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mongo_jones

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Everything posted by mongo_jones

  1. gautam, let me say again: you are one of egullet's most valuable treasures.
  2. so, is this "chinese style bbq pork" being talked about then? "asian" seems awfully generic for such a huge continent with so many diverse cuisines.
  3. isn't there also a limit on number of plants per pot? or will this become a non-issue because only some will make it to maturity anyway?
  4. italian is the weird one in the list--please, please, no macaroni with keema and paneer. i'm given more pause by this: ah, raj nostalgia...always whets my appetite
  5. okay, so the buggers have started sprouting--have no idea which are basil and which thyme. i'd tossed in millions of seeds--presumably only some will survive into viable seedlings. at what point do i need to worry about thinning them out? i've read that in an outdoor garden mature basil plants need 12 inches of separation from each other. does this mean i will eventually have to cull whatever grows in my pot down to one plant? and when will this eventuality occur?
  6. Good point. I've often bubble wrapped individual bottles for clandestine trips back from far away places tucked into my luggage. They've all survived just fine. As Brad pointed out - in the car, not the trunk, and presumably you'd have the AC on for your own comfort. Couldn't hurt the wine either although I don't think it's necessary to have your car at 55 degree "cellar temperature". i safely brought a lot of wine on a 7 day road-trip from los angeles to boulder, colorado last summer. a dedicated cooler with ice, back seat of air-conditioned car--did the trick.
  7. i had no idea the stone-cutters drank champagne
  8. i'm suggesting that there are better analogies possible. in the world of italian cuisine it might possibly include drying your own oregano or using specific kinds of tomatoes or anchovies and not others. the pasta sauce analogy works in indian cuisine but not with ground spices. it works with pre-bottled sauces and curry pastes (which i saw for the first time when i came to the u.s--made by patak's, an english company). even if you cook a chicken curry, say, with commercial spice blends you still need to know how long to fry onions, when to add ginger-garlic paste, how much longer to fry that, when to add the spices, to figure out the dividing line between sauteeing them enough and burning them, what to do to recover if you do burn them, when to add the meat, how long to cook the meat before adding tomatoes/water etc. etc. a curry powder blend that you know and like can become a part of your repertoire just as much as any other powdered spice. soitenly, soitenly (now i'll be doing groucho marx all weekend), but i think if you find yourself making your own curry powder to emulate an eggplant curry made by tyler florence you might want to stop and think about what you're doing. i can see how you might have got this suggestion from my posts but it isn't what i intended (for what that's worth). i'm suggesting that cooking with commercial spice mixes is not that far from cooking from "scratch" (which has to be the most unappetizing cooking image there is). authenticity is a chimerical thing--and the problem with getting too invested in it (and this is not something necessarily mapped on to quality) is that people lose sight of the fact that the things/people being marked as "authentic" are themselves changing/evolving/dynamic.
  9. extramsg, since i don't spend as much time on egullet as i used to i'm reluctant to get any more stuck into this thread than i already have. i will say again that while these might be good examples of logico ad absurdium, they are not good analogies for talking about the place of ground spices in indian cooking. indian cooking, with commercial spices or not, is still cooking from "scratch" in a way that none of your examples are. i'm reminded of a series of letters groucho marx wrote to warner bros. when they threatened him with lawsuits for ripping of "casablanca" in the marx bros. "a night in casablanca". in one of them groucho noted that while he couldn't guarantee that audiences would be able to tell the difference between harpo and ingrid bergman, he would certainly like to try. this might apply to olive garden and babbo, but doesn't here. as for the 99% that monica and i have referred to--i'm not speaking of the unwashed culinary masses, i'm speaking of people like egulleters, including possibly you. and i don't use curry powder because i am in a rush--i often use it in dishes which i then stand over and stir patiently for 3 hours. i'm not advocating an "anything goes and quality doesn't matter" mentality--i am only suggesting that commercial spice mixes don't fit into the predictable slots in this sort of an argument when it comes to indian cooking. soba, all commercial garam masalas that i know of have cardamom in the mix. i'm intrigued by the coconut though--never heard of it in either commercial or home-made blends. hope you'll share the recipe.
  10. monica, i was responding to posts as i encountered them--sorry i missed where you qualified this to "traditional kitchen". generic curry powder has been around a long time as well, and there are still many brands of it available in grocery stores in india. things like kitchen king and specific curry powders are relatively recent, yes, but they haven't superseded generic curry powder completely. rajmah masala is something i'm very grateful for, by the way--i mean when was the last time i had pumpkin or pomegranate seeds (whichever it is that's in there) lying around for me to grind myself? and i think you'll agree that there are many things that were done "traditionally" that aren't any more: getting flours of all kinds ground to order, always making dahi at home (as opposed to going to mother dairy), ditto for ghee etc. i find it amusing that practice changes in the home-country without too many people getting worked up about it, but foodies elsewhere are determined to hold on to the "right" way of doing things--i'm not saying this is what you are doing, of course. a lot of foodies in the u.s, it seems to me, almost long for markers of complicated "authenticity" in indian and other "ethnic" cuisines--it almost seems to be necessary as a stick with which to beat the lack of these things in their own cuisines. in some ways it comes down to who the mediators of a particular cuisine in another culture are, what their exposure to the various levels of their cuisine in their home country has been, and to what degree they're willing to go against the grain of the way their cuisine/culture is talked about abroad. too many indian cookbook writers and chefs* seem willing to feed/perpetuate certain ways of thinking about indian food/culture. younger writers like you can do a lot to combat these misperceptions or to present other pictures to hold up against them. mongo *in fact most trained indian chefs don't always have a very good idea of how to cook home food anyway! i have friends back home who went through the hotel management schools and went to work in 5-star kitchens. they can whip up amazing dal makhnis etc. at the drop of a hat but ask them to make a simple alu-palak and they might look foxed. edit: to re-organize paragraphs
  11. fred, i almost always use curry powder when making chicken or goat "curries". bengali cooking, especially for fish or vegetables, doesn't call for much spices at all so it doesn't show up much there for that reason. there is so much more that goes into commercial curry powder mixes than just ground cumin, coriander, turmeric, chilli etc. anyway. when i use curry powder i tend not to think of it in terms of the sum of or control over component spices but as a thing in and of itself: if at this stage i add some turmeric, red chilli, pepper and this curry powder what will it taste like? or if at this stage i add some turmeric, red chilli, pepper, cumin powder, coriander powder etc. what will it taste like? what i never do is use curry powder as a catch-all replacement for all other spices in a dish. what i worry about most is what the end result tastes like--if i like it i don't worry about where the spices were ground or blended. the one area where most people would probably readily be able to tell the difference between fresh and not-fresh blends is garam masala--but there too probably only in the case of dishes where the garam masala is sprinkled on top of the dish after it comes off of heat. my mother makes custom garam masalas for sprinkling on certain veg. dishes in this way; for curries etc. she is happy to use commercial blends. mongo
  12. i'm not particularly anti from scratch tryska--i'm only anti the reasons most people come up with or are given for cooking only with home-made/ground/blended masalas. there are times when i use commercial curry powder, times when i don't; times when i use commercial garam masala, times when i don't. etc. etc. and what you say about the situation immigrants found themselves in in the 60s and 70s is very true--it doesn't apply today, however. most, though not all, immigrants coming today who insist on such things probably have something else going on though.
  13. this isn't an exact analogy. it would be if we were talking about things like bottled rogan josh sauce or biryani paste or things like that--they do exist. powdered spices don't play this role in the average indian kitchen--whether you buy commercial or make your own you are going to use them, along with things like tomatoes, onions and potatoes, to arrive at the home-made version of the bottled sauce. my advice always to those in search of culinary/cooking authenticity: watch out that you don't become more authentic than the people who actually cook and eat the food on a daily basis.
  14. more likely you've read too many articles and books written by food writers and chefs of indian origin now living in the u.s or u.k. there is a lot of money to be made by marketing exotica and heat and dust.
  15. i'm going to have to disagree with the first statement here. if curry powder isn't used in the indian kitchen i have no idea why there are so many brands of it available in every grocery store in india. and it isn't just people in a rush who use them--i know many, many excellent cooks (my mother among them) who use it. ditto with pretty much every commercial masala (individual or mix). there are many brands, with different blends, and you get to know what you like and how to mix it with other spices to achieve different flavors. it isn't necessarily the case that casual cook begin with commercial mixes and then graduate to painstakingly roasting, grinding and blending their own. in matters like these, whether in relation to indian or some other cuisine, i find it is largely people outside the culture, and sometimes people originally from it who need to for some reason mystify it, who are invested in things like grinding all their spices fresh whenever they need them. (i'm not including people like monica or tryska in this characterization, of course.) more power to those who want to roast, grind and blend all their own masalas (presumably they also make all their mayos and pickles from scratch)--but i'd be shocked if 99% of them would be able to tell the difference between the same curry cooked with commercial curry powder or some home-made mix. as for curry leaves--the indian cuisines that use them the most (largely southern indian cuisines) have very little by way of "curries" that at all resemble north indian curries, which are what most non-indians think of when they see or hear the word. the word "kari" means roughly "thin gravy"--how this became something also associated with chicken tikka masala is a long, confusing story.
  16. moby, every street in every hispanic neighbourhood in denver seems to have about 25 stands selling only hatch chiles. $25 a bushel i believe. can't get them to you but i know you'd want me to tell you about them. what you need to do is find 10 other chile-heads and set up a group order.
  17. Well, I have to admit that Pizza Hut India's menu was not weird enough for me. Heck, I could dig eating lamb korma or chicken tikka pizzas. that menu is fusion right there. it is arguably only on an indian restaurant's menu that you'd find the word "arguably". i was referring not so much to toppings as to the crust. pizza hut is a different story, of course. before these purveyors of "authentic" pizza showed up pizza crusts were textutrally often closer to certain indian breads--such as bhaturas (soft, chewy). not true across the board of course. my nephews love pizza hut--always try to drag me there. maybe next time i'll try the chicken tikka pizza; can't be any more bizarre than california pizza kitchen's tandoori chicken pizza. edit to add: in fact delhi now has something called the naan-zaa; a naan with toppings a la pizza. eat your heart out tabla.
  18. there's two great sounding recipes in the "new grill" thread further down this forum.
  19. i think the rule of thumb, usually, is to avoid food (or other) establishments that name themselves after industrial and farming space
  20. you pizza purists should go to india and see what our versions of pizza look like. better still you should try my mother's "pizza"--which she stopped making after pizza hut opened up shop.
  21. excellent--better be closer to 28th and not broadway. that way i'll be able to walk to it. i'm not saying i will walk to it, just that it would be feasible.
  22. my advice to you would be to go to an indian store and buy a packet of curry powder. it is what i do, and more importantly it is what millions of indian housewives do.
  23. mongo_jones

    new grill

    david, that's good to know. i am the king of cheapskates and so will be married to this grill till it gives out on me (and from what i hear/read about webers i might give out first). now who wants to join me in starting a petition to get weber to put out one of those sexy rotisserie attachments for us smaller grilled folk?
  24. i find english snacks to be terribly exotic and growing up nothing excited me more than cans of pringles and tang.
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