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Vikram

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Everything posted by Vikram

  1. One thing you do not want to do is get in touch with... OK, lets leaved them unnamed, but lets just say they are a company who produces some of that undrinkable wine that Anil refers to. You are almost guaranteed on getting a lot of bullshit on the Great Wine Traditions of India and to listen to them it is just a matter of time before Baramati regains its rightful place up there with Bordeaux. Lots of highly dubious guff about drinking practices of Mughal emperors, the British in India and so on. Entirely avoidable as are most of their products. To be really honest Monica I don't think there is really that much history of wine in India, at least wine in the sense we know it today. Nobody really knows what Soma was, even whether it was hallucinogenic or alcoholic, but it was certainly not wine and its confusing even to talk of it in such terms. If you're using wine to refer to any fermented beverage, then yes, there's much to go on from toddy to mahua to various rice spirits to the bottle of desi daru that I found surprisingly nicely packaged and labelled and for sale for just Rs80 at my local booze shop. I bought a bottle, took a sip and almost passed out on the spot. It seemed to be almost pure ethyl alcohol, flavoured with lime to help it go down, though personally I think that it this strength it blasts any sensation from the tastebuds. And Anil, god knows I don't hold much of a brief for Indian winemakers, but these days some of their products are quite drinkable. The relentlessly globetrotting Michel Roland has ensured that Grover's produces a really quite good red in their Grover's La Reserve from grapes grown near Bangalore. Sula vineyards near Nashik is producing pretty good whites (sauvignon blanc and chenin blanc). And even the unnamed wine producer has a line in sparkling wine which is good fun to drink, if you don't have great expectations. (I will also confess a reprehensible liking for some of the Goa (red) ports, but that's because I like cough syrup anyway. On the other hand, theres a white port they produce that should come with danger warnings, its that horrific). Vikram
  2. The Sai Baba anecdote is fascinating and it sounds like we're on the right track. I've written on fasting foods in the past on these forums, and they do often still include foodstuffs that have fallen out of common usage - water chestnut flour, for example. So this kandamul could very likely be what I ate. I don't think its a root though, it seemed too big, but then suran is a root and it can be huge. I don't think I've eaten a raw sweet potato so I can't say if it tastes like the kandhamul did. As I said, it was crisp and sweetish, a bit like a water chestnut but with the mealiness replaced by a fibrousness. I've asked some friends who might know about this, so I'll keep you all posted. Vikram
  3. Way to go Mongo! I agree entirely, readymade spices blends and pastes very much have a role in the Indian kitchen (you will also find Monica agreeing with you on this, she's written an excellent feature for this on egullet which you can find in the archives). Of course, everyone will find their own balance between authenticity and effort, and perhaps there is that little extra that comes from doing it from scratch. I sometimes think that the real secret behind the food of certain legendary caterers and restaurants lies in just that - they do their own blending because on the scale of their cooking it makes business sense. (But then I also think some of the difference in their taste also comes from exactly this scale and is hence not really replicable at home. For example, I have always found restaurant made iddlies superior to the efforts of even really good home chefs. Some level of scale is needed, I think, for the batter to get that perfect blend of sourness and lightness that can steam to perfection). My personal balance is something like, I think its worth raosting and grinding individual spices, but when one has to do a whole bunch for something you just need a p[inch of, then forget it, a packet is better. Just make sure you replace these fairly regularly and you won't have any problem. There are also some spice blends that are only ever really made professionally or semi-professionally - East Indian bottle masala on which I have waxed eloquent in these forums is one example, made once a year by old aunties for their extended families and then stored in the beer bottles that gives them their name. Kashmiri ver is another example, so Edward was actually being fairly authentic using a readymade masala. I have to add that the one readymade paste I find TOTALLY essential is ginger-garlic and to hell with all those recipes that advise you to peel and mince the garlic and ginger till its a paste. Just open the damn packet and the tastes are so strong anyway that the loss in flavour is minimal. OK, I admit, there is a slight difference between the fresh and the packaged ones, but I quite like the packaged version and no one aint taking it from me! (Readymade garlic paste is almost or even more vital for me since its the cornerstone of my hummus, and I've got waiting lines for that!). Vikram
  4. The best recommendation for eating in New Delhi is to save your money and buy a ticket to Bombay, Vikram (who has been dying to say that!)
  5. I had a very good meal at a place called the Five Flies, just off Long Street. We went for lunch, so it wasn't a problem getting a table, its a nice place, great food and friendly, yet professional service. If you're driving through Kalk Bay DEFINITELY stop at this bakery/deli called Olympia. Totally historic cinnamon twists and great bread and pastry in general. Back in Cape Town Melissa's gourmet deli on one of those roads leading up the mountain is very well known and pretty good. Vikram
  6. Not such a change - isn't that the same process by which they ended up with a British Indian 'vindaloo' that is way hotter than anything Goa has ever seen? The difference being that emadashi, as I understand it, is ONLY chillies. No chicken, no mushrooms, just treat the chillies as veggies and curry them. Although Andhra food is really hot, gunpowder oddly enough isn't always that hot itself. Its more savoury-crunchy with the most distinct flavour I remember being of the coarsely ground peanuts. On the other hand, there's a typicaly garlic-methi (fenugreek) powder you get here in Bombay that I use all the time to add flavour to anything bland. It doesn't advertise its chillies, but it surely has them since it can be pretty explosive. Vikram
  7. I think Madhur Jaffrey's solution to this is to use the same quantity of dessicated coconut as fresh, but to remember to soak it in hot water and ADD the water as well. This might seem obvious, but I didn't do it when I tried making a thoran from Das Sreedharan's Kerala cookbook and the result was way too powdery and dry. Sreedharan's book failed to mention this tip which adds to my suspicion of using cookbooks by restaurateurs for home cooking, Vikram
  8. Suvir will clarify this if he ever gets round to checking this forum again , but I'm guessing its the Hardwar/Benaras pandit tradition. Many north Indian families followed, and still do, the tradition of having a pandit in Hardwar or Benaras who kept the records of births and deaths in their family literally stretching back for centuries. Everytime someone in the family was born or died you had to travel there for religious rituals, or at least send money for the pandit to do them, and in doing so the records were updated. I forget if the archives were actually written or were entirely memorised - certainly large chunks were memorised. So its quite likely that Suvir's family can trace its roots back to the 15th century through this connection, Vikram
  9. Yes, later on in the book she does give a recipe for Almond Macaroons (Badaam Makroom) with the specific instruction that this be made along with the Eeda Pak. Mongo is pulling my leg bague25 for one occasion when an unsuspecting Canadian (I think) lady posted a query asking about East Indian (meaning desis, as opposed to West Indians) recipes. It caught me in a cranky mood and I proceeded to tick her off for using a term that actually had a specific meaning in Indian - the term we both understand as applying to the East Indian community of the Bombay region. I still feel quite strongly about this, I mean, we're the original Indians, we don't need to have prefixes attached, but there are probably less acerbic ways of doing so! Your suggestion about tapping the real East Indians for toddy is an excellent one since it gives me a reason to make a weekend trip to Bassein or Madh Island! (Though I've also been told that toddy is available in some of the country liquor bars around Gowalia Tank). Vikram
  10. I haven't eaten Bhutanese food, but its reputed to be total dynamite mainly because their national dish of emadashi consists of curried chillies. Yes, that's right, not chillies in a curry, but chillies are the curry. And pretty hot chillies like this. Years ago my mother and aunt were in Bhutan for a while and my mother says meal times were remarkable since at all the tables in their hotel people would be sitting around crying into their emadashi! As Mongo notes, in India Andhra food is usually seen as the hottest, followed by Chettinad food, and I'd agree with him on Andhra. Real chettiar food isn't that hot, though its certainly spicy. Its the usual problem - cooks in restaurants who don't quite know how to make the right stuff, divert attention from this by piling on the chilli powder. Most chettiar food is generic non-vegetarian food cooked in a southern style, but with too many spices. Eat real chettiar food - Raintree at the Connemara Hotel in Madras is one that serves it - and its not that hot. Ditto for Anglo-Indian food which should mean the food of the Anglo-Indian (mixed race, Eurasian) community and was often the exact opposite of hot. To be more precise, it sort of see-sawed in between - an Anglo-Indian friend of mine settled in Australia said the community demonstrated its conflicting roots by never quite settling on the spice level of its food. Genteel Anglo-Indians would tend to their British side and make their food as bland as possible. But they would still have longings for spicy Indian food and secretly cook up fiery curries. The vindaloo that was described in the beginning is not a product of Anglo-Indian cuisine, but British-Indian (and has nothing whatsoever to do with the original Goan vindaloo which is sour rather than hot). British-Indian should probably even be British-Bangladeshi since its almost exclusively the product of curry houses opened by Bangladeshi's from Sylhet who set them up with no real idea of Indian cooking, and took to throwing in the chillies to make up for this lack of knowledge. If someone wants to really go off the scale with hot foods, perhaps they should consider what British-Bangladeshi-Bhutanese fusion might be like.... Vikram
  11. Yes, though they're calling themselves Vakils, Feffer & Simons now. Price Rs295/-
  12. Dr.Katy Dalal has come out with Jamva Chaloji - 2, a sequel to 'Jamva Chaloji' ("Lets Feast") the excellent book of basic Parsi recipes she compiled quite a few years ago. The first book, published by Vakils in Bombay, is in its third printing and along with the Penguin book on Parsi cooking, it could be seen as the standard reference book to Parsi daily cooking. So this book is very welcome and all the more so because in it Dr.Dalal has decided to focus on all the rarer recipes, the ones cooked for obscure festivals or by Parsis in the villages of the Gujarat and Maharashtra coasts they used to live in, but which are now being forgotten as their children move to the cities and have no time for elaborate rituals. Dr.Dalal is an archaeologist by training, before she became known as a cook, so she's by far the best person to do this work. Its a fascinating book to read, and a delightful one too, since she's interwoven the recipes with her own memories of visits to the villages as a young girl, and in particular of her great-grandmother Soonamai whose recipes and cooking practices are evidently still her inspiration. There are all the recipes which coulod probably only be made in the village - like tadi-nu-batervo or mutton cooked in toddy (fermented date palm sap). Toddyn is highly perishable, so you probably won't be able to get it in Bombay. I've certainly never come across it, though you do get neera, the sweet, unfermented version and perhaps the solution would be to buy this and let it ferment. (Episure, do you think this would work? And do you know of any other way to get toddy in Bombay?). The book also benefits from Dr.Dalal's obviously excellent connections in the Parsi community - she can track down the one agiary (fire temple) in Bombay (Mehella Patel Agiary behind Novelty Cinema in Grant Road) whose head priest has a wife who is the last person to make muktad-nu-bhatiyu which, as far as I can make out (Dalal is not always entirely clear and while its not a problem, the book could have done with just a bit more editing, that's the only criticism I could make), is an elaborate package of different dishes including chicken, fish roe, a spicy omelette and other things. Or if you want vasanoo, a heavy Parsi sweet made of some 32 different ingredients that few people have the patience to make these days, she tells you the exact family to go to in Cushrow Bagh, one of the main Parsi colonies, who still make and supply it to others. A lot of these recipes are obviously quite difficult or labour intensive which is why they aren't made these days, and Dalal doesn't hide that. Sometimes one can think of other reasons why they aren't made like her recipe for eeda-pak or egg halwa the ingredient list for which starts with 50 egg yolks, 500 gms almonds bioled and skinned, 150 gms pistachios, boiled and skinned (almonds and pistachios to be fried and ground), 100 gms charoli, 100 gms white pumpkin seeds.... Dalal obviously knows this is going to be a hard sell since she writes "This is one of the most delicious sweets I have ever eaten and I request all my readers to make it at least once in their lifetime..." Yes, well one can see why you're not likely to be able to eat this in more than one lifetime! Still, Dalal's pleading for such recipes is quite persuasive and while I don't think I'll be running out to buy 50 eggs anytime soon, I can certainly see myself making other recipes like Soonamai's special cucumbers stuffed with mince, or bhaji-ma-sookka-dana (dried green peas cooked in spinach) or gamti-amlette (country omelette - a typical spicy, had fried Indian one, but with pieces of green mango added) or papau-ma-gos (mutton in papaya gravy) or maybe even kolmi, sekti-i-sing, ne-kacchi-keri-ne-kohru-nu-dohru (prawn, drumstick, raw mango and pumpkin gravy). And even otherwise, there's still the pleasure of just reading Jamva-Chaloji-2! Vikram
  13. There's a street snack that's sold in Bombay that's always intruiged me, not that common, but you can find it fairly regularly at Chowpatty or near Fountain and a few other places. What's remarkable about it is the way it looks - a large cylinder of what looks like ivory wood, with a thin reddish tan layer outside. If you want to eat it the guy selling it will carefully slice a thin section from the cylinder, remove the tan park and give it to you. It tastes sweet and crunchy, a bit difficult to swallow since its a bit fibrous, but quite nice. One guy I asked told me its called kandhamul, but does anyone know what its English name is or what plant it comes from? Could this be what's called hearts of palm? Vikram
  14. This Pinky woman is hilarious. I'm putting her remark on finger eating to prevent flatulence as one of the nuttiest comments on Indian food ever. Indian food is flatulent because much of the protein comes from pulses and no amount of finger action is going to reduce that. We might as well acknowledge that flatulence has an established and even honoured part in Indian food, as this extract from a piece of papads written by a friend of mine in the Times of India indicates: That other anecdote Pinki gives about the Shah saying eating with forks is like making love through an interpreter is so hoary, it should really be given a decent burial. But then I guess when it comes to playing the exotic Indian card to hoodwink foreigners, anything goes! Saffron water! I think the writer of this piece also ended up feeling that Pinky was a bit too much to take. Maybe I'm imagining things, but there's a certain tongue in cheek quality about the piece. Dhuan and dum (not dun) are both not that common techniques, hardly the basics that she's pretending they are. I associate them both more with restaurant cooking than home cooking. Its not that you can't do them, but they're too fiddly and awkward - who wants a kitchen full of smoke? - for daily home cooking. Episure has made the best comments on the rest of the piece so I'm not going to add anything more other than to say to Helena that based on this piece, don't bother with her book. Stick to Madhur Jaffrey, Julie Sahni or some of the other classics, Vikram
  15. Possibly his background is in the hospitality industry where its much more common to encounter boneless chicken, not least because there are minions to do the deboning for you. Mrs.Mathew - yes, of the Spice Coast book - was firmly in the home cooking mould, so she'd keep the bones. Not that Mrs.M doesn't have her own quirks. For example, she commonly uses 'dessertspoon' as a measure in addition to tablespoon and teaspoon. At one point I thought she meant coffeespoon, for a really small measure, but then a friend of mine who's married into that family and has plenty of experience of their use of dessertspoons tells me that she meant one of those large rounded spoons. I think the recent fully illustrated edition of the book confirms this. I don't know how much real difference there is between this and a tablespoon, but she seems to insist on the dessertspoons. Back to boneless, many shops now sell breasts only and again its possible the Penguin guy meant them. They are convenient but to my mind more suited to Western than Indian cooking, Vikram
  16. There are some organic food companies in India who supply honey from the forests collected by tribals, the type I'm thinking of comes from the Western Ghat forests off India's West coast, but there are other varieties from other parts of the country. Its minimally processed and wonderful - its got a raw, distinctive taste that makes commercial honeys taste like plain sugar syrup. On a slightly different note I was in the main flower market in Dadar in Central Bombay yesterday. This sounds fancy, but its not - its a fairly cramped and not too clean place tucked into one of the busiest spots in the city, partly under a flyover and next to one of the highest traffic stations. I'd gone to buy carnations from the few shops that sell Western flowers - otherwise the market is mostly Indian flowers, piles of jasmine buds, lotuses (in demand now because of the elections!), waxy yellow chamelis. Yesterday there was another type, I don't know its name, maybe mogras, small tightly curled yellow flowers full of pollen which had been threaded into small garlands for the wrist. And what was amazing was that in the midst of all the crowds and chaos these flowers were absolutely swarming with bees. To pack some for me the boy selling them had to swat a bunch away, and a couple were probably packed into the leaves he wrapped them in. Wonder what sort of urbanised honey these bees produce in the middle of the city! Vikram
  17. My mother is Malayali and anytime I've eaten chicken at any of our Malayali relatives houses its always been with bones in. I'm pretty sure the recipes in Mrs.Mathew's book would require chicken on the bone. The concept of 'boneless' is something I associate with North Indian restaurants and butter chicken in particular. Vikram
  18. I don't have much personal experience of paneer/channa making, but my sense is that its a much misunderstood process. Recipes routinely tell you there's nothing more to it than splitting milk with lime juice or something else, but the differences in results can be huge and no one talks about why. Lots of commercial paneer is just tasteless textured blocks like grainy tofu, or its slightly sour compacted curds. But Punjabis and Sindhis, and in my experience only Punjabis and Sindhis have the ability to make a light, creamy, faintly salted version that is, in my opinion, almost on par with some of the very fresh cheeses you get in France. I think this is usually done professionally - you'll see certain shops with huge white blocks of paneer and people queueing up to buy it at the last minute so its as fresh as possible when they get home. There's one famous place near my flat in Khar and I've been planning on interviewing the owner. If he agrees and passes on any secrets, I'll let you know. On carrot halwa, while its not my favourite dish - least of all when its almost inevitably paired with bad quality vanilla icecream - I think the type of carrots has a lot to do with the final result. The few times I've had good carrot halwa it was made with the faintly translucent long red carrots you get in India, not the standard stubby orange ones. It was also not that sweet - the sweetness came from the carrots and not tons of added sugar (I mean you have to add some, but not drown the carrots in it). Vikram
  19. Vikram

    Olive oil pomace

    Not sure where general questions on ingredients should go, so am posting this here. I needed to buy a new bottle of olive oil and as usual while I was checking out what was available in the shops I was wondering whether to be happy that we're no longer in the days you could only buy it in dubious looking tins from a pharmacist (this is India, but I'm sure was true of many other places as well) or to start moaning about the price now that the real stuff is plentifully available, and hence indispensible, but god does it blow a hole in the wallet. And I'm not talking fancy brands at all, just standard Bertolli in its variants, plus other presumably repackaged-from-bulk brands. I am not looking for the really premium stuff, for that I'll do with oil begged from friends abroad, or that greenish Bertolli variant seems acceptable. There's suddenly some brand available that is apparently promoted by Ferran Adria, but they're all flavoured and that's not what I'm looking for. As I said, I need basic, working olive oil brand. Today I just noticed one other type - its a Bertolli brand and is called Olive Pomace Oil and is much cheaper. As I understand it, this is made from the olive cake at the end like a sort of grappa of olive. A site found while googling suggests ominously that the oil are extracted using solvents and that no one in their right minds would consider using it. What are they exactly and are they really this dangerous? Vikram
  20. In a sort of philosophic sense I think what's needed is some sense of assurance that the recipe is worth doing. There are many cookbooks, many recipes, only that much time... I don't think this really needs reams of ecstatic prose before it or fancy pictures. Just clear presentation and a sense of assurance work well - Tarla Dalal has it, though most of her recipes couldn't be more matter of fact. Sticking just to Indian cookbooks, I'd say Karen Anand and Monisha Bharadwaj both have. For some reason I feel less convinced about Sanjeev Kapoor. His basic books are good, but of late I think the self promotion is taking over. I positively disliked his latest Simply Sanjeev book where he's dressed up as a maharajah on the cover. And his Blue Cilantro restaurant in Bombay sucks BIG TIME! Also one more detail about the last book I think - it was printed in italics which makes it harder to read and really, with a cookbook, simplicity is VITAL. Many of the traditional cookbooks like Samaithu Par and Rasachandrika are good even though the recipes are sometimes so terse (Rasachandrika) that they might seem off-putting. What's evident is a lifetime of knowledge that's gone into the books and that gives them assurance. One book I haven't made up my mind about is Jiggs Kalra's Prashad. It has very many things going for it. I like the way he highlights the chefs who have developed the recipes, you can see the work and the passion for preserving old recipes that has gone into it. The recipe layout style is also very interesting and different. Nonetheless I get the feeling that its more designed for professional chefs than the home chef. Its a very good book, but slightly intimidating. One thing I DO like and which puts the writer higher in my estimation is a discussion of ingredients. Recipes are all very well, and detailed descriptions of the techniques are good, especially when accompanied by line drawings for really tricky steps. But all this won't be of any use if the ingredients aren't right or there's no proper understanding of them. So a detailed discussion of the ingredients really matters and its one reason I admire Camelia Punjabi's curry book (and obviously the Indian Pantry book). Madhur Jaffrey also does this very well, and adds lots of other interesting stuff on the food and the people who cook it. Vikram
  21. Nice to see so many other stroopwafel fans! And thanks for reminding me about this trick. It was the perfect solution to a wet day in Amsterdam, with the cold wind blowing down the canals. One suitably spiked coffee, one stroopwafel - and maybe that cake-like apple pie they make to follow - BLISS! You get them everywhere, they're not a particularly fancy item and they keep well so you can buy them in any grocery. If you want them really fresh then I think the place I saw them being made on the street was the Albert Cuyp market, which is quite a nice place to wander around. Amsterdam is a pretty good place for sweet baked stuff. Apart from that apple-pie I mentioned (anyone got a recipe?) you should go to the banketbakkerijs or biscuit shops where you get a whole range of great little cookies and pastries. I've just remembered I particularly liked one type which was called a wellington, but I've quite forgotten what it was like. Interesting to read about the stroopwafel origins as a product made with the remains of the other products. There must be quite a few other such products. Weren't petit fours invented to make use of the heat in the ovens after the main baking was done? Vikram
  22. Maybe I should be posting this in the Pastry forum, but anyway, here's my request: does anyone have a recipe for good, basic, minimum effort toffees? Not because I want to make them for myself, but because I need them for toffee vodka. Someone gave me a small bottle last New Year's (it was part of a New Year's hamper of goodies made and sent out by a top Bombay restaurant) and I loved it. And I found a recipe on the Net that said simply, take vodka, put toffees in, shake it it all melts and drink. The recipe suggested putting it through two dishwasher cycles, but my dishwasher is a lady called Nanda, who probably would not be too enthused to spend her time shaking bottles of vodka for me, so I just left it in the kitchen and shook it up now and then when I remembered and soon enough there was excellent toffee vodka which was a big hit with everyone. Even better, that's what everyone wanted me to bring when I went over to their place, so I stopped bothering with bottles of wine, an excellent decision for my pocket since I only used the cheapest vodka - I think the raw edge stops it becoming too sugary. Now a real crisis has hit. I was using a commercial toffee made in India by Perfetti, a hard round toffee called Alpenliebe, with a buttery caramel taste. But no sooner did I get into production mode, Perfetti seems to have stopped production of this. And I am not finding any other decent toffees in the market. So it looks like I'm stuck with making them, so if anyone has a recipe that would be great. If anyone can suggest ways to cut the whole process even shorter by maybe making the toffee along with the vodka that would be INCREDIBLE! So please, if there are any confectioner-boozers out there, please come to my help, Vikram
  23. A kind friend coming back from the Netherlands has got me a couple of packets of stroopwaffels, and I've just realised again how totally delicious they are. Its that combination of crisp and sticky, sweet, but not deadeningly so and that amazing back of the throat richness. Stroopwaffels are diabolically deceptive - the richness doesn't hit you all at once, so you think you can eat more, and before you realise it you've finished the pack and are feeling distinctly queasy. I admit there may be other things AS addictive, but I doubt there are many that are MORE. What I'd like to know is how hard are they to make at home? I remember seeing a vendor in an Amsterdam market making them in his stall, but otherwise I've only ever seen the finished packed product. Does it need a special grill? They have waffle indentations, but are much thinner and also seem crisper - more fat, I guess, which is why they can keep, while waffles can't. What about the syrup that's used to sandwich the layers? Just plain golden syrup or something else? Would it be possible to substitute honey, since golden syrup isn't that easy to come by where I am (Bombay, I think we make sugar in a different way in India, so you get jaggery, not syrup)? And a major question: why do all the stroopwaffels I've eaten taste of coconut? Not right through, just that first bite and a really strong smell/taste? Do they grease the griddle in coconut oil and if so, why? Vikram
  24. I was reading an article on the LA Times about these two kitchen historians who are experimenting with preparing British food really authentically, down to wearing period style clothing when cooking it. This is throwing up interesting insights into the cooking of the food in areas like the difference that original utensils made, particularly when it came to the metal used: This reminds me of something you often hear with traditional Indian cooks, about how important it is to use certain types of metal utensils only. For example, my grandmother insists that certain types of Malayali dishes can only really be made in a heavy - and I mean HEAVY - brass urli (a squat, very wide mouthed pan). Needless to say this is something that's increasingly being forgotten partly because of the difficulty and expense of getting these utensils and also because many of them were a real pain to use. Also, the utensils don't work with all heat sources - a really heavy urli just won't fit on a modern gas stove. But I thought it would be interesting to collect examples of dishes where the type of metal used really does make a major difference to the dish, and perhaps suggestions on how one can continue to use these in a modern kitchen? Vikram
  25. Some expert advice needed. I've just returned (to India) from LA where I went quietly mad in Grand Central Market buying anchos, serranos and all those other types of chillies, so different from Indian chillies and which we never see here. And at one of the stands I saw these bowls of brown sauce which I was told was freshly made sauce for mole poblano (or is the sauce called mole poblano, and is so what's the whole dish that's made with it using chicken called?). Naturally I bought some and it survived the return journey reasonably well. It tastes great - sweet and spicy and a bitter-rich chocolate taste coming through. So I've been looking for recipes on the Net on how to use it, and I've become a bit confused. None of the recipes, naturally, is catering for lazy cooks who get in the sauce readymade, but even if one adapts accordingly, I'm still confused on how to prepare the chicken. Some recipes say boil, some say fry - what's the best way to do? Any guidance will be gratefully received and even though this is egullet, please don't tell me I have to make the sauce from fresh. Next time, I promise, this time I just want to use the stuff I bought in LA, Vikram
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