir.
Presently on the Club menu, the dish is called Chicken Boneless and obviously made with precooked chicken or leftover chicken curry pieces.
- Heat the oil in a wok (korai); lob in the onion, saute till they turn translucent.
- Chuck in :meat+ potatoes + pepper + red chilli + salt.
Making this pie is a good way to use your leftover meat, a boon for the tired homemaker after throwing a large party.
A popular London pub dish once served in the Club bar; presently the Club bar allows ‘finger food’ only!
- In a mixing bowl combine the following: beef + onions + peas (or any veggies) +salt + pepper
- 2.Mix and place in a pie dish.
- Cover with leftover mashed potatoes and bake under a top grill at 190 C for 30[mins or until potatoes are browned.
The pork was not commonly consumed even by the British members due to lack of proper refrigeration facilities in the bygone days.
Occasionally, a wild boar brought in by a member from his hunt was roasted over an open fire pit.
Wild boars were abundant in the woods then surrounding British Dhaka.
Muslim cooks and bearers who served in the Dacca Club kitchens did all the cooking and serving, but never indulged in the forbidden food.
Recipes for cooking beef/mutton apply to almost all cuts of pork, so if you want to cook pork Chops follow the next recipe; just replace the mutton chops with pork chops.
The part of the carcass from which the pork is taken may make a difference in color, texture, taste, and fat in the gravy.
Pork dishes are no longer served in the Club, more in deference to its overwhelming majority of Muslim members, than as disregard to the British.
- Wash and trim off gristle from the pork ribs.
- Soak the dry red chilies in water for 10-mins. Chop them up discarding stalks.
- In a stone mortar ass the following in a sequencer coriander _pepper_red chillies(#2)_lemon grass-turmeric-lemon zest_cilantro_garlic_ginger_onions. Pound the spices after each addition, work to get a smooth paste. Set aside.
- Heat the oil in a wok. Slide in the pork ribs and saute until the edges start to turn brown.
- Drain out most of the fat, retaining just enough (about 1 Tbs) to fry the other ingredients.
- Pour in the spice paste (#3) and stir to coat the ribs with the mosla. Cook over a low flame for 5-mins.
- Pour in ½ cup water, dash in the salt. Bring to a boil, and continue stirring for a further 5-mins
- Add green chilies +cumin powder. Keep stirring until almost dry.
- Next ass: lemon juice+ lemon leaves. Cover with a lid and remove immediately from the heat. Serve after 5-mins.
NOTE: In step #3 of this recipe, pound the spices after each addition. It is best to pound the drier ingredients first, subsequently adding in the moister ones in a sequence, as you proceed.
Before we present you the cutlets allow me to acquaint you with the ‘Chops’ as they were served in the Club before the advent of the French technique of making them into Cotelette by pounding the meat attached to the bone.
- In a mixing bowl blend the following: garlic + ginger + groom mosla + Worcester shire sauce.
- Drop the chips into the mixing bowl. Rub the chops with spice (mosla) until they are well coated.
- Make 2 posts breading station: egg & breadcrumbs.
- First, dip the chops in the egg wash and dust them with the breadcrumbs.
- Chill the chops in a fridge for 20-mins for firm up.
- Heat the oil in a wok (korai) and deep fry the chops in batches.
Cutlets – 1
A cutlet ( from Collette), is a small piece of meat still joined to the bone, especially from the animal`s neck or ribs.
Synonyms: scallops & escallop, the word also means small pieces (mince) of vegetables, nuts, fish or meat which have been pressed into its unique shape.
The cutlets for general consumption are made of either chicken mince or veal.
Simple, fast and rather elegant, these cutlets are not fully breaded, but simply pressed into breadcrumbs.
See the subsequent recipes for a fully breaded one ( flour, egg, breadcrumbs). Use any hard cheese in lieu of Austogram cheese.
- Pound the meat attached to the ribs to a uniform thickness.
- Spread out the breadcrumbs on a flat platter. Press both sides of the meat into the crumbs.
- Heat a non-stick pan over a medium-high flame. Pour in 1 Tbs oil, when hot; cook the cutlets until they are lightly browned.
- Add ½ Tbs oil and brown the second side. Set the cutlet on a platter and repeat with the remaining cutlets.
- Now make the sauce in the same pan. Stir in: butter_garlic_cilantro into the pan. Saute until the garlic releases its aroma ( say a few seconds).
- Add: chicken stock + molasses. Let the liquid simmer down to half its volume.
- Tip in the vinegar and simmer a minute more.
- Pour this sauce over the cutlets and serve.
- With a potato peeler, slice cheese shavings and scatter them over the cutlets.
NOTE: If you have some good red wine handy, deglaze the pan with 1 cup of wine after step # 3 and omit the vinegar.
Cutlets – 2
A good substitute for Comilla cheese is mild Cheddar cheese.
- On a flat platter combine: salt + pepper + flour. Spread them out & level.
- In a wide-mouthed bowl, break in the eggs, tip in the milk and whisk to merge (egg wash).
- Blend: breadcrumbs + Madras curry powder + cheese. Spread them on a platter.
- This is your standard 3- station breading setup: 1) Flour_2)egg- wash_3)bread crumbs.
- Dredge the cutlets in the seasoned flour (#1) _dunk them in the egg/milk mixture (#2)_roll them in the breadcrumbs (#3). Coat the cutlet thoroughly.
- Keep breaded cutlets refrigerated for 30-mins.
- Heat the oil in a heavy wok (korai). Saute the chops until done, about 2-mins per side or until the breading is nicely browned on both sides.
- Drain on absorbent paper towels. Serve immediately.
The croquette [ Kroh-kept ] was actually a Dutch invention and was introduced in the rest of the world at the start of the 20th century.
You can use all sorts of fillings to make the croquettes, like various kinds of meat mixer, fish, vegetables, and eggs.
The most common croquette in the Club is the potato Chop (Aalu Chop) which traditionally has a meat-filled center, most often beef.
Potato Chop, made popular by the Anglo Indian cooks, is crunchy on the outside, but very soft and smooth on the inside.
- Combine: meat + onions + cilantro + black pepper + nutmeg. Set aside.
- Ground the breadcrumbs to the fineness of powder, pour on a flat tray, spread them out and level.
- In a mixing bowl dilute one slightly beaten egg with twice the amount of cold water.
- Beat the mashed potato with butter and salt, over a moderate flame saute until very light. Cook until it leaves the sides of the saucepan. Turn out the mash onto a platter.
- While the potato mash is still hot, take 2 Tbs mash and form into thick discs. Place a tablespoon of meat filling in the center, draw up edges to form a ball.
- Roll the ball into batons. Flatten the batons between open palms.
- Shape them into one side pointed chop.
- Roll the chops in the crumbs_dip in egg_crumb again. Set aside to fry.
- Heat the oil in a large pan, slide in the chops. Cook in batches; taking care that there are not enough to touch each other. Heat the fat before attempting to fry a second batch.
- When cooked drain on absorbent paper.
Another croquette inspired food; it is a great way to revitalize leftover meat and fillers can be bread, cooked rice, anything that will add bulk to the mix.
If using cooked leftover meat, reduce the salt to ½ tsp. In this version, we have used roasted rice, which you can substitute with breadcrumbs or crushed crackers.
- Heat a griddle (Tawa), spread out the rice and roast them till they change color. Transfer rice to a flat surface and stretch them out to cool.
- Once cooled place the rice in a mortar and pound to a rough powder.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the following: onion + cilantro + meat + whisked egg + ¾ -cup milk + nutmeg + red chilli + salt.
- In another bowl whisk the egg white. Tip in ¼ cup milk and whisk again to mix.
- Take 2 Tbs of the mincemeat mixture and shape into a 1.5 cm thick round disc with the pointed end. Repeat and make the rest.
- Heat oil in a wok (korai) until ripples forms on the surface of the oil.
- Dust each disc with rice meal (#2)_ dip in egg white(#4)_ dredge in the rice meal again.
- Shallow –fry discs in hot oil until golden.