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Everything posted by rkolluri

  1. Here's what I had yesterday. It was leftover tomato rice spiked with some nasi goreng paste and topped with three quail eggs. Quite tasty!
  2. This has been a very fascinating thread and it has inspired us to cut back and see what we have on hand before going out food shopping. We have managed to avoid a couple of trips by re-thinking our options. It has been valuable even without actually actively participating in it. I am hoping we will soon be able to see what's at the back of the freezer. I do wonder how deeply ingrained our urge to hoard is. There appear to be some pretty full freezers and pantry shelves out there (including in my house). However, can any of you top this?
  3. Thanks Percyn. That certainly brought back memories and some feelings of envy. Having lived in Bombay as a kid and a teenager it is certainly great to hear from someone who appreciates the city and its food as much as I did (do). I still call it my city even though I have spent less than a quarter of my life there. My father worked for a company with Parsi management and I can recall going to Parsi weddings and celebrations that did not look much different from the pictures you have. If I had to do the same trip I think I would try to do most of the things you did with some additional South Indian places from Matunga and some street food (bhel puri, pav bhaji, etc.) thrown in. I have some good memories of some of those places and I will need to check them out again to see if they are really as good as I remember them to be. I guess one would need to be careful with street food now that we are older and have "weaker" stomachs. Seeing the picture of the fish roe pickle also brought a smile to my face. I was a vegetarian when I was in India and so I am not familiar with that product. However, I did notice that it was from Navsari a town we lived in for three years in the early seventies. I have not seen that name in print in a long time. Thanks again. I really appreciate the effort you put into this travel blog.
  4. Thanks for the info about Lee's. I did read about that one online but was not sure which location would be the best choice so I appreciate your suggestion. Unfortunately, while I am not opposed to buying scotch whisky online, most online retailers will not ship to my state. rkolluri
  5. I am looking for suggestions on liquor stores that carry a decent selection of Single Malt Scotch in Las Vegas. My online searching has not yielded much. I did see an article that talked about how Las Vegas did not have many liquor stores because you can buy liquor at any grocery store in Nevada. Do retailers like Costco or Trader Joe's have a variety of Single Malt Scotches available for sale in Las Vegas? Thanks rkolluri
  6. Thanks for the recommendations. I think we may end up spending more time in Islay than I originally thought. I thought there was a one liter limit. I did not realize you could bring back that many bottles. I assume you were entering Canada and not the US? rkolluri
  7. I think we will try to make it to Islay even if it is for a day. Not yet decided where we will go though. rkolluri
  8. I looked up the Edradour distillery on the Internet after you mentioned it. It does look rather interesting. Thanks for the suggestions. rkolluri
  9. I am planning a week-long distillery tour of Scotland in late July 2006 with a friend to celebrate turning 40. I am sure there are people here who can provide some input becuase they know a whole lot more about Scotch than I do and have done this before (I mean the distillery tour, not turning 40). As background, I cannot claim to be a Scotch whisky expert and have never been to Scotland before. Right now I have Bowmore 12yo, Macallan 12yo, and Glenlivet 12yo in my liquor cabinet. I enjoy all three of them but I find Bowmore the most interesting of the three and Glenlivet the least interesting. I have stuck to fairly mainstream brands so far and would like to branch out a little because I know there is a whole lot more out there. I am thinking of this trip as a learning trip to see how Scotch Whisky is made, learn a little about what to look for while buying scotch and enjoy some good whisky in the process. I would certainly appreciate any thoughts you may have regarding interesting distilleries to visit and things to look for. Thanks for your help. rkolluri
  10. Everyone may not agree with me on this one but I think ketchup is a a perfectly fine condiment for samosas and pakoras. Even in the India of the 70s and 80s it was fairly common for samosas and pakoras to be served with ketchup in a lot of homes. I have had the same issue pop up with non-Indian guests who are served pakoras. They ask me what they are commonly served with at homes in India and when I mention ketchup as an option, they seem amused and sometimes a little disappointed. Having grown up in a vegetarian household, I have only had kebabs in restaurants which tend to serve them with some sort of chutney so I am not sure if they are served with ketchup at home. However, I do draw the line at serving dosas and idlis with ketchup. IMHO, that just does not work. rkolluri
  11. I read recently that vermouth has a fairly short shelf life once opened. Dale Degroff in his book "The Craft of the Cocktail" basically says you can store an open bottle of vermouth for about 4 weeks in a refrigerator. Now I have to admit I have stored vermouth for much longer than that outside the refrigerator. Should I be concerned? Should I just buy one month's supply at a time? I use vermouth only for martinis and manhattans so I use very little of the dry and sweet kinds in any given month. What do the rest of you do? rkolluri
  12. rkolluri

    Le Creuset

    My first purchase was the 7 1/4 Qt French Oven which I think is truly awesome. It browns really well but is also very easy to clean. For some reason I had always assumed that good browning and easy cleaning were mutually exclusive features. It looked a little too big when I got it but that did not stop me from using it and it actually is not a bad size for a small family. If you are making a stew or a soup and fill it about halfway you have enough for a couple of meals. I got it for around $110 from Amazon and they gave me a 1 1/4 qt sauce pan for free with it. I use that quite a bit for sauces. Since I had the two extremes for a small family covered ( 7 1/4 qt and 1 1/4 qt) I bought a 3 3/4 qt Multi-pan which is saucepan base with a nonstick omlet pan cover. I got it today and I think it will be a good size for weekday meals. It was $99 at Amazon and if you combine it with another purchase and use their $25 off $125 code you can have yourself a pretty good deal. Amazon is a good place to buy Le Creuset but you may need to wait till the price is right. rkolluri
  13. I made something similar a couple of times in the last few weeks. I had a lot of cayenne peppers from my backyard and wanted to do something with them. I tossed about 20 red cayenne peppers, a big handful of peanuts, two cloves of garlic, salt, a little sugar, some water, and juice from one lime into a blender till I had a smooth paste. I was not working off a recipe and kept adding ingredients till it tasted right. Since I created it, I decided to call it Red Chile Pesto. I liked it so much that I made a green version of it this past weekend using Thai Chiles. I do not recall ever having a peanut chutney before. I thought I invented something new till I saw these posts here about peanut chutneys. rkolluri
  14. I end up using canned tomatoes a lot for indian food. I first started doing it many years ago after seeing a $9 line item on my grocery bill for tomatoes. Nowadays I actually prefer canned tomatoes for gravies that are cooked for a long time and have a lot of spices. I seem to get more consistent results that way. However, if I do find a good batch of ripe tomatoes and am patient in the cooking process, I feel like I get really good results. Perhaps, its just my need to believe that fresh is better than canned, but a gravy made with good fresh tomatoes seems to look and taste better. rkolluri
  15. I am glad to hear that you decided to try Indian food. I did chuckle a little when I read about your first Indian curry. Your ingedients list (without tomatoes and with soy sauce) sounds a lot like what I used for my first attempt at Thai food. I think I got the recipe out of a newspaper or magazine, it looked simple enough, and I thought I was having Thai food and I even kinda liked it. This was before I had ever eaten any Thai food (restaurant or home-cooked) and I had no basis for comparison. I have figured out now that what I created was not exactly Thai food, but I am glad I did it because it prompted me to seek out and learn more about Thai food. I guess I could have hated what I made and made a generalized assessment of all Thai food, but I don't think people usually do that based on their own cooking attempts. Getting back to Sonya's issue, I would second what had already been said here. If you feel that your friends are being misled by poorly written cookbooks, you may want to consider tactfully suggesting other options. rkolluri
  16. I am not disagreeing with you, but I don't think what you describe is a bad thing. The way I look at it, if someone attempts to learn about the food of a different culture, is excited enough about it to seek out cookbooks, and attempts to make the food described in the cookbooks, it is a great start. I can see someone seeking a more "Americanized" Indian cookbook if they happen to live in the US and are trying Indian cooking for the first time because it may appear to be less intimidating to them. Eventually they will seek out other sources of information (friends, other cookbooks, egullet, etc.) to learn more about it. While this process could result in "totally bad" cookbooks getting positive reviews, if they like what these cookbooks give them, the books deserve a positive review. This may make some of the recommendations on Amazon useless for you, but now that you have discovered egullet, you don't need those reviews anymore! Just ask Monica, she has a bunch of Indian cookbooks and I think she would gladly offer recommendations if you ask nicely. Your post did make me take a look at the top 20 bestselling Indian cookbooks on Amazon as of August 26 2004. 1. Madhur Jaffrey's Quick and Easy Indian Cooking by Madhur Jaffrey, Philip Salaverry (Paperback -- June 1, 1996) 2. From Curries to Kebabs : Recipes from the Indian Spice Trail by MADHUR JAFFREY (Hardcover -- November 4, 2003) 3. Madhur Jaffrey Indian Cooking by Madhur Jaffrey (Hardcover -- September 1, 2003) 4. Ayurvedic Cooking for Self Healing (2nd Edition) by Usha Lad, Vasant Lad (Paperback -- October 1997) 5. Classic Indian Cooking by Julie Sahni (Hardcover -- October 1, 1980) 6. Dakshin: Vegetarian Cuisine from South India by Chandra Padmanabhan (Paperback -- September 1, 1999) 7. 1,000 Indian Recipes by Neelam Batra (Hardcover -- September 24, 2002) 8. Lord Krishna's Cuisine: The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking by Yamuna Devi (Hardcover -- September 1, 1987) 9. The Indian Grocery Store Demystified (Take It with You Guides) by Linda Bladholm (Paperback -- August 12, 2000) 10. An Invitation to Indian Cooking by Madhur Jaffrey (Paperback -- July 1, 1975) 11. Easy Indian Cooking by Suneeta Vaswani (Paperback -- February 1, 2004) 12. Classic Indian Vegetarian and Grain Cooking by Julie Sahni (Hardcover -- November 1, 1985) 13. Savoring the Spice Coast of India: Fresh Flavors from Kerala by Maya Kaimal, et al (Hardcover -- August 1, 2000) 14. Indian Home Cooking : A Fresh Introduction to Indian Food, with More Than 150 Recipes by SUVIR SARAN, STEPHANIE LYNESS (Hardcover -- August 31, 2004) 15. Betty Crocker's Indian Home Cooking by Raghavan Iyer (Hardcover -- April 1, 2001) 16. Savoring India: Recipes and Reflections on Indian Cooking (Savoring ...) by Julie Sahni (Hardcover -- March 1, 2002) 17. The Curry Secret: Indian Restaurant Cookery at Home by Kris Dhillon (Paperback -- October 1, 2000) 18. Great Curries of India by Camellia Panjabi (Hardcover -- October 1, 1995) 19. The Nepal Cookbook by Association of Nebalis in America, et al (Paperback -- June 1, 1996) 20 Cuisines of India: The Art and Tradition of Regional Indian Cooking by Smita Chandra, Sanjeev Chandra (Hardcover -- July 24, 2001) While I am not familiar with every one of these books, I do own quite a few of these books and they are not all bad. Most of these books got 4 and 5 stars and I think that's what I would give books by the likes of Madhur Jaffrey and Julie Sahni. rkolluri
  17. Seeing that sign with Chana Masala Pizza led me to do a quick google search to see what other inspired toppings are being offered in India. I found this article titled Domino's goes Indian in a big way from four years ago that talked of some interesting possibilities. Here's a brief quote from the article. The article also talks about careful market research going into the choice of toppings. The last time I was in India, I never considered eating at Dominos assuming that it was not going to be much different from Dominos in the US. However, the next time I am there, I am going to try and get to a Dominos just so I can say I had Mutton Ghongura Pizza. I wonder if it is still available. I don't know why I find this so fascinating given that California Pizza Kitchen has been doing this for years with offerings like Barbecue Chicken Pizza and Thai Chicken Pizza. It may be because I never thought I would see the words Ghongura and Pizza so close together. Ghongura reminds me of my grandmother, not pizza! rkolluri
  18. I think there is enough of a gray area between chutneys and pickles that some overlap is inevitable. Growing up in my South Indian Telegu household, we used the word chutney to refer to chutneys and a few things that are technically pickles. Come to think of it, I think our criteria for distinction between chutneys and pickles was primarily based on texture, the smoother the texture, the more likely it was a chutney. So pickled gongura leaves or green tamarind were often referred to as chutneys. If it had chunks of mango or lime in it, we referred to it as a pickle. The seven entries for pickle at dictionary.com seems to have preserving as a common theme. However, one of the three entries for Chutney says a chutney is "...a warm or spicy condiment or pickle made in India..." I don't think that helped clarify anything. Getting back to one of Monica's original questions, one fun way to enjoy a chutney (or pickle) is to mix them with some warm rice and ghee for a lazy Sunday evening dinner. I think this works well with some of the hotter, spicier chutneys (or pickles). Chutney, Pickle, I like them all! rkolluri
  19. In Houston, some of the suburban HEB stores and most Fiesta stores carry an aisle of Indian groceries. They usually have a selection of dals, pickles, spices, etc. I think they use the same suppliers that the Indian grocery stores on Hillcroft use. Most of the other grocery chains are limited to a few jars of Patak's sauces and a few frozen entrees. rkolluri
  20. Here's one: Bombay (or Mumbai): Pav Bhaji Pav Bhaji is a vegetable curry (Bhaji) served with a toasted bun (Pav). Tastes a lot better than it sounds! rkolluri
  21. A technique that works for me is to cook the onions in a sufficient amount of oil till they are nicely browned (not undercooked or burnt) and add your spices to the cooked oil. A few seconds after adding the spices you can start adding yogurt. Keep the heat at a medium setting. Add a little yogurt (1 tablespoon or less) at a time, stir continuously, and wait for it to be fully incorporated in your sauce before adding the next tablespoon of yogurt. Continue doing this till all the yogurt has been added and incorporated into your sauce. Hope that helps! rkolluri
  22. When I lived in Atlanta, a lot of folks referred to Harry's Farmer's Market as the cheapest buffet in town. They used to put out quite a spread of samples. rkolluri
  23. I would second the suggestion of sticking with filets. I made the mistake of buying nuggets once and they really do not taste good. rkolluri
  24. I don't know if this counts, but I have been listening to the audiobook version of Salt: A World History. Quite fascinating, actually. Audible.com is a great source for unabridged audiobooks. rkolluri
  25. Thanks for the link! Their prices don't seem too bad.
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