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Everything posted by Milagai

  1. My then 3 yo daughter in a Chinese restaurant wanted to use "chompsticks". We still call them that ...
  2. I have eaten them cut very short, and you still have to scoop and eat. The outer pod is a distinct structure and its very 'protective' of the delicate interior. It's not at all like celery where there is no exterior vs interior. If you overcook moringa to try and make the outside soft, the insides will totally disintegrate and the whole thing will be inedible.
  3. I reintroduced myself on the Moringa thread so won't repeat here. I wander through eg at lengthy intervals when life permits. It's always interesting. In the US so many vegetables seem criminally under appreciated, and in fact, criminally libeled / slandered: 1. Root vegetables other than potatoes (OK I know I am mixing up tubers and roots): beets, parsnips, turnips etc. These are superlatively excellent when roasted, I know I am preaching to the choir here. 2. Cruciferous veggies: cabbage, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and so on. One can write entire cookbooks around their deliciousness. 3. Okra, as many upthread have mentioned. Those who (in this day and age, and on this of all groups) who remain 'in the dark': find an Indian/South Asian friend who's a decent home cook, or go to a good Indian restaurant, or get a cookbook and try just about any recipe from this region for okra. The word 'slime' is unknown to these cuisines for this vegetable. Luckily, other parts of the world don't have this negative baggage about any of these veggies.....
  4. Greetings: I've been an eg member for some years, but post very very rarely: life gets in the way But from time to time I wander in. In real life I wander among the US, India, East Africa, and wherever else life floats my balloon. Moringa in India: a very common vegetable in Southern India, almost unknown in the North. The pods and leaves are used. It's very very tasty and very nutritious. It's promoted by nutrition activists, especially for pregnant women at risk of anemia. They try to grow the tree more widely, also in East Africa. Moringa in the US: you can get the pods fresh or frozen (former is less common). The frozen ones are not bad at all. Recall that these vegetables are cooked, they're not really edible raw. I've not seen the leaves available in groceries in my area of the US; maybe in bigger cities? The leaves are not bitter (bitter ones are neem / agathi) but very neutral tasting. To cook: pods and leaves most common in typical Southern home cooking like in sambar, godju, moar-kozhambu, etc. (These are Tamil names, other regional languages have other names for comparable dishes). You cut the pod into one inch long (approx) pieces and cook till done. To eat: while eating, you scrape out the inside and discard the stringy and tough outer coating (the comparison to artichokes is very apt). This vegetable shows you why you eat Indian food with your fingers - no eating tool invented could handle this item Milagai
  5. That was funny! My family is another that likes roasted veggies. No matter how big a pan I fill with any or all of: beetroots, brussels sprouts, onions, potatoes, cauliflower (olive oil, salt, red pepper, sprinkle of lemon juice when done), it gets wiped clean, kids and adults trying to get the last few bits. This is easy. The other thing that gets unanimous positive votes is poori aloo for brunch. It's rather labour intensive, so I don't make it very often. The kids are still young and skinny enough to hoover up as many as I can turn out and carry on, but we adults have to watch it. Even if I improve the nutrition profile by adding mashed dal to the poori dough and adding other veggies to the aloo (potato), it's still deep fried.
  6. Not sure why I feel compelled to defend the honour of coconuts, but here goes. 1. Why throw out coconuts after the kids eat three pieces? Freeze the rest until your next recipe. 2. As you say, the pre-shredded sweetened kind in 'regular' supermarkets has way too much sugar etc. So thaw out your frozen coconut, dry it gently in the oven (makes hacking out pieces much easier) then grate the pieces (in food processor) and there you go. 3. Re your crack about tender coconuts vs imaginary slugs: have you eaten snails or oysters? People seem willing to pay lots of money to eat snails and oysters, so why take issue with tender coconuts, which seemingly have similar texture / appearance? 5. Related question: why do people not eat slugs? How are they (culinarily) different from snails?
  7. Young coconuts and mature coconuts are kinda like different animals. In Thailand we drank the juice from young coconuts, but pretty much ignored the soft, bland, gelatinous flesh. Street vendors punch a hole in the young coconut, stuff in a straw, and one sips the liquid for a snack. Another EGulleter started this thread about young coconuts, and got some ideas about what to cook with them. I suggested adding the young coconut flesh to a coconut sorbet, something I've tried and liked. Rhonda: your coconut looks lovely. What was wrong with it? Was it spoiled or was it merely not what you are familiar with? Your picture of what you were expecting was a more mature coconut. What you got was a young coconut. Depending on how young the coconut is, the 'jelly' is more or less watery; more or less firm. The mature coconut has hard and firm 'meat'. The taste and treatment of both are different. The tender coconut jelly is always delicious, mild, sweetish. Eaten plain usually. Expect the texture of 'jello' or oysters. Mature coconut: well, you know. Too many uses to list. Djyee: in tender-coconut-selling/eating cultures, street vendors will hack open the coconut after you have drunk the coconut water and you scrape out the 'jelly' from the inside and eat it. Do they not do this in Thailand: do you mean the tender insides are just thrown away?
  8. Milagai

    Most Underrated Food

    I make pancakes with it, steamed snacks, fried snacks, noodles, soups and stews (it's traditionally used to stablise yoghurt in the Indian dish karhi which is a hot yoghurt "soup") and much more. I find that is makes a good "non-omelette" for those of us who don't eat eggs, and since it is high in protein I think this is a pretty good use for it. The Burmese cook it into a thick paste and allow it to set, and then cut it into cubes to make Burmese tofu. Now, I assumed we were talking about ingredients, but if we're talking about foods...well, I would agree with idlis! Jenni: Combine the two (ingredient and dish: i.e. besan and idli-like dish) and you have: dhoklas! Do you really think besan and idlis are underrated? By whom? They seem very widely appreciated by > 1 b people My suggestion of a very underrated ingredient: the 'humble' cabbage. It should be a star! It's extremely cheap, super-nutritious, and so tasty and versatile. Every culture has several cabbage recipes; treatments ranging from shredded and raw, to cooked for hours. All good. Cabbage-based koftas unite cabbage with besan!
  9. I grew up on spicy food, but this happens to me: if I suddenly and unexpectedly bite into something very spicy (not just average spicy): then violent, LOUD, and very painful hiccups. A sure cure for me: a pinch of sugar way in the back of my tongue, as near to the uvula as I can get, or a spoonful of ice cream trickling down the back of my throat. Water doesn't cure me.
  10. Hi Jenni: I've had to make egg-less cakes for my child's birthday party (one of the guests was egg-allergic) and I had good success using bananas: to sub for each egg, use 1 small banana (or 2/3 large one) mashed with 1 tbsp oil (any neutral flavored one). And I used 1/4 tsp more baking soda or baking powder that the recipe called for overall. Maybe this substitute would work for brownies too?
  11. Greetings: I've been a member of eg for a while, and went off for a loooong time, traveling. Back now, and thought I would drop by and see how this site is doing. Saw this thread and had to smile. Neither of *my* grandmothers wouldn't have had any such thing as the OP mentioned in her kitchen. They all drank their South Indian Filter Coffee from tumbler-dabara, like so: http://blogpourri.blogspot.com/2007/02/magic-of-dabara-coffee.html. You never touched the tumbler or dabara to your lips, drank "from up", pouring the coffee into a stream straight down your gullet, from about 3 inches above your mouth, glug, glug glug goes your throat. Still common up to my parents' generation, but a lost art in my Fourbucks swilling, early-morning hurrying, generation.
  12. Well, it is surprising to see a group such as this endorse this array of nothing-but-flat-out junk as comfort food, special treat, etc. There are plenty of better (in taste and health and ease) options that could have been equally comforting, easy, "treat", and tasty, and at least one such should have been included. How hard would it have been to have included a fresh fruit platter? Most children (assuming no safety issues with under-threes, who would not have been alone here anyway) love grapes, strawberries, similar fruit that's easy to pick up and eat with fingers and make almost no mess. The caterers must have been paid large sums of money for the privilege of serving this event. They must have known their menus would be looked at by lots of people. What they served up to these children did them absolutely no credit.
  13. Here is an account of the inauguration menu. What the children (Obama children and Biden grandchildren) got is described: http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/01...in-the-capitol/ "Taking into account Mr. Obama’s young children, Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, and the many Biden grandchildren who were in attendance, there was a children’s menu, served in the nearby Rayburn Room. Hot dogs Cheeseburgers Macaroni and cheese French fries Grilled cheese sandwiches Cheese pizza Chocolate chip cookies Apple and orange juices and soft drinks" Can you imagine anything more generic or dreadful (in terms of taste and health)? Not one single fruit or vegetable in there. In this day and age? With this crowd? The catering company is called "Design Cuisine". They seem to have taken all the trouble with the adults' menu, and ignored the kids (and insulted their tastebuds).
  14. Hi: a quick answer, though not from Australia. There have been small Chinese communities in many parts of India for several generations, who have developed a unique fusion: Indian-Chinese. It is Chinese food adapted to local tastes and using local ingredients, and served through Chinese restaurants (I don't know what the Chinese in India eat at home and would love to see an article or cookbook about that). Many Chinese restaurants in East Africa are run by Asians (of Indian origin) and serve Indian-Chinese food (Okra Manchurian!!) It's too large a topic to cover fully here plus I don't have that much knowledge of details. The food is much beloved in India, and includes things like Gobhi Manchurian (cauliflower made into balls with a red sauce, pun on Gobi desert), and too many others to list. The menus cater to vegetarians much more than in China or elsewhere, and include ingredients like paneer (though recently this is changing over to tofu). I don't know what any Chinese person from China or elsewhere would say about this style. ETA: Google has tons of hits on Indian Chinese food, and Wikipedia has a link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_Chinese_cuisine
  15. I don't know if you are reading the other thread on 'one ingredient, two dollars ...' but I just posted there on cabbage. It's a miracle ingredient for being very cheap, tasty, nutritious, and versatile. I won't repeat myself here but I just posted some suggestions there on cabbage dishes, and would love to hear more from others.
  16. Has no-one mentioned cabbage? Very very cheap, very very tasty, very very nutritious, very very versatile. (You can see I am a fan). Cabbage is so cheap where I live, it's almost free. Almost every culture has a great cabbage recipe, here are some just off the top of my header which use cabbage as a main ingredient: 1. Finely shred and make cabbage poriyal. 2. Chop small and make cabbage sabzi with potatoes (i.e. aloo gobhi with bandha-gobhi = cabbage instead of phool-gobhi = cauliflower). 2. Chop large and make kimchi 3. Chop smaller, and make a yummy stew with chick peas, tomatoes, other veggies. 4. Finely shred and make coleslaw or salad 5. Finely shred and stir fry or saute with star anise, Szechuan peppercorn and a few other spices (my Chinese college mate used to make this, I don't know the name or region of the dish).
  17. Again I'll point out, these menus are designed more for parent satisfaction than they are for the kids. Your palette doesn't begin to mature until you're in your 20s, and most kids and teens like the same kind of food regardless of their economic background. EHS always has white tablecloths -- which creates quite a contrast with all the laptops and bookbags tossed lazily on the floor -- and a healthy, anti-obesity oriented menu. I don't know how they handle admissions, but there really isn't a chubby kid in the whole school. ← Well, since the parents are paying, the menu should reflect their preferences And it's a good thing if parents and schools are shaping kids' palates with good food, so that fewer kids end up as adults with the food tastes of picky toddlers. Do you have any feedback on whether the kids like these lunches? Anyway, that Sidwell lunch as reported seems very plain and simple and child friendly (not a bad thing; I am just pointing out that it's hardly exotic and sophisticated). Basically pasta, marinara sauce, green beans, salad, fruit, that kind of thing. Just one step removed from pizza, it seems. What I would like to know is the quality of these Sidwell school lunches. Hot or stale? Fresh-made or processed/canned? Well-made or blah? Good quality ingredients or cheap and nasty? Chemprof mentioned that their FSP Merriwether Godsey was very good, so I would hope that the Sidwell lunch reflects that. Otherwise it seems that even people who pay $ 30 K tuition can get ripped off on school lunches. My kids currently attend a school (not in N America) that has a very expensive hot lunch program you can buy. It looks absolutely beautiful on paper (e.g.: Tuesday: Chicken Satay or Vegetable Ravioli; Pommes de terre; Garden Salad; Tangerine Wedges.) But the actual quality when delivered was abysmal and we opted out after one semester. And here, everything is fresh, very little is an industrial product and labor is very cheap, so there's no excuse.
  18. Try Kerala. Rice is the stape through out peninsular (Southern) India, but most other states (other than Kerala) shifted to white (polished rice). I believe (though am not sure) that Ayurveda recommends white rice as being easier to digest. Kerala however clings to red rice (partially husked) and rose rice (husked a little more than red). Local varieties (e.g. matta) that are fat grained are preferred, as they lend themselves better to this partial husking. The default option in restaurants and homes is red rice, even at celebrations. You have to ask for white rice specially if you want it, but why bother? Like dougal mentioned re wheat flour and bread, brown/red rice was initially seen as declasse peasant food, and everyone aspired to white rice. But now due to health concerns and growing realization that local varieties are being edged out by all-India hybrids, many people are turning back to brown rice and red rice. You can use red rice for almost all Southern Indian rice dishes (other than pulao and biryani which are Northern imports anyway): e.g. make it plain to eat with sambar, rasam, koottu, and meat, seafood, chicken etc dishes; make idli, dosai, adai, aapam etc batter; make puliyogarai, bisi bele, and similar rice dishes; make pradhaman/payasam, etc. Cooking times and water amounts are adjusted, of course, compared to white rice.
  19. Thanks! very interesting, yes, the Indian migrant stream would have been the obvious origin; it's great that it seems to have gained such a wide acceptance, not just among the said immigrants. Any other dishes from this group that are widely popular? IMHO felafel (combined in the way you describe) is one of the foods of the gods.... Re drip: there's the straddle-legged approach, lean forward at the waist, mouth wide open with the plate underneath chin ... There should be an icon for that... thanks again. - M
  20. What an interesting food item! I've never heard of this item, though to my eyes it looks exactly like some kind of mango pickle or mango chutney, and the word "amba" means mango anyway in many Indian languages. Could you tell me how it found its way to this area of the world (via WW II Indian troops like kushari reportedly did; trade links with Indian origin communities)? Has it been around for decades or is it a recent innovation? How is it used? On felafel? The combination sounds absolutely divine, and I am so intrigued to see that it replicates some guilty home pleasures (adding spicy chutneys or achaars to felafel sandwiches). Who makes it? Is it locally made or imported? Just a guess: maybe the powder is for the spice base, and you have to cut up or grate and add mangoes (do you use ripe/sweet or raw/sour mangoes?) to it somehow (saute? marinade?) to end up with the final product. Thanks in advance M
  21. You don't have to achieve certainty on the issue of whether crustaceans or molluscs have consciousness / feel pain, and don't have to get deep into philosophy or neuroscience to answer the question. As long as there is doubt and a possibility that the creature can feel pain, then act as if it can, and minimize cruelty. Why is there any reluctance about such practice?
  22. Depends on what's in your supermarket. And what's already in your pantry. My first thought was tacos or quesadillas, with a choice of various fillings so each person can customize their own; with appropriate drinks, sides, dessert, etc. Storebought shells or tortillas will definitely work in a pinch, so you can focus on great fillings, salsa (do you already have some in the fridge?), etc. Guests can get involved, if they like, with chopping etc. The Mexican thread a little way down is great, if these ingredients are easily available in the NL. Or do you have a crockpot you can start up in the morning and come home to something hot and bubbling? Or, depending on the weather, a variation on the great salad + bread and cheese theme? What do *you* usually make, Chufi?
  23. Congratulations on all the milestones (kitchens, birthdays, puppies etc.). Looking forward to reading about you this week. Request: you have many animals? Do you buy pet food for all of them, or do you make any? If you make pet food, could that find space in yr blog? Thanks M
  24. It is good to see this topic being discussed on Eg. I had thought of posting that NYT article here, but am also glad that someone else has done it. It is a little surprising that these environmental implications of mass production of "cheap" meat is coming as news to many people. These facts have been around for a while, maybe it is the first time that a newspaper such as NYT is running such articles that it's coming to some people's attention? Michael Pollan in "Omnivore's Dilemma" talked about the feed conversion rate (only for feed, not for water etc.), in the industrial production of cattle. He's hardly the first person to make this point, it's been said for decades. It makes so little sense to feed 7 lbs of grain to a cow, and get less than half back as edible product.; and we haven't begun to talk about water, oil, etc. inputs. It is just not possible for large numbers of humans to eat like this every day, and yet expect to continue to survive on this single planet. Once we have torn up the entire Amazon forest to grow soybeans to feed to cattle for humans to eat, then what? And once the oceans are emptied of tuna and all the other wonderful fish that gourmets want to eat several times a week, then what? These days are not too far in the future. When I had posted the NYT article on eg about tuna overfishing, a reader replied that their reaction to such information would be to eat as much tuna as possible while it was still around. (The thread is still somewhere and can be found). This shocked me into silence, though I am all for people eating whatever they want. People have spoken of the entrenched US culture of meat-eating, and of Japan's culture of whaling and tuna, etc. While this may be true, 1) cultures change (e.g. modern yuppie food preferences seem so different from earlier patterns); 2) eating WAY LESS meat is not the same as eating NO meat. I've never seen a serious discussion on eg of cutting down meat consumption to maybe once or twice a week. What would that look like from a "Western" dietary perspective? OTOH I've seen lots of eg posts that imply being vegetarian is an inferior way of eating, living, nourishing, and being (clearly reflecting entrenched attitudes rather than facts). But to repeat, eating WAY LESS meat is not the same as eating NO meat. And industrial meat producers could be assisted to find other livelihoods (like tobacco farmers, steel workers, etc. have had to diversify). Farm subsidies are hardly a sustainable way to run the farm economy anyway.....
  25. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/14/world/af...?pagewanted=all The title says "Europe takes Africa's fish and boatloads of migrants follow" (that is, the African oceans are emptied, and people who have lost their livelihood move to Europe seeking work). The second article in the series: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/15/world/eu...&pagewanted=all excerpt: "Fish is now the most traded animal commodity on the planet, with about 100 million tons of wild and farmed fish sold each year. Europe has suddenly become the world’s largest market for fish, worth more than 14 billion euros, or about $22 billion a year. Europe’s appetite has grown as its native fish stocks have shrunk so that Europe now needs to import 60 percent of fish sold in the region, according to the European Union. In Europe, the imbalance between supply and demand has led to a thriving illegal trade. Some 50 percent of the fish sold in the European Union originates in developing nations, and much of it is laundered like contraband, caught and shipped illegally beyond the limits of government quotas or treaties. The smuggling operation is well financed and sophisticated, carried out by large-scale mechanized fishing fleets able to sweep up more fish than ever, chasing threatened stocks from ocean to ocean. .... While small local fishermen in West Africa tend to fish sustainably, large seagoing boats use practices that are dangerous to the environment, particularly the use of vast nets to trawl the sea bed. The nets destroy coral, and unsettle eggs and fish breeding grounds. They gulp up fish that cannot be sold because they are too small. Their competition decimates local fishing industries. By the time huge mechanized vessels have thrown the unsalable juveniles back into the sea, they are often dead, bringing stocks another step closer to extinction. Of the estimated 90 million tons of fish caught worldwide each year, about 30 million tons are discarded, Ms. Vesper of the World Wide Fund for Nature said. ... In the short term, prices will be higher. Procuring genuinely sustainable fish means buying more expensive fish, or not eating fish at all. “We’ve acted as if the supply of fish was limitless and it’s not,” said Steve Trent, executive director of the Environmental Justice Foundation." What do people feel motivated to do? Eat less fish, or eat as much as they can while supplies last? Or is your local fish economic and ecologic system outside this nexus?
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