So I am still in the final testing phases, but finalizing the menu is near. The last few main dishes in my feast for Lochmere’s Midwinters event at the end of January. needed to be taste tested. My original plan was to do a Chicken Korma (cooked chicken in creamy spices), Sag Paneer (spinach cooked with cheese), and Chana Masala (Chickpeas in gravy). However, after doing more research on recipes, I found that tomatoes are an important base in the Chana Masala, which ruled out the dish for pre 1600. Given that I am attempting to document the feast via the Ain i Akbari, I am trying to stick to the numerous ingredient source it provides.
Since I needed another side/vegetarian option I looked back at my spreadsheet and saw that Peas were prevalent but I had not yet used them. I found a Pea Cilantro recipe and completely bastardized it into a Pea, Onion, and Mint (also not yet represented in the feast) yummy dish. Tried both variation (using cilantro and then mint) and since I get the opportunity to add in another ingredient (mint) which was also yummy, I opted for the mint version.
Kormas and Sag are specifically are mentioned in the earlier texts, so that made including those two an easy decision.
Although not part of the menu currently, I wanted to try my hand at a Biryani. Biryani’s are known through out many different cultures. The word Biryani is thought to be a variation of Birinj, and is basically a seasoned rice pilaf. It can be made with or without meat and even as a sweet dish (volume 1 recipes).
I researched at great length different Chicken Biryani recipes because everyone seems to have their own variation. Many use tomatoes, which of course I had to omit, and were vague on the measurements for some ingredients. So I needed to bring different aspects of different recipes and create my own. I was very thrilled with the results and used my pressure cooker just in case it was something that needed to be added to the feast (and cooked quickly). Enjoyed the taste test with a bit of cardamon spiced tea and a variation of the pea dish (added the spiced paneer I would have done for the Sag Paneer).
All in all I am pleased with the results and learned a bit more about spice combinations and cooking techniques from both the Kormas, Sag and Biryani dishes.
Once I test out the two dessert dishes I have yet to try, the overall menu will be complete. I just have to fight my urge to cook ALL THE THINGS.