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v. gautam

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  1. It would be great if someone could contact a professional tea taster employed by a tea auction house or large buyer. These people taste hundreds of samples at a time and make very accurate judgments based on well-defined parameters, though the teas may vary widely, from Kenyan to Darjeeling to Assam. My uncle, now deceased, was one of these. I used to marvel at a palate and nose that could remain sensitive and unerring, subjected to dozens of little bowls of hot brewed liquor, day after day. Unfortunately, I have inherited merely a great admiration for the world of tea, but neither knowledge or any skill in any department [plant science, emphatic yes, drinking, sadly no] in spite of having been associated with some of the great tea planters of Assam. I would urge those living in USDA zones 7 or higher to grow a tea plant in their yard, even a hedge. You would have the makings of white or even green tea at hand. It would be a fun, if minuscule project; great science, geography and cultural project for kids, as well!! One of the most intriguing experiences I have had was strolling through the short grass in an abandoned tea plantation in the state of Himachal Pradesh in north-western India, at a spot where exposure had stunted the bushes into bonsai-like shapes. They had flowered in that desolate place and were laden with fruit. Little round berries covering the gnarled branches.
  2. "tell me the best things to plant in rich compost filled beds that will get a bit of shade but very protected from cold ..unusual herbs would be great ... anything edible, fragrant, attractive" One safe bet is lettuce: use the reddest ones for the cold season, then BUTTERCRUNCH, oakleaf, deer tongue, various types of cos/romaine and others lettuce varieties for repeated pluckings for baby greens or young leaf lettuce. To this, you may add MIZUNA, CHOI SUM and similar oriental greens to fill out your salad bowl. RAINBOW CHARD, YELLOW CHARD, etc. also may be sown for the same purpose. Try Valueseeds.com for good bargains on salad mixes, lettuce seeds, chard, carrots, herbs, et al., 50- 99c/pkg, lettuce 500-1700 seeds/pkg $2 shipping for everything. No fancy wraps.
  3. Please give this place a try. You may mail order exquisite teas, including small samples. A most gracious lady, Ms. Anupa Mueller, owns and runs the business. Her brother in law in Darjeeling, India, is the very enlightened owner of the Makaibari Tea estate. I have had a single delightful telephone converstion with Ms.Mueller, after which I unhesitatingly recommend people to purchase from her online store and visit her teashop at Tarrytown. She is English, born in India, and does know how to serve a proper English tea! Through a common friend who is a food writer in NYC, Matt Gross got to learn a few more things about Makaibari through my praise of its teas and brought me back the cutest little tea-chest the size of a match box as a present. So that is the extent of my commercial interaction with the place!! The reason I recommend the Silver Tip Store [the sole distributor of Makaibari teas in the USA] is because I am a proud Bangali and the work being done by Makaibari is exemplary for reasons far too many in number to enumerate here. Such effort has very grave consequences, beyond what can be explained easily to someone who is not familiar with the past and current history of that state. It takes a very determined and courageous person to do what this family has achieved. But sample the teas for their quality, judge them solely by the strictest criteria of taste, flavor and service. Enjoy, and report back please, if you have discovered a good place. "Silver Tips Tea Room is in Tarrytown, New York, about 35 minutes north of Manhattan, in Westchester County. Tarrytown is one of the famous River Towns on the Hudson and a significant tourist attraction for the area" http://www.silvertipstea.com/fusionecommer...RoomRestaurant/ http://travel.nytimes.com/2007/10/14/travel/14Tea.html High Tea, India Style By MATT GROSS Published: October 14, 2007 Gautam
  4. Indian Chinese has several faces depending on the original extraction of the immigrants [e.g. Hakka vs. Cantonese, and where they settled & when eg. Ah-chipur , Howrah district, West Bengal, then Kolkata, Assam tea gardens etc.] But the most important watershed may be described as BNW and ANW, Before Nelson Wang and After NW. Nelson Wang had his roots in Kolkata and was familiar with the specific and several distinct styles of both restaurant and home cookery available for PUBLIC consumption there. Mention may be made of the flagship Chung Wah, Peiping, Waldorf, Jimmy's Kitchen, and one more whose name I forget, that defined CHINESE cookery as experienced in the restaurants of old Calcutta. This was an excellent Cantonese and Hakka cooking with a single concession to Indian tastes in the form of Fried Chili Chicken, that came in several redactions in each of these institutions [for they WERE institutions]. Some while ago, I was speaking with the restaurateur SLY LIAO, who has his own non-Chinese restaurant in Washington DC, but hails from Kolkata, albeit from a younger generation. His BIL in NYC though, remembers the Good Old Days. We were reminiscing ad mourning the elision of history that is so characteristic a part of Indian life. Nelson Wang may indirectly share the blame in several different ways, because, basking in his new-found glory, he never has chosen to set the record straight about what constituted Chinese Restaurant Cookery in Calcutta until the late 70s. Calcutta, since 1757, was the capital of the british empire in India. This situation lasted until 1912. Its proximity to South-east Asia also made it an attractive destination for Cantonese and Hakka immigrants, to a greater extent than the rest of India. Here settled perhaps the largest Chinese community in India, one whose roots stretched back a couple of centuries. The village of Achipur in Howrah district, just south of the city, for example, is named after it founder, an eminent Chinese settler whose honorific Cantonese form of address, Ah-chee, is incorporated into the name! For these reasons, Calcutta remained at the apex of Indian Chinese cookery well past Independence in 1947, up to and including the early 1970s. Nelson Wang moved to Bombay in the mid 70s and began to cook highly spiced food to cater to the tastes of the newly rich frequenting the hotel restaurants of that booming metropolis, in sharp contrast to a Calcutta being strangulated [then & now] by Marxists devoted to Mao and to China far more blindly than any Chinese [to this day, even!]. That type of food was a complete departure from the cookery of Nelson’s formative years, what was then offered in the homes and street vendors of Tangra or the restaurants on Park Street, Theater Avenue, or Central Avenue. There was an excellent signature dish from Peiping restaurant named FISH BALLS IN TOMATO SAUCE that might have been the precursor of his MANCHURIAN GARBAGE which is nothing but pakoras or fritters doused in a ketchupy sauce, with the addition of alliums, ginger and green and dry red chilies. No wonder Indians with palates turned to bronze and tongues to tanned leather love it. It is the only way they can allow their sense organs, brains and parochialism to taste anything: Bring everything own to their own level of sheer idiocy and call it Chinese. Curry house cookery returns the favor in spades in Britain!!!!! There might be nothing wrong with this Gobhi xyz tastewise, but to call something Chinese bring us into Lewis Carroll territory that I ha rather not get into. We in India are the masters of semantics and epistemology, ad there are massive branches of Buddhist and Sanatana philosophy devoted to logic, proof an these subjects alone, ad having spent too much of my life on these, I am not wiling to get drawn into arguments about the meaning of “China”, “Chinese”, “authenticity”, “relevance” et al. It is just my strong opinion that there is a phenomenon that should be termed the POST WANG COOKING FASHION in India. What that might have to do with China or Chinese cookery beyond the use of ketchup, soy sauce, and wheat noodles, and the incorporation together in the same dish of some vegetables like sweet pepper, carrot and cabbage + stir fried noodles with sauce, is up to the reader to decide. The REAL CALCUTTA CHINESE COOKING, now that has several interesting ethnic strands and exquisite dishes well worth taking about.
  5. You can encourage your palate to enjoy them at all stages: from hard, green & astringent, then slightly more mature and tending toward ripeness to the dead ripe. Each stage has its own distinct aroma and mouthfeel that is treasured by the lovers of this fruit. Many Asian markets sell fruit at these various stages for more than $6/lb, so beloved are they!!! Eaten raw in the earlier stages, they are very healthy, and give your gums & teeth a cleaning similar to a dentist's!! Depending on the variety, the aroma & sweetness or even tartness can be extremely beguiling even in these early stages, and when the very hard green gradually begins to grow riper. We see these stages in your photograph. Full ripening should be effected indoors. The hard green and mellow green stages are sliced unpeeled and eaten raw without any additions, with salt + kochu karu [korean red pepper powder] or with Indian chaat masala or with black salt. This is a very nutritious fruit. Ripe fruit is used in India in mixed fruit chaat, i.e. chopped in cubes [skin on] with other fruit, say apples, bananas, papayas, asian pears, sprouted white chickpeas, mung beans, [radicle out only] etc. and tossed with chaat masala, and even some mint powder etc. for a sweet-sour fruit salad. The South-east Asian rujak embodying simialar ideas is derived from the Sanskrit ROCHAKA [<ruc], pleasing or tasty, referring to the satisfying nature of fruit chaat. Ripe guava [scoop out the seeds, save for jelly] can be sliced and used in a pan cooked dish with pork or chicken, finished with in a cream sauce. Some varieties have a pink or red center when ripe and are especially prized. The skin and seedy middle is simmered in water and strained through cloth. Sugar is added in proportion for jelly and a wonderful garnet colored confection results, far superior to the commercial product. You make very fine crepes, smear a small, elegant portion of jelly, squeeze a few drops of lime juice, roll up. Sprinkle powdered sugar. Serve warm. The jelly is great with toast & butter as well.
  6. I lived for years with some lovely folks from Izmir. Turkey is huge, the Mediterranean people and the Southeastern region having different cooking styles, as do the north: you get the point!! So no one "Turkish" cuisine, but certainly some no-miss favorites! They ate delightful food that was simple and could be easily cooked by you in Wisconsin. The husband ate huge bowlsful of lettuce dressed with lemon juice, with or without salt or olive oil, every night as an After Dinner snack, TRUE!! Dinner was excellent, a simple PIAZ or PILAKI, either starting from a base of white beans, cannellini or navy beans gently cooked in a crock pot to tenderness with a bay leaf. For PIAZ, the hot beans are mixed into a "dressing" of sliced red onions, good sherry or red wine vinegar [please check if they have Islamic prohibitions, some Turks are very broad minded, beer etc.], olive oil, salt etc. For Pilaki, you cook onions in olive oil, add good tomato sauce, add beans. Serve with PILAF: good LUNDBERG or basmati long grain rice sauteed with onions in oil, HEAVY non-stick skillet with cover, add same volume of water; simmer covered 20 min. See if too dry, sprinkle more water, steam if needed. OR, medium grain white rice or Turkish baldo rice, ditto. OR, medium bulgur, ditto. With that, serve zucchini fritters: grate zuke, salt lightly, squeeze dry: egg, dill, bit flour, small patties, pan fry in non-stick skillet. Halloumi cheese from Cyprus, cut in chunks, shallow fry, until brown on top ad melted inside [if available] That salad or any fresh salad, with grape or cherry tomato. Wisconsin : Nolechek all-beef hot dogs: ask if they have HALAL issues, but many Turks love hot dogs even fried as octopods, cut in half, then scored on ends!! Split red lentil soup: wash and drain. Heat pure [not evoo] olive oil, add chopped onion, sscant garlic, saute, add lentil, stir until color change, add bay leaf + bit of good tomato puree or fresh tomato, maybe even a bit carrot, stir, add water cook covered until tender. Salt. Remove bay. Partially whizz with hand blender. Serve with lemons and Rice pilaf. Maybe even sliced ripe avocado, though not Turkish. You can always find phyllo dough, frozen. If you want to make burek, then that is also very easy. Ask here, if you feel up to it. A few of the above should give you a simple Turkish dinner. If Halal is no issue, and frequently is not, honeycomb tripe cooked in a pressure cooker or crock pot, with some chopped onion and a tiny bit of bay leaf makes a soup loved by males, during & post drinking. Served with garlic finely chopped into olive oil, maybe some hot sauce, and that ever-present lettuce & lemon juice. Never saw ladies partake. You need to fish out the tripe, chop it up and return to soup, skim off fat. Maybe offer a peppermill on the side.
  7. Tri2Cook, My example about snowmobilers, skiers, holiday crowds etc. perhaps was too abbreviated. I am speaking from real life, say at Old Forge, a small resort in upstate NY. These are just 3 of the varied demographics a reaturant owner needs to cater to, each with its own set of food and taste preferences, AND PRICE POINTS. Real life restaurant management is a bear. I hear people speak of baking one's "own" bread. Do they even begin to understand the equipment necessary, the storage space for flour, the SPECIALIZED baking ovens for the number of rolls etc. we are speaking of for BREAK EVEN POINTS? DO they understand the time constraints, and a typical restaurant schedule? How many cooks will this restaurant have? This sort of talk makes me want to cry. I have lived in a family of professional bread makers and chefs, who DAILY made over 3000 bagels, plus artisanal sourdough, ciabatta, hero rolls etc. shaping loaves by hand and by machine. I KNOW what punishment it involves, the WHOLE NIGHT WORK for quality bread, the crew, the PROOFING ROOMS, the ovens, the whole ensemble. Every single detail, from personnel, management, inventory, to execution has been dunned into my very marrow. Ask me whatever question you need about costing, equipment, SPACE, types of breads, and soon you will come up with pretty grim answers. A restaurant is a business, not a field of dreams. It simply is the the most shocking thing I have heard, suggested by those with neither any experience in professional bread making nor in the exigencies of running a foodservice business in the USA. Where are the US citizens who are going to do the job, and what salaries are you going to pay them? As someone suggested, please get some hands-on expertise at running your own restaurant by working all the managerial and technical positions in a shop similar to the one you envisage. I humbly apologize for the hectoring tone, but I have experienced so much personal tragedy on account of this very restaurant life and unripe decisions that I cannot keep silent. We are your friends and wish you nothing but the best. We do not want to discourage dreams. When the basics are soundly established, then we can always pool our heads together to offer constructive suggestions. In the same vein, many here already have gone through the learning curve, made all the mistakes. Why do you need to repeat them and not take advantage of the collective goodwill? We are not trying to show off or trying to score points off one another when we speak of the details of professional breadmaking or FOH issues. We wish you the greatest success.
  8. Huge added expense BUT you can add open face French bread pizza or even pizza IF push came to shove. Otherwise, a BLODGETT PIZZA OVEN with deep dishes very useful for making HOT SANDWICHES, both pass-through, or hold dish at either end and do quick melts. Toasting a piece of bread or roll, then warming the fillings, makes a sandwich much more welcoming; especially since you mention fall and cold weather. Are you in SNOW country? Are you targetting SNOW mobilers or skiers? Could you please let us know? Each of these demographics have different types of FAVORITEsandwiches from each other, as you might imagine. That index of favorites would change drastically if your target was to be holiday crowds with children tagging along. TARGET analysis very important. I have much experience with various restaurants, sandwich places and ski concessions in upstate New York holiday resorts like Old Forge, very similar to what you describe. I know the competition and demographics of each season and all the pitfalls, each economic slice of the holiday crowd inside out. The types of labor who will be handling the FOH [!!!] etc., how long you will be open, whether purely take-out, whether extra relishes will be self-service, all these need careful thought. The matter of extra relishes, be they pickles, sauces, mayo, blue cheese dressing, extra this that or the other:what will be your policy? Are you going to have a station outside where customers can customers can re-customize their orders, pus take away containers of dressing etc.?Or is it going to be strictly, what your counterpeople make? What are you going to do when you are slammed? That is the nature of the business----- which is why i suggested the large capacity Blodgett oven. You are going to be driven crazy by requests for subsitution, thusthe utiility of a cusomer station fr them to fix thing to their own liking. BUT that comes at a big cost too, and every penny counts. Your biggest headache will be finding good people. Russian/Ukrainian youth may be found on 3-5 month work visas and they work very, very well. How long re you going to be open? How many shifts, including closing, cleanup? Overtime? OSHA rules are you going to have a restroom for customers, handicap accessible? Huge fixed costs riving up your already high price points, therefore further restricting your customer base in a SMALL holiday resort [see below]. No sit-down or yes? More insurance & service issues!! Beer, wine licence? What sorts of drinks, what refill policies? These all affect the bottomline. COOKING IS EASY, MAKING GREAT SANDWICHES IS FINE, RUNNING A FODSERVICE IN ALL ITS DETAILS IS DEVILISH. Do you have an experienced manager who can handle staff, lay down clear policies, manage FOH. I have taught small business with special focus on setting up sole ownership restaurants, and I repeatedly emphasize that the technical aspects, i.e. the food, is not the problem. The business owner needs to get a handle on the other aspects, the managerial apects, first. The business cannot succeed otherwise, no matter how impressive a line-up of friends and advisers are on call. This may sound a bit harsh, but I have been involved in restaurant families who have cut their milkteeth [literally] on several restaurants. These can tear families apart and destroy lives, including my own, due to the folly and overconfidence of one person who knows it all, who may know how to cook, but abhors any managerial responibilities. Consequently, in reaction, I have spent years studying ad understanding restaurant & food service management. I have formally helped more than one beginning establishment. Where common sense advice was ignored, and the owner ran with her dreams, the restaurant folded within a year. The others are going from strength to strength because they exist on the premise that restaurants are there first to make a profit!! Second to not drive everyone, including the opertor, insne. This is not as trivial a it might sound Check out the alcoholism rate in the industry. Third to provide food customers demand, no matter how horrible that might be. Especially true of holiday crowds with children. CHEAP is in their radar. DINKs are demographically sprs, not enough to make your shop hum. They eat little, also. Critical mass of customers needed. Sorry to be such a bear. True Ciabatta, mild sourdough, mild sourdough with jalapeno & cheddar are three I have found useful in open face sandwiches--- they are structurally robust.
  9. http://www.realthairecipes.com/articles/bananas/ gluay tap?? Squished bananas: grilled, basted with sweet sauce http://www.ucancookthai.com/language-engli...anana-syrup.htm Thai dessert called "Gluay Khai Chuam" Baby Banana in Syrup ??? Maybe one of these? Hope this helps.
  10. Dear Afauthentic, Will add a very ignorant 2cents, just because am from India where the pressure cooker is a national obssession. [ I was stunned to discover people have invented ways to cook multiple chapatis all over the walls of an uncovered PC, as well as very specific PC biryanis in several styles!!] With respect to the rendang, all of what Bruce & Dejah says is VERY true, except if you are using older buffalo or gaur or the types of elderly beef you might find in Asia. Rendang is the logical use of older farm animals, and a mix of bony cuts may be used, including ears etc. that release a great deal flavor and collagen into the dish, unlike the joints that are likely to be chosen here, where a terror of bone, fat and gristle generally prevails. Additionally, people are loathe to waste even a fraction of the coconut flavor, an expensive iten these days, even after extracting 2 milks from the gratings. So they are prepared to put economics ahead of time and effort. In that case, which makes less sense in North America, the bony cuts and the coconut leftover gratings, a small amount of tamarind, a few aromatics can enjoy a par-cooking in the pressure cooker in scant liquid. The meat in then entered into the coconut cooking liquid, plus the strained soured stock and you proceed from there uncovered. There is less time involved to reduce the coconut to oil, while the meat is reduced to the rquiste tender yet chewy-tough consistency. The importance of this is when fresh herbs are used, as per some of the other islands, so that their flavors do not entirely disappear with excessive cooking. Where the Malaysians use kerisik with a free hand, this strong flavor drowns out many other more subtle ones, making coconut + coconut the dominant note, and any refined techniques are quite redundant!!!! Re: curry, again, the parboiling in a PC with aromatics like onion/shallots, duan salam or Indian cassia leaf, garlic, etc. for goat or mature fowl may be quite useful. It allows for the emplyment of a mix of cuts, ears, esophagus, neck, tail, etc. These are then fished out and added to a bumbu and fried or roasted in the masala; and the strained HOT stock should be added in very small increments to liquefy the bumbu/meat mess and create a gravy very gradually under cover, over several increments spread over time. Add, mix, cover, lt equlibriate; repeat. Bring it up to full strength adding souring along the way. Then, finally, add any thick coconut cream, if using; do not let boil. With the PC doing part of the tenderizing, the spicing remains "fresher", i.e. had they to cook for the time required to tenderize the meat in situ, the whole mess would take on less fresh, more boiled-away, steamed/tired tone.
  11. The Kale cultivar WINTERBOR survives well without protection from a late June sowing in Ithaca until January. So, in your climate, an August- September sowing will take it right through winter with plenty of leaves for cutting. It is type of Scotch curled kale, if that is something that is liked by the family. As you know, Japanese bunching scallions are winter-proof; cv. Ishikura and other types of negi and leeks are also available, if you feel like devoting your space to a winter garden. Small-seeded Mache [as opposed to the large seeded] would be a November crop for you, perhaps. I don't know the price of seed. In much colder Ithaca, strawberry MARA des BOIS kept ripening fruit past killing frost into late October, as it was low to the ground in a special spot. I was very impressed with this variety that we trialled for the first time. Great foil to the June bearers. Excellent constitution, excellent winter hardiness in a drier i.e. non-waterlogged [in winter] situation. Morioka Station may have starts. The perennial climber, HABLITZIA, makes a spinach-like crop for very early greens. Worth experimenting near the house.
  12. The bay leaves mentioned are STRICTLY Indian tejpatta, cassia leaf, Cinnamonum tamala/obtusifolium. They should be available from the same Bangladeshi grocer you get your spices from. Panch phoron: they should supply you, or you can mix your own> cumin, fennel, nigella, fenugreek, randhuni seeds, all whole. If you cannot get randhuni seeds, leave it out; fenugreek should be in smallest proportion. Make sure the PP does NOT DARKEN. It needs merely to release its aroma. The use of PP + the garam masala ingredients does not occur in Rarhi cooking. It is either one or the other. This is an East Bengal Muslim dish with its own flavor palette. Rub the fish with some salt+ turmeric powder, if you wish; a tiny. This will help form a thin coat while frying, and remove objectionable flavors. Add a tiny pinch of sugar to wake up the flavors. Eat with rice, and a wedge of freshly cut lime, still green. Make sure some of the rind oils enter your plate along with the juice, i.e. use your fingers with abandon, don't be a toff. Make good jasmine rice, buy from a good Thai or oriental grocery, wash several times, cook very slightly moist, never on the dry side. DO NOT eat with LONG GRAIN basmati. The mini-grain aromatics from Bengal like Kalojira, Shitabhog, Vishnubgog are fine.
  13. Welcome to eG, Citylunch. As muichoi says, you will be fine with that external use oil, which is meant to satisfy labelling authorities. 95% of that oil is used for food as today it is way too precious to be used for body massages and to be dribbled into ones ears or nostrils, as was the case in my childhood and youth, many decades ago [when we grew and pressed our own!] The mustard now probably comes from Canada, which grows a variety of high and low erucic acid types of canola and Brassica juncea, the black mustard, from which this oil is derived. There are many elements of viscosity and lusciousflavor notes missing from these oils compared to the traditional oils freshly emerged from wooden presses in Bengal. Think EVOO from Italy and nondescript grades from "änywhere". Cooking with mustard oil has 3 aspects: 1. raw: as used in mashed potatoes, eggplant roasted over coals or baked in embers, or in Bengali sweet-sour relishes such as woodapple, kvathbel [Feronia spp.] mashed up with fresh thai-type green chili, cane jaggery and a thread of mustard oil. 2A. raw as a finish or final temper to a number of hot dishes, all in the lunch or daytime category, in the Rarhi canon at least. These may be vegetarian or fish preparations, and a thin thread of oil is dribbled in just as the dih is remove from heat: to add a tiny zing, not overstated. Some of these may already have been cooked with mustard paste. 2B. With mustard paste, raw mustard oil + turmeric + salt mixed with slices of Tenualosa hilsa, which may be a) steamed under hot rice at the table; b) packed in banana leaf packets, paturi, traditionally baked in embers; c) steamed, delicately, in a closed container. Treatment c + grated coconut + hint of cilantro given to shrimp, all spices VERY understated, steamed delicately, eaten with steaming jasmine rice. 3. Used as frying and cooking medium. Complex use. Come to gourmetindia where we have intensive discussions of Rarhi cookery, if interested. What are you cooking, if I may ask? With your London exposure, probably something with East Bengal antecedents? gautam
  14. Is this turkey dish a specialty of this town or has it become popular all over Taiwan? It would be very interesting to learn more about how/where this topping came to be. Any thoughts, Utenya? Have you seen it in other places too? In the India of my youth many many decades ago, turkeys of the dark-feathered wilder types were raised in small flocks by certain groups and brought to market for Christmas, but without exception sold to people cooking them in Western styles. Whether they were deemed too expensive or scary-looking to be incorporated into native cookery I cannot say, but they never were, unlike equally vulturine guinea fowl which did get adapted to Indian styles of cooking. So the ready adoption in Taiwan of the turkey is an admirable leap over cultural barriers. I don't know if Korea or Japan have managed it yet? gautam
  15. C, Lamb parts that are gelatinous and have some fat. You need to appreciate the taste of lamb fat, collagen, connective tissue and meat on the bone. Just transfer the Chinese appreciation for pork cuts to lamb and it will seem intuitive! Front and hind shanks of NZ & Australian lamb, breast that is not excessively fatty, lamb shoulder, forequarter, neck, ribs, tongue.
  16. Shalmanese, Here are my completely ignorant, emphasize both, 2 cents: you can experiment with little drips and see? 1. Thai tamarind [not Indian!] either block or jarred, extracted in warm water, and added to your dressing: this would be the least complex. 2. Thai tamarind extracted in water, fairly thin, heated gently with GOOD quality Gula Java [ a rarity] or B, C grade maple syrup + fish sauce for a balanced flavor. This is your general pad thai sauce, and also use it to supplement your salad dressing in tiny amounts to see if it takes away that 1-dimensional flavor. 3. When using fresh limes, use your thumbs and make sure you are squeezing the rind also and getting the rind oils into the bowl. Keep laving your palms with the extracted juiceand squeezing the lime halves inside out, taking care not to make them bitter. You take the lime, room temperature, roll it gently, and slice off 2 arcs/chords cutting down from the north pole to south pole, to the right & left of the stem scar. You are left with 2 round discs cupped by rind and one circled by rind. The cupped discs you squeeze well with thumb nd finger extracting juice & oil. The middle you squeeze with hand, extracting juice. Having the full flavor of the lime rind [bearss or Persian lime] adds a very refreshing dimension. Then you add a subtle tamarind, molasses/gula [for which maple sugar is a very good substitute, i you can afford it!] fish sauce previously cooked together gently, finely sliced sweet red onion etc. A very understated, few mint leaves chopped, maybe, because our mint & spearmint have different flavor value than Thai mints, and also vary with the seasons & provenance. Same issue with our cilantro. Such is life. 4. Try substituting fresh pineapple juice in various proportions to see what that does. Or even grapefruit.
  17. You should also post this in the China Cooking & Baking forum where I am sure you will find people with a lot of experience about street food in Taiwan. Cheers.
  18. Here in the USA, Taylor sells a thermocouple probe thermometer where one end can remain in the meat while a thin wire connects it to a meter sitting outside the oven where you can read off the real time temperature changes The Peltier thermocouple ensemble is electronically adjusted, to correct for the oven temperatures. This is a small, light device that should ve available in Japan, failing which, an expatriate friend might be glad to ferry over to you. They are found off the shelf in supermarkets these days. You might stick this in, rub the skin with some butter and/or lemon juice [creates a deep golden color later, season if you wish, and cook without covering as you did, for 20 minutes, at least. Then, the probe will tell you as you near 135F in the thigh, that you start you final browing, or even earlier. You may consider removing the bird earlier than a reading of 165F, provided you have started the browning earlier and have gotten a nice, reasonably crisp skin, because you may wish to let the roast rest under a tent for 20 minutes more in a warm kitchen and watch the probe climb to 160F, while you make gravy with the drippings Instead of plain or Wondra flour to produce laden roux, substitute pat of the flour with high quality Gingersnap cookies. S start with flour in the turky fat, but in very low proportion; flour can happily swim around in fat and cook well. Toward whatever degree you want to take the flour to, crumble in gingersps to restore proportionality and cook slightly longer to add a tiniest touch of caramelization, not even barely perceptible. Add boiling, PLAIN chicken broth to create thick bae, then the roasted base, which should be of a thinnish brothy consistency. Last add the deglazed fond, because you want to preserve the fresh roasted flavors. You can deglaze with a tiny bit of brandy+ water or just plain water. Add chopped roasted giblets, neck meat, that you had thrown in right at the bottom with an onion quartered, 2 cloves garlic with the turkey, . One way to assure crispness is: 1. Near the neck, there will be a large pocket of skin. Either stuff it with dressing or put an onion or something to make it rounded and exposed to the convection oven. The fat will melt, and it will become golden toothsome morsel, instead of a pale, rubbery horror. 2. Before you stuff and tie. sew off this pouch, you may wish to take a littlle extra trouble for crisp skin and juicy breast: in the abdomen you will find lumps of fat. If you are extra extra perfectionist, you might choose to seek out pork caul fat from a Chinese-type butcher, wash it out in a little vinegared water, and add it to the turkey fat. If not, chop the turkey fat, alone fine, adding in some butter, and a pinch of herbs if you must. Carefully, using your fingers ONLY, loosen the skin around the "pouch" and gently insert the fat/butter lavage as far as you can, smearing it all over the breast with your fingers. This loosens the skin, and later helps to crisp it a bit faster. Wipe your hand off on the outside of the bird. Stuffing the bird may have caused your temperature problems. Consider keeping the cavity open, just a few parsley stalks, a bit of onion, S&P, maybe a quartered lemon OR a splash of vinegar. You may consider baking the stuffing beforehand in covered casseroles. Thus you can have more than 1 sort of stuffing for guests, just as moist, if you moisten with chicken broth. Indeed, you should make gravy beforehand as well from roasted pork bones, chicken bones, roasted onions & carrots. Incorporate the roux from drippings and fond deglazed into this base.
  19. v. gautam

    Fish stock

    My 2 cents, coming from Bengal, India, where we distinguish many types of extracts that include or exclude specific various parts of the fish for the particular flavors they impart to BROTH : entrails, liver. float bladders, racks. head. gill rakers, jaws as opposed to heads, heads, bloody carcass vs non-bloody, sauteed in oil vs passed through hot oil vs raw etc. Add different species of fish, age, sex and season, that same fish caught in estuary, upstream or out at sea as in the case of Tenualosa hilsa, or Lates calcarifer, the barramundi, and then you can see how things become complicated. I am not pulling your leg, I assure you. Most Indian food writers in the USA today are merely the tip of the iceberg, better publicists than experts. Who knows when the TRUE regional experts will make their appearance? Just one has shown her face here so far! You may guess we take a bit of interest in this matter!!! So, as far as my understanding goes, Sean is absolutely right in HIS sphere of expertise. BUT, if I can interpret Chappie's query sensu lato, he may be asking in the same in the same vein as Peter is replying, if he cannot create flavorful "stock-like" bases with fish heads, racks and trimmings that may be purchased from groceries. That might include brothy bases appropriate for a home cook to turn into soups, and for additions to fish dishes. My one suggestion, latent also in Sean's direction to COOK the trimmings until white, is: if you are using stronger stuff like salmon heads, even king mackerel racks, cook or fry them in a large stainless steel pan. Think chicken thighs. Even brown lightly. This step does throw off a fair amount of fishy fumes, so you need a good vent. We rub these heads with salt and good quality turmeric and/or lemon, lightly, which deodorizes, and forms a light skin on contact with oil. It really will not affect flavors when you are putting in strong aromatics later, celery, onion, carrots. Remember the word "light" as in "barely perceptible", tiny pinches: this works its own subtle magic without getting into anyone's way. Large halibut heads, as Sean says, have a good amount of fat, that make great broth but not stock. Yet, if you separate out the lower jaw, it makes a very rich fat-free delicate stock by itself. We distinguish such a stock from one made solely out of the rack, or the rack + lower jaw or the rack - the outer ""rays". The most delicate flesh is available from just a couple of bones along the lower jaw. The most delicate stock is the liquid from between the vertebrae after the lightest of poaching. As you may appreciate, it is quite an expensive affair to put these two together!! As there is almost no fat other than that secondarily derived from the spinal chord, the clarity and delicacy of such a preparation demands the greatest attention and skill from the cook.
  20. v. gautam

    Popcorn at home

    The pattern or relative thickness of the outer skin/pericarp with respect to the inner mass of starch/ "ëndosperm" has a genetic component that gives 2 types of popcorns, termed "butterfly" and "mushroom" for the shapes they assume after popping. The former are more tender for eating with melted butter, in the living room situation. The latter hold up to the stirring and other manipulations necessary in the big kettles for candy corn in fairs, i.e. they are tougher. So try to shop for butterfly genotypes for a superlative gustatory experience. I have no idea how these are sold commercially, as in what supermarket brands are butterflies or if they may be mailordered.
  21. Does Mumbai's vada paav count? This is mashed potato spiced in exciting ways, made into balls that are diiped in chickpea flour batter and deep fried. Then one fritter is gently smashed between a paav, and enrobed with chutney(s) of choice +/- green chiles. Pao looks lie hamburger bun but predates the British, to the Portuguese who had occupied the town named after its regnant deity, Mumba Devi, much as Los Angeles is, Mumbai. They built the Bom Jesus church. Catherine of Aragon married a Charles or someone tweedy, and brought the town with her as her dowry. It slowly morphed into Bombay, the harbor with the Bom Jesus Church, not necessarily to the joy and delight of the native population. A touch of the Inquisition etc. had preceded all this. Read Sanjay Subrahmanyam: The Portuguese In Asia. All of the above is a context to the remark often heard today in quarters international and domestic, mocking the "change" of Bombay to Mumbai. It is inconvenient they say, it does not trip merrily off the tongue. Goodness gracious! Pav or pao has a very specific texture and staling quality: it does not keep at all and owes its unique profile to old Iberian breadmaking methods, which would make an interesting research topic. Just like the fact that Srinagar in Kashmir has some of the finest bagel-like breads in the universe. So something so emblematic of East European Jews turns up there deeply embedded in its Muslim culture. Very interesting! Recently, McD's found itself enmeshed in labyrinthine politics and cultural gyres. It had entered in some deal with a political group to find and standardize the vada-pav, everyman/person's staff of life, for a mutual sweetheart deal, the influential poltical group to then strongarm independent street and small vendors for violating "standards"!! http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/ndtv/video...o.aspx?id=38318
  22. H-San, Re: orange-skinned kabocha, please try asking for RED KURI and see what the response is, whether the name rings a bell in your rural area or if that variety may be available for sale. Kris-san, That blue-gray skin has a leetle Australian blood in it or some Blue Hubbard, an exceptional winter squash. The flesh color also tallies. Take a look at Cucurbita pepo cv. JARRAHDALE. Anyway, they all are part of the same group. As you get to Thailand and India, you find the speckled/mottled skin, eaten skin-on when almost ripe, but not when dead ripe and the skin has hardened and flesh has turned deeper orange. Much sweeter then and used for long storage. So 2 separate uses, a less sweet, less mature form, lighter flesh color, eaten with the skin; kabocha/calabaza type. The same ripened to sweeter drier hard skiined stage, when cooked skin on or off but skin not consumed [usually]. One way to skin kabocha is to slice a half, face down into reasonably thin strips along the lines of 'longitude' with a cleaver or heavy knife. Then one may use either knife, cleaver [or peeler i you must] to slice away the skin of the crescents as they lie flat on the board, their inner side towards your left hand holding it steady, the outer curve engaged by your right hand wielding the cutting blade removing the skin in short quick angular strokes: 11.50 -12, 12-2, 2-4, 4-6, 6-7. Finish. Next. Make the crescents as thick or thin as you need. Start thin. When grated, you can make range of stir fries adother texturally interesting dishes. Add cooked whole chickpeas, adzuki beans, okara(soy), fresh tamarind extract or Laxmi bottled paste [never the brand TAMCON], dried mango powder, dried pomegranate seed as other acids. Yoghurt too. Sour buttermilk. In Indian cooking, we need raw cubes of squash, sometimes with skin, sometimes without. This kabocha is a mainstay of the cooking of Bengal. Different shapes beg different cutting techniques.
  23. v. gautam


    This might a good place to ask my question and Kerry Beal had assured me that my ignorant head would not get bitten off in the pastry forum, unlike in other forums. So ........ I learnt about El Rey in this forum some years ago, reading praise for both the Mijao 61% and Apamate 73%. Going to their site, I discovered that both of these come from a product line "all-purpose presentations flavored with natural vanilla": Carenero Superior Apamate Dark Chocolate 73.5% Gran Saman Dark Chocolate 70% Mijao Dark Chocolate 61% Bucare Dark Chocolate 58.5% Caoba Milk Chocolate 41% Apparently free (?) of vanilla the Rio Caribe line comprises: Macuro 70% Cariaco 60.5% Irapa 40.5% A. The El Rey Company has the best prices I have found, when quantity, selection and shipping [all three] are taken into account. If I am wrong, I would be grateful for more information. D-Wholesale Carenero Superior Discos (22 lbs. of quarter-size disks of a single chocolate) Two 11 lb. boxes of a single chocolate. FREE FEDEX GROUND SHIPPING. NO MORE CHOPPIN' CHOCOLATE! E-Wholesale Rio Caribe Discos (22 lbs. of quarter-size disks of a single chocolate) Two 11 lb. boxes of a single chocolate. FREE FEDEX GROUND SHIPPING. NO MORE CHOPPIN' CHOCOLATE! Price: $170.50 B-Wholesale Mixed Blocks (22.0 lbs. of a combination of chocolates) A combination of 10 2.2 lb. blocks of chocolate. FREE FEDEX GROUNDSHIPPING . Price: $170.50 http://sales.chocolateselrey.com/-strse-Wh.../Categories.bok B. Ideally, I would have preferred a purchase of 11 lb Mijao + 11 lb Apamate discos, had they been available for the 22 lb bulk lot. That is not the case. One has to buy only a SINGLE TYPE. C. I am leaning towards MIJAO, 22 lbso discos. It is an eating chocolate as well, that can be made into Christmas presents for cookies. A bit sweet for inclusion in beverages, hot cocoa? What is the difference between this and Cariaco? Gran Saman ------------ Mariaco Mijao ----------------------Cariaco I would be most grateful for any inputs that would help me choose among these four, or Apamate/Macuro, making 6. Eating + cooking. Discos. There is the option of the 22 lb combo block, that would appear to be the ideal solution to my unnecessary dilemma, but there is a crucial problem there: sufficient quantity of any one kind. Many thanks. Gautam.
  24. Dear P, Since you would be adding more curry roux latter on [ i assume this to be your intent?] and you said S&B is your favorite, why don't you start with a lower amount, say 1.5 teaspoon, to 2 teaspoon max? 1 lb is not much, for chicken broiler carcasses, which are just 42 day old chicken after all. So do one batch as a trial run with the low quantity, and see how the finished base feels to your palate. Then you can get a handle on raising the bar up or down. Some flavor might fade with freezing, but SB is good stuff. People have different tolerances for the taste of curry powder, as you will agree!! I wonder what happens to pig ears, pig trotters, fresh hocks, neck bones, ox tail: these are prime curry material, especially if you have a slow cooker [crockpot type] or pressure cooker.Pork tongue, hearts, kidneys: i wonder where they all go in Japan? Surely something MUST be a bargain somewhere in expensive Japan? Wealthy or "smart" people are not eating such things; so who is? Pop them in when you are making your broth. I am sure a Filipina will enjoy these treasures, and they will make a super grand curry. Pressure cook them with a few onions and peppercorns first in water , because that appliance destroys spice flavors like crazy. Then saute with a little more onions, garlic if you care for it, and curry powder, adding the drained meats, fry a bit, then the broth. Fry [pan] your potatoes lightly before adding them and taste the difference THAT makes. Reserve extra base for your cutlet curry. When you are using more robust meats like heart and kidneys, including beef kidneys, all of which mellow with longer cooking in the company of other meat and bone, you might up the curry power dosage a tiny bit, but still err on the side of less rather than too much. This is merely your preliminary base, a flavored broth enriched in meaty jellies.
  25. Miz D, There is an interesting paralllel discussion going on about this very subject in the Japan forum that might intrigue you. The separation you speak about also may have something to do with the presence, sometimes, of a fried cutlet, and the issues that then rise of preserving its distinct identity and crispness (or not). Life is so complicated! Indian "curries" work on totally different principles. There, the flavors of the individual starches, say different rice preparations, or breads, are as important as the vyanjana, the supplement. The "starch" needs to be at least half if not 4/5 of the mouthful to balance the flavors, when eaten Indian style [even when you consider thin South Indian rasams, the relative masses do mean that this proportion holds true]. Many US eaters are reluctant to concede this much mouth or tummy space to what they consider "starch" as a result of which all sorts of things go out of whack, including the cooking that tries to accomodate this trait. The vyanjana or accompaniment ofthe starch thus contains two types of flavor brighteners [in addition to the dominnt notes], one to brighten its own flavor, such as a delicate souring agent, and a second (e.g. a very restrained HINT of powdered roasted cumin) as a brightener for the expected starch. Plus, and this may be common with the Japanese style of eating "curry", every mouthful is varied in intensity and flavor, by adding in side flavors like pickles chutneys, lime wedges, salads, textures like crisps, and more or less starch. So the Japanese and Indian modes of combining rice and curry seem to differ in some respects and share common points in others!
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