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Monica Bhide

eGullet Society staff emeritus
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Everything posted by Monica Bhide

  1. I enjoy your chutney a great deal, perhaps someday I will get lucky and get some of those jars that you are so generous with Suvir.
  2. Please please please please do not stop recommending My Morton's experience is 1 year old, so it was before you recommended it.
  3. Here is the piece I wrote: The Joys and Tribulations of Feeding a Preschooler I have decided to finally admit this – Feeding my preschooler nutritious meals has been the hardest thing I have ever had to learn how to do! If it does not have cheese on it or come in the shape of a triangle, he does not want anything to do with it. After many trials and tribulations, I have finally been able to create some recipes that we can all eat as a family and that have a little more nutrition than a bowl of cheese crackers. I had to come up with names of characters or friends and family and pretend they loved certain foods. Now we even have a fun time naming a dish together I would be happy to provide anyone with these fun treats for tiny tummies!
  4. That's a very special memory for me - my Mom did that and I dedicated my Master's thesis to the memory of one of those stories. I know she wrote it down; unfortunately, I don't have a copy. Had to do with fluffy mashed potatoes! I smiled when I read your post, I know exactly how you feel. I knew of fairies and princesses who loved to eat their rice, when I was a kid! And did you know that chewing gum can make the tooth fairy go away forever!! It is interesting that we have gone to dinner parties and folks have a separate menu for the kids, I have the same food for everyone and perhaps one or two additional milder dishes for the kids. they seem to enjoy it.. even if its pizza, i will make a simple one at home.. so much more healthier. I guess if I were doing Cavier, I might have something different for the kids
  5. thanks Moosie and welcome. This one is my favorite for the holidays as well. Makes a perfect side. I am so glad you enjoyed it. Did you friend like it as well?
  6. My son, who is three now, loves butter chicken. His favorite vegetable is potatoes. A typical three year old, I think he can also live on Pizza!! When I was growing up, I think I was the worst eater.. I could live on Chaats!! Now I am old and try to eat better When I cook for my son, i try to provide a variety, I never force him to eat, just encourage him to try different things. It is not easy with a three year old. I must remember to post an article I wrote on the trials and tribulations of feeding a preschooler. Making up stories works, for example did you know that Barney Loves Bhindi (OKRA) or that Tweety is Crazy for tandoori... We have loads of kids over all the time, and I try to keep the dishes simple and familiar --- I will always add one or two they have not seen and then explain to them what it is.
  7. Aah.. I am always suspicious of what can be lost in keeping the promise of eating healthy. So much can be lost in the healthful part if one is not very careful in reading labels for things supposedly light or better for you. They may contain additives and stabilizers that are worse in the long run, or at least not tested by time. But yes, if you can find a reliable option, as you feel you have, well worth it. I am in the school where you use less and get reliable results. I use coconut milk sparingly, but always the real thing. Like with butter or ghee, you can use little, but get greater flavor. There are those friends of mine that use butter alternatives and lots of it, thinking they are using something healthier, but in the end, it is just as bad. And what is worse, it does not taste right. Taste Is Right is the most important criteria when it comes to cooking for me. And the next is Moderation. If you can learn the latter, one hardly ever needs to compromise. So back again to Coconut Milk. What brand do you use? Where do you get it? I agree with you. Eating in moderation is the key, even low fat stuff is harmful if you eat too much of it. I cook with ghee and real coconut milk as well... sparingingly is the key and have made the same suggestion in the book as well... eat what you love. My book is not about 2 grams of fat or less, it does have recipes that are deep fried... the key is to reduce portions.. but still eat what you enjoy. I think the brand in my pantry is GOYA. I will have to check
  8. good questions Suvir. the differences is really in the fat content. part of the promise of Spice is Right, is to deliver healthy recipes. I wanted to create a recipe that does not radically affect the flavor. The sauce is a bit thinner, not enough to be noticeable. I think it does deliver the flavor. Coconut milk is very high in saturated fat and we are seriously watching our cholestrol levels. I tried a number of combinations along with the nutirtionst and this one worked quite well
  9. This simple salad is healthy and great for the holiday table. It is from my book, The Spice is Right: Easy Indian cooking for today. The lack of heavy oily dressings makes it a delight. This is a staple in the classes that I have taught, it is so simple there really is nothing to teach in this one. Birds Nest Salad 1 clove garlic, minced 1 cup canned red kidney beans 1 jalapeño or green chile, minced drained and rinsed 3 tablespoons lemon juice 1 cup corn kernels, drained 2 tablespoons chopped and rinsed fresh coriander 1/4 cup bean sprouts 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin 1/4 cup diced red bell pepper salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste 1/4 teaspoon red chile powder 1 red onion, sliced 1 bunch lettuce leaves of your choice 1 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed Tips: If you can't find fresh coriander, use fresh parsley instead. Dried coriander is not a substitute. If you do not like the idea of using raw sprouts, boil them for a few minutes and then add to the salad. In a large bowl whisk together the garlic, jalapeño, lemon juice, coriander, cumin, salt, and black pepper. Add the onion, chickpeas, kidney beans, corn, bean sprouts, bell pepper, and chile powder. Mix well. Arrange the lettuce leaves along the walls of a large glass bowl to form a bird's nest. Gently spoon the salad mixture into the bird's nest, being careful not to disturb the lettuce. Serve at room temperature. Variations: Add 1/4 cup fresh pomegranate seeds or 1/2 cup mandarin orange sections for wonderful flavor and delightful color. Per Serving: Calories: 180; Protein: 8 g; Carbohydrates: 32 g; Fat: 2 g
  10. This recipe is from my book, "THe Spice is Right: Easy Indian Cooking for Today". I hope you all enjoy it, it has been one of the most widely published recipes from the book Shrimp in Coconut Milk When I first started making this dish, I used regular coconut milk. It tasted wonderful but was so high in fat that I felt guilty each time we ate it! Quite by chance I discovered light coconut milk. Voila! The results are delicious and the fat is limited. 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined 1 teaspoon mustard seeds 1/2 teaspoon red chile powder Leaves from 3 sprigs of cilantro 1/2 teaspoon turmeric 1 large tomato, chopped salt to taste 1-inch piece fresh ginger, grated 1/4 cup light coconut milk 6 cloves garlic, mashed 1/2 cup water 2 to 3 green chiles - chopped Garnish: Finely chopped fresh cilantro Cooking Time: 20 minutes Prep Time: 15 minutes Serves 4 Tips: Pure coconut milk is extremely high in saturated fat. If you decide to use it, do so sparingly to get the flavor minus the fat. In a large saucepan heat the oil over medium heat. Add the mustard seeds; as soon as they crackle add the curry leaves, tomato, ginger, garlic, and green chiles. Saute gently for 5 minutes or until the tomatoes are soft. Stir in the shrimp; cook for 5 minutes. Add the chile powder, turmeric, and salt; cook for 1 minute. Add the coconut milk and water. Let the mixture come to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp are tender. Garnish with the coriander before serving. Variations: If you do not like coconut milk, you can replace it with water. Per Serving: Calories: 350; Protein: 57 g; Carbohydrates: 2 g; Fat: 12 g
  11. I tried Prime Rib at Morton's -- was not good at all (did not seem to have a lot of flavor, it did not melt in your mouth... something was amiss) and the same at Capital Grill.... was good but nothing earth shattering.
  12. Monica, I haven't been to Zaika but there are a number of "upscale" Indian reataurants in London which are attempting to break the old mould and create a new style of Indian cuisine for Western foodies and gain a Michelin star (which Zaika has done). At worst, as at The Cinnamon Club and Tabla,you get a horrible French/Indian hybrid which veers towards Frenchified blandness and prissiness and which I've railed against before on this board. However three of these restaurants I have been to in the last year or so- Bombay Brasserie, Cafe Spice Namaste and Chutney Mary- have all been a mixed bag with some brilliant and original dishes which nevertheless retain a link with regional roots, mixed in with some pretty ordinary ones. I'm sure you'd find the London Indian food scene fascinating. It is incredibly diverse and much of the most vibrant stuff is away from the Centre , in such areas as Whitechapel, Wembley, Southall and East Ham. You really need a seasoned Londoner to point you in the right directions, so, as I say, contact us before you come. I surely will take you up on your offer! thanks for a great discussion.
  13. Roger, I know maharaj's/pandits/thakur/misrani (all are honorifics for a homes chef) were more common in days of the past. There are still many homes where you can find a cook of that stature. But they are now far lower in number. My cooking follows in the tradition of my families cook, Panditji. Born a Brahman, his family has worked for hours for generations. He came to my grandmothers home as a kid. And by working as a sous chef alongside his elders, he was trained in the art of Indian cooking. There have been cooks that were hired in my parents home, they were interviewed by my parents, and if they seemed promising, they would be interviewed by Panditji. The first thing he trained them at was how to choose spices at a grocery store. How to look for them, which ones to buy whole, which ones to buy powdered, which ones to powder at home and which ones to avoid. They would then be trained about the history, lore, and medicinal uses of spices. This would educate the cook to understand why certain spices are added to a recipe, and why certain others are added in small portions as ingredients that balance another without giving leaving much of a flavor into a dish. Once they had learned enough about spices (masalas), they graduated to the next stage, this was the stage where Panditji would measure out certain spices and teach them on how to roast these spices to bring out their essential flavors and then how to cool them and grind them into powders. In doing so, they would be taught the art of balancing spices and understanding how spices react to heat. This was also a way of showing them how to understand the many subtle ways in which spices can alter flavors. This was a critical step in understanding Indian cooking. As they learned the art of roasting spices, they were also taught how each spice reacts differently to heat. And so there is a sequence that needs to be followed when roasting a melange of spices. Once they had learned the art of measuring and roasting spices, they were taught the art of grinding spices. Some spices were ground finely, others to a coarse texture that could range from medium to chunky coarseness. This taught the apprentice the use of spices as more than just a flavor additive. Certain spices are used as thickening agents, some to give texture and some to give flavor without being noticed. An apprentice had to do this under Panditjis tutelage for a very long time. Years. And most often, they would tire away and ask my parents to give them another responsibility. The couple that lasted, have learned the wisdom behind masalas. And hopefully can now cook as Panditji does, with great respect for a tradition, but also a keen understanding of what to do depending on the mood, season, ingredients and occasion. I hope this gives you some insight into what a masalchi does. If you have any particular question that I may not have touched, please ask..and I shall do my best to share with you whatever I know. You write beautifully Suvir
  14. I agree with you here. Sometimes, though, with a three year old running around -- EZ works for me!!
  15. Thanks, this really helps clear up some of the myths of this marketing phenomenon. The food I have had that has been described to me as BALTI cooking has always seemed to me to be indian cooking with a kadai.. but not having first hand experience in the UK, I could really not pass judgement. Thanks. BTW what is your favorite Indian rest up there? I have been reading about Zaika.. is it as good as they say it is?
  16. The only thing Tonyfinch I have seen is the cashew nut wine. I guess I am hoping for non traditional versions maybe. Have you ever used it?
  17. I was hoping you would say that. In all my travels I still have not visited London.. what a shame. I hope to be up there next year and perhaps we can do some tastings together...
  18. Do any of your indian or indian inspired dishes use alcohol? Do tell me about it, I would like to explore this a bit. The only thing I ever use is Feni or Cashew nut wine (or in desparation my hubby's vodka) when I make some Goan food. it is my understanding that a lot of traditional dishes in India do not use alcohol .... do your indian inspired ones?
  19. They got a nice write up in this week's Post. Good stuff. I had never tried quail before and they did an awesome job with a quail glazed with pomegrante juice. Lovely stuff.
  20. I use it quite a bit actually, I make a Hawaiian Rabri. or a reduced fat milk dessert topped with frozen pineapple slices. I also use it for making kheer or rice pudding. I have to say that I like things to be easy, so I do make Indian icecream or Kulfi without reducing the milk or even using eggs, the results have been mouthwatering. If you would like to try the recipe, I am happy to PM it to you. It is the simplest kulfi recipe, no machine, no eggs no cooking...... Monica, My grandma and sister who have lived in the US long enough, have taught me a Quick Kulfi they make for family. Note, this is not what they serve for special occasions. Funny part is, when I am in SF or Dallas, and I open their freezers, they always have this prepared for me. I know there is no reducing and no eggs... but No Machines??? Are you serious? My grandmas kulfi is not cooked, but is certainly blended in a blender (machine). Do you use a hand held device to blend? How else do you make the Kulfi? Now I am very curious. Suvir, it is a very simple recipe. It is the right combination of evap milk, condensed milk and Nestle's table cream. I hand blend them. Add mashed alphonso mango and the freeze it. It is really quite delightful. Simple, yet satisfying. When I serve this for large dinners, I garnish with Silver leaf or varak. It makes it look very grand. Someone once quoted an ad. when they ate my kulfi and it has stuck.. Tuesday effort, Sunday taste. I would be delighted if you would try it and provide your opinion. It would be an honor
  21. I use it quite a bit actually, I make a Hawaiian Rabri. or a reduced fat milk dessert topped with frozen pineapple slices. I also use it for making kheer or rice pudding. I have to say that I like things to be easy, so I do make Indian icecream or Kulfi without reducing the milk or even using eggs, the results have been mouthwatering. If you would like to try the recipe, I am happy to PM it to you. It is the simplest kulfi recipe, no machine, no eggs no cooking......
  22. I shall try this variation. I do agree with you on the water. It is quite interesting how much difference a small amount can make. Thanks
  23. I DID IT.. finally. I used to make good flans till I decided to do this maple syrup thing. But I did it. I am so thrilled... dont laugh all you professional chefs out there... I reduced the egg by one, added a bit of milk to the cream, and reduced the cooking temp. Dont know what worked, but some of this did. Chef Pascal of the French cooking school here helped a bit But I am good to go, thanks for all your wonderful advice.
  24. I always understood this to be the case. But I understood that the reason they called it Balti was because the chefs were from that region. We had the same thing in the U.S. with Cantonese Cuisine. The chefs might have been from Canton, but the original cooking style they invented was Cantonese/American. But Americans used to think of things like Shrimp in Lobster Sauce as "Cantonese." Interesting, and I thought it was because of the word "balti" meaning wok and that most of this style of cooking is done in a WOK. Have you tried it? How similar or different do you feel it is from the traditional style of cooking Indian food?
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