Monday, 20 February 2017

Southern Command's Mutton Do-pyaza

 When a very senior army officer regretfully told me that he got no mention of colonel Derek Pollard, an artillery officer of British Army, briefly posted in Poona, on google and Wikipedia, I was not at all surprised. These search engines claiming to provide the information on all and sundry, are woefully inadequate and abominably flawed. I got some sketchy information about this gentleman in a Persian handbook, at Calcutta's famed National Library, maintained by some British officers of Brigadier ranks.

Pollard was in charge of the Southern Command Army Mess just prior to the Second World War. Being a gourmet and an accomplished scholar of Dari and Pashto, he'd keep experimenting with ingredients available in Iran and Afghanistan. He'd instruct the chefs at Southern Command Mess to mix cauliflower and cashew-nut paste with mutton while prepairing Mutton do-pyaza  and Murgh-Musallam. Mashed cauliflower adds to the taste of Mutton do-pyaza andMurgh Musallam.


Now, whenever and wherever you eat genuine Mutton-do pyaza and Murgh-Musallam, rest assured the thick aromatic gravy consists of fresh cauliflower paste and a spoonful of crushed cashew-nuts. I've never understood why people give credit to Lucknow and Hyderabad for innovations in non-veg cuisine. Why Poona never figures as a city of gourmands, nay gourmets? At the same time, this is also a pitiable aspect that when Marathis scream Majha Maharashtra, Majha Bambai and Majha Poona, they ignore the contribution of Poona to the dietary landscape of the sub-continent.

 For the information of the interested readers, there's just one published copy (half Urdu- Persian and half English) of ' Dastarkhan-e-Deccan: Poona, Aurangabad aur Ahmadnagar,' written by colonel Shaharyar Khan and Brigadier Usman MaCdermot of undivided Indian army, available at the library of Pakistan Military Academy, Kakul, Abbotabad. What has Indian army done to get that book? Why did India refuse to accept this rarest of rare books when offered by Air Marshal Asgar Khan of PAF?          
                                                                  ------
Sumit Paul


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