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    Winnipeg Manitoba Canada
  1. Something else that I especially try to include for outdoor, summer eating are the chaats! I have been experimenting with as many as I can, and inventing new ones along the way. Looking at books, and restaurant menus. it seems that herbs, greens and fresh fruits get short-shifted quite a bit. I try to maximize the use of them during the summer, and save more of the 'heavier' foods for the winter months. I try to take a lesson from the Thai and Vietnamese, who eat herbs constantly, and are reknown for their fruit and vegetable salads. Like Indian cuisine, they focus on the elemental tastes sweet, sour, salty, spicy, etc. It especially helps to think like that during the summer, and to use as many raw salads, and cool refreshing foods as we can. Rick
  2. Some sort-of Indian vegetarian meals we make goes like this: I grill vegetables on a charcoal barbeque, like eggplant, squash, peppers, cauliflower, etc. Then I toss them in a mint-cilantro chutney, and serve. Other times I will brush the vegetables at the end of grilling with a tamarind chutney. Summer is hot and short, and it's easier to cook outside. Often I will do the naans out on the grill too. Or chapatis, on a griddle on the barbeque. Then, they can be puffed up right on the ash-covered charcoal coals. If it is a dinner party, the guests can do this themselves. It's alot of fun. And we look forward to Iced Masala chai, or a an iced tea that we have added ginger, mint and basil leaves to, and sweetened with honey. We have had barbeques with skewered paneer, with a tandoor style marinade. Sometimes homemade paneer patties, where we have added fresh herbs to the cheese before it is pressed, makes a great bbq addition. We always include raitas using fresh new potatoes, and roasted, ground cumin seed. Cabbage salads flavoured with lime juice and mustard seeds, and lots of pickles. Rick
  3. How do other people keep all of their spices organized? I seem to have so many jars of spices and dried chilies, etc. that it takes up alot of room. Does anyone use the traditional spice box? It only holds 7spices doesn't it? Is this practical for anyone? Which spices do you decide to put in it, and which stay on the shelf? Does anyone have good ideas on how they have organized a small kitchen to contain the evergrowing collection of legumes, flours, spices, etc...
  4. Hello, I would suggest a cabbage and potato strudel, of course! You might be familiar with apple strudel, but there are many savoury strudels, too. Don't be confused with the puff-pastry apple turn-overs, which are sometimes sold as strudel. They're not! The Austrian version would use a filling made of boiled potatoes, sauteed cabbage and onions, carawayseed, fennel seed, black pepper, and a little bacon or ham for flavour. Sometimes the filling is moistened a little with some cream or sour cream. Maybe in an Indian context the cabbage and potato strudel would use ghee to brush on the pastry, and the spices could include mustard seeds and curry leaves, and some chilies. If you aren't familiar with the long coiled, snake-like strudel, I will describe it for you: Strudels are the Austrian-Hungarian pastries which are similar to phyllo pastry. In Greece and Turkey, phyllo is used for familiar dishes like spanakopita and baklava, among others. Like these, strudels are made from dough of the thinnest thickness. Instead of layers of cut dough, a single piece of strudel dough is pulled out to cover a kitchen table. After being filled, the entire dough is rolled up around a filling--sweet or savoury. (Phyllo can be purchased anywhere and substituted for strudel dough, although hand pulled pastry is easy and alot tastier). A simple noodle dough is pulled to a gossamer thinness on top of a floured tablecloth, until the entire table is covered. Then the dough is splashed with melted butter and sprinkled with toasted, buttered bread crumbs. Next the filling is laid down in a line along one edge of the table. The strudel is rolled up like a jelly roll, using the tablecloth to roll the delicate pastry up. (Just like one would roll up sushi). The roll is then transferred to a baking sheet, basted with melted butter, slashed for steam vents, and baked into the pastry is brown and crisp. I hope someone tries it! Rick
  5. Hello, I just talked to someone from Agriculture Canada, who supplied some history about the Canadian warnings on mustard oil. It seems that there is a weed, which is almost indistinguishable from the mustard seed plant, which in some areas has contaminated the crops. Oil from this plant may contain the toxic substance. Rick
  6. Thanks for the information. In Canada, the Government health authorities (Health Canada) and the regulating body (Agriculture Canada) have banned the sale of any mustard oil in Canada, unless it is labeled "for external use only". I found this warning on the Health Canada website. It was issued 5 years ago, and is still in effect for Canada. Like I said, people in the stores still buy it and use it. It's obvious from the containers that the oil was meant for cooking, despite the label. I guess the US and UK haven't reacted this way. Below is the Health Canada warning--FYI. Thanks Rick September 11, 1998 Warning Warning not to use any products containing mustard seed oil/mustard oil OTTAWA - Health Canada is warning consumers not to use any mustard seed oils/mustard oils because they may be contaminated with argemone oil, a toxic oil which can cause severe illness and sometimes death when consumed or absorbed through the skin. These oils are not used in prepared mustards made in Canada and these products are therefore not of concern. This advice follows a joint September 4 health hazard alert from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Health Canada about potential argemone oil contamination in mustard oil/mustard seed oil products used as foods. In addition to these food items, Health Canada inspectors have found mustard seed oils/mustard oils with labels stating "not for internal consumption," "for external use only" and other similar directives. These products might be massaged into the skin or hair, used for cooking or consumed. None of these products should be used. ........ Note from moderator -- edited for article copyright
  7. Hello, I'm not sure if this qualifies as a true "garam" masala, but it's a recent improvisation that I'd like to share. It is a little herbal, and a little nutty at the same time. It seems to suit some of my vegetarian dishes well. 1 tbsp mixed peppercorns 1 tbsp cumin seed 1 tbsp coriander seed 1 tbsp sesame seeds 1 tsp mustard seeds 1 tsp fennel seeds 1/2 tsp ajwain seeds Combine all spices in a dry pot. Roast over medium heat, stirring the spices slowly to prevent burning. Continue cooking over heat until the mustard seeds have popped, the sesame seeds have toasted, and whisps of steam are followed by the slightest haze of smoke. Grind when cool. Thanks! Rick
  8. Hello, I am curious about what experience others may have using mustard seed oil. In Canada, by law mustard seed oil must be sold with the label "for external use only". I have spoken to members of the East Indian community in Winnipeg (who describe themselves in that way to differentiate themselves from First Canadians who call themselves Indians) and I have been told that they use it with no ill effects. I realize that this oil has been used for a millenia, but in modern times, has use of it been discouraged in any other communities? Thanks! Rick
  9. Hi, I am trying to duplicate the rich, creamy kormas found in our local restaurant. Does anyone have any suggestions? References in books don't seem to describe the navratan korma that is popular here. Published recipes seem to use yogurt or else a pureed nut base. I'm sure that the restaurant version isn't authentic, but it is good. It seems to be based on cream. What combination of spices is suggested? Thanks Rick
  10. I am looking for regional vegetarian ideas from India that go beyond the stereotyped punjabi restaurant-style dishes that you usually find in Indian restaurants. Does anyone have any good cookbook suggestions on this topic? Thanks! Rick
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