Jump to content


participating member
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by anzu

  1. Pan, the movement of chop suey from home use of leftovers to 'established dish' is what is American about it. There has actually been quite a lot written about this in academic literature. Unfortunately, all my reading is quite long ago, but the gist is as follows: My Mandarin is far better than my Cantonese, but I believe that the word is Cantones and not Toisanese. Nonetheless, the characters for chop suey are the same regardless of which language you are speaking. In Mandarin they are 'zasui', and the characters make it quite clear that it's referring to 'odds and ends'. The appearance of chop suey in America predates the Chinese restaurant scene, and was first documented in the case of feeding the thousands of Chinese labourers who worked on railroad construction, particularly the Union Pacific Railroad. The vaguely Chinese food dished up to them was allegedly termed chop suey by those labourers as a disparaging term. Afer the completion of railroad construction and the hounding of Chinese labourers out of many regions of the US into small areas designated as 'Chinatowns' in the late 1800s, not many career paths were open to the Chinese. A certain number of former labourers opened restaurants. It could be that 'chop suey' ended up on the menu due to it being considered somewhat Americanized and therefore more likely to be ordered by American clients who were searching for exotica and thrills (and believe me, that is how a trip to a restaurant in Chinatown was viewed and presented for many decades) but were still unlikely to order anything that differed too greatly from what their palates were used to. Given the long-term success and spread of chop suey, one might say that this summing up of clientele desires was pretty much on the button. Alternatively, very few of those who opened restaurants had actual experience or skill in cooking. The term chop suey might have stayed around as a derogatory term used by the Chinese community to refer to food that still wasn't particularly good...
  2. I was thinking the same thing about geographical regions and rarity or being 'forgotten'. Kohl rabi, for example, which was mentioned upthread as a forgotten vegetable, is very very common here in Germany, and bought by people who wouldn't dream of buying something as 'exotic' as aubergine/eggplant. Pointed cabbage (Spitzkohl) is also extremely common (available, like kohl rabi, even in the cheapest we-stock-generic-brands-only supermarkets), but its not something I had ever actually seen before moving to Germany. Scorzonera is also common. By contrast, trying to track down parsnip or Jerusalem artichoke is a major task. Cookbooks which mention parsnip invariably include a paragraph describing what it is for the benefit of the reader, who is presumed never to have seen one. I'm not sure that the issue of 'social groups' or 'peasant food' is paramount in foods being forgotten or falling out of common use. There can be many different reasons. As a case in point, I had wondered vaguely about why I had not seen even a single Jerusalem artichoke since moving to Germany, but found out the reason only the other day. According to a book I was reading about historical East German foods, they were widely promoted and grown in the immediate post-war years throughout Germany. For a few years they were the most widespread vegetable available. The post war years (not only in Germany of course) were associated with extreme hardship, lack of food, lack of adequate housing as so much had been bombed, as well as lack of warmth as the winters were unusually cold in those years and all possible sources of fuel had long since been consumed. Jerusalem artichokes allegedly became closely associated with the unpleasantness of those years. Marketing them would probably require a very intense campaign to change their image, or it would require a few more decades until a new generation of potential consumers is on the scene. The same associations with poverty and hardship (rather than 'peasant food') meant that, when we were living in a small village in southern Germany before moving to Berlin, my neighbours expressed horror when they saw me harvesting nettle tips or even the numerous blackberries that were to be had in the forest nearby. This had traditionally been one of the poorest regions of Germany (as an indicator of its past poverty, I recall reading in the newspaper while living there that, unlike other regions, it was almost impossible for museums to get hold of the traditional clothing of the region. All clothes had been worn until they fell apart). Most older people, when younger, had been obliged to eat nettles and other foods gathered from the forest because they had no choice. Now they would do without (in the case of nettles) or buy at exorbitant prices (blackberries) what could be had for free only 5 minutes walk away from their homes. The unhappy memories of going to the forest and harvesting those foods were just too strong for people to be willing to do that. And of course, there are also many other reasons why foods disappear that have nothing to do with looking down on something as peasant food. Changing agricultural demands can be one. As an example, I seem to recall that barberries - which had been commonly consumed in England - were deliberately eliminated because they commonly grew in the hedgerows and spread rust (?) to neighbouring fields of wheat (?). (Does anyone know the proper details of this instead of my half-remembered vagueness?) A slightly different process is occurring right now in India. Bathua (a leafy green that is a type of chenopodia I believe) traditionally grew among and to the side of mustard crops. Both bathua and mustard are harvested as winter greens. However, as modern 'rational' agricultural practices are being adopted, the co-existance of bathua (which has greater nutritional value than mustard) with mustard is now less accepted and instead the bathua is being treated as a weed. Although still available, it is apparently in gradual decline.
  3. Try any (or all) of the following: 1) If you have one, use a stainless steel rather than Teflon pan. I find that boiling milk sticks to Teflon in a different and more unpleasant way than it does to stainless steel. The milk will still stick to some extent with stainless, but cleaning it off is easier, since you can simply scrub without worrying about damage to your pan surface. 2) Use a flame tamer. This will definitely slow down the process, but it will eliminate sticking either totally or to a large extent. If you don't have one, you can improvise by putting a cast iron pan or tava between stovetop and pan. 3) Do your preliminary heating of the milk in a glass container in the microwave. Then add spices, tea, whatever and finish it off stovetop. The milk has less overall time in contact with the bottom of the hot pan = less overall sticking. 4) If you are happy with the taste you're already getting, you may not want to do this, but try making the tea first, then adding in the milk and boiling further. Again, less time that the milk is making contact with the bottom of the hot pan. Hope you'll report back with your results!
  4. One description of pine honey and the relationship with bees here.
  5. If he's open to the idea of martial arts, as he seems to be, how about judo, aikido, or iaido? These have a bit more 'oomph' than taichi (IMO), and so might be more attractive to a kid. Unlike karate there's less scope for being hit, and with the first two the idea of being able to throw around someone your own size or even somewhat bigger might be very attractive (presuming he's receptive to the idea of being thrown himself. Stress the fact that you are taught how to fall properly and it's essentially painless!) Heck, even I as a teenager who hated sports (and had rotten self image) still liked learning judo. Iaido tends to be a bit less commonly taught, but is a Japanese martial art that involves using a sword (yes, a real one once you get more advanced) and is practiced entirely without a partner. So there's potentially the romance of the sword and the samurai history of the sport as well as zero chance of body contact. My husband has beein involved with Iaido for over a decade, and we've been together at Iaido events in Japan, France and Germany. All of them had kids of all ages particpating as well. Heck, how do I get food into the topic? After all, it is eGullet... I know, Fresser's comment upthread... for the gazillionth time: eating sugary food does NOT cause diabetes.
  6. These 'bugs' would be Moreton bay bugs.
  7. Of course, counter space - or even kitchen space - can be in pretty short supply in most apartments in Japan... I always lived in bunka juutaku while in Japan (two different places, two different occasions). For those who don't know what this means, it's wood and plyboard construction, two stories high, tile roof, very thin walls that let all the cold in during winter, tatami on the floor, and very, very little space indeed. But its cheap... There was exactly one square foot of counter space in both places I lived, and that space had to serve for food preparation, placing cooked dishes (particularly while cooking three of four dishes on two gas burners), stacking washed dishes, etc. On the fridge were stacked a microwave, with a toaster oven on top of that, the rice cooker on top of that although it would be on the floor during use, and sometimes bowls of ingredients would be stacked precariously on top of the whole fridge/microwave/ toaster oven stack during cooking... The sum total of storage space was the miniscule space below the sink and the gas burners. It wasn't possible to put shelves or other storage options on the walls because, of the four walls in the kitchen, one had the door to outside and the fridge with its stacks of things on top, the second wall has doors leading into the bathroom and the toilet with a washing machine taking up the small amount of space between, the third wall was a sliding door leading into the rest of the apartment, and the fourth wall had the stove, etc. The type of plyboard on the wall was too weak to allow shelves to be positioned (at least not without some type of structural alterations which the landlord would not have liked). The only real option was to screw hooks into the wooden support beams of the frame of the house and hang things like utensils, baskets of onions, etc. from them. Pretty much all my friends lived in similar conditions, and everyone was happily able to produce meals of five or six dishes. But the idea of adding an oven into the whole equation? Aagh. Where's the space? And would it worth it? The whole practice of juggling pans to cook several different dishes on just two burners with basically no space at all is actually good for creativity and for getting your cooking to branch out in new directions. Although of course every time I see pictures of Kristin's kitchen and Hiroyuki's new one, I burn with jealousy.
  8. anzu

    Quark soft cheese

    It can also be used in a savory way. Mix in snipped chives, or garlic, or herbs of your choice, and spread it on bread.
  9. There is an explanation of warka here (in the section on brik pastry). I used to be able to buy ready-made warka when I was living on the border to France and did quite a bit of my shopping over the border. Now that I can't get it any longer, I have substituted ready-made yufka for it. Not quite the same, but certainly less time-consuming than making warka oneself. And briks - if you've never had them - are wonderful and are definitely worth making.
  10. Don't tell me, it's got to be called boerenjongs, right?? Klary, going right back to the first recipe you gave in this thread, I was interested in the use of self-raising flour for the boterkoek. Is self-raising flour used so often in Dutch baking? Here in Germany it is so uncommon that I have to go to an Asian grocery to buy it.
  11. Hi Anvi, re the paneer and guvar: basically I was just using the ingredients that I had and cooking them in more or less the style that I would normally use for aloo mattar! I.e. the paneer standing (sort of ) in place of the potatoes, and the guvar in place of the peas. The whole menu last night was a real hodge-podge of regional cooking styles, because this was essentially Punjabi (husband is Punjabi from Delhi, and this is the style I cook when I don't want to bother thinking too hard about method, etc.). So: fry paneer slices and set aside. Then fry ginger in ghee, add a bit of cumin, then red pepper and coriander, then turmeric and salt, then chopped tomato, then water, then guvar, cook till soft, and then add the paneer back in (I only add it back at the very end, because I hate the squeaky texture it acquires if you put it in any earlier). That's it. Black pepper if you want it, onion and garlic as well at the beginning if you feel like it, omit the tomato for a variation, use a little yogurt in the gravy if the mood hits you. You know the kind of thing! Actually I really like using the same spicing with par-boiled lotus slices instead of the potato of aloo mattar, as well. I really like the sound of your kaddu. I had been going to try out a Sri Lankan kaddu recipe soon, but am tempted to make yours instead. Fresh methi or dried? I can't believe your restraint of having gulab jamuns frozen for so long... The last time I made them, I made about 80 in one batch, and froze half. However, I was unwise enough to tell my husband this. He ate the first 39 gulab jamuns in one and a half days (I had eaten ONE to check the taste), then pulled out the remainder and ate them up equally fast. Since then, I haven't dared make them again. I'm too worried about the health effects it could have!
  12. Honey and eucalyptus flavored candies (I really miss these myself!). Not 'good' chocolate, but Cadburies Coconut Rough chocolate bars. These have toasted coconut mixed throughout together with the chocolate. Kangaroo meat salami (not sure if these are available in NSW, though) There are also various native Australian herbs, such as: sea celery, mountain pepper leaf, river mint (though this one seems pretty much the same as regular dried mint to me), kutjera aka desert raisins, wattle seed, etc. I found the most reasonable priced and largest range available in larger health food stores, the kind which also sell bulk grains, etc. loose. Some place like David Jone (if it has them) you would probably be paying six times as much for the same product. Re fresh lillipilli (not lillipini BTW, unless they have a different name in NSW). My parents used to have a tree. They taste okay, but I really don't feel it's worth going to great lengths to get hold of fresh ones if you can't find them readily. Slightly sour is the predominate taste.
  13. Right in the middle of cooking now. Basically, I'm cooking things which are a little bit fiddlier than food I cook every day. Most have at least three steps, such as boiling, then frying, then making a gravy; or roasting the spices, then grinding them, then stuffing them into a vegetable, then frying the vegetable, then making a gravy for it... So: Baghare baingan (spelling?) (i.e. small eggplant stuffed with roasted ground spices, fried, then simmered in a tamarind gravy) Arvi (taro) which has been boiled, peeled, sliced, fried, then simmered in a tomato and yogurt gravy (don't have a name for this dish) Paneer with cluster beans (guvarphalli) and coriander seeds Raita: cubed sweet mango and yogurt flavored with curry leaves and mustard seeds (can anyone tell me where this actually comes from?? I've been making it for years, but have no idea of its origin) Rice flavored with cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and tej patta Rice kheer (cheated and used leftover cooked rice cooked up in the pressure cooker with milk, but it seems to have worked okay) I was intending to make sweets and chakli, but didn't have enough time. Maybe tomorrow... Milagai: if your barfi falls apart, try reheating it in a pan with some sugar syrup and/or ghee and/or milk (whichever suits the type of barfi). Stir all together. Your crumbly barfi should re-melt and amalgate with the syrup, etc. Cook again until it forms a ball that comes away from the sides of the pan, then form again. Try with a quarter batch or so of the barfi of you're doubtful and are concerned that the whole batch of barfi might get ruined, but this has worked for me in the past. And for gulabjamuns, try working the mawa in the food processor, if you have one, for about ten minutes before forming into balls. You won't believe how much easier this makes it to form the balls smoothly, without cracks (and it is the cracks that usually make them fall apart later). I read this tip somewhere or other, tried it out with really believing it would work, and was quite impressed with the difference it made. Happy Divali to all.
  14. I doubt this would be the reason as most people in India - and orthodox Hindus in particular - believe in eating only food which has been freshly prepared. Preparing something earlier and eating it later (pickles are of course an exception) is not acceptable to many. As a result, there is no need to add extra salt to normal dishes to aid in their preservation. This statement is of course a generalization, as customs vary hugely in India according to region, religion, and caste. There will of course be exceptions. In certain areas, for example, there are indeed certain foods which are prepared in advance and eaten over several days. Those foods, however, are frequently prepared in a 'pickle-like manner', i.e. water is totally avoided in their preparation and vinegar or oil are used instead. I doubt these are the type of dishes you are being served in Indian restaurants. I can think offhand of three possible reasons why the food would be more heavily salted: 1) compared to the proportions served in Indian restaurants, people are eating a smaller proportion of the savory dishes and are eating those dishes with a higher proportion of (unsalty) starch. Therefore the ratio of salty to unsalty food is not as marked as in restaurants. 2) many parts of India are pretty hot almost all year round. People sweat a lot more. Eating more salt might actually be essential to maintain good health. 3) maybe the cooks in the restaurants you've eaten at are not particularly good and are simply oversalting the food?
  15. Perhaps slightly off topic (?) but BryanZ, I hope if/when you get married and have children you will reconsider this view, and think about the message it will be sending to your wife and kids. Nothing done by my mother or my siblings has ever been good enough for my father. As a couple of examples, my father has never let my mother drive *his* car (incidentally, *his* car was always bought new, the one used by my mother and for ferrying around me and my brothers when we were young was second-hand and quite old), none of us kids or my mother was *ever* allowed to put a record onto his record player (this continued even into adulthood) as the likelihood was too high that we would damage his precious record, etc. etc. etc. Now, I have reached adulthood (and then some ), there are still certain things I still don't do that are almost certainly due to this attitude - something as basic as driving is one of them. Yeah, I have a PhD, but I am intimidated by the thought of driving a car because I wouldn't be 'good enough'. I am SO grateful that my father played almost no role in the kitchen when I was growing up. If he had, I suspect my cooking skills and interest in food would probably have been stifled before they even began. Encouragement, not criticism or exclusion or banning to 'second-best option' is the way to go. If you are worried about a family member causing chaos in your kitchen, you should work together with them in it, and be supportive. Makes me wonder if Ramsay's children will learn to cook, or whether they will be intimidated out of the kitchen before they even start.
  16. I've bought this already prepared about three times here in Berlin (from three different places, each of which also sells other foods like olives, etc. and allegedly prepares the paste themselves). Each time, it had a nasty, underlying bitterness. What do you think could be causing it? If that bitterness is easily avoided, I'll happily make the paste myself, but I don't want to go to the effort of making it, and then find yet again that it doesn't taste good.
  17. I'd second Sazji's recommendation of "Classical Turkish Cooking" by Ayla Algar. I've cooked a lot of the recipes out of this book. In more-or-less decreasing order of desirability (to me, mostly based on how much is covered in the book), there is also "The Sultan's Kitchen-A Turkish Cookbook" by Ozcan Ozan, "Classic Turkish Cooking" by Ghillie Basan, "Turkish Cookbook" by Nevin Halici, and "The Ottoman Kitchen" by Sarah Woodward. I agree, though, that the offerings are pretty slim when compared with books covering regional foods of, say, Italy or Spain.
  18. silly question.....if you were to plant these basil seeds, would you grow basil? what type of basil is it? ← Not a silly question at all: I believe the type is lemon-scented basil. I've tried planting the seeds sold for culinary use, but they didn't come up. However, that year I planted about six types of basil, and not a single one came up, so I wouldn't take this failure as proof of anything. Incidentally, the falooda noodles are made from cooked cornstarch that is pushed through a press into ice water, and the whole dish is usually flavored with rose water. Although very popular in India, falooda is, I think, of Persian origin, where it is called phalooda.
  19. Shalmanese, Here's a picture of kohlrabi. Was it this vegetable? These lamb jiaozi sound so good. The last time I made them with lamb was 1988 (!) when I was making them with some people who kept kosher. Considering how good they taste, I should definitely be making them more often than this. Thanks, Fengyi, for reminding me of them!
  20. This is not so much a restaurant recommendation, but I'm adding it simply as a must-visit foodie destination, and on the principle that what seems obvious to me is not always obvious to someone currently in another country (or someone later reading this thread for Berlin recommendations). The food floor (6th floor) in Kaufhaus des Westens - often shortened to KaDeWe. On Tauentzienstrasse, the U-Bahn station is Wittenbergplatz. It can be hideously expensive, the lay-out is not exactly user-friendly, and trying to find my way out again I always feel like a rat in a maze... However, all that is made up for by the food. You have both raw and cooked ingredients, as well as some places selling food to be eaten on the spot. If you're coming from America, then checking out the cheese section with the wide variety of raw milk cheeses will probably be fun. The meat section is also interesting for comparison purposes, as the various preserved hams, sausages, etc. of each region of Germany are each displayed region by region. At this time of year, all the Advent and Christmas goodies have their own special section as well.
  21. What length of time would you recommend for cooking cashews in the microwave? Do you cook them on full power?
  22. I live in a predominately Turkish neighbourhood, and buy a lot of my groceries, vegetables, etc. at Turkish places. While I know what to do with a lot of the foods being sold, there are certain things which are still a mystery to me. I'm hoping the people here can explain how they're used by the Turkish home cook: 1) Oregano water. Of course, when I something new to me, I have to buy it and try it out. With oregano water, I asked someone working in the shop what to do with it, and got a look as if I were a total moron. "You just drink it", I was told. But, after bringing it home and tasting it, this stuff is awfully strong... Do people really "just drink it"? If so, who, in what setting, is it cut with water, is it meant to have health giving properties...? 2) Sucuk. Sucuk are sausages, that much is not a problem. But how do they fit into the overall pattern of cuisine: how is the average Turkish cook preparing them, and is it for any particular meal of the day? 3) Parsley and dill. Not the ingredients per se are the issue here, but the enormous size of the bunches in which they are sold. (This may be atypical, as the second-largest ethnic group in this neighbourhood is Lebanese - maybe the huge bunches of parsley are aimed at Lebanese customers?) Unless making tabouli, I could never work my way through that much parsley before it wilts. So what is being made by the Turkish cook that could require the use of such huge amounts of parsley? The same for dill - which wilts even more quickly than parsley. What are people doing with it that they buy it in such large quantities? There'll be even more questions later, I'm sure. I need to check out the specific names of various foods before asking about them.
  23. Re the first statement about people in Eastern Asia eating beef, so why don't they drink milk? Actually, you traditionally find very few people in Eastern or much of Southeast Asia eating beef. As Suzy pointed out, Japanese traditionally did not eat beef until Commander Perry went to Japan. In China, Vietnam, etc., beef was very rarely eaten. In both cases, the aversion to eating beef was introduced with Buddhism. Of course, many branches of Buddhism advocate avoiding all meat. However, the roots of Buddhism lie in Hinduism, and some of the basic principles of Hinduism have been carried over very strongly into Buddhism. So cattle symbolize motherhood (the cow nuturing the young with its milk), as well as agricultural usefulness (cattle drawing ploughs, pulling carts, etc.) The fact that it is more likely to have been water buffalo in many places rather than cattle that were used for ploughing, etc. does nothing to change the symbolism of the cow. Eating cattle comes across as churlish and ungrateful to the cow. On top of that, some Buddhists find it a greater sin to kill a larger animal than a smaller one. So fish for example are far more acceptable than cows as food. This is not universal: in Tibet, the number of lives lost is the issue, and so eating beef is far more acceptable than, say, a dish made up of numerous prawns, each of which represent individual lives lost. The aversion to beef eating was so strong in traditional Japan that, if you read accounts from the late 1800s, when the new Meiji government was advocating the consumption of beef to 'make people strong', you will realize how utterly conflicted many people were by this advice. You can actually read of grandparents crying when they cooked beef dhishes to feed their grandchildren, because they found the whole idea so upsetting. I have read that 'sukiyaki' which literally means 'cooking on a plough' was developed so that beef did not have to be cooked in the house on normal utensils, as it was considered that this would render those normal utensils impure. Finally, moving away from beef and onto milk: another reason why the drinking of milk did not become popular in much of East and Southeast Asia is patterns of land use and the higher relative costs of keeping cows for milk. If you go to certain parts of these countries, literally every bit of land that can possibly be cultivated is already under cultivation. Depending on the season, this will mostly be either rice or other vegetable crops. There is simply no space for cattle to graze, and the grass they eat would traditionally have been used for other purposes which would give a greater yield, such as feeding pigs, for example. Feeding grain to cattle would be unforgivably wasteful. If you travel through Japan, for example, you will see a lot of countryside but, with the exception of Hokkaido (which you can think of as a very sweeping generalisation as Japan's Mid-West in that it has more wide-open space than most of Japan, and was only widely settled in the comparitively recent past), you will still see very few cows. Land is simply too precious to be 'wasted' on cattle. In those areas where climate is less conducive to cultivation, but does allow the herding of sheep, yaks, etc. you will indeed find milk being drunk, being made into cheese, cream, yogurt, etc. If you are going to compare the usage of dairy products between India and East and South-east Asia, a couple of things should be borne in mind: Hinduism and the symbolism of the cow exerts a huge influence on dairy consumption. As a couple of examples, milk-based sweets are consumed not just for flavor, but also because of their symbolic religious value. They will be offered at temples, for festivals, etc. Butter appears in connection with Krishna, etc. There's plenty more, but I'm already pretty verbose , so I'll stop. Additionally, although 'wealth' might not be the first word to spring to mind in connection with India, agriculturally India as a whole did in the past enjoy greater well-being than much of East and South-east Asia. There was enough space and enough fodder to go around to support a larger number of cattle. The importance of this factor is quite striking when you compare Hinduism in India and Bali, which does not share India's wealth of space, etc.
  24. Ha. Have you noticed that I've never posted even a single photo yet?!
  25. The lime is to ensure that the pumpkin maintains a firm texture. I'm extrapolating from sweets made from preserved squash in both Indian and Chinese cooking (the Indian one is called petha, and is preserved wax gourd, the Chinese one is preserved winter melon. Winter melon and wax gourd, I'm fairly sure, are actually one and the same vegetable.) Should you just boil the pumpkin in syrup, it would break down and become mushy. If you soak it first in lime, however, it has a firm, almost crisp feel when you bite into it. One of these days I'll find the seven days necessary to make petha. Meanwhile, I'll watch Adam working with pumpkin.
  • Create New...