After buying 2 cucumbers in order to make one into a Chinese salad for a party, I decided to make the other into salad as well (as opposed to tzatziki and a tzatziki delivery system). After checking the index of Modern Cookery For Private Families (first published in 1845, reissued in 2011 by Quadrille), I decided to make the cucumber dish with the oddest name.
I canot find out much about the words ‘mandram’ or ‘mandrang’ or who went to to where in the Caribbean to bring the recipe back to Acton. Most descriptions of this ‘salad-like hash’ (William Woys Weaver, Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery, edited by Harlan Walker, 1991), lead back to Acton’s recipe, although I enjoyed the idea of it as an ‘unfailing stimulant to the appetite‘. Food in England by Dorothy White (1945) has completely different recipe for ‘cucumber mandram’, so perhaps I’ll have a go at that another time.
The directions in this recipe were pretty sparse, but I salted the cucumber and onion after slicing it (as I normally would) and left it to drain for an hour, then dressed it.
This is where things get slightly meta. In many vintage recipes, before rice wine was something that could be bought in many supermarkets (or atleast their online stores), sheery was often suggested as a substitute for rice wine and I didn’t have any sherry, so I used rice wine instead. Are you still with me?
This was sweet, fruity, tangy and spicy and to my taste would go well with any kind meat – hot, cold, grilled, roasted, cured, sausage. I ate it with chicken and recommend it to you highly. Not least because it gives you the opportunity to eat something which sounds like the bad guy from a science fiction novel.
Dranged by Elly