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Everything posted by anzu

  1. On never seeing canned water chestnuts in China, this reminded me of something way back in 1989. Together with a bunch of other foreign students I was attending Chinese language classes in Shanghai. Every week or so the university organized outings for us in Shanghai and surrounding areas. One such outing was to the Maling canning factory, in an area outside Shanghai . They took us to the area where the water chestnuts were prepared prior to canning. It was a room full of middle-aged and elderly ladies, seated on low stools, peeling each water chestnut by hand and pushing it by hand through a metal slicer mounted over a bucket. I've since seen Maling brand canned water chestnuts in various different countries over the years, and wonder if they are still being prepared by hand...
  2. Anna N's thriftstore find: I'm fairly sure it is an Indian clay tawa. The tawa - that is, the pan one cooks Indian flatbreads on - is most commonly made of cast iron in most of India. However, over a decade back I was in Udaipur, in Rajasthan, for about a month. I cooked a lot with my neighbor, who was born locally and only cooked local dishes. When she made flatbreads from wheat flour, she cooked them on an iron tawa. However, she often used other grains for making the flatbreads, such as millet flour, and these she always cooked on a clay tawa, saying that they diffused the heat better, and that the breads would not work on an iron tawa. The one she used looked exactly like the one in the photo. In addition, my local Indian store has just recently started to stock clay tawas. Again, they look the same.
  3. On why it is forbidden to taste while one cooks. I might be wrong here, as you said that they were animist and not Hindu, but in Hinduism - especially for strict Hindus - ritually purity plays an extremely important role in food, cooking and the kitchen. And customs do get taken from one community to another. For example, in the south, strict higher caste Hindu women will bathe and put on clean clothes before beginning to cook. Some communities offer the cooked food, in a ritual manner, to their gods, before it is consumed, and the food would have lost the pure status that befits an offering to the gods if one had eaten/tasted some of it before offering. For my relatives in northern Indja, if one MUST taste the food, one takes a little on a spoon, shakes it from the spoon onto one's hand, and tastes it from there. One does not put the spoon in one's mouth, even if that spoon was not ever going to be returned to the cooking vessel.
  4. Bathua is not the same as mustard greens. Mustard greens are called sarson in Hindi and Punjabi, hence the name of the dish sarson da saag (saag -not saay - being pretty much any greens). However, bathua grows as a weed throughout northern India and is indeed sold and cooked as a vegetable. Since it is often found growing along with mustard greens, traditionally the two types of greens could often be cooked together. If you see a sarson da saag recipe calling for mustard greens and spinach, substitute bathua for the spinach.
  5. Vanilla extract is very rarely sold in Germany. People usually use vanilla sugar instead. Pretty any supermarket will have it, even the cheap places. She should be looking in the baking section, near the baking powder and such like. It's sold in small paper envelopes (as is baking powder) in packs of three or 10, and will be labelled either Vanillinzucker or Vanillazucker. Each sachet has 8 grams, and is meant to be enough to flavor 500 grams of flour.
  6. Speaking as someone who has two autoimmune diseases, who has lived in two third-world countries (India and China), and who has visited doctors and hospitals in both countries for my condition AND being married to a person from a third-world country (India) who has an autoimmune disease, and who has had to regularly visit doctors and hospitals there for his condition, then just on the base of personal experience I can assure you that your claim of there being no autoimmune disases in third world countries is nonsensical. Unless you wish to claim that all the other people seeing doctors in those countries were just pretending to be ill... Just because the person making some outlandish claim is a doctor doesn't make it true. Like people in other professions, doctors can be good or bad, ignorant or well-informed. And they can also be astoundingly ignorant even about medical matters if the issue is outside of their own area. Edited to add: On the actual topic. Yes, PLEASE wash your hands. Pretty much no-one does in Germany. Drives me nuts.
  7. How does it come about that these are known as (o-)manju in Japan, given the obvious word resemblance for shumai, gyouza (?) & others ? (o-)manju comes from the Chinese word mantou. (饅頭) In China, the meaning changed at some point so that mantou now means only unfilled steamed buns. Baozi (包子)(bao means "to fill") now refer to the filled buns. It's actually quite an interesting issue, as there are lots of related words on other languages which would seem to indicate when the food and/or the word was borrowed from China. Manti In Turkish and Mandu in Korean, for example, but words using bao or pao in Vietnam, the Philippines and Thailand.
  8. I'm an idiot - it was agathi flowers I was thinking of when I wrote about bitterness. However, the comment about the leaves being delicious was indeed referring to drumstick leaves, not agathi leaves - which don't really do much for me.
  9. It's been about 8 years since I lived in the US, and while I think I bought fresh pods while there, I may be remembering wrongly. However, a little googling brought references to people buying both fresh pods and leaves in shops catering to Indians and Filipinos in Los Angeles. Try asking in the stores - if something is imported in quite small quantities, they might bring it in just once a week, and then sell out in the first two or three days. This was definitely the case with a few of the Indian vegetables when I was living in the US. I also found references to the pods being available canned and frozen. I have never tried canned, so can give no opinion. Howefer, I have tried frozen once and was most unimpressed with the taste and quality - though I may just have been unlucky. If you can buy the leaves, do so! These are my favourite greens, and I was disconsolate when my local supply dried up for about a year here in Berlin. Cook them as soon as you can after purchase. That said, I've found they will last for about three days if well sealed in a plastic bag. However, the taste is of course better when freshest. If you find anywhere selling the flowers (they are popular with Thais, and might possibly be for sale if you have any Asian grocery aiming specifically at a Thai clientele) be aware that they are VERY bitter. I've tried various ways of preparing them, but not found any way I like, even though I'm the type who happily chows down on bitter melon.
  10. The purpose given by the people who took these photos was simply to compare the packaging with how the actual contents look. They state that they prepared the foods (when necessary) in accordance with the instructions, took a photo, then ate it. That is interesting enough in itself, but I think people here on eGullet will also be interested to see the kinds of junk food, snack food, and ready to eat meals that are available here in Germany. Link to slide show here
  11. Marlena, I believe the black noodles are made from buckwheat. I just did a little check on the internet, using "heiheluo" (black noodles) as a keyword, and this is what others claim too. This rather suggests to me that they are more probably grey in color rather than black, and that "black" is probably poetic licence. I've certainly never seen *black* buckwheat noodles. Edited to add: on the jokes about pollution: if Xi'an is as dusty or muddy (take your pick, depending on season!) as it was years ago when I visited there, then food that has taken on the color of the surroundings is more likely to be yellow, taking on the color of the "yellow earth" that the region is famed for.
  12. How good is your German? There is a cookbook in German, which came out in 2005, giving recipes for each and every dish appearing in Andrea Camilleri's books. Here's a link to the book on German Amazon Andrea Camilleris Sizilianische Küche I suppose it might get translated into English at some point, though I suspect the chances are slim - Andrea Camilleri's books are extremely popular here, so the market for people wanting a cookbook showcasing the recipes is most probably greater here than elsewhere.
  13. anzu

    Edible Perfumes

    So did you use it yet? How did it turn out? Having just got back from Finland with a bottle of spruce shoot syrup I am very much in evergreen mode at the moment. Looking at how the syrup was used in Finland, and extrapolating a fair bit, I'm thinking your pine perfume might enhance any dish containing cooked apples, or even with fish. Or, thinking of how good German ham that was smoked over pine tastes, perhaps with ham or pork as well.
  14. This is in a big rush, so *extremely* sketchy, but just to get you started (hopefully others will chime in with more details) if interested in no seafood, no coconut, food that goes with bread, try looking at recipes from anywhere in northern India. As to what to have in one meal, try as a general rule to balance things out as follows: -- two dishes: either one dal or bean dish and one vegetable dish, or two vegetables but of different textures and types. Preferably have one more dryish dish, and the other more liquidy. The idea is for some variation in texture, color, consistency, etc. -- Yogurt, whether in the form of plain yogurt, or as a raita -- bread or rice You may also want: -- some type of basic salad, e.g. diced cucumber dressed with lime juice. Doesn't need to be fancy, should simpy go well taste-wise with the other food you are serving -- some type of pickle, such as mango pickle, lime pickle or such like. If you do want to serve meat sometimes, still serve the two basic dishes, but serve one meat, one vegetable, and leave out the dal or bean dish.
  15. In Wikipedia, this is listed as having a different meaning in the two languages here, scroll down to 'transexual' in the section on vocabulary differences. Can't imagine the product would sell too well in Malaysia, though!
  16. I'm confused by the references to curry leaves here. People seem to be equating curry leaves with daun salam, or have I totally misunderstood what people are saying? Anyway, just in case anyone is equating the two, they are different, and have different tastes. Daun salam is Eugenia polyantha, curry leaves is Murraya koenigii. More on daun salam in the inimitable Gernot Katzer here. Changing the subject, I thought I was done with cookbook purchases for a while, but this thread has changed my mind. Mouthwatering photos!
  17. I know this is horribly vague, and I can't give any recommendations, but I spent about five days in Malmo and one day in Copenhagen a few years back, and was on a tight budget too. I don't remember it being terribly expensive, and I'm used to fairly low German prices. It was far far cheaper than British prices.
  18. Did no-one mention gazpacho yet? Gazpacho and a nice fresh bread roll. Mmmm... Pretty much everywhere I've been in Scandinavia - even Youth Hostels and university cafeterias with otherwise horrible food - had slices of tomato, bell peppers and cucumber for people to construct their own open-topped sandwiches for breakfast.
  19. It sounds like your friend is referring to barfi/burfi/burfee (and also any other variant spelling you can think of). They should be available in Kuala Lumpur. They are mentioned in this blog for example, but that is just one of the hits I got when I typed in 'burfi' and 'Kuala Lumpur'. Now that you have the name you will find that there are numerous recipes online, ranging from the more laborious, reduce-the-milk-yourself type, to various short-cut types using condensed milk, milk powder, etc. None of them are particularly difficult to make.
  20. anzu

    Sweet potato stems

    Read this blog entry here, and most of your questions should be answered. Obviously, how you flavor the greens can be varied according to your taste, but this explains the general treatment required.
  21. "Fish mint" is one name. More info here on Wikipedia. I love sardines, but houttuynia is one of the few things I can't eat. Blech.
  22. Jason, you're right about it being easier to find in Japan than Germany, but the reason, I suspect, is not that you were in the wrong city, but that you were there at the wrong time of year. Baumkuchen is usually sold only in the 6 weeks or so leading up to Christmas. At that time, it's pretty much everywhere.
  23. This is not helpful with the question of origins, but the Goan bebinca is made in essentially the same manner, traditionally with 16 layers. There is also a debate about its origins here in eGullet: bebinca. Chufi, your spekkoek looks delicious.
  24. Okay, corrections here: Fresh? 新鮮的嗎? (XINXIAN DE MA?)i s clearer in meaning. The others should be: Hot? 熱的嗎﹖ (RE DE MA?) Spicy hot? 辣的嗎﹖(LA DE MA?) Crispy? 脆的嗎﹖ (CUI DE MA?) 馬 means horse, whereas 嗎 turns a statement into a question. Hoping this works, because the characters wouldn't show when I previewed the post. Edited to get the characters to show.
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