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Everything posted by worm@work

  1. Myself and the husband were in Vancouver this long weekend and thanks to everybody on earth recommending the same, we ended up at The Naam for dinner yday (I'm a vegetarian, so the idea of going to a veggie restaurant was mighty appealing to me). We tried the fried tofu appetizer. I tried the El Topo Dragon bowl for my main course. I didnt dare try anything more after that. Why is this restaurant so widely acclaimed? Did I just end up making the absolute worst choices from the menu or do my tastebuds just happen to disagree with EVERYONE else who had something to tell me about the place (online and magazine reviews included). The teriyaki sauce accompanying the fried tofu tasted like water. My dragon bowl which was described as fiery in the menu was blander than the stuff my mom tried getting me to eat when I was a kid. Believe me, I love vegetables and a plate of nice raw shredded beet, sprouts and carrots delights me no end but that is *not* what I expected in a fiery dragon bowl! The whole dish had no salt, had huge chunks of blanched cauliflower and broccoli along with the aforementioned shredded salad veggies. The whole dish was mighty healthy but absolutely tasteless. As a vegetarian, I believe this is no way to attract more folks to our fold. Someone, please tell me, why this place is sooo raved about.
  2. Hmm ma-inji :).. My dad says its called mango-ginger but I remember that its different from both mango and ginger!! Not sure what exactly the basic vegetable (?) is.. anyone knows? He also told me its called Mamidi Allam (again i think literal translation of mango-ginger) in telugu. I havent had this in a really really long time. -worm@work
  3. Ohhhh, gooseberry = amla. I didnt know this :). I love gooseberry pickle. FOr some reason, my friends who havent eaten these when they were kids didnt take to it much but I love them :). Are Indian gooseberries available in the US? -worm@work
  4. Mmmmm Gingerly, I wannn carrot pickle too
  5. Hmmm, I've tried making manga thokku, avakkai and manga curry at home quite successfully using the raw mangoes available at the Indian stores. Vadu manga is a tougher nut to crack since the baby mangoes are just not to be found :(. I remember when my parents would go out early in the morning to bring back the years stock of raw baby mangoes and then use up all the fershly scrubbed plastic buckets at home to keep them salted for days on end before embarking on the actual pickle making. The whole house used to smell of raw mangoes at the time .. it was wonderful! How come no one mentioned prawn balchao. We make Balchao everytime the urge to something reallllyy hot and spicy strikes us. I use about 1/2 the chillies mentioned in my mother-in-laws recipe and its still too hot for most people to bite into . I find it terribly amusing that my whole family has an almost competitive attitude when it comes to how much heat we can handle in our food The pickles I dream about are those awesome tasting chundhas and godkairis that my gujarathi godmother used to make every year. *sigh*
  6. tryska, I think you're talking about vadu manga? There are some available from Bedekar and Mother's recipe - should be available at any Indian grocery store but if you can;t find it, let me know and I can mail you some. Doesnt taste nearly as good as the ones my mom used to make at home and store for months and years in those huge 'bharanis' or pickle jars.. yumm. But they;re ok and definitely satisfy my cravings for them Also Avakkai Manga Curry (not the storable variety - only lasts about a week I think) Mahani Pickle (no idea what the basic ingredient is called in English) - if anyone knows, do let me know so I can see if I can find it someplace locally Manga Thokku - a cooked and mashed raw mango pickle Yumm, this thread is making me sooooo hungry
  7. Hi Gingerpeach, An immersion blender will work very nicely . It's just that in my experience homemade batter has a taste of its own that 'ready mixes' simply cannot achieve. Monica's links are wonderful and I used the recipe from her South Indian breads class to make appams and they were incredible. You are in good hands, so I suppose you don't really need a recipe from me . My favorite kind of idlis are the plain ones (soft and light and fluffy like clouds) and the Kancheepuram ones with curry leaves and chillies et al. PM me if I can be of any help and good luck.. - worm@work
  8. Hmm, gingerpeach.. I have sooo many favorite idli recipes. Almost all of them carry specific smells and memories attached to them First things first, do you have a mixer/grinder where you can grind fresh batter at home? - worm@work
  9. Andrew, thanks a million for the link. I think I'm going to try a couple of fillings. A ratatouille sounds like a smashing idea as does the cheese and poblano strips. Esperanza, thats a really nice and detailed recipe and I'm really excited about the whole thing now. My friends mom did make them using corn husks. However, we make some preparations steamed in banana leaf back home in India, so I'm a little more used to handling them. Not sure.. I think I'll try my hand at using the corn husks and resort to banana leaves only if I fail miserably. Will try and post pictures after the event . Thanks a million everyone, worm@work
  10. Hi Shelora, I did realise that the process is going to be time consuming and effort-heavy. So I managed to convince a couple of friends to make a Saturday afternoon get-together out of the whole thing :). However, most of us are vegetarians, so i need to find a way to do this with vegetable shortening somehow. I scouted around for some decent masa and ended up buying the Maseca Instant Corn Masa Mix for Tamales. I dont know how good this is but this seemed the best of what was available locally and on opening it, I found that its a lil different in texture than regular masa that I bought in the past to make tortillas. I hope this one will do the job reasonably well. Now one of the things I am eager to find out is what kind of stuffing I can use being a vegetarian.. also can I use a pressure cook to steam them? Tricks that will make spreading the masa and rolling it easier (if such tricks exist!) and such. Overall, I'll be happy even if they dont turn out too well.. am looking at this as a 'character building' experience overall :). Even if it takes me twenny attempts before I get this, I am positive its totally worth it! worm@work
  11. Also, some south Indian mango 'curry-type' preparations are mangai (i.e. tamizh word for mango) arachu kalakki (literally translated as mixed after grinding!). Recipe: 2 medium sized raw mangoes 1 cup fresh grated coconut 3-4 green chillies A lil bit of plain yoghurt (I add a couple of tbsp) Salt Mustard seeds Methi seeds (fenugreek) A lil bit of oil for seasoninig Peel the mangoes and cut into large pieces suitable for grinding. Grind the mango pieces, coconut and chillies. Add the yoghurt and mix well. Add salt as per taste. Heat a small qty of oil and when its hot add the mustard seeds and methi. When the mustard seeds begin to crackle, pour on top of the ground mixture and you're ready to go :). It makes a great chutney-style accompaniment to a bland dal or 'kootu'. It's tangy and a lil spicy and can be preserved in the refrigerator for a day or two. Another mango curry my mom used to make the Maanga Kootan. THis is a sweet n sour kinda curry with coconut and sour curd and jaggery. Very tasty albeit an acquired taste I think. I didnt fancy it much as a kid (the medley of flavours was too much for me to take) but my grown-up palette really likes the complexity of the dish :). -worm@work
  12. Hmm, I happen to see this ingredient in a recipe a long time ago and asked my GSB mom-in-law what seege leaves might be. She says they are the leaves of the shikakai tree.. soap pod i think it is called in english. My mom used to insist on using the pod to wash my hair when I was young despite my great desire to want to use fancy nice-smelling shampoos endorsed by the glamorous fimstars of the day :).. so the thought of putting some part of the same tree (plant?) in a curry sounded a lil weird to me :). Never managed to find the leaf in the US anyway, so the recipe was never tried :(. Hope this helps! - worm@work
  13. Hi, I am a newbie both to this board and to the world of mexican cooking. I love tamales but the place where I live distinctly lacks good mexican restaurants. The best tamales I've tasted were made by my mexican friends mom at home and served fresh and they tasted like something that'd be served only in heaven. Am dying to try making them myself but I don't have the slightest idea how to get started. Can someone give me a tried and tested recipe using ingredients that I'm likely to be able to buy in the US? I'd be really really really grateful. Oh and I'm a vegetarian although I do eat eggs from time to time. So I need a vegetarian recipe too . Really looking forward to some help!!! Thanks a million, worm@work
  14. Oh Monica, You are da best :). Both recipes sound divine. The Manchurian is definitely going to be attempted this weekend!! -worm@work
  15. MMMM Chilli Paneer . Btw, I tried making Monica's newly wed bride's pomfret curry today and despite being a vegetarian, I almost succumbed to the totally gorgeous looking dish. My hubby, the Konkani fishetarian says its award worthy . I actually found fresh kokum at a store which is what inspired me to try this one.. thanks a ton Monica!! - worm@work
  16. *Trying to ask as nicely as Rushina did* Please, please, me too... When I came to the US 3 years ago, my cooking repertoire essentially consisted of brewing tea and making omelettes for breakfast. Hysterical and frantic urges to eat avial 'like it tastes at home' and dosas 'not as crisp as restaurants and not soggy but the way mom makes em' have turned me into this person who scouts the internet lurking on food forums and dreaming of the perfect aloo gobhi :O. Personally, I think I've come a long way but the one thing I haven't even come close to is desi chinese food.. I crave for a veggie manchurian like the ones back in Bombay and have tried making em 3-4 times. I was somewhat successful making the manchurian itself but the gravy just refuses to taste like its sposed to . If anyone here has a recipe, please please share the same.. . I promise to try it out and post nice pictures if I succeed... -worm@work
  17. About that yummy sabudhana khichdi recipe, I found that it can be a trifle tricky the first time around. It turned out a lil sticky and not nice and separate as I remembered. I asked my mom and she said that the trick is in the soaking of the sabudhana. At the time of soaking, the water should exactly submerge all the grains. Not more and not less. Soaking it in too much water apparently makes it sticky. I used that guideline subsequent to that time and the khichdi always turns out just perfect!! *Sigh* I love lil details like this -worm@work
  18. I find both Mayuri and Savoy rather dull and I find that they suffer from the same problem most Indian restaurants do, namely no interest in using fresh ingredients. I've pretty much given up on eating good South Indian food in / around Seattle. However, I've been to Punjab Sweets in Kent, WA 2-3 times and have always been more than happy with the food. The food is always freshly prepared and the Makke di roti and sarson da saag smells xactly like they used to at my punjabi friends' homes. The Bhatura is amongst the best I've had in the US and the chole (made in the Punjabi/Sikh tradition where its dark rather than light like the Sindhis make em) is wonderful too. I always end up overeating leaving no room for dessert so I cant comment on the sweets. The service is nothing to write home about since its a really small place and being a family run place, orders often take time to arrive on a crowded Saturday/Sunday afternoon. Might be a good idea to call and order on your way there - I usually do that and they have hot yummy food waiting by the time I reach the restaurant. - worm@work
  19. Have you tried making Sol Kadi with it? The Konkani husband gets the same look everytime the name 'Sol Kadi' is mentioned that I get when any Palakkad food is mentioned. Basically you need to grate a coconut and grind it to a paste. Then add some water to the coconut paste and boil it on a low-medium flame for 304 minutes. Then strain and squeeze the mixture to obtain a thinnish coconut milk. Combine the kokum syrup (which ideally according to my mom-in-law should be freshly prepared with kokum peels. Strangely, she insists I store kokum in peels form and not in syrup form) and the coconut milk. Add some coarsely ground ginger, garlic, jeera (cumin) and green chillies and salt and sugar as per taste. Its consumed (I believe) both as an appetizer drink and as a kadhi to be poured over plain white rice. Dont forget a lil chopped coriander garnish. Cheers Seema
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