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Everything posted by mongo_jones

  1. thank you mooshmouse. lunch is almost ready: the alu-gobi is done--and pretty damned good if i do say so myself ditto for the potato-sweet potato "chaat" medley the rajma is 4 whistles of the pressure cooker away--i didn't soak the beans overnight as the traditional cooks will have you do it (this thanks to russ parsons' lessons on cooking beans), and so it is taking a little longer in the pressure cooker than usual. alas my camera batteries started to die as i was photographing the rajma process so i had to ditch the plan of taking pictures of every stage of every dish and save the batteries for ingredients and final product shots. give me a couple of hours or so to eat, digest and upload.
  2. dexygus, i forgot to ask last night: did you manage to locate kokum or cambodge or did you substitute tamarind or some other souring agent? mongo
  3. man, that's some responsibility--i guess i'd better not do that spam and wonderbread sandwich i was considering for breakfast... one last cooking itinerary for the blog: rajma--red beans alu-gobi (bengali style)--cauliflower and potatoes cumin scented potato/sweet-potato medley these will be eaten with the remnants of the wonderful easter chicken roast--thanks to everyone who voted for that and made me make something new that will now be in our regular rotation.
  4. dexygus, i'm honored on both counts. as for the curry--the main thing that matters is how it tastes. my own rendition this week was somewhat different than previous versions: i browned the onions more and so the sauce was darker. if yours was more watery it might be i'm using a smaller cup measure than you. but if it tasted good who cares? let me know if you try and like any of the others as well. regards, mongo edit to add: the fish curry recipe is not mine but a traditional one recorded in vijayan's "essential kerala cookbook"
  5. bill, i'm very glad it worked for you--and yes, it will taste even better tomorrow. to tell the truth i was a little nervous about your unleashing that on your family as a liver curry is pretty hardcore! but i obviously underestimated them. the okra i know they will like. and thanks for reading along--things have slowed down in the last two days. i'll probably cook again tomorrow, and if there is interest i'll post one last set of pictures. regards, mongo
  6. this is, i am sure, an adaptation to the american market. on my own, now long defunct, recipes website (i am slowly putting it back together) i used to recommend substituting thresher shark fillets in certain bengali fish recipes (like doi machh etc.)-it has a texture not unlike bhetki etc. and can be a good sub. i also used it, and mahi-mahi, to make my green masala fish. this was before i discovered the bangladeshi store in l.a that sold all the bengali fish! this recipe sounds yum--would probably be very good with the fish pan-fried as well. in fact if you think about it, it is a doi machh (yogurt fish) recipe--just ends up being cooked differently. bong, your thoughts?
  7. this reminds me--when my father was stationed in hashimara (north bengal--in the dooars tea growing region) we had some tea-planter friends. in particular there was a rajput family from rajasthan whose house i used to eat a lot of meals at--their son was in my class and was a good friend slash bully. (by the way, i know that the tea industry in general and in bengal in particular is in very dire straits; as i look back at how these planters lived--each meal was an elaborate event--i think i get a sense of the general economic practices that may have contributed to their demise.) one of the best pickles i have ever had (and as i remember it now, my mouth curls in memory) was a sweet lime pickle that was made in their home. it was almost white in colour--none of that yellowishness or redness that is a hallmark of so many indian pickles. i have searched high and low for this pickle in years since, but have concluded it is only made in homes. i don't know if it is a rajasthani thing or whether this was something that had hybridized between my friend's mother and her north bengali cooks. very few people in my family make pickles, so we ourselves are not the cause of any pickles disappearing from the earth (unless, of course, you count the fact that we've eaten more than our fair share of them).
  8. i am willing to acknowledge a splitting of dunking biscuits into "sweet" and "savoury" categories. this will presumably prevent fiascos like jethro tull winning best heavy metal and hard rock over metallica. however, my own preference, when it comes to tea dipping is for the "sweet" biscuits. bourbon is actually the only cream biscuit that i dip into tea--other than that my preferences are for thin arrowroot, glucose biscuits (glucon-d!) and butter biscuits.
  9. don't you feel in some ways (desire to make money from intellectual copyright aside) the web has made cookbooks obsolete? i would much rather post a question about ingredients and recipes to one of egullet's cooking or regional forums and get individual recipes and feedback and suggestions from people who make them. whenever anyone--here or offline--asks me to recommend an indian cookbook i tell them to first go to the india forum here and ask.
  10. wow--$50 is a lot, though i guess that's for a hardcover. don't do it. get vijayan's book instead: $20 at indiaclub unlike the mathew book it doesn't have pretty pictures but it has more recipes, and more importantly it has far more sociological context for understanding the food and who eats it. ideally you would have both books--they work well together--but if you only had one i'd recommend the vijayan. many of the same recipes too. or similar anyway. l.a groceries. my haunts were the following: india spices (or something like that) on pico two blocks east of crescent heights, and very close by, new india sweets and spices on fairfax 1/4 block north of pico. the latter also does decent vegetarian food. but right next to the other one on pico is one of l.a's hidden gems: india sweet house. the best alu parathas and chola bhaturas and sag panir in california--all made in a honest, rustic punjabi style. (but whatever you do don't get their dosas--that's like going to a mexican restaurant and getting a cheeseburger.) some decent sweets too--especially the laddus and gajar halwa (stay away from the gulab-jamuns etc.). their sev-puri is also awesome. and today was a slow day at the blog. not just me--i think people in general are a little tired.
  11. brooks, it might be cheaper/easier for me to drop by your place the next time you make this. of course, only if that's okay with you. mongo
  12. yes, i wanted to say this many hundreds of posts ago when someone said something about boulder and things changing after the end of the hippie era: there's many people here who'd be surprised to hear that the hippie era has ended. i'll say again: naropa university is home to the jack kerouac school of disembodied poetics. thanks for the tip! i welcome others. in a bad planning move (dinner is less than 3 hours away) i am currently eating some of my green mango chutney as i type. i don't know if i ever reported back on the chutney: the syrup is great but the mangos themselves not so much; they may have been a little too big--they've imparted a nice sourness to the syrup but have absolutely no character left now. like eating slices of cold zombie flesh. mmmmm cold zombie flesh...
  13. as the sea-captain says to the crowds, after settling homer's all you can eat lawsuit and installing him as an attraction in his restaurant: "come for the freak, stay for the food!" and not that i'm ever going to be able to open a restaurant, but there would be meat. we buy our fish from the large korean store in aurora (a denver suburb), and it almost all frozen. the croaker comes from very far away and is always frozen. you should feel relatively comfortable with the general cleanliness and state of the store--the places in l.a and denver/aurora i have bought such fish from are all very good and reliable. on the other hand there's a market in boulder--right by my indian grocery--that has a very scary frozen fish section (afoodnut has interesting stories about it which only the fear of lawsuits prevents her from sharing on egullet).
  14. people, i know the blog is important but my simpsons, complete 4th season dvd set arrived today and let no one say i don't know my priorities. not to go off into a simpsons sub-thread here but the 4th season has one of the greatest food-episodes of them all--the one in which homer sues "the frying dutchman" for not letting him eat all he can at their "all you can eat seafood buffet". mmmm simpsons dvd set...
  15. having spent a lot of time in this blog talking about and photographing various kinds of indian home-cooking i find myself again thinking half-heartedly about an entrepreneurial fantasy i used to have: find a small town (ideally a college town) with enough of a population that will support indian food and which has an adventurous palate and open a small prixe-fixe menu restaurant. say 15 tables and two 3-5 item menus a day (one vegetarian, one fish/meat). given that the competition would be against the local cookie-cutter buffet the lunch would have to be priced at no more than $8 ($6 for veg). the difference from the buffets would be the kind of food offered, specials like rotating regional menus, lack of cream, no two dishes cooked in the same sauce etc. etc. and the portions would be not tasting-menu size, but actual serving size. dinner might be say $10-$12 with a couple of bucks more for extra special items (like particularly expensive seafood). one thing that something like this has in its favor from the point of view of a kitchen is that a lot of indian home-food actually tastes better later rather than immediately after it is made (especially meat dishes) once the flavors have settled down and meshed fully. having the prixe-fixe would allow cooking in bulk in the morning for lunch and then again in the afternoon for dinner. then again i have no idea if the economics would work and/or if this would fly anywhere except in the virtual world of egullet. like i said, fantasy. edit: to clarify second fantasy menu
  16. no, actually i don't--just trying to be helpful. i cook with a lot of green cardamom pods though and so things like rosemary sprigs don't bother me as much. as for the mint leaves on sorbet and stuff--i like the aroma they impart but i never eat them either.
  17. maybe you should take it home and do just that?
  18. i used to get them in l.a. they're pretty good. nothing that will make you forget a langda, daseri or alphonso but the best i've had in the u.s.
  19. .Knowing what you think of many of the "award winning" restaurants, this should be interesting. (I've not tried the place). hmmmm if the review is right we're going to have some very good food and some very bad food. i'm not usually worried about service and the other stuff.
  20. Where to for ribs? um, let me check my email... some place called lulu's kitchen in something called the steel yard? is this for real or are they luring us to our deaths? usually i don't like to eat in places named after people's kitchens (if not a kitchen, what else? lulu's portapotty?), but i suppose it is better than eating at places named after industrial space.
  21. today's breakfast fruit: an excellent, excellent nectarine (still not a mango though) and proof that i don't just photograph cups of tea, i also drink them if the producers of e's "true hollywood story" ever come around (this would be right after they get done with their 15th instalment on stephen baldwin), you can confirm that yes, i drank a cup of tea every morning--that's how wild and wacky i was.
  22. i think it depends on how many posts per page you're set to display--the default, i believe, is 30. and i don't mean to crib about doing the blog--it is a lot of fun, and interesting to boot. today is going to be a slow day food-wise though: we're eating leftovers for lunch and going out for ribs with friends for dinner. they're parents of young kids, however, and need to eat dinner at 6.30 (!) to get home to their baby-sitting, visiting parents. we'll probably have to eat lunch at 11 to be hungry again by 6.30. but in the spirit of recent polls, you can help us choose leftovers to eat if you like...yeah, that'll be real exciting!
  23. maybe it was wax flavored sugar? actually, i misspoke--this is why i should not post or do anything involving thought until at least 30 minutes after the first cup of tea. it wasn't actually the flower that was inedible--it was a little white disk that the flower was anchored to. wife reminds me that the flower was edible and tasty and that she ate it all with relish. but original point stands: why put anything inedible on top of yummy things?
  24. i go to the other extreme--for example, before i cook chicken curry, i tattoo the list of ingredients onto the chicken's skin. well, actually, i don't. garnish for me means chopping onions/ginger/green chillies/cilantro up finely/coarsely and sprinkling them on top of a dish that needs them. when eating food cooked by more elaborate kitchens my preference is that everything on my plate be edible and tasty (ideally the plate would be too). recently our first anniversary cake was topped by a beautiful white "rose" (presumably this counts as a garnish). queried by the wife i said confidently, "there's no way a cake shop that good puts a non-edible rose on this cake, and if they did, they'd have told us--that's white-chocolate!"--she bit into it to discover yet again that while a layer of hard sugar frosting may make wax lickable, it doesn't make it edible.
  25. good morning. 15 pages into this blog, i think we are all exhausted. to think i have three days left to go. unless people really want to know details i am tempted to make entries like "cooked", "ate lunch", "ate dinner" and so on. then again i am barely awake and not feeling particularly gregarious.
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