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Everything posted by worm@work

  1. Thanks a ton all of you :). My Fuchsia Dunlop book is on its way :). Really appreciate your help and hopefully one of these days, I'll have Schezuan delights to post in the "Dinner!" thread!! Also found the Robert Delfs book at the library... -w@w *dreaming of ma po doufu*
  2. Hi , I'm always somewhat hesitant to prepare schezuan dishes since the recipes I seem to find rarely lead me to results that replicate what I get at a good restaurant. However, both me and my husband are very fond of schezuan cooking and would love to prepare our favorite food at home. Does anyone know of a good book that might be able to help me get started? thanks in advance, w@w
  3. Can you tell more about this? You take it dried directly from the packet and simply deep fry it without reconstituting it with water or anything first? Do you spice it afterwards, or just add salt? Well, I dont season it afterwards. However, I think that the dried ones I am talking about are already seasoned prior to drying them... they are spicy so probably seasoned with more than just salt. I just take them right out of the packet and fry them up :). I could mail you some if you'd like to try them... I dont have a whole lot left (after posting this yday, I had to go and snack on a *ahem* rather big set!) but would be happy to share the experience with you. PM me if you wanna take me up on the offer. -w@w
  4. Sure, am going through a few (including the Bayless one). Will pick one and post pictures if they turn out ok :). -w@w
  5. Not I, I'm afraid. There are some good Indian lotus root dishes, though (I forget from what region). Have you made anything with lotus root? ← Ooooooohhh, I love lotus root. The only Indian lotus root dish I've tasted was at a Kashmiri friends place. His mom would use it in a curry and also made some sort of pan-roasted pakora-style things with it. I rarely end up using it in my cooking since my husband is shy when it comes to unfamiliar vegetarian stuff :). I have a huge packet of sliced and dried lotus root that I deep fry... makes for an amazing snack!! milagai, you're probably familiar with this (tamara kazhangu) ? -w@w
  6. Yep, I did try google and thats why I ended up here :). Too many recipes to sift through and was hoping someone here would be able to give me a "tried and tested" authentic one, thats all ;). I think I found one I like.. and Shelora, am also planning on tamales one on Sunday. Feel free to invite yourself although I suspect you'd be better off on a day I'm cooking Indian food :). -w@w
  7. Hi, Am inviting folks over for a Mexican dinner and am craving some chile relleno. Does anyone have a recipe they wouldn't mind sharing? Thanks in advance, Seema
  8. Thanks for all the great advice. I definitely want to "learn" at this juncture and am convinced from reading all these posts that the thing to do is to start with some recipes and start baking using em good old two hands and an oven as opposed to using a machine. I really like good bread and rarely manage to find bread at the grocery that pleases me. I like my crust to be well, crusty and the inside to be soft and yet not moist and invariably I find that the bread I buy fails me on at least one of these attributes. I will try and post my experiences with bread-making as I intend to get started very soon :). Thanks, worm@work
  9. Hi, I'm a newbie to the world of baking .. being prone to "improvising" when it comes to the kitchen, I always thought of baking as too precise an art for me to be able to handle! However, I adore good bread and am always very envious when I go to peoples houses and see them serving bread they made in their own kitchen. I would really like to learn to make my own bread. I am planning to get one of the books on making bread for the home baker (I saw some really nce threads about this elsewhere on egullet). However, I have sme other questions I would like answered. Apologize if any of them are too silly but I really truly hve never ventured in this direction and practically know nothing about making bread. 1. Do I need a bread machine to be able to make my own bread ? If yes, can I get some recommendations on brand and make. I am really looking for something affordable and yet decent. 2. Any other tips on what kind of bread to start with? thanks a bunch in advance, worm@work
  10. Hi Monica, I just got back from India last night and these pics are making me cry like a baby thinking of all the stuff I've left behind :((. The pics are lovely and so are your descriptions :). I managed to check out most of the places u mention in Bombay but this was my first visit to Bangalore and I didnt end up at the best food places .. will pester you for recommendations next time around. Am already starting to save for my trip again next year :). -w@w
  11. Hi Geetha, thanks for the recipe for the koorai. I plan to make it over the weekend since it sounds wonderful :)). However, I don';t have any thalippu vadagam with me but will look for it in the Indian stores!! Wish me luck :p. -w@w
  12. Hi Pum'kin Lover :). Yep, Yay us university students who are forced to be creative in our cooking since we are so constrained on both our time and our wallets :p. Am posting recipes but mind you, these are my quickie recipes that I use for day-to-day cooking. I might tweak these if I'm cooking for guests or some such. Khichdi: 1 cup rice 1 cup yellow moong dal Salt Haldi Green Chillies (optional!) Ghee Some Jeera I soak the rice and moong dal for a few minutes. I heat up some ghee in the pressure cooker itself and then add some jeera and the green chillies. I then add the rice and moong dal with adequate amount of water , salt and haldi (I add a little more water for my khichdi than I would for just plain rice) and pressure cook the whole thing after giving it all one stir. Thats it... quickie khichdi done :). Filling, tasty when piping hot and smells divine when its cooked :). I think some people add vegetables to their khichdi but somehow I dont like veggies in mine and so I tend to avoid. I eat this with papad and pickle or if I have enough sour curd / buttermilk lying around then I'll make myself some kadhi and achieve comfort food heaven :p. Coriander Chutney This one's even simpler :). Just get a couple of bunches of corander leaves. Cut the stalk off. Put the leaves in the mixer with some salt, some water and some chopped green chillies. Give it a spin in the mixer and voila, homemade green chuntey is ready :). Sometimes I add some mint leaves at the time of grinding because I love the hint of mint in my chutney. Choley I tend to use fresh chick peas as far as possible (for some reason, I dislike canned chickpeas!!). I soak the chickpeas overnight and then pressure cook the same in the morning (I add a small cotton cloth filled with tea leaves to the chole while cooking coz my mom asked me to do so :p. Till date I haven;t bothered to find out why!). I grind 1 big tomato, 1 huge onion, some cloves, a very small piece of cinamon, some ginger and garlic and a couple of green chilles to a paste. I then heat a small amt of ghee and fry some tej patta (bay leaves) and some more chopped onion in the ghee. Once this is done, I add some more chopped tomato (depending on whether I want the chole to be wet or dry, I alternate between chopped and pureed tomatoes). Once the tomato is cooked, I add the ground masala and let that cook for a few minutes as well. I then add some salt, a pinch of sugar and some red chilli powder followed by the cooed chole. I add water depending on the consistency I desire. Lastly, I add some store-bought chole masala. Finally I garnish the chole with some chopped coriander and freshly chopped onion. FInito :). Hope this is helpful :)) -w@w
  13. Hi Delhigirl, Am a tiny bit surprised because am a university student myself here in the US and find that veggie Indian food is probably amongst the cheapest things to live on. I basically spend a large part of my Sunday cooking for the remaining part of the week. I think Milagai has given u tons of good advice :). I buy cans of black eyed peas & garbanzo and make a variety of preparations with both.. besides the traditional chole and gujarathi style black eyed peas, I tend to innovate and make for instance, a south indian version of the chole ( a la sundal) and some dal type preparations with the bep. I also make tons of dal of a couple of varieties and eat them through the week. i find that heating the dal on the gas itself rather than in the microwave andf then adding the tadka just before I eat the same makes it feel a whole lot fresher somehow :)... I tend to chop beans, cabbage and okra and keep them in the fridge on sundays and then I make a quick sabzi with one of these during the week. I only do this instead of making the sabzi completely and freezing it because I'm this pigheaded girl from this stupid south indian family where everyone believes that the food one is eating must be prepared the very same day :D, so u dont need to do that. If I'm in a terrible hurry, I just put some khichdi to cook in the pressure cooker (moong dal = oh so healthy and khichdi = hot and tasty home cooked meal!!!). I then eat the khichdi with microwaved papads (takes half a minute to make 3 papads :) ) and some pickle. I make coriander chutney once a week and carry chutney sandwiches with tomatoes and cucumbers to school every other day. Saves me money and beats the food in the cafetaria anyway. I also make grilled hummus sandwiches with cucumber slices or some such. I dont have the patience to make rotis everyday.. i rely on the whole wheat tortillas or frozen pillsbury rotis and amazingly, am quite used to them now and would rather do that than eat something unhealthy outside. I also make a lot of mushroom mattar and other mushroom based sabzis coz mushroom takes very little time to cook and tastes rather good no matter what one tries to do with it. I make a ton of spinach in n different ways and eat them with rice or rotis depending on what I have on hand. Overall, I find that there are some vegetables that are much more amenable to quick-fix, no frills cooking and stick to those during school time. When I have a day off or time to cook more elaborately, then I indulge myself with some fancier dishes :). Hope at least some of this was useful. I find that the Shan Sindhi biryani masala makes a mean (and yet quick) veggie biryani if u add enough vegetables of different types. I even add small blocks of paneer to the same and it works well for me. School life is so much fun here in the US (in my opinion at least) and I think the food void can be filled to a reasonable extent quite easily :). -w@w
  14. Episure/Milagai, I went ahead and asked my mom as well my grandmom :) both of whom responded rather enthusiastically (I think they were squealing in delight at the thought that the child who went away all the way to the US is plannin on making enough diwali sweets to warrant diwali marindhu :P). My grandmom sent me this recipe DEEPAVALI MARUNDHU Ingredients: Pepper corns two teaspoons Jeera 2 and half teaspoons Dhania 2 and half teaspoons Omam one tablespoon (note: I dont know what this is called in hindi/english :(. Will try and find out) Kanda thippili 10 to 12 pieces. This will be black in colour Dry ginger one piece about one inch long. Cardamom Ghee one tablespoon Gur/Jaggery- same quantity as the ground paste Procedure Gently dry grind the spices like rava Soak the same in small quantity of water for slightly less than an hour. After soaking using the same water grind the spices to a paste consistency. Add more water to the consistency of sambar and keep it in gas and keep stirring till the matter thickens. To this add jaggery already dry crushed. Add ghee and cook in slow fire.Stop when it comes to lehiyam ( Chyavanaprash ) consistency. This will give you lehiyam to the size of half an Indian coconut (trust my grandmom to describe quantity of food in terms of other food *lol* ). Now, here is a version from my mom. She says this is a simpler diwali marindhu Ginger - 100gm Jaggery - 150gm Ghee - 50gm Jeera - 25gm Coriander seeds - 25gm Method: Wash, clean and peel the ginger which is fresh without fibre and cut into small pieces. Soak the coriander seeds and jeera in water for about half an hour. Grind the ginger and soaked coriander seeds to a fine paste. Now add the powdered jaggery. In a kadai, put the ground mixture and cook by mixing continuously. When the mixture becomes thicker add ghee and cook it. When the ghee starts coming out you can stop cooking. You can preserve it for one week in a dry container. Will try this out over the weekend and let you all know how this turns out :). I spose my mom's version is simpler in the sense that the ingredient list is a lot shorter and consists of stuff I already have at home :). -w@w
  15. *Sigh* Episure, it is very real back where I come from and the best part is that diwali marundhu (aka leghiyam) is just as tasty (imo) as most diwali sweets, made with ginger and jaggery and god knows what else!!! Will have to ask my grandmom for a recipe!! -w@w
  16. Hey Monica, Congratulations :). w@w
  17. *Sigh* Couldn't agree more on pressure cookers :). I have Indian friends who never use them and keep claiming that indian home cooking (dal, chawal, sabzi et al) on a daily basis takes too much time!!! -w@w
  18. I use it to make upma as well with rather good results. I do live on the west coast (shuttle between Seattle and LA). I've tried quite a few brands and somehow like the one from QFC (of all places) the best. I believe this is a local grocery store chain and this is the store label buttermilk I am talking about. I like it better for cooking purposes especially, because it doesnt come apart as easily on cooking. Some buttermilk brands tend to separate out into water and whey (?) even if heated at a low temperature (or maybe this is just my experience?). I also like the one from Wilcox farms (this is one of those non-RBST brands perhaps this one is local too). Now, for drinking purposes, i am ok with all of these and none of these at the same time :). On the one hand, being the avid buttermilk-consumer that I am, I consume what I can find. Despite my initial unhappiness, I am now reasonably ok with most of these brands. However I must admit that I have been meaning to start making buttermilk at home by getting some culture from someone else who does the same. Just havent gotten around to it yet :(. As for the curd chutney you describe Geetha, I do this too :). In fact, this was my favorite accompaniment to dosas and upma ever since I was a kid. In my house, this was quite a common accompaniment (whenever my mom felt too lazy to make coconut chutney :p) and was called "moru (buttermilk) milagai" :). I still tend to use this as my chutney when I make dosas at home causing all my friends to wonder why I would prefer something so crude over chutney and sambhar but old habits die hard, dont they? -w@w
  19. Well, I drink it plain with salt. I drink it mixed with crushed green chillies, kadi patt a (curry leaves), ginger, salt and hing. I mix it with rice and eat the combination with pickle. I use it quite a bit for cooking as well. I make avial and mor kozhambu (sort of a south indian kadhi type preparation with vegetables ?) quite often since i love the tanginess of slightly sour buttermilk in my curries. I grew up guzzling large large quantities of buttermilk from this little pot my mom kept aside especially for me! It was delightful to come home to slightly spiced and naturally cooled (via earthen pots) buttermilk on a hot summer day :). Also, I miss watching the women in my family churn buttermilk. The fesh butter would be served as an accompaniment to several things (adai, neer dosa and so on). A couple of days later, the remaining butter would be converted to ghee to be used for delightfully unhealthy purposes like the making of sweet appams :D... yummmm -w@w
  20. Hi Milagai, You recreated almost all my memories for me with this post. Every summer we;d travel from Bombay to Palghat (good ol' Jayanti Janata). Mom would pack idlis and theplas and a tiffin carrier with tamarind rice and another one with curd rice and pickle. Besides there would always be a medley of pakodam and chivda and such to keep us screaming kids happy. Endless debates between us kids on which berth we'd each get to sleep on. I used to feel a sense of adventure as I got off at some sma station where the train wasnt going to stop for long and ran back to my compartment when the siren (?) went off announcing that the train was about to depart. I do remember the transition in terms of food and tea versus coffee as we crossed over from the west to the south. My parents still insist on traveling what they call "junta" class when we travel to kerala (their argument being "we've done this all our lives, why should we change our ways now!"). So this december, I am due for another long and nostalgic train ride to palghat for the annual festival in our village temple. Now thats another food saga I will come back to relate :). *sigh* I love trains! -w@w
  21. Ouch, just realized I had made a major mistake. I didnt mean to say "leaf", I meant to say "skin". Yep, we make a dry vegetable preparation by cutting the skin of the plantain into thin strips and then further into little cubes! Sorry for the confusion Pan!! No wonder that threw you off :). Do people from any other country eat the plantain skin? -w@w
  22. Thanks a ton, Bong. Loved the pictures :) -w@w
  23. Yajna Patni, I have no idea what lochis or kochuris are but from the sound of it, they sound absolutely divine. As a vegetarian who has had absolutely no introduction to bengali vegetarian food, I exhort you to educate us further and maybe even post a couple of recipes so novices like myself get a chance to taste them as well? eagerly awaiting response, w@w
  24. Hi Monica. Once again, I can only tell you what my mom used to do for Janmashtami. She would decorate the idol with flowers and light lamps around the altar and offer the following dishes as prasad: 1. Cheedai of two varieties (salty and sweet) -- deep fried balls made with rice flour and gram and some other ingredients. 2. Murukku - south indian chakli 3. Sometimes as an extra treat she'd make thattai as well (another fried snack made with rice flour and gram which is spicier than cheedai or murukku) 4. Vela avil (sweet poha - poha cooked with jaggery and garniedhw ith fresh coconut) 5. Payasam aka kheer Maybe I should attempt to make something for Janmashtami as well :) -w@w
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