This wonderful book kshemakutuhalam is translated from samskrit to English by the great efforts of IIAIM, FRLHT, Bangalore. This book was first published in 2009. All the credits of the series of articles I’m starting today goes to that particular translation …
- The chapter kicks start with invocation to Supremacy, Lord Ganesha and Lord Krishna in first two versus. Now, this is most common trend in almost all scriptures to start with author’s favorite deities. Versus are highly poetic and attracts readers. Interestingly, both these deities are said to be fond of food in various tales of mythology. Apt for a book on cooking, don’t you think?
- Kshemasharma then moves on to describe his family tree/lineage in detail in following versus. Now you might wonder how this is important to know. Well, it is vital to know lineage of the author, as he seems to hail from a “vaidya” family. He quotes his family from Vaidya Dvijaraja, who was an immensely respected doctor. He was said to have cured Vibhishana and Lakshmana from diseases, centuries ago. Then comes Vaidya Dharmadhara who was said to be an expert in the Sushruta samhita and was known for his good hand in performing surgeries. Thus, on and on, he describes things in elaboration while giving references to Vaidya Rama,Vaidya Yati, Vaidya Manmatha etc. Kshemasharma quotes that he was one of the two sons of Manmatha, other being Vaidya Mallinatha. The author was said be working in the court of King Vikramasena.
- Moving on further, he directly takes on the subject and gives versus describing the contents of all twelve chapters in the book.
- Next verse tells that there are four types of forms of food. They are the ones to be chewed, licked, swallowed and drunk. Whatever food we cook comes under any of these categories.
- Next couple of shlokas describes different methods adopted in cooking. Like say for example, Deep frying, Shallow frying, Steaming, boiling, Ripening etc.( Bharjana,Talana, Kwathana,Pachana). There are other various other terms used like Dalita, Khandita, Kritta, Poulita and vivechita grossly. Among all these descriptions we find the word “Tandura” too which probably can be a root word for “tanduri” trending these days.
- Next comes an interesting reference of “coloring agents” which are natural and could be used for cooking. Mainly mentioned here are, Saffron and red sandalwood (Rakta-chandana) as being used. Author also tells that betel leaves can also be used for coloring, depending on the dish prepared.
- Next comes a very interesting preparation called Vesavaara. This is nothing but a type of flavoring agent used in specially meat preparations. This is made up of Asafetida, wet ginger, cumin seeds, black pepper, turmeric and coriander seeds. This seasoning is said to be one of best choices in suppressing cough. When this flavouring mixture is boiled in sesame oil, it is called as “Karaala”.
Well, there are many more details given in this particular chapter, which would be discussed in future write-ups. So, stay tuned…