The Documented One

Many of us know that Kebabs traveled to India from Arab origins. Even the traveller Ibn Battuta, mentions seeing people eating Kebab during his travels in India. We also believe that there is lot of Mughal influence in terms of using spices in our dishes. Now let me tell you a fascinating fact about “Kebabs”.

The culinary text ‘Manasolassa’ by King Somesvar has recipes of Kebabs made with spices, citrus juices and cooked on hot coal, the dish is called Bhaditrakam. Few of these recipes are complex and has use of various spices. The text is from 12th century and everything that we ‘know’ about the ‘influences’ is post this date. I have been reading about few recipes of Manasolassa and it just makes me question the origins of few dishes & techniques. The recipes include use of sheep blood to marinade, goat brain with fermented rice, meat folded into layers and grilled, meat beaten until it was thin, and the best of all, barbecued rats, will leave it here.

All of this makes me wonder, what a rich culinary scene we had even in 12th century. All of which just reached a level up with Sultanates and Mughals and other Royal kitchens of India. But then, ask yourself do you see any of these dishes around? Just a few places I guess, because its outnumbered by chicken, paneer tikkas & tandooris as they are easier to make, the masalas have nothing to offer, and yet we go bonkers over these dishes.
I believe it’s time we start looking into our centuries old culinary traditions and techniques for inspiration.

The word Kebab, I believe is an evolved term originating from the words KAM (less) AB (water), which means using less water for cooking it.

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