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v. gautam

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  1. To My Most Gracious Princess Dejah, whose adventures on Mars thrilled my young heart way back when , You asked for ideas. I think a writer observed that the essence of these "back of the can" dishes was their liberating effect on the mother. While she might still be chained to the home, her obligatory chains to the stove were unloosed, and she now had some time to call her own. Coming from India, I can deeply appreciate the lessening of physical labor on women, and offering them more control over their own lives. Also, the lowering of the FEAR factor: can I put something delicious on the table
  2. Sometimes, I believe we exist in "The Other America" of NYT, WaPO, eG and the like. Then there is the real America, for which go to Roadfood & please(!!)read the comments in the International Sections, particularly the Thai,Indian etc. They are not necessarily amusing, depending where you come from, just as Jewish jokes might well have had an edge of fear and insecurity for earlier generations, underlying the forced bonhomie of assimilation. Then peruse the Recipes Section of Roadfood, and see what I meant by soup in casseroles. In places similar to Recipezaar there are endless variations
  3. Truc to release dirt clinging to greens: try this. Fill sink with water adding 2-4 drops of anionic detergent, wetting agent or DAWN liquid dish detergent [not soap]. Add greens, swish a bit, and let them lie around a tiny while. Drain & rinse. Don't think the word "chemical" = evil, & the label "green" = benign. NO WAY!!
  4. I am from India, and specialize in a couple of regional cuisines. My journey has been in the opposite direction to that of my friend, C. Sapidus, i.e. towards classic "back of the can" cooking involving the holy trinity, Campbell's cream of chicken, mushroom and celery,with shrimp bisque reserved for the rare extravagance: Group A: Midwestern casseroles & hot dishes topped with tater tots or Ritz crackers, casseroles of Oreida steak fries +soup + cheese all mixed together(!!), mini-wienies/grape jelly/Heinz chili sauce cooked for hours & served as elegant appetizers [and you imagined m
  5. Thank you so much for the lily bulb information. For the beginner, only trust the Chinese grocery, seems to be the best bet!!!! As you mentioned, the BUD, the dry Golden Needles, definitely originate in the WILD ORANGE DAYLILY, HEMEROCALLIS. You can get this plant identified by your Park Ranger & take a start [hopefully] from a wild stand. Not the cultivated yellow or red ones. Why, don't ask me; received wisdom!
  6. I did not say that at all! It might be very delicious in its OWN right, a tweaked creation of some excellent chef, e.g. Herme's pineapple chutney. We have a pineapple chutney in Bengal, and when I worked out Herme's flavors in my head, they did not add up, just as MY absolutely traditional one would be quite unpleasing to him & 99% of European tastes. That, precisely, is why we have the phenomenonof restaurant cuisine in "Indian", "Chinese" restaurants. There was an Indian restaurant owner who ran his operation with Hispanic cooks, as many excellent restaurants do. [One of the best Irani
  7. As Jenni rightly observes, India is as large as Western Europe, minus Russia. An "Indian" store, like the term "Indian" food, is as meaningful, or not, as "European" food, Continental food, or an "European" store in a distant land. The proprietors would tend to specialize in their own regional specialities. Vadouvan, as such, is a French derivative term of an Indian term related to VADI, dried paste of pulses, variously flavored. Pondicherry French-Tamil cuisine is a unique style, now gaining notoriety. In the Tamil country & the South there are MANY VADAGAMS, many dried pastes used for lo
  8. What types of Lilies give the tastiest bulbs,please? As far as my limited knowledge goes, garden varieties of the true Lilies, LILIUM, most commonly are sold under the ASIATIC [upward facing, relatively scentless], ORIENTAL [tall, fragrant,trumpets] TURKS-CAP, Easter Lilies [potted, seasonal] and Species & Specialists types. The ORANGE wild DAYLILIES [HEMEROCALLIS] are the ones for the buds in hot & sour soup, I think, the Golden Needles, although people say their emerging shoots etc. are good to eat, too. Which of the true Lily bulbs have you found to be good? And how do you cook th
  9. Red lentils, Lens culinaris, masoor dal, washed carefully, and cooked without any spices in plenty of water will have a thin clear supernatant that is an enormously flavorful broth by itself, or can become a stock base like chicken stock for other vegetarian soups. You can make a rice congee with this, and put petit pois, and mash those up. Fantastic base for light tomato soup. I regularly eat just the plain boiled red lentils, cooked slow and low, until completely dissolved by themselves, seasoned only with salt & fresh lime juice. Thai jasmine rice cooked to softness, is another favorite
  10. Actually, methi refers to the seed. Methi saag or hara/hari methi in the Northern Hindi belt & menthikoora in some Southern languages specify the greens.
  11. VADAKAM/ VADAGAM is the actual Tamil name for an ancient spice mixture that is the distinctive signature of the MUDALIAR community.You can read about them and their cooking below. The French-Tamil derivation of VADAKAM is VADOUVAN, now allegedly finding favor in the USA. http://www.openthemagazine.com/article/living/save-what-you-savour "Though Mudaliar cuisine has now become a medley of different gastronomical genres, there are still some ingredients that have survived in their original form down the ages. Take the vadakam, for instance. It is a spice mix which no true-blue Mudaliar household
  12. Please specify whether you are cooking kacchi/pakki dum biryani, i.e. raw meat topped by par-cooked rice? Whose recipes are you using? This is an art best learned by watching, and you may go to gourmetindia.com, biryani thread for more discussions. The shape of the vessel is important, the amount of fat is too, but it is NOT such an arcane art that truly low-fat biryani cannot be made simply wth great ease using a microwave to parboil. I used to be a great traditionalist, using acidulated water to exactly parboil rice to exact specifications and be the ultimate stickler for details. Most bas
  13. As far as possible, please keep your numbers mentally friendly for your prospective clients. Thus, in the example above, 4 casseroles + 4 soups = 8 portions = $64 = $64/8 = $8/portion is more "accessible" to a customer than $52. Then,you add, 1 loaf bread, FREE, value $6, and you come out ahead, in their eyes & in yours (hopefully). Owner draw: Car, gas, repair, depreciation, insurance on car & business, your time delivering/shopping/cooking, Social Security the you pay as a small business owner, all will begin to mount up. What will be your break even point? The number of customers
  14. Bonnie, India is compressing >3 centuries of change in <40 years, and the pace grows exponentially. The result is the extinction of genuine foodways, the practitioners, the rural base, forest, & traditional crops species, and most importantly the genuine practitioners of the nuanced arts & their genuine patrons [for the most part]. Instead, we have the poseurs, and a whole flight of restaurant and hotel chefs who try & sometimes make some effort to resurrect the myriad styles of community foodways. But the scene can be likened to a mosaic of rich habitat in an equatorial regi
  15. Daleem is the Bengali for pomegranate. Now we are getting into the regional terms for the SAME ALL INDIA RAT DROPPING things, hence all the confusion & heart burning!! So then, Daleem is that pomegranate base we spoke of, so beloved in Bengal & elsewhere. In Bengainl, the older generaton will call it Daleem Hojmee, i.e. pomegranate digestive, to give sober ladies & widows the excuse to snack on the same stuff terminally naughty children are told to stay away from, or they will catch typhoid from the toon-toonwala. This is the man who brings a glass case full of dried & spiced
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