This appealing little cookbook, published in Calcutta in 1839 with the weighty subtitle “Being a Selection of the Best Approved Recipes, of the Most Flavoured and Savoury Dishes, from the Kitchen of Nawab Qasim Uli Khan, Buhadur Qâum Jung, from the original Persian,” gave colonial Europeans a way to enjoy royal feasts in their own homes.The Khwan Niamut is an entertaining way for today's adventurous cooks to explore Asian dishes in their own homes.
Translated as “Table of Riches,” The Khwan Niamut offers a collection of tempting recipes from the lavish household of Qasim Uli Khan which did indeed allow transplanted colonials to dine like shahs. All the refinements of Persian cookery—from hearty pilaus and curries and kababs to delicate almond comfits and such mandatory accessories as mango and lemon pickles—are served up in the pages of this facsimile edition.
The Khwan Niamut also includes many traditional ways of preserving meats, eggs, fruits, juices, and dairy products, growing mushrooms—“If the water wherein mushrooms have been steeped or washed be poured upon an old bed…there will speedily arise great numbers”—perfuming linen with rose leaves, cloves and mace, and preparing “a fine strong tincture of coffee.” A lengthy appendix caters to British taste buds, allowing homesick colonials to prepare less exotic but more familiar dishes such as mutton hash, veal broth, eel pie, lemon custard, and ginger beer.
To satisfy today's tastes and methods, David Schoonover has updated many festive Persian dishes as a major part of this introduction, which places this cookbook in the context of culinary history. More experienced cooks will enjoy the full range of recipes inThe Khwan Niamutusing the tables that translate such measures as chuttacks, mashas, and seers into modern equivalents. Everyone seeking to broaden their culinary repertoire will delight in the recipes and history of The Khwan Niamut.