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Jenni

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Everything posted by Jenni

  1. I suppose you're talking about shop bought fried tortillas then? If we're comparing a factory made product with something freshly made at home with raw ingredients, then I would rather have the home made stuff, it's true. That wasn't explicitly stated in the OP's post so I didn't think of it. If we are just talking tortilla chips vs. plaintain chips then you're not comparing a fresh vegetable with processed food - you are comparing fried vegetable (well, fruit) with fried grain-that-came-from-a-plant-and-is-not-inherently-bad. According to wikipedia, plantain has less protein and fibre than maize. It does have more potassium, vitamin a and vitamin c, but I don't know how well those things survive deep frying. Also, I think that's completely besides the point. We are talking about two starchy deep fried things, both tasty. Pick one and be happy to eat it, but don't kid yourself that you're making a hugely significant health decision.
  2. Plantains are a highly starchy food and I think it's a bit silly to say "Oh but it's a fruit so it must be healthier!" I happen to think that both corn and plantains can be a perfectly fine as part of a nutritious diet and I do not believe in low or no carb diets, so please don't feel I am saying plantains are unhealthy because they are starchy. It's just that it seems foolish to me to think that there is a major major difference between deep fried plantain and deep fried tortilla in terms of nutrition.
  3. I'm confused as to why fried plantain chips would be more acceptable than fried tortilla chips? Both are mostly starch and deep fried. Personally, I have no objection to either, but I'm just trying to understand the logic here.
  4. Yes! Although actually, the starting point for real ghee is collecting the cream that forms on top of the yoghurt each day and setting it aside until you have enough to churn into butter. Some people use the cream that forms on the top of boiled milk and add a little yoghurt to that to culture it, but I prefer the yoghurt cream method.
  5. Jenni

    My Leather Fetish

    Very interesting, and beautiful pics as always. Sadly for me I don't own a dehydrator, but it's good to see someone else having fun with one. Do you reckon I could have a go at sun drying instead? It's 44°C degree today so it seems possible - and it's gone up to 47°C on some days. In your opinion, are there any fruits that don't work very well as fruit leather? Which ones are particularly good? Mangoes are cheap and luscious at the moment so they seem an obvious choice. The only problem would be preventing myself from eating most of them whilst preparing them to be dried. Have you ever tried veggie "leather", or is that weird? Ok, it sounds weird, but I am curious about it!
  6. Jenni

    Beetroot

    I love beetroot in raita. A number of seasonings go well with it. A favourite of mine is to heat some oil or ghee and add mustard seeds plus a pinch of hing. Sometimes I also add urad dal and cumin seeds. When the seeds pop, I add curry leaves and minced green chillies, swiftly followed by grated beetroot plus a bit of salt, and stir it around until the beetroot is wilted but still retains some texture. Then I cool it and mix with yoghurt, adjusting salt to taste. I always added chopped coriander to this, but also sometimes mint. And sometimes I add garlic to the seasoning, just before the beetroot, as garlic-beetroot-yoghurt-mint is a heavenly combination. Another dish I like to make is good for breakfast. It's a poha dish. Poha is beaten rice, that is to say rice that is beaten flat. It cooks very quickly. It comes in different thicknesses, and for this dish you need the "mota" or thick kind. Rinse it gently and leave it in a seive. For four people you need around 2 cups (of 250ml size). Meanwhile, peel and grate the raw beetroot and chop up some onion and mince some green chillies to taste. Quantities of all this is up to you. You just need one onion, and Indian onions are smaller so don't use a huge one. They are also reddish in colour but not like red onion in taste. Number of beetroot will depend on size and preference. But there should be enough vegetable for taste, without drowning the dish as it is a starch dish not a veg dish. Heat some oil, preferably coconut, in a pan (just 1-2 tablespoons is plenty for four people), and when hot add urad dal, followed by mustard seeds and cumin (about 1 tsp each) plus a pinch of hing. For variety, you can also make it with 1 teaspoon each chana and urad dal, but no cumin. When the dal reddens and the mustard pops, add minced green chillies, curry leaves and onion. Stir and fry for a bit, then add grated beetroot and salt. Stir and fry until cooked but still with texture. Add the poha and stir and fry gently to combine it well and cook the poha. It just takes a few minutes. Check for salt while you are at it. There should be enough moisture in the dish already, but if not you can sprinkle a little water. But the end dish should keep the shape of the poha and be tender but not mushy so don't add a lot. Finally, add as much grated fresh coconut as you like (at least 1 tablespoon per person), and some chopped fresh coriander (just 1-2 tablespoons is fine) and stir it in. I love to eat this with a chutney with a sour and chilli kick to it. It's also good with plain yoghurt. Or if you have nothing like that on hand, just squeeze a little lemon juice over your serving.
  7. For restaurants it's a difficult situation. Whatever they do, they risk upsetting a customer. Personally, I would first try to discretely ask management at the restaurant if there is anything that could be done. For instance, if they won't say anything to the party making all the noise, then maybe they might move my party? If they say "Sorry, we really can't do anything." then next I would consider going up to the noise-makers and politely asking if they might try to keep it down a little. It's astonishing how some people do not realise the way they effect others around them, but if you are polite they do sometimes try to tone it down.
  8. My Dad taught me butter and marmite...
  9. Hmm...I think if it didn't look particularly good on the outside when you looked at it in the store, then you can't really fault the store for the fact that you still chose to buy it. In the UK, I was often shocked by some of the terrible looking fruit and veg that Tescos tried to sell. However, I often saw people buying it! I suppose some people just don't care. Also, sometimes older stuff is sold off cheap so that's probably a factor for some people. I always selected the best looking stuff, and if I saw a tray of nasty looking items I would alert a member of staff and ask if they had anything in better condition out back.
  10. Really? Can't speak for London but in Bristol every supermarket had them when I was last there.
  11. Emily_R, you are reminding me of a Madhur Jaffrey recipe from her World Vegetarian book that has similar flavours. I don't have access to the book right now but I remember lightly cooked courgette cooled and mixed with olive oil, lemon, dill and feta. There may have been a few other ingredients, I can't remember. I used to make it quite often in the Summer, very delicious.
  12. Whilst it's true that you can add wheat flour to bajra, jau, jowar, ragi and makki breads, you certainly do not have to and I never do. It requires more skill to form the breads (I form them by hand - with skill you can get them just as thin and perfectly shaped as if they were rolled) but they come out with a wonderful taste and texture.
  13. Apparently my childhood should have killed me - I remember summer days of picking blackberries straight of the bramble and eating them, and "pick-your-own" raspberries and strawberries was mostly about how many you could eat on the way round!
  14. What roti are you referring to? In Hindi, roti just means bread. So in India the term can be used to refer to breads in general or sometimes it can be part of a bread name such as makki ki roti, which is roti made from maize. Other times people say roti to indicate chapati. Outside of India the term roti can imply something similar but with a regional twist. For instance in Trinidad there are various roti that are somewhat similar to Indian breads but made with white flour instead of ata. Going back to India to answer your besan question - there are indeed breads that use some besan in the dough. A well known variety is called missi roti. It has ata, besan and spices in the dough and is very tasty, often considered a Winter food as it is a little heavier and more warming than plain roti. But I don't believe I've ever come across a roti made only from besan. Besan does not have gluten and I think it would be difficult to knead and form into a good bread. Of course there are roti made from non-gluten flours (jau, jowar, bajra, ragi, makki) but somehow besan is different and isn't used in the same way. I guess maybe because it's a legume and not a grain? You can make something bread-like using only besan though - besan ka chilla/ cheela, also called pudla or poora in some languages. This is a sort of pancake made with a batter of besan with spices and sometimes vegetables. It's very quick to make and quite healthy, I like them for breakfast. Hope this helps a bit!
  15. I've eaten a couple of Iranian style rice dishes with dill in them, amongst other herbs I think. Very very good. Dill is also used in a number of Indian cuisines as a vegetable. Because of its distinctive aroma and taste, not everyone likes it! In Allahabad, it is often sold in combination with methi (fenugreek greens) and a common recipe is to cook it as a dry sabzi (vegetable dish) with potatoes (either along with the methi or without). There's also a famous Sindhi dish called sai bhaji which is a mixture of vegetables cooked with greens and chana dal until tender and then mashed. The dill in it gives a distinctive flavour. One of the dishes I make most commonly with dill is a chana dal khichdi (rice and dal dish) with dill as the main vegetable and cumin, hing, tomatoes and garam masala used in the tadka. Another dish is toor dal with dil. For this the toor dal is pressure cooked and then the dill and some chilli powder is simmered in it until done, before a tadka of mustard seeds, cumin seeds, hing and garlic is given. Both of these dishes are divine with a good squeeze of lemon.
  16. This is interesting and may be confirming a suspicion that I have....the "leftovers are better" rule seems to apply most of all to meat dishes? So as a vegetarian, there may be some logic in my hatred of leftovers?!
  17. Well you know, it's not just about "reconditioning" someone - it's about hopefully saving a friendship by not keeping resentments bottled up inside. It may be hard to believe, but a number of people are very unaware of the effect their behaviour has on other people. I think it's much better to be straight forward and honest about how the situation makes you feel, and you have to assume that the other person involved may be unaware of your feelings. Let's say you have a friend who is otherwise a wonderful person, but who consistently ruins your dinner parties by showing up an hour or so late every time. Now you can try to "retrain" him through methods like telling him dinner is at 6pm when really it's at 7.30pm, or by starting without him and leaving his portion on a plate to get cold, or some other way. Or maybe you'll just continue as if everything is ok, waiting for him with increasing irritation and serving the meal when he finally shows up. All that's likely to happen in this situation is that you're going to get increasingly irritated with a person who you were once rather fond of. Dinner parties are going to be hard work and unpleasant rather than enjoyable. You may end up being short tempered and moody towards the other "innocent" guests or your family members. And the stupid thing is that the other person or persons involved might be completely miffed as to why you are so annoyed with them! Everyone loses. The alternative is that you talk to them and make it clear that the lateness issue is driving you up the wall. It may be that the friend in question can never learn to be on time. You may have to ban him from dinner parties completely! But at least everyone will know where they stand, and with a bit of luck you can find a way to get around the difficulties and continue the friendship. Oh, and I thought of one aspect of this issue that seems particularly relevant to eGullet: In my experience, people who are good at and care a lot about cooking can often be perfectionists when it comes to hosting food events. There seems to be a feeling that every single aspect is going to reflect on your culinary skill, and the temptation to be overly controlling is very high. God forbid if someone isn't sat at the table in time to receive their broth at exactly the right temperature! And what a catastrophe if they mix everything together on the plate instead of eating it in the prescribed order! Not to mention those heathens who want to add salt/pepper/ketchup/chilli sauce! I understand, because I sometimes struggle with this a little. There is a temptation to want to control every little detail. But believe me, there is nothing less enjoyable than a dinner party with a host who behaves in such a way - as if the food they have prepared is somehow worth more than the people they invited over to eat it. If you've invited people over to eat, it's not all about you. You cannot control people's behaviour absolutely. Sometimes people are late. And sometimes those people just don't understand why that is such a catastrophe for you. They thought they were coming over for an evening of good food and wine and they really are sorry that they were late but that's how it went, and yet now you're stood there frothing at the mouth and shrieking something about overcooked fish! I think if you're going to host people, you have to open yourself to the fact that things wont always go to plan. Try to relax and enjoy things no matter what. I understand that it's a different situation if you are dealing with someone who is chronically late, but personally I still think a healthy dose of tolerance is still beneficial.
  18. It seems to me you have a choice: If you don't really like the person then stop inviting them to dinner parties or if you have to continue doing so, start eating without them If you do like the person, then talk to them and try to come to some solution. Perhaps they need you to always tell them an early time than they need to be there. Perhaps they need a text from you an hour before the event starts as a kick up the ass - you'll have to decide how much effort you are willing to go for your relationship. Probably the best thing to do, if the person just cannot manage to be on time no matter what you try, is the same as above - start eating without them. Main difference would be that if you like the person, you should kindly but firmly let them know that's what you'll be doing from now on, and that you like/love them very much but it has to be done! I'll say it again because it bears repeating - if you value the company of the person, please please talk to them about the problem, don't just simmer in silence or do something passive aggressive to "teach them manners". There are always tonnes of these etiquette type questions on Chowhound and it blows my mind how most people seem to approach them in a completely black and white way which does not involve communicating like an adult at any point.
  19. Prawncrackers, that kind of thing just doesn't happen in the sort of very casual and basic places I usually eat at here in India. Not in mid range places either. It would attract a lot of unwanted attention and I would feel very uncomfortable. Perhaps in very posh restaurants, but even then I think it would be regarded with great amusement by all staff and other diners nearby. And on the street? Forget about it. May as well carry a sign that says "I'm rich and foolish! Please relieve me of some of my wealth!" I don't expect a mobile phone to take photos as good a proper fancy camera. I don't expect my photos to be the best of the best! But I spend a lot of my time seeking out good eating places, especially of the non fancy kind, and as part of my reporting back I do like to include a basic photo of what I ate, whenever it's possible. I don't want to attract a lot of attention and make people feel uncomfortable, so my standard method is to use my mobile. Mobiles are not eye catching and exciting, they don't make people stop to see what you are doing. I like the method, I just need to get slightly better equipment and I know it's available because at the moment I'm using a comparatively basic phone camera.
  20. <p> My comment about it being psychological was a little jab at myself - I was mocking my tendency to feel "icky" about leftovers! I am sure that there are indeed scientifically explainable changes that happen on a chemical level in leftover food.
  21. It's probably completely true what you say - with bright lights and a tripod I'm sure a mobile phone camera can do fantastic things. The thing is though, when I'm using a mobile phone for food pictures, it's usually when I'm eating out (maybe on the street or in a restaurant) and I want to take a photo discretely. Quite frankly, whipping out a big SLR, or even an ordinary little digital camera, would make me look like a complete lunatic. I don't even want people to know I'm taking a pic with my phone, I just pretend I'm knocking off a text or something. My current phone camera takes ok pics, but I'm thinking about upgrading because I do spend a lot of time taking food snaps on my phone in this way. Does anyone here have any suggestions for a phone with a superior camera? I hear the latest offering from HTC is supposed to be pretty good in this area.
  22. I think I am one of the only people who absolutely HATES leftovers! Everyone else I know raves about how things taste better the next day, but I just don't feel the same way. Sure, it tastes different to me, just not better! I hate the idea of stale food and feel that there is a certain "leftover taste" in such dishes which I dislike. I am sure it is all completely psychological! For what it's worth, there are dishes I make that I think benefit from sitting for an hour or so, but I don't like to eat things that have been sat around for a day. On the other hand, I love love love pickles (Indian style pickles I mean) and often age mine for a very long time, so I don't know how that fits in with my particular variety of crazy!
  23. Just because someone prepares meals everyday, doesn't mean they are used to working with a time limit. And anyway, there are all sorts of things that can happen to cause things to become delayed - maybe chopping up and other prep takes longer than expected, part of a dish may go wrong and need to be redone, etc. It's also easy to forget things when you are feeling hassled. In this case the oven thing does seem a bit stupid, but mistakes happen, even stupid ones. My Dad has on occasion forgot to turn the oven on quite enough in advance for cooking, and on another occasion he made a mis-calculation with regards to the cooking time for a joint of meat. We just shrugged it off and poured more wine! If someone is cooking food professionally, then yes they need to get their act together and be able to serve meals on time. But I'm assuming you are talking about a friend/family member/acquaintance who was hosting some kind of meal that you were invited to. In which case, maybe you just need to learn to be a bit patient. Not everyone is a cooking pro, and if someone has invited you over for a meal it's usually considered good manners to not complain too much! Of course, if this person is consistently late serving food, then it's time for you to make a decision whether you want to continue to attend meals hosted by this person, since the lateness bothers you so much. But a first offense? Let it go. Maybe next time ask if there's anything you can do to help. Or if it's a really good friend who would be open to that kind of thing, maybe you can offer some constructive advice on how to avoid the same problem again. Life is short, and it's not worth getting wound up over the little things. Next time a meal is delayed, enjoy the extra time for talking and another round of drinks!
  24. These look rather similar to aloo tikki, which are one of my favourite street foods ever! You can be damn sure I'm going to try this, as aloo tikki stuffed with paneer (my sub for queso fresco) sounds very very fine indeed.
  25. This. The food was bad, his attitude stunk. So politely tell him you won't be coming anymore because not only did you not enjoy your meal, but his attitude was very rude and unnecessary.
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