Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Cooking in Ceylon in the 17th Century.

Today, as promised, I continue the story from An historical relation of the island Ceylon, in the East Indies: with an account of the detaining in captivity the author and divers other Englishmen now living there, and of the author's miraculous escape, (1681) by R. Chiswell.

But to give you a little of their Cookery.  If People be in the room talking together, the woman being ready to put the Rice into the Pot, bids them all be silent till she has put it in, and then they may procede with their discourse. For if they should talk while the Rice is putting in, it would not swell.
At the time of the year that there is most plenty of Lemmons, they take them and squeez the juyce into an earthen Pot, and set over the fire, and boil it so long, till it becomes thick and black like tar. This they set by for their use, and it will keep as long as they please. A very small quantity of it will suffice for sauce. They call it Annego.
They have several sorts of sweet-meats. One they call Caown. It is like to a Fritter made of Rice-flower, and Jaggory. They make them up in little lumps, and lay them upon a Leaf, and then press them with their thumbs, and put them into a Frying-Pan, and fry them in Coker nut Oyl or Butter. When the Dutch came first to Columba, the King ordered these Caown to be made and sent to them as a royal Treat. And they say, the Dutch did so admire them, that they asked if they grew not upon Trees, supposing it past the Art of man to make such dainties.
Oggulas another sort of sweet-meats, made of parched RiceJaggoryPepper, Cardamum, and a little Cinnamons.  They rowl them up in Balls, which will grow hard. These they tie up in bags and carry them with them when they travail to eat in afternoons when they are hungry.
Alloways made much after the former manner, only they are flat in the fashion of a Lozenge, which are good for faintings and thirsty souls to relish their water, and to eat of in afternoons when they are at home. We carried some of these along with us in our travayl.
Tacpetties, made of Rice-flower, and the meat of the Coker-nut and Jaggory. They are made up into small lumps, and so put in a Leaf, and laid on a cloth over a Pot of boyling water. The stream of which heats that which is laid upon it: and so they are sodden like a Pudding, they tast like white bread, Almonds and Sugar.
Pitu. Which is made thus. They take flower of Coracan, and sprinkle a little water into it, being both put into a large Pot for the purpose. Then they stir and rowl it in the Pot with their hands: by which means it crumbles into corns like Gun-Powder. Then they have a Pot of boyling water with a cloth tyed over it; and upon this cloth they lay so much of this corn flower as they can conveniently cover with another Pot. And so the steam coming through the cloth boils it, that it will be much like unto a Pudding. And this they use to eat as they do Rice.
The womens Houfewifry is to beat the Rice out of the husk; which they do with an Ebeny Pestle before mentioned. They lay the Rice on the ground, and then beat it, one blow with one hand, and then tossing the pestle into the other, to strike with that. And at the same time they keep stroke with their feet ( as if they were dancing ) to keep up the Corn together in one heap. This being done, they beat it a gain in a wooden Morter to whiten it; as was said before. This work tho it be very hard, belonged only to the women: as also to fetch both wood and water. The wood they bring upon their heads, the water in an earthen Pot, placing it upon their hip. To the women also belongs a small bill to cut Herbs, Pumkins &c. Which she is to dress. Which bill she lays upon the ground, the edg upwards, and sets herself upon a Staff or handle to hold it fast, and what she meaneth to cut, she lays it upon the edge, and shoveth it on it.

And from yesterday’s recipe source, The Curry Cook’s Assistant, or, Curries, How to Make them in England in Their Original Style (1889,) written by the Ceylonese Daniel Santiagoe:-

Take a pound of good rice, and pick out all the black and other things from it. And now place a frying-pan on fire; soon as it gets hot put inthe rice, and keep on turning till you find it nice and brown colour; then put on a plate to get cool; then pound this in a stone-made mortar or pounder (very fine), and bottle it, well corked. Use a tablespoon to brown Curries.

Take an enamelled saucepan to hold four quarts, and fill it three-quarters full of fresh water, and let it boil. During the time the water is boiling, soak two pounds of rice (white) for three minutes in cold water; then strain off the water, and put the rice in the pan that
is boiling, and stir for two minutes, and cover it up. When boiling put in a spoon, and take out some rice and feel it with your finger. If it is done drain off all the water, and place the pan near a hot oven till wanted.
Must not let it be overdone. If it is overdone and nearly soft, just drain the boiling rice water, and add a few cups of very cold water. Stir it, and drain again, and set by the fire or on hot oven for a few minutes, and you will find each grain separate. Boiled rice ought to have each grain separate.

N.B.--The rice I have seen in England they call it "Patcha Areysi," used for rice cakes, etc., in India and Ceylon, etc. I mean the rice taken out the shell without boiling the paddy. The rice taken out the shell, called "Sothareysigal," as follows, of Rangoon, Chittagong, Bengal, etc., etc.:--

  Muthoo Samba.
  Mollagoo Samba.
  Oosi Samba.
  Waddakathy Samba.

And several other native names too numerous to mention. The above all good for eating after boiled.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As always, another really interesting post. Thank you :)