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Everything posted by loki

  1. There is hardly any good info about green papaya out there. Even a source that's usually reliable for me is contradictory - Purdue New Crop site. Most repeat that green papaya is poisonous or at least inedible raw! At first I thought that Katie was wrong and that any papaya picked green would work. That IS true with mangoes (I used to live where they grew - and maybe I should just say most mangoes). But since I am not near any papaya growing region I can't test this out. Regardless, I've never seen green-enough papayas in the regular supermarket. They are all ones that are ripe or semi-
  2. The restaurants use the pre made tea mix. They look at me like I'm from Mars when I ask about it. Again - it's probably like asking a US restaurant about ketchup or mustard - hardly anyone makes it from scratch. But the site you mentioned is actually useful. Lemongrass, hmm. Pandan - I actually think that is one of the flavors in there! It's sort of Jasmine-like with some vanilla. I am thinking black cardamom too - the Thai or Vietnamese kind.
  3. I'm really skeptical about the MSG thing too. But I have had the chinese restauran sydrome symptoms - years ago - several times after eating soups at different restaurants. Head pounding, chest tight, sort of a panic attack (maybe the panic came from the symptoms). It all subsides quickly. I think it must have been a dosage thing. I eat ramen noodles with the packet, and other foods with MSG added, with no problem. I have no reaction to naturally high amounts of glutamate. I've also eaten many soups in Asian restaurants since with no ill effects. I can't see it being a placebo effect e
  4. Oh, and as for pressure canning. Here, County Extension is all over that. They will test the canner for you. We are at elevation so it's even more important to make sure you get to the right temps. The only canners they recommend are actual canners with gauges on them - and then test them every year. Other pressure cookers are not accurate enough. I don't pressure can myself. Pretty much everything you do that way tastes horrible in my opinion (well veges that is). The exception is perhaps spinach, which is not recommended to home can at all. I pickle, dry, and freeze.
  5. You don't need a pressure canner for syrup. They are like jams. That is if they are sugar-based (any sugar, honey, malt, etc., just not artificial sweetener) You don't even need a canner at all usually (but that's my opinion, not officialdom), just hot pack it (but with syrup you do have to be a little more sanitary than with pickles and have all the jars and lids in boiling water). But you could water-bath can them.
  6. I have made Indian food since I was pretty young, but never well till I had an Indian house-mate in graduate school. We made mainly Northern Indian food - from his area of Kasmir. We did tandori chicken, potato and cauliflower, saag (with mustard greens part of it if possible - his fathers favorite), dals, etc. I slowly found out that these dishes were common in most Indian restaurants. What I came to realize later though was that most restaurants were Northern Indian - and sort of became institutionalized as the sort of Indian food in the US. But there is a whole lot more out there. Then
  7. I would not use bitter melon for this unless you like it bitter. You will not be successful trying to eat something you need to mask. Instead take supplements - or dry it, powder it and fill your own capsules. There are countless plants with similar claims. Find another that works, and that you like, and use it. Right now this is a fad. I like it like as it is, but at first was a little shocked by the taste. Now I actually have cravings for it! I am going to follow this post to see if anyone has personal recipes. Right now I don't have faves (except the bitter melon with oyster sauce
  8. Well, I did not have great success with growing these types of eggplants. This year I also cut down on what I grew so did not even try. So I don't have an update on making these. I am growing some orange eggplants - variety is called Cookstown Orange - which is a different species (not Solanum melongena, but it's questionable which species it actually is). I may try to make some version of this with these.
  9. I've made the recipes with star anise and it's just not there. I have a bag of the Thai tea mix here in front of me, and it does not smell of star anise at all - I think there might be some in there but it's really muted and a minor component. It's the same with the other suggested ingredients like cinnamon (cassia) and clove - maybe in there but not in high proportions. The aroma does suggest vanilla - but lots of non-vanilla things can smell like vanilla too. I've heard that tamarind seeds are involved, but I'm a bit skeptical of the sources of this info - as tamarind seeds are not used muc
  10. I have to chime in here. It's really easy! All the soaking, brining, etc are silly. What you have to do is get the proportion of vegetable to salt close to optimal. David Leibovitz's recipe - is a good one - but I have a slightly different slant. I have fermented cucumbers and sauerkraut since I was a kid. Kimchi, I've adapted to use similar methods - though I've known people who make kimchi and incorporate their methods too. Here's the drill. You want about 1 to 1.5 tablespoons salt (non-iodized) per quart in the final ferment. I don't use coarse salt here but if you do, use a
  11. I wanted to see if anyone has any more info about making Thai Tea or Cha Yen, not from pre-mixed and flavored tea, instant powder, or liquid. There was a start years ago http://forums.egullet.org/topic/48762-thai-iced-tea/ but it never really answered the question. None of the recipes I've found on the internet seem to capture it. The post from a person from Thailand was not helpful either, as I know that Thai Tea in a restaurant is not made from Jasmine tea in canisters. I have used this tea and it's not 'Thai Tea'. Maybe the poster did not understand the question and was thinking iced
  12. loki

    Pickles Without Vinegar

    I may be set in my ways, but I see a lot of misinformation out there about pickles. Some may be opinion, but some is just wrong. I've made fermented pickles for years now - since I was a kid, and that's a long time. I first used the old cookbooks to do this - and advice from others (my parents or grandparents were not really into fermented pickles much - making them that is). But some friends of the family were, so that helped. In the old cookbooks there is a lot of putting things in crocks, using a plate, a rag, scraping off the mold, etc. involved. It was not really that encouraging. Fer
  13. Oh - from a friend - "Put a blender of half used smoothie/frozen margarita into the freezer, then the next day put it on the blender bottom and turn it on = Need a new blender (motor burnt out)." Ove gloves are one of the best of the 'Seen on TV' items. I mostly use mine for my woodstove. For water/steam I like the ORKA silicone mitts, though they are not as comfortable as the Ove glove. And maybe this should be a never - put them in a puppies reach as she used them as dog toys. This is sort of funny because the company also makes dog toys, which are still around and healthy, while I have a
  14. Put artichoke refuse in the garbage disposal. (Artichokes have extremely strong fibers that immediately clog it). I don't have a garbage disposal now anyway. Cut hot peppers on a cutting board without eye-wear, at least when I'm doing a large amount. (three times a stray seed flew in my eye). Try to make vichyssoise in my Vita-mix, which both blends and then cooks. (It does strange things to leeks and onions - making them extremely bitter - and transforms the potatoes into a glue) It's perfectly fine to cook the leeks and potatoes first, then use the Vita-mix, and just about as easy.
  15. I've grown Calamansi and it's one of the easier citrus to grow. I think it has some hardiness and adaptability it it's genes being subjected to all the assaults of insect and tropical conditions of the Philippines. If you can keep it cool - really cool actually, in the 40's or so, in the winter, you don't need really bright light. I've put them in a west window in an unheated room. Make sure they are not waterlogged. Put them out slowly (expose them for ever longer periods of direct light) once it warms up outside. I lost mine to careless under-watering while on a trip. They are actually a b
  16. I agree with the others - Curry powder is not Indian, it's made by others to add Indian flavors. It's actually popular in many other countries besides those with British roots, so I actually wonder if it was not spread by others as well - like the French, Portuguese, etc. There are lots of recipes for Garam Masala and it's quite easy to make in a spice/coffee grinder. If you have access to bulk spices - buy whole ones, and make it yourself. If you make much Indian food the individual spices will be needed quite a bit as well. If you really want to make a curry powder, use a recipe for ga
  17. I had to chime in here. When I'm at the local supermarkets, especially at off hours without a lot of people there (Sunday mornings for instance) I see elderly people (I'm getting there myself...) scrutinizing every fruit and vegetable - to the point of ridiculousness. So I'm not sure it's gobo but a thing with getting older. One woman was there for the entire time I was shopping for everything, and still only had a few vegetables in her basket (so maybe an item ratio of 25:1 from me to her). Anyway I can't really get gobo locally, except pickled. I love it! I bought fresh and was not at
  18. Well, I've actually found a recipe of sorts for this in my copy of Thai Food by David Thompson. It was sort of hidden. It's dry chillies, fried, with shallots and garlic, and salt. The technique is easy, you gently fry and combine. I think I can recreate one of my own based on my favorite commercial one (without the shallots). I think there is some other umami item in my favorite listed in the ingredients under 'spices'. Still waiting to harvest, so I'll fill in later if I come up with a good enough recipe...
  19. Not sure about burnt milk adding 'smokiness', but maybe? I don't think Lapsang Souchong is used in Nepali chai, however some other tea dried over fire maybe, but mostly the tea used is not smoky. The restaurant, however, may use a special tea? However black cardamom, which is sometimes referred to as Nepali cardamom, is my guess as the culprit as it is quite smoky from being dried over fires. It also adds a camphor character - and would be quite noticeable. Black cardamom is not at all like the standard cardamom (green, white, or the seeds marketed as cardamom in the US) and is a complet
  20. I just added another pickle recipe: Sour Tomatillo Pickle Achar. This one is made with non-traditional ingredient - tomatilloes, but it is very similar to other sour Indian fruits and vegetables. Tomatilloes are very easy to grow and are extremely prolific for me, thus I wanted to find a way to use them. http://forums.egullet.org/topic/145508-sour-tomatillo-pickle-achar/
  21. Sour Tomatillo Achar Made this one up from a recipe for lemons. It really works for tomatilloes. A unique spice mix, and really sour for a 'different' type of pickle, or achar. It is based on a Marwari recipe - from the arid north-western part of India. Tomatilloes are not used in India (or at least not much) but are quite productive plants in my garden while lemons or other sour fruits are not possible to grow here. No vinegar or lemon juice is used, because tomatilloes are very acidic and don't need any extra. Ingredients 3 lbs tomatilloes husks removed and quartered 1/4 cup salt 1 Tbs bla
  22. I know this is a vary late reply, but I peruse these old posts sometimes so I figure it's just adding to the info.... I'm not sure what exactly is meant by "localy (sic) available mangoes" but I will assume this to mean "in the grocery store". Well, most often they are not green! They may be green on the outside, but they must be green and firm on the inside. I will make a salad with these (Thai) or a curry (South Indian), but I think a pickle may not work as they are most often in the mid-ripe stage, and are slightly sweet, and starting to soften. However, lately, I've been seeing some p
  23. I just posted a sweet eggplant brinjal pickle recipe: http://forums.egullet.org/topic/145505-indian-sweet-eggplant-brinjal-pickle/
  24. Sweet Eggplant Pickle This is an Indian pickle, some would call a chutney, that I made up from several sources and my own tastes. It is based it on my favorite sweet brinjal (eggplant here in the US) pickle available commercially. It has onion and garlic, which are often omitted in some recipes due to dietary restrictions of some religious orders. It also has dates which I added on my own based on another pickle I love. I also used olive oil as mustard oil is not available and I like it's taste in these pickles. Use other oils if you like. This has more spices than the commercial type - and I
  25. I am growing small eggplants (I'm trying several varieties that are early - even some other related species) this year and hope to make a condiment I purchase at a Vietnamese / Cambodian market nearby. I suspect these are popular all over Southeast Asia. It's pickled small whole eggplants in a sweet and sour sauce with quite a bite. They are crunchy and addictive. They make a great addition to meals, Southeast Asian or not, especially with rice. Here's a link to a site that sells them http://www.shoptheeast.com/buy-preserved-pickled/1118-roxy-trading-pickled-eggplant-with-chili-in-vinegar-1
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