Sake Dean Mahomed


Sake Dean Mahomed was an Anglo-Indian traveller, surgeon and entrepreneur who was one of the most notable early non-European immigrants to the Western World. He helped break down cultural barriers between India and England in the early 19th century by introducing Indian cuisine and shampoo baths to Europe, where he offered therapeutic massage at a spa established. He was also the first Indian author to publish a book “The Travels of Dean Mahomed”, in English on January 15, 1794 .

Born in 1759 in the city of Patna, then part of the Bengal Presidency, Mahomed came from Buxar. His father, who belonged to the traditional Nai (barber) caste, was in the employment of the East India Company. He had learned much of alchemy and understood the techniques used to produce various alkali, soaps and shampoo. He later described the Mughal Emperor Shah Alam II and the cities of Allahabad and Delhi in rich detail and also made note of the faded glories of the Mughal Empire.

Sake Dean Mahomed grew up in Patna, and his father died when Mahomed was young. At the age of 10, he was taken under the wing of Captain Godfrey Evan Baker, an Anglo-Irish Protestant officer. Mahomed served in the army of the British East India Company as a trainee surgeon and honourably served against the Marathas. Mahomed also mentions how Mir Qasim and most of the entire Bengali Muslim aristocracy had lost their famed wealth. He complained about Shuja-ud-Daula’s campaign against his Rohilla allies and how Hyder Ali defeated the British during the Battle of Pollilur. Mahomed remained with Captain Baker’s unit until 1782, when the Captain resigned. That same year, Mahomed also resigned from the Army, choosing to accompany Captain Baker, ‘his best friend’, to Britain.

In 1794, Mahomed published his travel book, titled “The Travels of Dean Mahomed“. The book begins with the praise of Genghis Khan, Timur and particularly the first Mughal Emperor Babur. It later describes several important cities in India and a series of military conflicts with local Indian principalities. Editor Michael Fisher suggested that some passages in the book were closely paraphrased from other travel narratives written in the late 18th century.

In 1810, after moving to London, Sake Dean Mahomed opened the first Indian hindoostane_coffee_house_(7599806070)restaurant in England: the Hindoostane Coffee House in George Street, near Portman Square, Central London. The luxurious restaurant offered Georgian Brits such delights such as hookah “with real chilm tobacco, and their first taste of curry in Indian dishes, … allowed by the greatest epicures to be unequalled to any curries ever made in England.” Unfortunately, this venture was ended two years later due to financial difficulties.

Before opening his restaurant, Mahomed had worked in London for nabob Basil Cochrane, who had installed a steam bath for public use in his house in Portman Square and promoted its medical benefits. Mahomed may have been responsible for introducing the practice of champooi or “shampooing” (or Indian massage) there. In 1814, Mahomed and his wife moved back to Brighton and opened the first commercial “shampooing” vapour masseur bath in England which was a spa providing a combination of a steam bath and an Indian therapeutic massage The establishment was located on the site now presently occupied by the Queen’s Hotel. He described the treatment in a local paper as “The Indian Medicated Vapour Bath (type of Turkish bath), a cure to many diseases and giving full relief when every thing fails; particularly Rheumatic and paralytic, gout, stiff joints, old sprains, lame legs, aches and pains in the joints”.

This business was an immediate success and Dean Mahomed became known as “Dr. Brighton”. Hospitals referred patients to his care and he was appointed as shampooing surgeon to both King George IV and William IV.

In 1814, Mahomed moved to the beachside town of Brighton and opened the first commercial “shampooing” bath in England, providing a combination of a steam bath and an Indian therapeutic massage. His business flourished, promising to cure diseases and provide relief from various physical pains.

He was so successful that soon he became known as “Dr. Brighton,” with hospitals referring patients to his care. He was also appointed shampooing surgeon to British kings George IV and William IV.

Sake Dean Mahomed and his wife Jane had seven children: Rosanna, Henry, Horatio, Frederick, Arthur, Dean Mahomed (baptised in the Roman Catholic church of St. Finbarr’s, Cork, in 1791 and Amelia (b. 1808). His son, Frederick, was a proprietor of Turkish baths at Brighton and also ran a boxing and fencing academy near Brighton. His most famous grandson, Frederick Henry Horatio Akbar Mahomed (c. 1849–1884), became an internationally known physician and worked at Guy’s Hospital in London. He made important contributions to the study of high blood pressure. Another of Sake Dean Mahomed’s grandsons, Rev. James Kerriman Mahomed, was appointed as the vicar of Hove, Sussex, in the late 19th century.

sake2Mahomed died in 1851 at 32 Grand Parade, Brighton. He was buried in a grave at St Nicholas Church, Brighton, in which his son Frederick was later interred. Frederick taught fencing, gymnastics and other activities in Brighton at a gymnasium he built on the town’s Church Street.He began to lose prominence by the Victorian era and until recently was largely forgotten by history. The literary critic Muneeza Shamsie notes that he also authored the books Cases Cured and Shampooing Surgeon, Inventor of the Indian medicated Vapour and Sea Water Baths etc.


The Persimmon Smoothie


Photo Credit: Up Root Kitchen, 2015.

Have you tried a persimmon yet?

It’s a high sugar fruit with three major varieties and they are in season from October through January, making it one of the few seasonal options in winter! For the most part, they are grown in the United States in California, Florida, and certain areas in the South.

Makes 1 Smoothie Drink


1 Fuyu persimmon, skinned and roughly chopped
1 frozen banana
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tablespoon honey
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
A Pinch of ground cloves
2 ice cubes

In a blender, combine all ingredients. Blend until smooth. You may need to add additional ice cubes or water to thin the smoothie, if desired.

Cook’s Note:
Peeling the skin of the persimmon prevents the grainy texture that can occur with using them in a given recipe.



Persimmons are a beautiful fall fruit, typically available in North America from October to January. They have an exquisite, delicate texture and flavor which some people compare to peaches or mangos.

This orange-colored fruit resembles tomatoes in shape and size, and features a beautiful floral-shaped leaf and small calyx (stem). Many persimmon purists insist that the only way to enjoy them is to eat them raw, but their tender flesh can be enjoyed in many ways; try them in chutneys, salsas, jams, purées, or even baked!

How to Select Persimmons

Look for vibrantly coloured persimmons that are free from punctures or cuts. They should also be plump and heavy for their size and their skin should be smooth and glossy. Similar to bananas, you may notice some natural sugar freckles. Those little spots are a sign of extra sweetness.

There are two varieties, the Fuyu and Rojo Brillante (more commonly identified by its trademark name, Persimon®) that are ready to eat when firm. The Hachiya variety continues to ripen after it is picked and needs to soften significantly before eating.

How to Store Persimmons

It is best to keep “ready to eat” varieties such as the Fuya and Rojo Brillante (or Persimon®) in a cool place or on the counter, as opposed to the refrigerator.

Hachiya persimmons should be left to ripen on the counter at room temperature until they are very soft. Once ripe, store in the fruit drawer of the fridge, in a plastic bag.

How to Prepare Persimmons

Persimmons are extremely easy to prepare! Wash them under cool water. If you wish you can peel them, remove the stems, then half, quarter, or slice before eating. You can also eat them fresh out of hand, as you would an apple. The skins are edible however, many people choose to peel the skin away (much like cutting away apple skins).

This fruit is seedless, so it’s a perfect choice for a no-fuss, kid-friendly treat. To make them extra special, try slicing them horizontally, much like cutting tomatoes for burgers to reveal a beautiful star pattern inside!

Persimmon Varieties

Rojo Brillante

Persimon® is the trademark name used to identify the Rojo Brillante persimmon variety grown caquis-1-1351863708in Ribera del Xúquer, Spain. Persimon® are bright orange and tend to be larger and longer than other persimmons. They are non-astringent, and are ready to eat when they are firm, and can also be enjoyed when they are soft. The sweet flavor of this variety is mildly reminiscent of peaches and mangos combined.


The Fuyu Persimmon is a part of the Japanese Persimmon Tree family, and is one of the most fuyu_persimmon_tree-image2popular fresh eating Japanese persimmon varieties in the world.

This non-astringent, short , round, flattened fruit resembles a Roma tomato. They range from being orange to yellow and will have a reddish-orange skin when ripe. The Fuyu Persimmon tree bears at a young age and is a heavy producer. The fruit is seedless and is excellent for fresh eating or cooking. They can be consumed when firm or soft The Fuyu ripens in November and is as sweet and crisp as an apple and can be quite juicy. In the United States, this variety grows in zones 6 – 10.


The Hachiya is a very large, oblong or cone shaped persimmon that has bright orange-red skin hachiya_persimmon_tree-image1when ripe. This astringent variety is considered the largest and best cooking quality persimmon. However, they must be ripened before they are consumed, otherwise they will impart a very bitter taste. Their flesh when ripened is extremely tender, silky and sweet. The Hachiya Persimmon is an upright-spreading, vigorous tree that produces rich, sweet delicious fruits in November. (100-200 Chill Hours). In the United States, it grows in zones: 6 – 10.

How to Freeze Persimmons

Persimmons can be frozen whole and unpeeled or in a puréed format.

To freeze whole: Wash the outside of the persimmon well and dry completely. Store in a re-sealable freezer-safe bag and squeeze out as much air as possible. Place in freezer and use within a year. Like other fruits, they will not maintain their fresh texture once defrosted so it’s best to include them in a recipe or smoothie.

To freeze in puréed form: Peel persimmons, cut into chunks and purée in a blender. Freeze in an airtight container or a freezer bag. Alternately, divide among ice cube trays, freeze then transfer the cubes to an airtight bag to use when smaller portion are required. Be sure to squeeze out as much air as possible from the bags, so the content will not become freezer burnt. Store in freezer for one year. The purée may brown [oxidize] in the freezer, but the slight change in colour will not affect the taste. To discourage this, add the juice from one lemon approximately ¼ cup, per 1.5 pounds of fruit purée.

Persimmon Tips

•Store persimmons on the counter to ripen for up to 3 or 4 days.
•To hasten the ripening process, place persimmons in a paper bag.
•Persimmons are seedless—making them perfect for kids!
•Their buttery flesh is delicious in smoothies.
•An easy way to eat soft, ripe persimmons is to cut off the top and use a spoon to scoop out the flesh.

What Goes well with Persimmons?

Produce: arugula, avocado, bananas, coconut, collard greens, cherries, cranberries, daikon, endive, figs, grapefruit, grapes, kiwi, lettuce, lemon and lime, leeks, pineapple, parsnip, pears, pomegranates, radicchio, sesame, spinach, sweet potato, turnip, and watercress

Herbs & Spices: ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, black pepper, cloves, and vanilla

Dairy: creamy cheeses, halloumi, feta, goat cheese, ice cream, and yogurt

Other: brandy, rum, jams, maple syrup, almonds, hazelnuts, olives, walnuts and chocolate

Persimmon Serving Ideas

Many people prefer to eat persimmons fresh and on their own, but they are a wonderful addition to recipes. Try adding puréed persimmon to chutneys or jams, or chop them up to add to salsas. You can add the salsa to savoury recipes much like you would peach sauce or salsa.

Another tip is to use them for delicious appetizers like these pan-fried Brie cheese canapés with persimmon salsa, grilled Persimon® crostini with manchego and wine reduction or Persimon® wrapped in Serrano ham with Manchego and watercress.

Make your breakfast full of persimmon goodness by adding them to smoothies (like this one from Pineapple and Coconut), topping for your favourite yogurt and cinnamon-spiced granola, or filling light crepes with slices of creamy persimmon.

Persimmons complement many meat dishes. Try them with pork chops or chicken.

Slice persimmons horizontally to add to a salad to show off their unique and wonderful star pattern. Their tender sweetness is wonderful with leafy greens and kale too!

In desserts, use their wonderfully coloured flesh to contrast against dark chocolate. Or impress your guests with these gorgeous persimmon tartlettes.

Persimmons Nutrition

According to the Canadian Nutrient File, 1 persimmon (approx. 170 g) contains a number of your daily-recommended intake of nutrients: 24% of fibre (6 g), 21% of Vitamin C, 21% of Vitamin A, 8% of potassium, 5% of Vitamin K, 3% of phosphorus, and lots of antioxidants! Specifically, 1 persimmon contains 1401 µg of lutein and zeaxanthin, 267 µg of lutein, and 2431 µg of beta cryptozanthin.


Produce Made Simple: Persimmons. (2018). The Ontario Produce Marketing Association. Date Accessed: December 20, 2018.

Willis Orchard Company. (2017). Date Accessed: December 20, 2018.