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Suvir Saran

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Everything posted by Suvir Saran

  1. All excellent points. And certainly you have not been alone. You in Galapagos, Panditji (our Oudhi chef in Delhi), my maternal grandmother in San Francisco (passed away earlier this year) and countless and nameless others have done exactly the same. Cuisines evolve and both India and its cuisines, North and South, East and West have all evolved and changed. Dum Pukht had evolved way early and certainly shares the idea that oil is not necessary for taste or final texture. I cannot agree more about taking some extra time and cooking with half or even lesser oil than some use in the cooking of the North. It is the key I believe to bring a fresh, contemporary and delicious Indian cuisine to a world that does not have episures, Nanis and Dadis and Panditjis and Maharaj's to rely on. Thanks episure for a great detailed post.
  2. Onions play a very important role in Indian cookery, and certainly in that of the Northern genre. Onions are chopped (large/medium/small dice), sliced (thick/thin) or ground into coarse, medium coarse or fine pastes. At times onions are browned before the addition of the tomato or yogurt. Sometimes they are barely cooked. Some times you only cook until the edges brown, at other times you brown as much as you can. Sometimes you brown the sliced or diced onions to quite a dark color and then you gring these onions into a paste and brown that paste. Recipes dictate what one does to the onions. The end result dictates what kind of onions one should begin with and how much one ought to brown. The way you treat the onions leaves a lasting impact on the finished sauce. Onions as we all know get sweeter as they caramelize. And so, the natural sweetness of sauces can be changed by the browning. It is all about finding the balance between spices, souring agents and the sweetness of onions and then taking the desired texture into account. The separation of the oil is important, but ultimately, Indian cooking is more about mastering the art of bringing out a medley of flavors that each are in harmony with the other and yet able to keep some of thier own identity.
  3. Episure has already mentioned the fact about lesser fat in a post before mine. I really believe that makes all the difference.
  4. Great post BBhasin. Also the addition of spices at two times is not only a part of Indian cuisine, but a part of most multilayered cuisines. In cooking around the world, when preparing dishes that are meant to have a depth of flavoring that is uniquely different from other dishes that are made only to heighten the natural flavors of a meat or produce, spicing is done in at least two stages, maybe even more. As you point out, it is tested by time and not all that frivolous an act. It certainly makes the flavor profile elevate into levels you could hardly achieve without cooking to the desired consistency and time. Whilst I have great respect for the Bhunao method and stick to it in totality when making dishes that are derived if not completely authentic to its traditions, I do add way less fat today than what was used in the past. And the result ends up having little if any fat separation. With lower fat addition in the begining, one has to be very careful during bhunao (since spices can burn easily for there is nothing greasing the pan) and the cheetas of water (drops) become essential. In my Bhunao cooking, I am never waiting for the oil to seperate, but only for the spices, onions, tomatoes, yogurt or whatever else I am cooking together to cook into a thick consistency with most of the water evaporated. It is not different from what one does in many other styles of cooking where you are cooking stuff for longer periods of time. What is beautiful in fact is the act of the addition of spices in two if not more stages. Whilst we Indians can take it for granted (not you BBhasin, since you point it out beautifully), or at least not give it as much credit as it deserves, I have been amazed at the reactions I get from professional chefs in their admiration for the complexity of flavoring that one can achieve by doing this. There is a back and front flavor and heat. And that cannot be achieved at this heightened level unless the spices are added in more than one stage. In my own kitchen, in my classes and at restaurants where chefs create some of the dishes I share recipes for, I most often do not rely on Bhunao in the classic sense of oil seperation. In fact I often draw from recipes that hardly have much need for long duration of cooking. But when we do need a flavor complexity that can impress and linger beyond some moments alone, I do go back into the traditions of Bhunao, and I find myself finding great winners time after time.
  5. We have discussed the Cauliflower Keema in another thread on meat keemas. It is certainly a wonderful preparation. I have never eaten this cabbage keema you mention, sounds great. Tell us more. PS:CLICK HERE for the Keema with meat thread.
  6. Welcome to eGullet Nimki. Many thanks for these tips. Look forward to reading more from you.
  7. Apart from having the distinction of serving a good Vada Pao, this village also has something to do with George Bernard Shaw. Have you all figured it out?
  8. I must say that I dont know of the vada pao stall outside the Colaba Bus station. But maybe this must be close to the place where you had frankies as mentioned by you in another thread. The Lettuce leaf is just placed on top of the Vada in the Pao, an attempt to keep up with the Big Macs. Interesting is all I can say. A good Kolhapuri Usal Pav is available for Rs. 8 at Bharat Cafe opp Churchgate station. The Best Vada Pav I have had is from a handcart/thela at a village called Ghoti after Igatpuri on the Bombay Nasik highway. He serves it with a third chatni which seems to consist of a green chilli/jeera tadka in a light sweet yoghurt emulsion. As I young boy, when we lived in Nagpur, a Maharasthrian neighbor of ours would serve Vada pao with three chutneys. And they made a thrid chutney with green chiles, garlic, cumin, lemon and very little yogurt. It was superb too.
  9. You can say that again Suvir, With red chilli/garlic chatni on one side and green chilli chatni on the other. Probably the only application of two varietals of Chillies in one piece of bread. I dont know if you remember but there used to be a famous stall opp VT station. They now serve it with a lettuce leaf. Yes I remember that stall well. I used to study at JJ School of Art in Bombay. As a student, vada pao, missal pav, ussal pav, pav bhaji and other such foods were our mainstay. VT was close by. The best vadas I have ever eaten were late at night from a vendor who would sell these to the BEST bud drivers on Colaba Causeway just outside of the bus depot. Had you ever tried them? They were superb. I ate some amazing vadas with pav at the home of some family friends last year when I was in Bombay. No vada pao concoction will ever come close I fear. We were 4 couples together. One of the couples was the husband/wife owners of Khyber and the others were all food lovers. Away from Bombay, in the weekend home on the mainland, facing the ocean, we ate foods like that was all there was to do in life. The vada pao made for breakfast were most amazing. I still can taste them in my mouth. Lettuce with vadas??? How does it work?
  10. Use corn oil or any other vegetable based oil with little flavor of its own. Olive oil will leave too much of its own flavor. Canning is very easy. If you want to can these jars, PM me, email me or call me, and I shall gladly assist you in doing it for the first time. You will soon become a pro. A small batch of this chutney if cooked to the correct stage, will last for at least a couple of months. But to be safe, lets assume at least two weeks. Canned chutney lasts as long as you want it to.. and if a bottle or to spoil, you can throw them away... you will still have plenty. It is easy to prepare, delicious and the canning part makes it something you can share with family and friends. Use any tomatoes you find. But only buy the most fresh and ripe tomatoes. At a pinch, canned tomatoes work well too. But again, use nicer canned tomatoes. I think, I have not studied the begining of this thread in a very long time, but CathyL had posted about her experience with canned tomatoes. It works out very close and still delicious and a chutney to be proud of. All the best with your tomato chutney adventures. Post here with any questions. And if you want, email me, and I can set up some time for me to go over canning details with you. It is an easy process. I believe on this thread, we may have had links to sites that explain canning in detail. Keep us posted.
  11. Many chefs in the US are using eggs for naan and kulchas. The good ones never use baking soda. Only baking powder.
  12. Vada Pao and Pao Bhaji were some of my favorite foods when I lived in Bombay. I must admit I would eat Pao with Bedekar Pickle, when I had run out of supply of pickles from my Maharashtrian and Gujju friends. I love Pao and have yet to have any bread in the US that comes close to it. I have certainly cheated and served hot dog buns and burger buns, but they are not the same. Maybe others here have found another bread that is the same. I would love to discover it myself. Thanks for adding pao to this bread discussion. Now I am craving vada pao.
  13. What was different in your version from the one in the photograph? At the end of the day, taste actually matters far more. But I am curious... It is not easy to have food look and taste the same way. Far too many photographs fail in presenting exactly how a dish will be prepared by another. It is also for that reason that good publishing houses have made it their new goal to find photographers that can make food look good without altering its contents, garnishes and consistency.
  14. Hey, I am not a big cook! Just learning by trial and error, but I would like to share kerala recipes I have tried so far. I cannot claim they are my recipes. I collect recipes from the web & magazines, make changes to match our taste... It looks like all of you here in this forum are great professional cooks. Glad that I found this forum! I hardly feel anyone has any claim over many a recipe they cook. Most all things are inspired, if not even just tweaked a little, to make them something just ever so different. There are certainly those dishes that many a chef come up with, but I would say at least in the realm of cooking that is not just cerebral, one has to rely on what has been done and created in the past. It is that which I believe makes food wonderful. You are not alone in learning, adapting and taking from others. We all do that. AT least those of us that are still learning and growing and wanting to get somewhere other than what we are today. Please do share the Kerala recipes you have cooked, prepared, learned and found successful. I am sure others like me would be delighted in learning from you. We are also glad you found us. The feeling is mutual redpepper. Where are you based? What city, country, continent? A geographic location often gives another on the net somewhat of a deeper understanding of who they read posts from.
  15. Suvir Saran

    A tomato tart

    Made the tomato tart and the zucchini flan. The flan was very good. I used truffle oil to finish and the tomato coulis had some balsamic in it. Was enjoyed thoroughly by all guests. The tomato tart was good. The crust could have been better .... the mustard was just fine. I am no mustard fan, and still enjoyed it quite a lot. For my "no mustard is good" taste, the 5 tablespoons was not too much. I did not make the clafouti or the soup. Made blueberry cobbler instead. And many other dishes.
  16. You bring back memories of me attending a wedding in Saharanpur as a kid. At that wedding I had this keema. It was great. In Delhi they would often add makahanas (lotus seeds) and khoya into vegetarian keema.
  17. I try not to stack the bottles on top of each other until they are cool and each of them has popped. Should I not be worrying about that?
  18. CathyL, have you made any this summer? I have not seen you on eGullet too often lately. Wonder how you are and if you have been canning in general. Hope you have. I have enjoyed the fruits (chutney) of your labor. Keep us posted on any chutney stories you may have.
  19. You seem to have become like me. I love eating plain basmati rice (boiled of course) with this chutney. Raita is the only other item, if I am not too lazy. Some friends add a little ghee to the rice. Thanks for the photograph. It is beautiful and the bottles look great. Do you leave them to cool overnight before cleaning and sealing them with the screw top? I do that... but wonder always what others do.
  20. I always thought Furi knives were made in Australia. Am I wrong to assume that?
  21. I have had it as Thoran and also had a soup at a friends house. Both are wonderful preparations. My friend is from Kerala. Maybe you can share some other wonderful recipes and preparations from Kerala. What a treat it would be. The use of drumsticks in Avials, sambhaars and mixed vegetable preparations are more common.
  22. Most any butcher in the US will gring lamb for you. All you have to do is request that. Thali has food that is just as wonderful in flavor as the photographs are visually.
  23. At lunch yesterday, I was giving Drum Sticks to a Caucasian friend in NYC. This friend is no newbie to Indian food, in fact eats Indian food most every meal. They had exactly your reaction to these. Even as I was using my teeth to scrape every last bit of soft fiber and pulp to savor.
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