Monday, July 12, 2010

Carach Sauce.

Last week I was confused over ‘corach’ sauce. Thanks to pointer from a regular reader and commenter (see the post here), I am now a little clearer. The name is sometimes spelled ‘carach’ and sometimes ‘carachi’ – knowing alternative spellings helps when researching old recipes, and sometimes the only way to start off is by trying various phonetic variations of the word! One theory is that name is related to the city of Karachi (Pakistan), and suggests that it was believed that the sauce originated there. An alternative theory is that the sauce takes its name from Carache in Venezuela.

One early recipe is from that marvellous book, The Cook & Housewife's Manual (1826) by Mistress Margaret Dods (the pseudonym of Christian Isobel Johnstone). The recipe is uber-simple:

Mix pounded garlic, Cayenne, soy, and walnut-pickle in good vinegar.

For those of you who prefer more exact measurements, a slightly earlier book - Five Thousand Receipts in all the Useful and Domestic Arts, (1825) by Colin MacKenzie has a more detailed version:

Carach sauce.
Take three cloves of garlic, each cut in half, half an ounce of Cayenne pepper, and a spoonful or two of Indian soy and walnut pickle; mix it in a pint of vinegar, with as much cochineal as will colour it.

A more elaborate version is in one of my favourite Victorian sources - Cassell’s Dictionary of Cookery (c1870’s):

Pound a head of garlic, and put it into a jar with three table-spoonfuls each of walnut pickle, mushroom ketchup, and soy, and two tea-spoonfuls of cayenne pepper, two tea-spoonfuls of essence of anchovies, and one of pounded mace. Pour onto these one pint of fresh vinegar; let them remain in the liquid two or three days, then strain, and bottle it for use.

Note: After partly solving the ‘corach’ mystery (with a little help from my friends), I am now left with the concept of ‘Indian’ soy. Please do continue to share your insights, and to watch this space.

Quotation for the Day.

On England and the English: As a rule they will refuse even to sample a foreign dish, they regard such things as garlic and olive oil with disgust, life is unliveable to them unless they have tea and puddings.
George Orwell.


Sharlene T. said...

Wow! What a great history and recipe... gonna try this and then figure out what to use it for... gotta be good, the ingredients are and seem to like each other in other dishes... thanks for the hard work and the great English quote... come visit when you can...

Twitter: SolarChief

Leaking Moonlight said...

This is the second time this week I've seen a recipe using pickled walnuts. Do you know what do they taste like? Can another ingredient be substituted?

The Old Foodie said...

Hi Leaking Moonlight. They are fresh, green walnuts (the shells are soft) brined then pickled in sweet spiced vinegar (just as you would do onions). We dont grow walnuts in Queensland so I am not able to make my own, and they are not easy to find in the shops, but I did just manage to find some, so I am going to try them out. They were a very popular ingredient for all sorts of savoury recipes in the nineteenth century.

The Old Foodie said...

I just remembered I did a blog post on pickled walnuts a few years ago, with a 17th C recipe. It is at
{walnuts not brined in this case}

Anonymous said...

I, too, have been driven mad by this "corach" business. There is a group devoted to soy sauce references in media, demystifying "India Soy."

This pdf has noted all soy sauce references, esp. the English, during the 17th, 18th and 19th century as an annotated bibliography, among other things.

here is the quote:

"Note 2. This is the earliest English-language document
seen (Jan. 2006) that uses the word “Soye” to refer to soy
sauce, or the term “East-India Soye” or the term “India
Ketchup” to refer to soy sauce from the East Indies,
probably the Dutch East Indies (today’s Indonesia)."

I'm researching the strange bubble of exotic flavors that seems to explode during the Regency and then disappear--I might just be misled by reading Rundell and Kitchener. Please write me a note if you have any thoughts on WHY the soy, curry and cayenne dipped during the Victorian period, or if you argue otherwise,