22 de abril de 2009

A Comida Judaico-indiana


Ao ler o artigo sobre os judeus na India sobre a fusao alimentar que os judeus acabaram fazendo com a comida indiana e que todos gostavam muito.

Meu esposo eh um estudioso da comida indiana e tem resgatado antigas receitas de pratos que ja nao sao mais encontrados. Ele recorda com nostalgia da comida Anglo-indian, da epoca do imperio britanico, quando a capital era a cidade de Calcuta (e nao Delhi como hoje em dia).

Os ingleses acabaram pegando e adaptando para seu paladar diversos pratos de iguarias indianas e que com o passar do tempo acabou resultando a Cozinha Anglo-indian.

Ele me conta que o mesmo ocorreu com a comida -->Kosher dos judeus. Com o passar do tempo, os judeus foram incorporando receitas, ingredientes e elementos da comida indiana em seus habitos alimentares. Ele comecou a me contar diversas historias e eu pedi a ele que escrevesse algumas coisas para que eu pudesse repassar pra voce.

Segue abaixo as reminiscencias do meu esposo, em sua antiga Calcuta e a fusao da comida judaica com a comida bengalesa. Ele me contou ainda que o aroma que vinha da padaria judaica era algo maravilhoso, aquele cheiro doce e tentador dos bolos e tortas assando, hummmm....

When I was a child Calcutta still had a fair Jew community and a couple of Baghdad style eateries/restaurants, where proper Jewish food was available along with Indian (bengali and mughlai) food.
I do not remember the names of those restaurants anymore but the bakery shop named “Nahoum & Sons “ or simply “Nahoums” is still there with their quality goods. Nahoum’s probably has the best ‘simple’ cakes commercially available in the city. There are the ‘normal’ cakes, the fruitcakes, the chocolate cakes, the birthday cakes, the wedding cakes but the best is probably the rich plum cakes at Christmas. Presently run by Mr. David Nahoum, the grandson of Mr. Israel Mordecai Nahoum who established the shop in 1902. Mr. Israel Nahoum introduced the “Judeo- Persian” cuisine to Calcutta’s cosmopolitan multitude in late 19th century. He arrived at Calcutta in 1870 at the high point of British imperialism and in the then Indian capital, he sold the middle-eastern delicacies door to door in the initial phase.
In the early twentieth century, at the time of Israel Nahoum, the shop featured as one of the important Jewish establishments satisfying the dietary needs of the community. The bakery used to be frequented by the Jews in their heyday to pick up the Middle-Eastern delicacies like the cheesecakes, cheesestakes, ba
klavas, cheese sambusaks, date-fi led babas, round kakas, challah bread (for Sabbath), and plum tikias.
One of the most highly prized savouries of Nahoum’s is the “Sambusak”, a Jewish incarnation of Indian samosas. Unlike Indian samosas, which has a stuffed filling of seasonal vegetables enclosed in a light pastry, the Sambusaks are filled with kosher cheese enclosed in an almost oil-free dough. Thus, the samosas/sambusaks facilitated a collaboration and exchange of “Judaic- Indian” culture. I believe this is still available along with other kosher foods during Sabbath. Even 10 years back, the plum tikias, a seasonal specialty adopted from Bengali plum boraa, was in high demand among the Chinese and Parsis of Calcutta. The Nahoum’s confectionery now, has also become, post-1948, the nucleus of Jewish expatriates, who often come back to the city to re-discover their roots.

Once the Jew Shepherdic cooking was also popular in Calcutta. The Jews brought with them their preferences such as hameen, combinations with vegetables and meat, and the famous koobe (stuffed dumpling). What they discovered in India was an almost entirely new group of spices and herbs that the local population were using, such as turmeric, cumin, coriander, hot chili, fenugreek (hilbeh), cardamom, mustard seed and fresh ginger. In addition, tropical vegetables of the pumpkin family; loobia, the long bean; coconut; bitter melon; and many more growing in the luxurious soil and tropical climate. These were incorporated into their dishes from the "old country" and the gradual evolution of a new style of cooking began.
By the 20th century, the Calcutta Jews had their own cuisine firmly stabilized and familiar to the entire community. Some recipes were completely new inventions, while others were Jewish by adoption but came from Baghdad to India. What gave it continuity was its use of the Judaic rules of "kashruth" and its identity with their way of life in a new home.
Some popular dishes from Indo-Jewish culinary of Calcutta are:
MURGI CUTLET (Calcutta Chicken Cutlets), ALOO-M-KALLA MURGI (Pot-Roast Chicken) MUKMURA (Chicken and Almonds in Lemon Sauce), HARI KABOB (Spiced Chicken and Potatoes), BOONA KALEGI (Fried Chicken Liver), BHUNA HAAS (Baked Stuffed Duck), MUCHLI KA KARI (Fish Curry), BEET KHUTA (Sweet and Sour Beef and Beets), PILAU MATABAK (Old-Fashioned Rice Mix) etc.