Jump to content

v. gautam

participating member
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by v. gautam

  1. What is the name & location of the restaurant where you enjoyed the Chicken Nilgiri? Perhaps we could write and ask for the recipe. Some chefs are very generous, especially when it means wider publicity. Some magazines like Gourmet also offer their readers a service by helping them find favorite recipes from restaurant chefs.
  2. C, Of course you are not weird! People have all sorts of likes and dislikes in food that are subject to no one's approval!! A great deal has to do with stuff we have been fed since early childhood; talk about acquired tastes! Many cultures, especially the Semitic religions, abhor the consumption of blood and go through elaborate slaughter and post slaughter rituals to make sure that meat is completely purged of all blood residues. Some groups within such cultures go so far as to reject eating the entire hindquarters of animals, in the belief that these cannot be sufficiently "cleansed" of residual blood after dressing out. So you are in very distinguished company, to say the least!! It is quite possible that with your Australian background, bread and butter may be familiar and pleasant flavors to you. If so, you could try an experiment, but only if you feel adventurous, not because this is something you need to do. Find a German/Hungarian or Yugoslav deli that makes old-style blood-and-tongue roll: shaved into thin slices, eaten on crusty bread with butter, old world mustard [maybe bread-and-butter pickles as well]. Relatively painless way to have a taste of this mysterious element, blood! BTW, sausage casings often are made from the thin lining of the small intestines of sheep; also pigs. Nowadays, for economy and convenience, artificial, edible casings have become popular. In the US, you have to pay quite a bit extra for natural casing sausages, which now are clearly marked and sold for a premium.
  3. Thanks. This was great. Even without knowing a word of Chinese, the great production values allowed me to get a pretty decent idea of how to reproduce the dish. Seems like a regular cooking show: are there any more of this gentleman hosting, on Youtube?
  4. For a discussion of ghee see : http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=94112 Find a large Indian grocery, such as those in Sunnyvale or LA. You are in San Diego? Local Indians will have advice. Then there is always the old online standby, Patel Bros. But try the neighborhood first, to save on shipping costs that add up, unless you are purchasing above a certain total amount. One variety of chard that yields very well, and is mostly foliage, minus the thick ribs seen on US varieties, is Bieta d'taglia or a similar name, sold by Franchi Semenchi of Italy; several distributors in the USA, including Harvest Moon Farms, even some Agway franchises.
  5. Beautifully set table and beautiful serving dishes and stemware to match. A lot of care and thought went into the dinner, and the guests look quite absorbed with the food, but they also must have been keenly aware of all the rest as well. What an effort MizD, singlehanded and a quarter, as it were! And the shopping too; you had mentioned last year some difficulty in getting around, hope those things have not been bothering you too much. I worried very much about who helped you with washing up, leftovers, etc. re-organizing things back into their boxes, and getting them back into your house. Even with food consumed, those bottles and things weigh a ton. After all this work, you had to be exhausted, and dehydrated as well. Anyway, the party was a grand success, that was what matters.
  6. Dear KA, In addition to your reading, you may find some recipes and videos cited below useful: 1. http://www.kurma.net/ingredients/i3.html http://www.iskcon.net.au/kurma/2007/06/13 check out some of the teaching videos as well 2. http://vahrehvah.com/popvideo.php?recipe_id=3258 other videos in same series 3. You will note contrasting styles, 1&3 coming from vegetarian backgrounds that disallow the use of onions and garlic. This is fairly common for vegetarian cookery of certain groups all over India, especially Northern and Western India. You will find, for example, until the mid century, and even today, Kashmiri and Bengal Brahmans who might consume fish and meat [mainly the latter] but still cooked without the alliums. So. in Kashmir, you might have lamb cookery in parallel, one Muslim, the other Pandit [Kashmiri Brahman], one lacking in alliums, and characterized by dried, powdered ginger and fennel as its characteristic signature. However, not all vegetarian food is bereft of onions, as you will see in [2]. A huge segment of vegetarians in all parts of the country employ onions, shallots and garlic very creatively indeed. Watching the food being cooked allows you another perspective, in addition to reading the recipes. Handling Indian spicing etc. is judging timing, aroma and such, difficult to absorb solely from reading material. Also, use chard leaf if you have it, beet greens like Lutz Green, Sugarbeet leaves, cheaper and less astringent/oxalic mouth puckering. Indian spinach is beet-spinach. Try to use real cow ghee, called pure desi ghee, NOT butter oil. Brands from India in bulk kilogram tins are fine and cheaper that way than boutique stuff peddled at extortionate prices. Reliable brands are Amul and Vijaya. There are also others produced in the USA and Canada. Cooking with pure ghee is not worse than cooking with refined vegetable oil, and the flavors will sparkle. Similarly, get good dairy cream, if available without too much fuss in your area, for the palak paneer. Ghee is not a priori bad for health, as you will agree. Any food consumed in excess of the body's needs is inappropriate, or consumed when contra-indicated by health conditions.
  7. Just FYI, KItchen Aid has a $20 mail-in rebate for KA760 [$30 for KA 770] purchased between Jan1-Mar1, 2008. The mail-in "coupon" needs to be sent in by April 1, 2008. At Amazon prices, that makes the 760 approximately $170 after rebate, the 770 about $240, post-paid.
  8. Hi June, That Chicken you ate was a recipe created by the chef, as there is no standard recipe like that, and indeed, few standardized recipes for any dishes but those developed exclusively within the restaurant or banquet trade. And not even then. Howevr, not to leave you toally empty-handed, please do try a couple of the dishes in the videos below and see how they taste to you. Then you may begin to modify them with green onions, etc, dry them out/less gravy, add coconut milk, according to your taste. If you have problems understanding anything anything, including procedures and accesnt, please let me know. 1. One note here: I would suggest grinding the sauteed onions in a blender or food processor using some tomato puree or canned crushed tomato, both unflavored, as the liquid to help the blades comminute the onions. Also, please dice the onions small, it will help the process. You can use any packaged chicken masala, not necessarily the brand in question, which is very good. You could use a whole fresh-killed chicken, cut up, or guinea fowl, both skinned, or chicken thighs and drums, or 2 Cornish hens. Be careful about the number and types of bay leaves added. Indian "bay leaves" are "cassia" leaves, Cinnamonum cassia/obtusifolia/tamala. Turkish bay leaves are completely different in flavor and extremely strong; 1 may be enough to overpower 500 grams of chicken. Kochukaru, the Korean red pepper powder, is a good element for Indian dishes. It adds color, flavor without exaggerated heat. You be the judge. Use cayenne or other hot red pepper powders if you want heat. 2. Make sure the oil is not too hot, to burn the black mustard seed. They should turn grey, swim around and begin to splutter. You may keep a splatter screen handy, but not necessary. Immediately add cumin seed, wait for aroma to release in hot oil, add very thinly sliced onions, along north-south axis, sometimes even better than chopped onions [with respect to even browing]. 3.
  9. Dear KA, You are right on target: think of geography as the superset: North South East West Within that, the dichotomy of religion, broadly speaking [it pays to keep things rather general, at first, in order to absorb the major themes, intellectually, rather than get hung up on niggling details of accuracy]. Hindu and Muslim cookery. Nested within those : in an analogy to sets in mathematics, now you can furthers narrow down to ENDOGAMOUS GROUPS, an unlovely technical term that accurately defines wht we more loosely and more romantically might like to want to recognize as ethnic and regional cuisines. The reason we use this anthropological descriptor is that there are so many communities living cheek by jowl, sharing the same language, religion and genetics, yet significantly different cooking styles, each worth exploration. Just to give an example, not to overwhelm you but to pique your curiousity: Take the megalopolis Mumbai, formerly Bombay. What about its names? These have a bearing on its food cultures, so please bear with me. Anciently, the temple of the Mother Goddess, Mumba Devi, gave her name to the settlement, Mumbai, and its Hindu settlers, of diverse communities, generally were happy to refer to themselves as Mumbaikars. The Portuguese invaders and their Bom Jesus Cathedral led to the eponymous Bombay, that was ceded to the English via the marriage of Catherine of Braganza to an English king. So, we can understand that there might be a Hindu community, long settled in Mumbai, with its distinctive cuisine. And there is, and this endogamous group, meaning one that retains its identity by marring within itself and preserving certain distinctive cultural pattern, is called the Chandraseni Kayastha Prahbu community. It is not the only one, merely one we have picked as an example. It has maintained a distinct identity and cuisine. Today, it is still recognizable by its English abbreviations, CKP, used even in Indian discourse. Such abbreviations are the bane of Indian existence, and will be found in oodles in the megalopolis for everything, but where it concerns us, for all manner of Hindu endogamous communities strung down the west coastal plain, from Mumbai, right up to the borders of Kerala in the deep south. They share slight flavor affinities, and you may say, belong to the flavor palette of the West, subset west coastal plain: moving down north to south, Malvani, Gaud Saraswat Brahman [GSB], Goan Christian, Goan Hindu, after which I become quite ignorant!! : Udipi Brahman & Chetty, Mangalore Hindu and Christian, another Saraswat Brahman group on the border with Kerala Kerala itself with its own rich mosaic sharing some broad themes, some unifying flavor principles: coconut, coconut milk & oil, Bananas & plantains, certain principles of spicing and bringing out those spice flavors: for which consult Ammini Ramachandran, our member Peppertrail and Kerala expert, plus general expert But let us return to Mumbai, and leave the Portuguese aside for the moment and turn to those who were the result of intermarriages with both the Portuguese and the English at the time of the transfer to England. Those preferring to seek shelter under the English and remain in BOMBAY became know as the EAST INDIANS. This IS THE OFFICIAL AND PROPER designation of their community, how they identify and name themselves at present. They too chose to intermarry largely within themselves for ages, and create a disctintice culture and cuisine. Bottle masala is one of their signature elements. Bombay attracted a lot of Muslim immigrants and settlers from all parts of the Near East as well as other parts of India. One branch of Shia Muslims, known as Ismailis, found a safe haven in Mumbai. Within this confession, there are two further endogamous groups, the Khojas and Bohras, and each have sufficiently distinctive and delicious cuisines to make acquaintance and mastery quite worthwhile. Consequent to the Islamic invasion of Iran, the Zoroastrians sought and found refuge on the west coast of India. Their symbolic flame, the Lord of Iran, Aatish Behram Iranshah, has burned without a break for over a thousand years at Udwada, a place a many north of Mumbai. Many Zoroastrians settled in Mumbai and made that city their particular jewel, they themselves being among the finest of jewels that have blessed India in every imaginable manner, never ever harmed it in any way ever. Now, the Zoroastrians are called Parsees, but a group arriving later also call themselves Iranis. Each of these two groups of Zorastrians have similar but recognizably different [and deligthfully so] ways of cooking. Baghdadi Jews and Armenians also found a home in Bombay and also represent examples of endogamous groups. By now, you will begun to appreciate the vibrant mosaic that is the Indian food world, a far cry from the restaurant cuisines created out of various exigencies, economic and other, in various nations of the world. Then again, restaurant cooking in India, and much home cooking too, can be very indiffferent, as you will understand. That palak paneer loved by you can have so many redactions, from the onion base-heavy and very rich to the light, from the South Indian adaptions of what originally is a North Indian dish, made popular anywhere from western Uttar Pradesh [i.e. around the eastern margins of Delhi] towards Punjab, where mixtures of ground greens are common, such as mustard and lambsquarters in the famous sarson ka saag, paneer is common along withthe rest of the northern plain, butter and cream beloved, so creamed greens/spinach and paneer combination is a natural outcome. Please do ahead and ask any and all questions. Just do not get overwhelmed by India and its rich details. The cuisines easily can be subdivided, for practical purposes in North, South, East and West. Most people have gotten their taste for "Indian" food from restaurant favorites, that generally hail from the northern part of the country: Chicken tikka masala, butter chicken, palak/spinach paneer, cauliflower/potatoes/peas, lamb "vindaloo", etc, naan, samosa. They would like to recreate some of these tastes in their homes with minimum fuss. That is a worthy goal and very feasible. There are some excellent videos, nowadays, some of which I have mentioned upthread. Hope this long, wordy, tedious post was of some use.
  10. Jason, Thank you very much for your thoughtful and kind answers and for the time spent in crafting them. I am writing a response, but please do not waste time and energy to respond. One reason I addressed my question to you is because you do import interesting Japanese artisanal or value-added work and migth have a faint interest in promoting Japanese products of excellence. The Clean Fry system you mention is a case in point. Another is the cheap induction stove. Whever do they think that there is no market for them in the US? there is a market like crazy for exactly that as well as induction wok stoves of 2.8, 3.5, & 5 KW, single units, double units, drop-in and so forth. This is what I cannot understand, and why I asked. Japan today has a current account surplus of US$88 billion, second only to China [uSA ranks 163 in the world!!]. It got there by exporting vigorously to the world, exploring all markets, one would think. Not by being hesitant, or not confident about the excellence and innovative quality of its products and the strong reception these would meet when judiciously introduced. Having excellent (mandatory) English/multilingual websites might help bring that market, oftentimes calling at the doorstep of many small to medium businesses. Incredibly tiny & logical investment, and Japanese are as excellent marketers as they are technologists and scientists. Besides, we are not talking of a developing country needing advice. This is THE PREMIER technological center and exporter of the world of INNOVATIVE consumer items: food industry machines, agricultural and agroprocessing equipment, etc. We are talking big unit prices here. I know Indian importers who turn with great frustration to Taiwanese sources or even PRC, simply because these latter make some effort at English communication. Just writing this in case someone reads this to their benefit. In the case of Japanese plant breeding, today plant genetics spells MONEY. Publications establish claim. Japanese strawberry germplasm is worth a fortune in the coming decades, because nowhere else do they have 14% sugar. Holland has used Japanese material to get to 8% sugar to tap into Asian markets with a strong preference for very sweet strawberries. Very soon, other places, say India, China, will run off with Japanese breeding material that is distributed worldwide, and Patent varieties, earning huge profits on the backs of Japanese researchers. And lots of other uglier things I don't care to discuss here, based on those same IPR issues. To say researh exists in Japanese is not the same as the claim established with English publications in peer reviewed journals. Editors happily will arrange re-writing, at least in the Plant Sciences. Japanese Scientists are highly trasured and honored in the international plant science community, down to the smallest fruit breeding unit, and they actually realize that. Or should. Maybe Hiroyuki-san will pen an encyclical in higemuchi calligraphy telling all of them what's what!
  11. v. gautam


    Fresh and dry turmeric have two different flavor values and both are enjoyable in dishes that are created or have evolved around them. Yellow "Curries" [a misnomer] of the "boiled paste" sort, made with fish and some thing sour, from southern Thailand are one example of food that glories in the fresh root. Dry turmeric in India has several roles other than flavoring. The water-soaked dried rhizome freshly ground on stone have a unique quality missing in the powdered bags of stuff sold in most groceries in plastic bags. In the US, most of the product is fairly old, and the freshness, the volatiles, have either evaporated to some extent or degraded. The usual brands are fairly poor quality as far as flavor is concerned. In contrast, the tins of McCormick are of excellent quality, flavorwise, but extortionate in pricing. The flavor of fresh ground dry turmeric rhizome becomes very important in a wide range of dishes in the cookery of West Bengal. Fish cooked in a ground paste of black mustard, khecharanna/khichuri, a mixture of rice and split legumes cooked together into a mushy state, sometimes with seasonal vegetables, several vegetable dishes, sweet-sour prepartions with Dillenia fruit, and so on. Turmeric paste, or even turmeric powder[be it of poor quality or good] fulfils another function in Bengali cookery: 3-in-one; it is rubbed with salt into pieces of raw cut fish. There is a deodorizing effect, a preservative effect in the heat, where even 1 hour may accelerate spoilage. I would add that such fish are caught, sold, cut and cooked within the space of a 12 hour day, at least in former times. Finally, in the preliminary frying that is de rigeur for West Bengal fish cookery, the turmeric forms an essential sealant, like Wondra flour. Turmeric is rubbed on eggplant slices along with salt for the same reason, so a seal will form, and it won't splatter in the hot oil during frying, from the water drawn out by the salt This effect also is used to carefully regulate moisture egress and caramelization in West Bengal dry mixed vegetable preparations, in tandem with sugar and salt, osmotica used to draw cellular water OUT of certain vegetables in the mix. Turmeric is an important flavoring as well as moisture regulator in the cooking of meat, when it is cooked without garlic or onions, in the traditional thin flavorful stew of the gentry of West Bengal. Turmeric is used as a colorant, and here it is carefully regulated so as NOT to contribute any flavor, in the ghee rice made with Sitabhog rice used for religious offerings, again by some of the traditional WB gentry. Finally, fresh turmeric rhizomes are processed in a hot alkaline bath preparatory to drying in the sun or other means. Just as there are different turmeric varieties, there are sun and shade grown, types grown on different kinds of soils, many parts of India, such as Bengal and Kerala, with distinct climates. All of these differences contribute to a range of flavor and color, and are prized locally for various reasons that may not translate intelligibly.
  12. Jason, I have a question that I hope will not offend anyone. I admire the Japanese very much for their precision, thoroughness, attention to quality, being conscientious and so forth. Japan is a nation that depends on the exports of hi-tech goods, including consumer items. Then why this strange allergy towards the English language on the websites of major Japanese firms like Panasonic selling kitchenware like induction stoves etc.? Surely these multinationals at least do not lack for talented staff. This is just one example among many, when searching for technical information in Japan. Scientific papers, research results from its agricultural and horticultural stations, most advances being made remain forever inscrutable to a bemused world.One frustrating example: Under an agreement with the US Germplasm Program, many new introductions from Japanese strawberry programs are sent to the nodal center at Corvallis with a terse cultivar name, but little further information as to the characteristics that make these useful to plant breeders. Requesting information in English is a dead end, not because of any intended discourtesy but simply because of inability to communicate with the rest of the world where English is the standard language of science. [At least i hope that is the case.] A lot of important things are happening all over the world in biological science, and just as we are missing out on much excellent progress being made in Japan, could the converse also have some truth? Just being foolish, expressing my frustration, so many excellent cooking shows, yet so depauperate in some minimal English (even the website choice commands) to reach out to an international audience. The producers are smart enough to understand the immense popularity of Japanese shows like these on the international market. Comparisons are odious, but if someone was anxious to explore Indian cooking, I could refer them to excellent sites with (heavily accented) yet lively English that do a bang-up job teaching different styles.
  13. How wonderful! Especially all the pieces falling together just so, as in having the space to work in [ bakery], cook in [commercial kitchen, health regs!], experienced (!) participants, chefs no less, and then all the generous people. One thing, and maybe because we are the food-crazy bunch and it won't fly with the general public, nor are the logistics feasible, safety etc: I always think of professional Chinese cooking as a beautifully choreographed dance form using fire and various objects. As a dance, strength, endurance, grace, focus, teamwork as well as individual performance, so many aspects of a transient art. If only people could be introduced to this also as part of the culture, to appreciate it as the demanding art it is, not food, dance mind you, music and dance actually. All the rhythm that ends in the plating and swinging back to washing out for another order. Maybe some day! I used to cook as No.2 in a Lao-Thai restaurant with a very busy take out as well as sit-in custom. With a friendly FOH, and friendly BOH, for the cooks too it becomes like an intoxication, like an opium haze, an endorphin high that you really need, to keep going from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. with tickets lining up like crazy! No chance for the shooting flame excitement of pao cooking and wok breath here, but still, the roar of the gas jets has its own addictive quality--I think I dimly realize why people treasure their Harleys so. The very best of luck and happy cooking. It feels wonderfully exciting and fulfilling, aching backs notwithstanding.
  14. Tupac, Ask your Thai staff what they think of the restaurants mentioned in the Bangkok Post Pick of 2006 Thai mentioned upthread: don't have to visit, but do get an opinion. Sometimes a good restaurant experience also is worth it for certain types of foods.
  15. If so, then your questions, and the territory they cover, the exceptionally disorganized way they approach the subject matter, do not give me confidence that you understand, are trying to understand or will ever understand any basic mastery of the very preparations to seek to gain knowledge about. Not just you, many of us have equally long experience in prfessional and other venues including teaching a wide variety of students. It is not difficult to spot from the beginning who will succeed well and who will not. Thus my caution. It is not possible to learn dozens of types of breads, Indian, Middle Eastern etc. plus the accompanying dishes with any degree of skill from a zero base, no matter how expert one believes oneself to be without a cumulative, organized approach. The scatter-shot approach you seem to have in mind may lead to great disppointment : what looks easy in videos turns out completely different in real life, especially for Indian spicing and techniques. The flavors become very strange, because the videography does not have the time to explain things in detail, simple things like cooking onions properly. So yes, do go ahead, as you seem to be in a great huff, and immune to considerate suggestions from experienced teachers and cooks who have taken a great deal of time already to find you source material to help to learn Indian cooking. Such attitudes certainly confirm my impressions. If you have so much experience in diverse cuisines do they [include Indian], that wold have shown up in some basic understanding of Indian cooking. You will find it quite difficult to produce adequate authentic Indian food without going the process I have suggested above because so far, there is little evidence of even a preliminary understanding of the basics of India, its regional variations, and its cooking canon. BTW, if years are so important to you, this will be my 44th year of cooking! Indian [several], Thai, Chinese, certain western, professionally and otherwise. I have many friends and cooperators in various expert Indian cooking websites who understand my expertise. Does that make me [at least !!!] 1/3 more skilled, more experienced than yourself as far advice regarding Indian cooking and your chances of success are concerned? You may not understand this yet, but eGullet is dead as far as real Indian experts on cooking: they all have gone away to other sites, for certain reasons. When you wrote, I wrote replied, thinking here is a person who wants to learn. But i was wrong. Yoiu see, repeatedly this is what happens, negative experiences of this sort here, that i and others keep having again and again. That is precisely why the other Indians with useful information do not write. Did you see any other replies to you from any other expert Indians of whom there are dozens? As you love to say, the short answer is NO! Ask yourself WHY???
  16. Dear Cookwithlove, Please pardon me if I insert a very strong cautionary note here. It seems to me that you are trying to attempt too many things here without a clear focus of what you really want to achieve. Please understand clearly a few points: 1. There is nothing called "Indian" food just as there is nothing called European or Asian food. India is as large as Western Europe and has even more diversity, languages, cultures and subcultures all of which have their distinct culinary traditions. None of these is equivalent to the mishmas popularized as "restaurant" menus, that vary in taste and composition from nation to nation across the world. What you eat in Singapore will be different from the same item called by the same name in London or Birmingham, New York Tokyo, Delhi, etc. 2. First you must know what you are doing, learn about your subject matter at least a little. That cannot happen through a forum like this. Either take a cooking class, not difficult in a place like Singapore, or start reading some elementary books on Indian cooking, so as to get a beginner's grasp of what a "masala" might mean in several different contexts, in different regional contexts for example. Then, what the basic flavors of the various regional cuisines are. Then, try to focus on a single region, like the North, and try to master a few signature dishes or techniques. This way of scrabbling wildly all over the place will end up with extraordinarily disappointing results for you. No one has yet been born on this earth who has mastered in days dozens of dishes, and retained them. Not possible, otherwise, we would have had fantasic cookery coming out of the kitchens of Indian restaurants. Since the opposite is true, and since these cooks get a lot of daily practice in just a single style of cooking without substantially improving their skills in a competitive environment where it would benefit them to do so, don't you think there is a lesson to be learned there? No serious person will waste their time working with you or mentoring with you if they feel they are dealing with an unbalanced or non-serious individual. Time and effort is precious for all of us. Moreover, our national cuisines is a matter of some pride and honor. One day you want to master breads, then dosa, then throw out pakoras, then add in putu: what do you really want to do? Seriously? Each takes a lot of time and effort, each type of bread takes a while to get right. If you are serious, you should slow down and consider buying or borrowing some basic cookery books. Madhur Jaffrey, Julie Sahni, Suvir Saran, Santha Rama Rau in the Time Life Series of World COoking, Charmaine Solomon, and many others have written books that can help you to slowly grasp the beginning techniques of Indian cooking. When you are familiar with the basics, then people will be more than happy to help you along with any and all problems you might encounter, answe r questions you may have about things you do not understand about things you are reading or have problems reproducing in your kitchen. But at this point, the program you seem to have chosen, to an outsider appears without focus or balance moving erratically from this to that. Where is the logical learning process that will help you understand the cooking of an alien culture and retain what you learn? That must be established, if you are to have any chance of success. A book or books, supplemented by videos, plus asking questions when needed, and cooking classes with genuine teachers: those are the ingredients for success. It will bring you lasting confidence, joy, and, eqaully important, safety in the kitchen.
  17. My friend stayed here: http://www.kritthaimansion.com/rate.htm The location and weekly rates are interesting. It suited his wallet and met his needs. It was adequate but check the comments here before you make up your mind!! http://www.thaivisa.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=110434 Also check out this service apartment, especially the prepay specials: http://www.roommillion.com/apartments_over...=106&type=short http://www.roommillion.com/short-stay-guides.aspx This is Sukhumvit Soi 15, about 1km down from the juction with Sukhumvit Road http://www.thaivisa.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=157426 Perhaps some of the Bangkok residents on this forum can pick up some buzz from their friends and chime in with their opinions?
  18. Dear Cook, Please let me clarify some points: Some of the foods you mentioned are not strictly "breads" although they are often lumped into that category: the various dosa-a would fall into this category. They may resist being pigeonholed into some defined Western food classification, and we should not force the issue. Some others like pakoras are not breads at all. Rather, they are various mixtures of vegetables and chickpea flour, to be eaten as snacks accompanied by green and tamarind chutneys in the north, or along with a meal in Gujarat and Bengal. Pakoras can be thin slices of vegetables, like eggplants or slightly boiled potato, calabaza pumpkin, blanched cauliflower florets, spinach leaves, etc, dipped into a lightly spiced batter of chickpea flour mixed with various proportions of rice flour, and nowadays corn strarch, to give crispness. These are deep fried in vegetable oil of appropriate temperature. Such "fritters' are also known as "bajjis" in some South Indian languages. However, only in the North will you find, panir slices and white bread slices being prepared in the above manner. A second type of "pakora", popular in the Punjab, consists of chopped spinach, grated potato, sliced onions, etc. spiced with a specific flavor that could include pounded raw coriander seeds and carom seeds, besides a few other things. These are loosely bound with added chickpea flour, gathered into loose balls and fried. Also consumed with sweet-sour tamrind chutney. As you can see, this is not bread! Extending this variation, but now, going towards Gujarat, in the westernmost part of India, we have mashed potatoes that are tossed in hot oil that has been flavored with mustard seeds that have been allowed to pop in it, followed by a hint of asafetida, then crushed ginger root, and chopped green chillies, sligh turmeric, sugar, salt. This makes up a filling formed into little balls dipped into chickpea batter and deep fried, the whole called bondas. Remember the flavor components of the potato mixture above? Almost the same, but adding curry leaves, some urad and chick pea dals in the hot oil, and some tamarind or sour flavor instead of the sugar we get the basic filling or "masala" that goes into a masala dosa, which is served with a coconut chutney plus a sambar. So a dosa is a full meal. A puran poli is a dough that has fat in it but also has a filling made of dals, ground up and sweetened with cane jaggery [brown sugar] and various flavorings. It may be cooked with ghee on a griddle, and is eaten as a sweet dish, on its own. After that, the other names you mention fall into the category of true breads, made from wheat, eaten with accompaniments. Naans when plain are famously eaten with tandoori chicken, chicken butter masala, or slow-cooked urad dal+ kidney beans rich with butter and green cardamom [dal makhani]. Rotis/chapatis are eaten with dals, or with simple vegetables, complicated vegetables, meat and chicken preparations, with butter and salt alone hot off the griddle. You can eat them with butter, bananas and guava jelly if you wish, with indian style scrambled eggs, with anything your heart desires to experiment with. Pooris, I have wriiten to you, as also some other types of north Indian breads. There are many other types of breads from other parts of the country, millet breads, rice breads, flour breads and so on. But best to go slow, and develop some confidence in one thing at a time. It takes a great deal of care and attention to understand how to make a good dosa, your favorite. Peppertrail, Ammini Ramachandran, has given exhaustive details on selecting the type of dal, [whole skinned urad], type of rice [long grain or ponni] etc. and the various methods and additives that go into preparing a good dosa. Making a good chapati. Making a good paratha. Indian foods look deceptively simple but are hard to master and prepare well, hence the nastiness of most indian restaurant food!
  19. Ce'nedra, Here's just my 2 cents, for what they are worth [and look what's happening to the poor US$ at this time!!] Yukon Gold potatoes: in the US, russet potatoes are the "baking" type, whereas red bliss and even more "waxy" types occupy the "boiling" end of the spectrum, opposite from the baking end. This has to do with the types of starch they have. Now, midway between the two, is a golden fleshed beauty known as the Yukon Gold. It shares some of the positive characteristics of both camps, and is good for these types of preparations, where there is long immersion in boiling liquids, sometimes acidic. It resists turning gluey. Its skin is thin enough that there is no need to peel, the skin adding a measure of flavor, for those who like such things. In Australian grocery stores, you can ask about it by name, or about a type that is equally good as a baker and boiler, between "floury" and "waxy", those are the descriptive terms used for the starch in the US industry. Peppers: We include 2 types: A. As per Fengyi's strictures, and my own suspicions, avoids capsicums, or bell peppers, in Americanese. [i do forget sometimes that the world does not speak our US dialect, and me from India!!] But, in OZ, you should be able to find the thin-skinned wrinkly green Korean or Japanese green peppers, about as big as a thumb [use your imagination here, this is not a precise size!]. These would be closest in type and flavor to the peppers suggested by Fengyi. This would go in towards the end of the dish. B. I have suggested an extra step of adding a few long thai type peppers, chopped up when frying up the chicken with onion and garlic etc. This is to add a measure of aroma, not heat, in case the right type of other peppers were not available. Use your discretion and use them just to perk up flavors a tiny bit, not add heat. So 2-4 per kg chicken may be a good starting place. COOKING FAT USE A NEUTRAL VEGETABLE OIL, like refined peanut oil, soybean oil. Note that in my recipe we use the Indian method of flavoring the hot oil with whole spices of the same flavor that is to prevail in the dish. Do this in tiny pinches, of course, as suggested. The chicken also will release some fat, depending on how fatty Australian chicken is. This will add flavor to the vegetable oil. Please use a splatter screen to protect your eyes. If you are an adventurous person, and can get pork caul fat, you will keep a quantity handy, and use a bit to fry, add to your vegetable oil, saute things and so forth. Adds a depth of flavor. Some comments on the GOBILILLY recipe; Sorry to be a bit harsh. 1. Do not use any habanero, fresh or dry, unless it be the merest sliver. not only is its flavor completely alien to Chinese cooking, plus it is ugly-hot, catching the throat. Paradoxically, this group of peppers is called Capsicum sinense, but have nothing to do with China! 2. The lady is very casual, suggesting a "handful of Sichuan peppercorns" or substituting them with black peppercons. One is not a substitute for the other, and an adult's handful in one chicken? Think about it! 3. The whole tenor of her recipe is towards a red-cooked chicken: nothing more or less. This much soy sauce will drown out any trace of Central Asia in the taste. I would suppose that one attraction of the dish is in its NOT tasting like everyday Han food, a touch of the exotic yet not too wild. So which Muslim would be using wine and soy sauce with such abandon? Rather, one may imagine the sweet spices, that make their appearance also in Northern Chinese repertoire, coriander, cassia, clove, large cardamom, fennel, cumin, this group of flavors making their presence known, but not necessarily in the same dish. Finally, I think you, in particular, should not underestimate your skill as a cook. Your urge to get everything set up and prepared indicate the organized mind that will be able to focus on the task of cooking. As you can guess, smell, touch, taste, and many subconscious cues go into cooking a dish, thus focus is important. Like driving a car, practice allows the brain to assimilate all these tasks into one integrated whole, without your realizing it. So you go ahead and do each dish as many times as you feel motivated. Each time, it will turn out better and better, as your whole being records its experiences and debugs procedures and tastes it notices unconsciously. Thus you will create your own style of Da Panji, suited to your own tastes and preferences. Some may like a pinch of sugar, others may like a splash of vinegar. Some will want a hefty splash of the old, comforting presence of soy sauce. Another will say, no, i want the fresh perky taste of roast powdered taste of cumin to stand out. Someone else will prefer the tate of raw powdered cumin seed. Salt levels differ enormously from person to person. A touch of ketchup can make it ambrosial for one, horrid for another. You get the point!
  20. In New York Times, Jan 6, 2008, available free for 6 days on site, http://travel.nytimes.com/2008/01/06/trave...f&ex=1199768400 JOSHUA KURLANTZICK Street Smarts in Bangkok "Raan Jay Fai, 327 Mahachai Road, (66-2) 223-9384, is near Wat Saket in the older part of Bangkok Nguan Lee, corner of Soi Lang Suan and Soi Sarasin, is in the central business district; (66-2) 250-0936. Chote Chitr, Prang Pu Thorn alley, off Tanao Road, is in the old part of Bangkok. Samosa seller: near the corner of Phahurat and Chakraphet Roads in Little India. Look for a small alley with a sign above it that says “Sunny Video Indian Movies.” Often open only during the daytime. Food Loft, top floor, Central Chidlom department store, at the corner of Ploenchit Road and Soi Chidlom, is in the central business district; (66-2) 793-7070; www.central.co.th. The best areas for street snacks include the side streets off of Yaowarat Road, in Chinatown; Talad Loong Perm (Loong Perm market), on 89 Vibhavadi-Rangsit Road, is in the northern part of Bangkok, just behind the Thai Airways building."
  21. Fengyi, Do you suppose one accepatble substitute for the green peppers would be the Korean green ones or the Japanese shishitou type? These are thin-skinned and I am sure these would be readily available in "Oriental" (!!) groceries in Australia, especially those serving Koreans/Japanese? That is also why I suggest adding a few Thai type green chilis [1-1.5 inches long, not prik khee noo, mouse droppings type but the longer type] at the beginning when frying the onions, a touch of heat and aroma. That picture linked sadly shows the capsicum/green & red bell pepper, that sours and muddies the taste of many things it enters. It is cheap, pretty and bulks up the dish, and conveys an aura of healthful-ness, all heaven-sent to restaurant owners! P.S. It is a relief that you, a knowledgeable and choosy eater of Chinese and Greater China food, generally confirm the recipe that I generated out of general principles, mainly Indian! At least it would not lead Ce'nedra too wildly out of the ballpark, which i feared it might. The capsicum/bell peppers [as also the slight hint of turmeric rubbed into an initial marinade] were suggested after examining the picture below! I have no idea what goes into Dapanji or how it should taste! Forensic recipe reconstruction! http://www.flickr.com/photos/d_flat/112708015/ If Ce'nedra gains confidence, then I can suggest more complex cooking styles that will extract more flavor, a true Indian style: the departure point is when you add chicken to the onions, and then the ground and hot red spices. You cover and allow juices to run out, uncover and dry carefully, caramelizing the protein juices with the onions to create a base. Then proceed as above.
  22. Daniel Rogov:meu'rav Yerushalmi" (Jerusalem mixed grill) http://stratsplace.zeroforum.com/zerothread?id=12360 For Indian wheat flour breads, suggest you systematically study the videos from 1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=msCO2dgNjVU&feature=related Cooking with Kurma A. Follow this lady [Manjula] for all your north Indian breads; very highly skilled and efficient. She does not have a gas flame, so she puffs up her chapati on the skillet itself. If you do have a gas flame, you may find it easier to puff chapatis on the flame, with the help of a purpose built wire device, sold for about $6 by iShop India.com and similar Indian grocery stores. Even cheaper is to use the wire rack from a discount low-end charcoal barbeque, around $2 at clearance sales. The open flame gives you control over the degree of charring you want to produce on the chapati, that further adds to the taste. Chapati or roti is the thicker version, eaten by ordinary people. Phulkas are the more refined, very thin version, eaten by whomever. People who do heavy work and those who cook for them ususally cannot afford the time it takes to make these delicate thin things! Phulkas do not respond well to charring, either! The lady below [sheba] is a bit inept, but demonstrates the procedure for puffing up rotis on an open flame. B. C. http://vahrehvah.com/popvideo.php?recipe_id=3003 The Vahchef, Sanjay Thumma is a professional. His chapti making style is too heavy with fat, and not as expert as Manjula's. Stay with Manjula and her many videos for all your N. Indian breads. Go with Sanjay for your South Indian "breads". Note on chapati flour: Use only atta, or durum wheat flour marked Chapati Flour, Atta. Ordinary whole wheat flour will not give as good results. There are 3 brands commonly available in Indian groceries and some US/Canada supermarkets [Where are you located?]: Golden Temple Swad Laxmi [available in small sizes] These are made from Canadian durum, and there is but a slight difference in the quality, indicated in descending order. Higher quality Indian wheat, now temporarily banned by the Indian government, are Sujata brand Bhallya Ghaun, from Patel Bros. groceries, online or their many outlets: this is their premium chapati wheat from Gujarat. Do not confuse the word ROTI as used in India and as it is used in the Indian Diaspora. In the latter, e.g. Guyana, it is a Paratha, actually a laccha paratha, but called Roti. In Trinidad, it can be a dalpuri and be called Roti. And so forth. For now, just master the North Indian terminology and techniques, where Indian wheat breads are concerned. Others can follow. NAAN A.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vow-kxTPatc&feature=user Manjula's Kitchen B.http://vahrehvah.com/popvideo.php?recipe_id=3094 http://vahrehvah.com/videos.php all Sanjay teaching videos Parathas et al.: follow above trail, you will find their teaching videos on parathas, puri, kachori etc. Please write back with any questions re: Indian breads, to clarify references I have not made clear.
  23. Ce'nedra, This is coming close enough to Central Asian flavor and cooking principles that i would hazard a guess from the Indian POV: give it a try and see how it tastes, Sinify it to your liking! Dylank mentions green peppers, cumin, onions, garlic, potatoes, chicken Liuzhou: chili, Sichuan pepper Cut up a country chicken [i.e. not too fatty broiler], Chinese style, into pieces, bone in say 1 kg, rub with a little salt, turmeric, a little lemon juice if wanted, set aside Cut into halves or large quarters, skin on or off, russets or Yukon Gold type of potatoes [skin adds flavor], do this just before you cook to prevent discoloration, approx.300-350 grams, or to taste Peppers: you can use green and red peppers cut into chunks to be added last; plus get some thai chillies, preferred, say 5-10, depending on how large and how hot they are, and chop them coarsely set aside Cumin : whole : 1/2 teaspoon; roast & powder 1/2 teaspoon Cassia bark: small piece, peppercorn, black or white coarsely crushed: 5-6 Onion: yellow cooking, 100 gm or more to taste, sliced or small shallots, peeled, left whole Garlic: to taste, smashed with cleaver, march-chopped [Chili-garlic paste etc. to your taste], or Korean red pepper powder, kochokaru Tiny amount of tomato puree, or concentrate, not to overpower 14 oz can of chicken broth or more as needed Heat wok, add sufficient oil, fry potato quarters till slightly cooked, remove. In batches, quickly brown chicken pieces over brisk flame, using oil as needed, spatter screen. Brown means chicken and skin will turn yellow or white, and acquire the faintest edge of color. Remove to a dish that will contain juices. Some like to splutter the whole cumin in batches in the hot oil before adding each lot of chicken, but you may avoid this step, and splutter the cumin later. When all complete, see if any oil remaining, not much is needed, a few tablespoons. Now add whole cumin if you have not already done so, to hot but not smoking oil. They will splutter; do not let them burn. immediately add cassia and peppercorn, then onions, cook briefly till limp add the garlic and chopped green chillies, cook briefly add chicken and stir. Mix well, adding your "hot red" element now, be it chili-garlic paste, or red pepper, plus a tiny touch of tomato puree, a pinch of sugar . [Next time add also a tablespoon of ketchup and see what difference that might make]. Add your roasted powdered cumin. Cover and cook on low for a little bit until there is steam, making sure nothing is burning. Add potatoes and then stock and boiling water gradually to build up gravy. Add hot stock in small quantities, letting everything come to boil between additions. Like this: add 1/2 can hot stock, let simmer 7-8 minutes, add next 1/2 cup, simmer 4 minutes, add more stock or hot water. Keep covered in between. Too much acidic element like tomatoes and the potatoes will turn gluey-texturesd instead of floury. Bring the gravy up to your desired thickness. Add MSG if you wish. Add pepper chunks if you desire. Taste. You can now add more roasted cumin powder, roasted Sichuan pepper, sugar, vinegar, etc. to balance the flavors. Note that the very hot gravy will not report the correct balance accurately to your tongue, and what you will taste after it is cooler will be different.
  24. Dear Cook, While I am no expert on Middle Eastern foods, like you, I enjoy the many different cuisines offered by this vast cultural region, which can include many different societies of the Eastern Mediterranean, and some adjoining areas. You have done well to identify at least 2 specific regions whose foods interest you: lebanon and Syria. For the moment, if you focus on Lebanon, you will find several real experts here who can help you master some of the elements of that area. Chef Crash and Elie Naser have posted extensively, and also archived their best recipes in the Recipe Gullet section. Elie has taught pita making and other Lebanese dishes like lamb with yoghurt sauce in step by step photographs that you should retrieve and duplicate at home. There has been an extensive give and take on a falafel cookoff on eGullet that you might find useful. Lebanese fish dishes; baked or fried with sesame sauce etc. After you have gone through all the Lebanese treasures available here, plus the guidance from the lebanese experts, then you could move on to another region, Syria, about which we have sharply differing experts!!!!!!! Paula Wolfert visits these pages, and she too has a book on the Eastern Mediterranean that may interest you a lot. We have a strong Israeli cluster here in this forum, Daniel Rogov, a great teacher of surprising treats. You should go to his website. Plus many more. Then there are the Turkish experts. Algerian and Moroccan experts. Tunisia. Egypt Yemen and SaudiArabia, Jordan A long term project!!
  • Create New...