People have been writing down favorite recipes since the development of writing. Ancient cookbooks exist almost everywhere in the world, and are wonderful windows into along, long ago past. They’re found on every continent, and in many languages. Some ancient texts are written in cuneiform on clay Like the Yale Tablets from 1700 BC that has lasted since the fall of Babylon, or De Re Coquinaria the Roman cookbook of Apicius. There’s the Medieval Islamic Kitab al-Ṭabīḫ from 900 AD, Le Viandier, a French cookbook from 1300 AD, a Catalonian cookbook Llibre de Sent Sovi, from 1324, and from China Yinshan Zhengyao from the Yuan dynasty in 1334.
Now that it’s cold and wet up here in Northern California, I’m firing up my Homdor Tandoor oven to do some Winter Kitchen Cooking, and what better to start with than a recipe from one of the oldest cookbooks the Mansollasa a 12th century Sanskrit text put together by the Kalyani Chalukya King Someshvara lll who ruled South India. The book is a guide to EVERYTHING: dance, astrology, horticulture, medicine, government ethics, games, painting, poetry, music, and FOOD! My sister-in-law could have probably told me reams about this book since she reads Sanskrit…but she’s in New York and I’m here so I went digging.
The book and its recipes still exist and I decided to cook one of them. It’s a simple recipe, easy to prepare, and can be done on a BBQ, but it was created for a Tandoor Oven. It’s a simple marinade, and most ingredients you may already have.