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  1. Post your questions here -->> Q&A A Sampling of North Indian Breads Authors: Monica Bhide and Chef Sudhir Seth Introduction These breads are the taste of home for me -- wholesome breads prepared with simple ingredients and simple cooking methods. There are many different types of breads in North India. They can be prepared in the tandoor (clay oven, as is done in many restaurants), dry roasted, cooked on a griddle, or deep-fried. They can be prepared plain, or stuffed with savory or sweet filling, or just topped with mouthwatering garnishes. In the recipes below we are merely attempting to scratch the surface, presenting you with a glimpse of these magnificent breads. North Indian breads are prepared with various kinds of flours. The ones listed here use a whole-wheat flour known as atta and all-purpose flour. The dough is prepared in most cases without the use of yeast. (We have shown a special sweet bread here, called Sheermal, that is prepared using yeast.) Also, the tandoori breads are generally rolled out by hand not with a rolling pin. But in the recipes below, for ease of use for the home cook, we have used a rolling pin. As you will also see then, no special equipment is needed. We have prepared the breads in a traditional oven and in a non-stick skillet. (We have included some pictures towards the end of the lesson of a roti being prepared in a commercial tandoor.) A few tips: • Knead the dough well, adding only enough water or other specified liquid to make the dough the right consistency. • A must for preparing these breads is to let the dough rest as indicated. This will ensure that the dough softens and moistens, making it more pliable and easier to stretch • To prepare simple ghee (clarified butter) see below but for a in-depth discussion check out this wonderful thread in the India forum. (See the last few suggestions on preparing it by melting butter.) • You can also purchase ghee or clarified butter at your local Indian grocer or from www. Namaste.com. Clarified Butter (Ghee) Yields: About ½ cup ½ lb unsalted butter Heat a heavy pan over low heat. Add the butter, allowing it to melt. Once the butter has melted, increase the heat, bringing the butter to a simmer. The butter will start to foam. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes. Watch carefully as it may burn. The milk solids will start to settle at the bottom, and the liquid butter will float to the surface. When the liquid butter becomes amber in color, remove it from from the heat. Cool to room temperature. Strain the amber liquid into a jar and discard the milk solids. Cover and store, refrigerated, for up to 6 months. Plain Naan Dough Naans are traditional Indian breads prepared in clay ovens or tandoors. They are commonplace on most Indian menus. We have tried here to present a simple dough for Naans and then two of the more unusual preparations for it: the Peshawari Naan and the Onion Kulcha. . • ½ cup milk • 1 teaspoon sugar • 1 cup warm water • 1 tablespoon yogurt • 1 egg • 4 cups of all-purpose flour (labelled "maida" in Indian grocery store) • 1 teaspoon salt • 1 teaspoon baking powder • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (for baking tray) • 2 tablespoons clarified butter or ghee In a bowl whisk together the milk, sugar, water, yogurt and egg. Place the flour, salt and baking powder in a large shallow bowl. Mix well. Pour the liquid onto the flour and begin to knead. Continue kneading until you have a soft dough. If you need more liquid, add a few tablespoons of warm water. Knead for at least 10 minutes, or until you have a soft dough that is not sticky. Oil the dough. Cover the dough with a damp cloth and place in a warm place for 1½ - 2 hours, or until the dough has doubled in volume. Directions for plain naan: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease a large, heavy baking tray and set aside. Lightly dust the rolling surface and rolling pin with flour. Knead the dough again on the floured surface for about 5 minutes. Divide it into 8 equal pieces and cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap. Roll each piece into a ball and flatten it with your hands. Using a rolling pin, roll it out into an oval shape (about 8 inches). Using your hands, pull at both ends of the oval to stretch it a little. Continue until you have made 8 naans. Brush each oval with clarified butter. Place the naans on the baking sheet bake for 5 minutes. Turn on the broiler and broil for an additional 3 minutes or until golden brown. Peshawari Naan In this delightfully sinful recipe, the naan dough is stuffed with dried nuts and raisins and baked. Serve this warm right out of the oven for the best taste. 1 recipe prepared plain naan dough For the stuffing: • 1 tablespoon cashews (crushed) • 1 tablespoon almonds (crushed) • 1+1 tablespoons pistachios (crushed) • 1 tablespoon raisins • 1 teaspoon cilantro leaves, minced • 1 teaspoon sugar • 1 tablespoon Milk Mawa Powder (Dried whole milk powder) • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, ground • 3 tablespoons melted butter or clarified butter Prepare the Naan dough. While the dough is resting, prepare the filling. Set aside 1 tablespoon of pistachios and the raisins. In a mixing bowl combine all the other filling ingredients. Add a few tablespoons of water to bind them together to form a lumpy consistency. Roll the dough into a log. Cut into 8 equal portions. Lightly dust the rolling surface with flour. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease a large, heavy baking tray and set aside. Lightly oil or flour your hands. Take one portion of the dough and roll into a ball between the palms of your hands. Flatten the ball. Place it on the floured surface. Use a rolling pin to roll it out into a circle about 5 - 6 inches in diameter. Add a tablespoon of the filling to the center. Bring the sides together and pinch them to seal and form a ball. Flatten lightly. Dust very lightly with flour. Roll the flattened ball again on a lightly floured surface until about 5 - 6 inches in diameter. Garnish with the reserved pistachios and raisins. Continue until you have made 8 naans. Brush each naan with clarified butter. Place the naans on the baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes. Turn on the broiler and broil for an additional 3 minutes or until golden brown. Serve hot. Onion Kulcha We present this recipe by popular demand. Here the naan is stuffed with a spiced onion mix and baked to perfection. 1 recipe prepared plain naan dough For the stuffing: • 2 small red onions, finely chopped • 1 tablespoon minced cilantro • 1 tablespoon Chaat Masala (www.namaste.com) • 1 teaspoon red chili powder • Salt to taste • 3 tablespoons melted butter or clarified butter • 2 teaspoons cilantro, minced for garnish • small boiled potato, grated (optional) Prepare the naan dough. While the dough is resting, prepare the filling. First, using the palms of your hands, squeeze out all the water from the chopped onions. If the onions still appear to be watery, add a small boiled grated potato to your filling. This will prevent the filling from spilling out of the kulcha. In a mixing bowl combine all the filling to form a lumpy consistency. Roll the dough into a log. Cut into 8 equal portions. Lightly dust the rolling surface with flour. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease a large, heavy baking tray and set aside. Lightly oil or flour your hands. Take one portion of the dough and roll into a ball between the palms of your hands. Flatten the ball. Place it on the floured surface. Use a rolling pin to roll it out into a circle about 5 - 6 inches in diameter. Add a tablespoon of the filling to the center. Bring the sides together and pinch them to seal and form a ball. Flatten lightly. Dust very lightly with flour. Roll the flattened ball again on a lightly floured surface until about 5 - 6 inches in diameter. Dip your fingers in water and moisten the surface of the kulcha very lightly. Sprinkle with a few minced cilantro leaves. Continue until you have made 8 kulchas. Place the kulchas on the baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes. Turn on the broiler and broil for an additional 3 minutes or until golden brown. Serve hot. Ande Ka Paratha This is a unique addition to your recipe collection. A mild and flaky bread, it is a small kid’s favorite at our home. Makes 8 parathas • 2 cups Indian atta flour (whole-wheat flour) • 1½ teaspoons table salt • 2+2 tablespoons melted butter or clarified butter • Water as needed • 8 eggs In a bowl combine the flour, salt and two tablespoons of clarified butter. Slowly begin to add the water, kneading the flour as you go. Make a dough, kneading for at least 10 minutes. The final dough should be soft and pliable. It should not be sticky or else it will not roll out well. Cover the dough with a damp cloth or plastic wrap and let it sit for 30 minutes. Roll the dough into a log. Cut into 8 equal portions. Lightly dust the rolling surface with flour. Lightly oil or flour your hands. Take one portion and roll into a ball between the palms of your hands. Flatten the ball. Place it on the prepared floured surface. Use a rolling pin to roll it out into a circle about 5 - 6 inches in diameter. Now fold the dough over itself. Take the folded dough and roll it around itself into a spiral. Tuck the end under. Do this for all eight dough balls. (This folding and rolling will make the paratha very flaky.) Now flatten the spiral and roll again on a lightly floured surface until about 5 - 6 inches in diameter. Heat a griddle on medium heat. Brush it lightly with butter and add the paratha. Cook for about 2 minutes, or until the bottom of the paratha begins to blister. Brush the top lightly with butter and remove from heat. Put the paratha aside on a warm plate. Grease the same griddle a bit and break an egg on it. Cook the egg sunny side up. Place the cooked side of the paratha on the egg. Press down gently to break the yolk. Let it cook for a minute. Brush the top of the paratha with butter, flip carefully and cook for another minute or two until the paratha is no longer raw. Remove the paratha from the griddle and place on a serving platter. Cover with a paper towel. Continue until all the parathas are cooked. Serve hot. Indian Bread Stuffed With Spicy Potatoes (Aloo Ka Paratha) This filled paratha is a very popular North Indian bread, served traditionally with homemade white butter and Indian pickles of your choice. • 2 cups Indian atta flour (whole-wheat flour) • 4 tablespoons semolina • 1½ teaspoons table salt • 2 tablespoons melted clarified butter or butter • Water as needed • 3 medium potatoes, peeled • 2 Serrano green chilies, seeded and finely minced • 1 tablespoon cilantro, minced • 1 1-inch piece fresh ginger root, grated • 1 teaspoon Chaat Masala • 4 tablespoons melted clarified butter or butter • A few tablespoons flour for dusting In a bowl combine the wheat flour, semolina flour, salt and two tablespoons of clarified butter. Slowly begin to add the water, kneading the flour as you go. Make a dough, kneading for at least 10 minutes. The final dough should be soft and pliable. It should not be sticky, or else it will not roll out well. Cover the dough with a damp cloth or plastic wrap and let it sit for 30 minutes. While the dough is resting, prepare the filling. Boil the potatoes in enough water to cover for about 15 minutes. Drain. Put the potatoes in a bowl and mash them well with a fork. Add the green chilies, cilantro, ginger root, and chaat masala and mix well. Set this filling aside to cool. Roll the dough into a log. Cut into 8 equal portions. Lightly dust the rolling surface with flour. Lightly oil or flour your hands. Take one portion and roll into a ball between the palms of your hands. Flatten the ball. Place it on the prepared floured surface. Use a rolling pin to roll it out into a circle about 5 - 6 inches in diameter. Lightly brush the surface with the clarified butter. Add a tablespoon of the potato filling to the center. Bring the sides together and pinch them to seal and form a ball. Flatten lightly. Dust very lightly with flour. Roll the flattened ball again on a lightly floured surface until about 5 - 6 inches in diameter. Heat a griddle on medium heat. Brush it lightly with butter and add the paratha. Cook for about 2 minutes, or until the bottom of the paratha begins to blister. Brush the top lightly with butter and flip over. Cook for 2 minutes. Remove the paratha from the griddle and place on a serving platter. Cover with a paper towel. Continue until all the parathas are cooked. Sheermal A sweet bread, it is one of the few Indian breads that uses yeast. Keep the dough in a warm place to ensure that it rises. You can increase the amount of sugar if you like a sweeter taste. • 1 packet dry yeast • 1 teaspoon sugar • ¼ cup water • 1½ cups all-purpose flour • ¼ teaspoon salt • 2 tablespoons sugar • 2 eggs (separate 1 egg and set the yolk aside) beat the whole egg and the white together • 2 tablespoons melted clarified butter or butter • Extra flour for dusting • Pitted cherries/raisins for garnish Mix yeast with the sugar and 1/4 cup water. Set aside until frothy, about 5 - 10 minutes. Combine the flour, salt and sugar. Add the clarified butter, egg and yeast mixture. Knead until a smooth dough is formed. (You may need more warm water.) Set aside to rise until the dough doubles in size. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease a large, heavy baking tray and set aside. Lightly dust the rolling surface and rolling pin with flour. Knead the dough again on the floured surface for about 5 minutes. Divide it into 6 equal pieces and cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap. Roll each piece into a ball and flatten it with your hands. Using a rolling pin, roll it out into a disc. Continue until you have made 6 discs. Beat the reserved egg yolk and brush a little on each sheermal. Place a few cherries on the sheermal for garnish. Place the discs on the baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes. Turn on the broiler and broil for an additional 3 minutes, or until golden brown. Tandoori Roti We wanted to show how the tandoor is used to prepare breads. These pictures are of a special roti or bread, called Tandoori Roti, being prepared in the hot tandoor or clay oven. The basic recipe entails preparing a dough of whole-wheat flour. (See the paratha dough prepared earlier.) The flattened rolled out discs are then cooked in the tandoor until the dark spots begin appearing on the surface of the bread. Post your questions here -->> Q&A
  2. mongo_jones

    indian rums

    forgive me if this has been discussed before. rum is huge in india, especially with people in the armed forces (as we call the military). perhaps the biggest indian favorite: old monk
  3. SBonner

    Sri Lankan Hoppers

    A new restuarant recently opened in vancouver with a Sri Lankan family making hoppers. Are these a staple item in Sri Lankan homes? This restaurant gives you three on a plate, one with a soft poached egg in the middle, along with a choice of curry, shredded coconut and chutney. I've never seen these before. Any background information would be great. Stephen Vancouver
  4. Suvir Saran

    Pickles / Preserves

    In America, we think of pickles as a kind of a relish, or side dish – a cured vegetable that adds a sour or tart note to the meal. We pickle a variety of different vegetables but, for whatever the differences, pickles all have a recognizably “pickled” taste. Indian pickles use many of the same ingredients – salt, vinegar, coriander, mustard seeds, turmeric, cinnamon, cloves and ginger – but they present some of the most diverse and exotic tastes and textures imaginable. They are fiery hot, sour, pungent, fragrant, sweet- and- sour, and tart. They are crisp, silky and chewy. Flavors may be fresh, the taste of each spice distinct, or married and intensified by months or even years of aging as the textures of the ingredients melt and soften. While Indians eat some pickles (such as the Mixed Vegetable Pickle, below) in relatively large quantities, the pickles are often too intensely flavored to be eaten that way; they’re used in tiny amounts as a spice or condiment to enliven a dish. Indians also use pickles in a way that Americans never do, that is, medicinally, to cure an ailment. Indians love to taste food; they live to taste food. Indians want many layers and many contrasting tastes. No one food can satisfy that hunger except a variety of pickles. I have jars and jars of multi-colored pickles sitting on the kitchen table. One is a tiny onion pickle, picked young and fresh and pickled in rice vinegar, that is common to almost all north Indian homes. Several are pickled chilies: one is made of whole green chilies and is dangerously hot while another, made from habaneros stuffed with spices, is more savory than hot, and a third is made from chopped green chilies soured with lemon. There is a crunchy sweet- and- hot cauliflower, turnip and carrot pickle, a ginger-lime pickle and a gooseberry pickle. These pickles are made from recipes that have been handed down by the women of my family for two to three hundred years. Some of these jars have been maturing for just a few days, others for much longer than that. A jar of lemon pickles made by his family chef at home in India, a jar that has been maturing for 60 years. In India, food is understood to be intimately related to health and medicine. The Ayurveda, the ancient Hindu text that defines the relationship of food, spices, exercise and meditation for the health of the human body, gives recipes for various medicinal foods and elixirs, of which pickles play an important role. I use lemon pickle as it is traditionally used in my native country: to cure queasiness and tummy aches. In my New York household I use pickles the way that wealthier households do in India, as a condiment guaranteed to give plain foods taste. In fact, in India it’s considered rude to ask for pickles if they are not on the table; it suggests that the food isn’t savory enough. Indian homes make several signature pickles, recipes that have been passed down through generations of women. Pickles made the season before are served daily. Aged, well-loved pickles are brought out when someone is sick or when the household is hosting a special meal. With the exception of some pickles that are made with winter produce such as cauliflower, radishes, turnips and carrots, pickles are made in Indian homes in the heat of the summer. Fruits and vegetables are bought from local vendors who sell door to door. Women spend several weeks preparing pickles. The fruits are laid out on terraces on sheets of muslin for several days in the summer sun to dry, or “ripen” and concentrate their flavors. The produce is brought inside every night to protect against dew and laid out again in the morning. The pickles are put up in very large ceramic jars, each about 20 inches tall and 8 inches wide. Once jarred, the pickles are ripened again for several more days in the sun. If you ask an Indian where the best pickles are made, they will name three centers: the Marwari and Baniya trading communities in northern India, the state of Gujerat in western India, and the state of Andhra Bradesh, in southern India. The Marwari and Baniya communities are completely vegetarian and they subsist on pickles and bread. The people of these communities make pickles everyday and their meals include several different types. Pickles that are spiced with fenugreek and fennel and pickled in mustard oil, are likely to be from northern India, as are pickled cauliflower, carrots, turnips and radishes, the so called “winter vegetables” that are grown on the northern plains. Pickles represent a ritual world of food and community in India. Pickling is an ancient art and a part of Hindu spiritual practice: according to the laws of Hindu religion, pickling, or “cooking” foods with sun and air is one of the three acceptable ways to make raw foods palatable. The rituals of pickle making define a certain period of the summer in India when entire households are given over to the task of their making. Traditionally, in small towns, the women join together, spending days outside in the shade of tamarind trees cutting, preparing, and drying the fruits and vegetables. The kids play above in the dense greenery of the trees, eating the green fruit of the tamarind and tossing the seeds onto the ground below. (Stomach aches and tiny tamarind seedlings are evidence of their gluttony.) Play, food, music and storytelling combine to give the season a celebratory mood. Even in urban centers in India today, the time of pickling still invites ritual community and celebration. Women call each other on the phone to organize the making of the pickles or to ask for the gift of a jar of a favorite kind. Life slows a bit, personal connections are made, and thousands of years of ritual is repeated. --Suvir Saran and Stephanie Lyness
  5. Schielke

    Suvir's Book

    Suvir, I was wondering what the status of your book is? I have read a few references to it in some of the threads. I would certainly buy such a book when it comes out. Thanks! Ben
  6. Simon Majumdar

    Where's the Heart

    As vegetarian food in India is so wonderful, the place of meat often gets forgotten. In fact people assume you are a vegatarian unless you say that you are "non-veg" This often covers up the wonderful meat dishes that you can find in so many regions. One thing i have not been able to track down with any great success is a use of offal I love offal in all its forms. I think it is disengenuous to kill an animal and not try and eat all of it. I love the kidneys, the spleen, the hearts etc but my own cuisine seems lacking. Am I missing something? I have had a wonderful brain curry in Delhi, but that was it. Where in india do they specialise in offal and how do they prepare it. Any clues? S
  7. I tried my hand at a Basmati rice dish last night, using Julie Sahni's Classic Indian Cooking. The dish called for the rice to be prepared by 1/2 hour of steeping, then some frying (until translucent) and then about 20 minutes of cooking at various temperatures with the reserved water from steeping. The ratio of water to rice was 2:1. When finished, the rice had a watery taste to me, not the rice-y taste that I associate with Basmati. What did I do wrong?
  8. So due to a variety of factors I have decided to cook Indian for the next 3 months. Pursuant to that I purchased the other day a coffee grinder for spice-related grinding. Today and tomorrow I will be stocking the pantry with whatever other hardware and software is necessary. So I'm interested in hearing what are the staples of the Indian pantry. wet ingredients, dry ingredients, canned stuff, whatnot. So far on the list: Spices peppercorns fenugreek cumin kalonji cloves cinnamon Other dry: basmati rice chick peas wet onion garlic ginger I know I can gather a list like this by making a bunch of indian dishes and seeing what spices they need, but I'm looking to get a ready to go pantry so that when I get ready to cook I already have some of the shopping done. Many thanks, Ben
  9. Have a duck in our freezer, that seems to call to me, "Eat me, Eat me"... Have googled "recipes indian duck"...About a bazillion hits on Bombay Duck, which of course, is fish... A couple recipes for "Duck Vindaloo"...While almost any of gods creatures would indeed be enhanced by preparation Vindaloo style, I can't seem to find much else. Is waterfowl not popular in India?, or am I just not looking in the right places?
  10. I've decided to assemble a list of Indian restaurants that are somewhere near my area (Rutherford), so that I can start sampling their offerings when time & circumstance allow. I've just spent a very frustrating half hour-plus with the search engine. I can't seem to get it to search for two words within the same post, in spite of following the Advanced Search instructions. E.g., I want to find posts containing the words "Indian" and "Montclair." Instructions say search for +Indian +Montclair. Doesn't work, gives me a HUGE list of posts containing EITHER Indian OR Montclair. Tried various permutations on placement of the + sign, no better. Any advice on the search engine would be appreciated too. Then searched on "Indian," which, as one might expect, gives another huge list. Somewhat helpful but a lot to wade through. What I've found so far is listed below. However, I seem to remember that someone had mentioned a place in Fairlawn, & another place in Montclair in addition to Taj Palace, that I haven't scared up so far. (I should have taken notes on the spot, that'll teach me!) If anyone knows either place, please advise! Also, I'm aware of the Iselin area from the Turnpike thread. To me that's an excursion, as opposed to the closer-to-home places I'm looking for. I.e., Montclair is 8 miles away while it's 30 to Iselin, so I'd much rather drive to Montclair. Here's what I've found so far: Namaskaar Mall at IV / Rt 4 West Paramus Taj Palace Montclair Kinara River Road Edgewater Thanks for any & all suggestions! Edited to add: Bloody hell! Just tried the +Indian +Montclair search again and it seems to have worked! Mystifying. Anyway this has enabled me to add Natraj to the list. I think that's the one I'd noticed but not noted some months back. Or perhaps it was Satish Palace. Ah well, the list grows.
  11. rajsuman

    Konkani Cuisine

    Hi folks, Before I delve into the details of this little-known cuisine, I'd like to introduce myself. I feel really lucky to have come across this wonderful forum where everyone is passionate about the same thing as me - Indian food. My name is Suman Varadaraj and I live in Dublin, Ireland. I used to be the Indian Food Guide at About.com - the best part of my job was helping all those who wrote in with their queries to discover the wonderful world of Indian food. I've lived in Ghaziabad in U.P. (Have you heard of it Suvir?), Bombay, Mangalore, Bangalore and Dubai. It might come as a big surprise , but I am, of course Konkani. We're a small community and yet it's amazing to see the variations in the cooking styles, depending on where we come from. - My parents are from Mangalore, which is a coastal town down south in the state of Karnataka, famous for its wonderful seafood. We love our fish and our food is 'bold' in the sense that it makes liberal use of garlic. - My husband comes from Bangalore and their food is more 'saathvik' - it leans towards the famous Udupi-style of cooking. They use very little garlic, if any and their food is purely vegetarian. They also tend to add a little jaggery to their side dishes. - My maternal grandma's family was amongst the many Konkani families in Northern Kerala, they have some distinctive dishes not known to other Konkanis. In general though Konkani food can be described as thus: Ghashis: Coconut, chillies and tamarind ground with or without any additional ingredient and made into a sauce for fish, beans or even chicken. The baghaar or tadka also differs. Sukke: Dry vegetable dish, again using coconut, chillies and tamarind with ingredients such as roasted or raw coriander, urad dal etc. Upkari: A stir-fry of vegetables - in Mangalore they generally prefer it with a baghaar of mustard and red chillies , in Bangalore it's usually mustard, green chillies, curry leaves and grated coconut Thalasani: Again, a stir -fry of vegetables, but with garlic and chillies. Thoy/Kholombo: The former being Konkani-style toor dal, the latter being our version of the sambhar. I could go on and on, but at the outset I hadn't even intended to write so much. I'd love to know if any of you have ever come across Konkani food or have tried to make it at home. Thanks for making me feel welcome on this forum. Suman
  12. maxmillan

    Indian Cookbook

    I posted a similar request in the cooking section and thought I'd ask here as well. I'm looking for the ultimate, most complete, comprehensive and authentic cookbook for Indian cuisine to add to my library. What do you recommend? Thanks for your comments.
  13. Post questions for A Sampling of South Indian Breads here.
  14. Suvir Saran

    Matar Paneer ( Indian Cheese )

    Matar Paneer ( Indian Cheese ) 10 c whole milk 1/2 c buttermilk / yogurt (more maybe needed, so keep some extra In a large heavy bottomed pan, bring the milk to a boil over medium heat. Stir often to ensure that the milk is not sticking to the bottom of the pan. When milk starts to boil, lower heat and add the buttermilk and stir until the milk starts to separate into curds. Remove from heat as soon as this happens. You can even add a few ice cubes to the curd-whey mix. The heat will make the protein tougher. Hence the need to expose the cheese to as little heat as possible. If the curds are not forming, add a little more buttermilk and cook for a couple of minutes more. And do the above as soon as the curds form. Pour the curds-whey mix into a collander lined with several layers of cheese cloth or even a layer of muslin, draining onto a dish that will collect the whey. Collect the sides of the cheesecloth or muslin and tie them up together and twist gently to help drain the whey from the curds. Place the bundled curds on a tray and press this bundle with a heavy pan/container or obejct. Make sure this heavy weight covers the bundle fully. To make cheese for dessert recipes or for koftas or even a bhujia, weight it down for no more than a half hour. For recipes where cheese cubes are used, weight the bundle down for an hour or more. This will make the cheese form a firm mass that can be cut into neat cubes. Note: I use buttermilk as it makes for cheese that has very little sour flavor. People use lemon or vinegar, these curdle the milk quickly but leave a strong aftertaste. This aftertaste is not nice when making desserts with cheese. Try and use the cheese the same day as you make it. The more time it is kept the dryer it becomes and the harder it will be. When making soft cheese for desserts. Weight it down for a shorter time as I write above. You can leave more moisture in, if you know you will not use it till the next day. The cheese will get dryer in refrigeration. For the firm cheese, you can make the firm cube and store it overnight in chilled water. But you cannot put the cheese in water until a firm cake, with all the whey drained is formed. So, first make your cheese cube, and if you are not using it the same day, immerse it in a container of water, seal with a cover and cut only when ready to use into smaller cubes. Keywords: Side, Indian ( RG886 )
  15. Hello I'm Indian living in France. Since it's the season now, have you had experience in cooking game Indian style. Back in India, in the north of Bombay where my parents have a farmhouse, the Warli tribals used to cook game. Thanks
  16. I'd posted this question in an earlier discussion, but it got buried somewhere, so here it is again: What unusual things do you bring back from India? I've brought varak, copper vessels, the traditional butter-churner (mathani, even though I don't use it - mainly for decoration purposes), dried rose petals, bamboo shoots in brine, raw mangoes in brine.... Still on my list/wish list: Hyderabad ka potli masala, brass vessels, the black claypot my grandma used to make her famous fish curry in, surahi (a bit far-fetched I know), bharanis. Suman
  17. Vikram

    eating trunks

    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
  18. I guess Suneeta has been working on her cookbook for upwards of 20 years. It is out now. I've done a bunch of recipes from it, and I know many of them from her cooking classes here in Houston. The book is excellent. I love the way the book is laid out, it is designed to make following the recipes fast and easy. There are three columns for each recipe, the left column has the measures listed in English units, the center column lists the ingredients, and the right column has the measures listed in metric units. The cooking instructions are excellent. The headnotes consist of information on the dish and tips for the dish. This is a cookbook by a teacher who knows how to put a recipe together. Here's the beauty of the book, by way of example. How many times have you seen a cookbook recipe that calls for, say, "1 onion chopped"? What size onion would that be, exactly? Here in Texas an onion can be pretty bid. In Europe, they aren't as big. What Suneeta has done is demystify the list of ingredients by using measures of cups, teaspoons, and tablespoons, or, metric weights. This is awesome! It makes the recipes foolproof. And it gives you a baseline for later changing the recipe up to suit personal tastes. I own 5 Indian cookbooks, and I have read quite a few more. But this is the one that I will default to. This book should be in every cook's collection. It is that good. I would recommend starting with the following: Chicken in Cashew Saffron Gravy North Indian Lamb Curry on Bread Whole Baked Masala Cauliflower Bell Peppers with Roasted Chickpea Flour Dhokla (a fast and easy recipe using cream of wheat that produces beautiful results) Split Yellow Peas with Tamarind Chutney Gena's Kababs (flavored with green onions, ginger, cilantro, crisp fried onions)
  19. Edward

    Guavas....

    So, here in suburban Bombay I am gobbling up fresh guavas at every chance. They are pretty abundant right now and their fragrance is irresistable...I can smell them halfway down the street! Besides just eating them doea any one have any ideas for cooking them...like a chatni perhaps? Edward
  20. Hi, I'm not sure if this is the right place to ask, but since it revolves around the bacteria used to make idli I thought I'd ask: Are there any breads which use the bacteria that rise idli? Are there varieties of idli which use flours or other grains instead of rice? Thanks,
  21. Monica Bhide

    Thalippu Vadagam

    Ah yes.. I found a packet of Thalippu Vadagam in my local grocery store in Vienna, Va. Made in New Jersey no less! Okay so anyone want to share a recipe? For those who dont know.. I do know a small bit -- Thalippu vadagam are small balls of spices made of curry leaves, fenugreek, turmeric etc and are used in South India to prepare specific dishes.. anyone care to share recipes? tell me more... The lady at the Indian store told me sales of this produce were not good cos people not only did not know how to cook them, most took a bite out of the raw vadas and were NOT pleased
  22. Does anyone know of cookbooks that cover the cooking of the Indian diaspora? I'm researching some stories on Indian cookbooks, and I thought this would be an interesting angle. The few such cookbooks I've seen are fascinating - familiar Indian recipes, but with differences in ingredients and influences that reflect the histories of these communities. I guess many of these cookbooks are conscious attempts to commemorate these communities, so they all filled with anecdotes and nostalgia that make them really interesting, and often moving, reading. I know the classic South African Indian 'bible' - Zuleikha Mayat's 'Indian Delights'. I have some South African Indian relatives myself, the wives of my Gujarati cousins who now live in India, and make some interesting recipes which they tell me they brought with them from SA. For example, they take kandh - yam with a weirdly blue-purple coloured flesh - and cook it and slice it thinly and use these slices to sandwich a mixture of grated coconut and coriander leaves and some other spices. It looks bizarre: purple sandwiches with a white-green filling, but tastes great. I've just picked up another really interesting book: Recipes of the Jaffna Tamils, edited by Nesa Eliezer and printed by Orient Longman. Since Jaffna is just a strait's distance from Tamil Nadu one wouldn't expect the food to be that different, and much of it is standard Tamil stuff. But there are interesting variations, like a whole section on recipes using the products of the palmyra palm. Also, and I realise this might sound political, but its not meant to be, Tamil Brahmin cuisine and culture seems to have less of a hold in Sri Lanka as it does in India. So while the image of Tamil food in India is dominated by vegetarian Brahmin cooking (at least till the recent rise of 'Chettiar' cooking), the recipes in this book reflect the non-vegetarian cooking that is very much a part of Non-Brahmin Tamil life. A recipe for rasam flavoured with chicken bones for example sounds really surprising to someone used to the common vegetarian only version. Are there other such cookbooks for the desi communities in Trinidad, Mauritius, Fiji and where else? A friend who was coming from Guyana promised to get me a Guyanese-Indian cookbook, though unfortunately he cancelled his trip at the last minute. (But this link has some interesting recipes: http://guyana.gwebworks.com/recipes/recipe...pes_alpha.shtml ) Any names, comments, recipes, suggestions from people with experience of desi diasporic cooking would be welcome. Vikram
  23. Bob Musa

    homebuilt tandoor

    for those interested in a little amusement... i'm building a tandoor in my backyard with no real idea of what i'm doing. you can find my blog here with plenty of pictures.
  24. I have a craving for bitter melon curry. If you happen to live in the San Francisco Bay Area and have been to Naan 'N Curry and have tried their bitter melon curry, that is the type of thing I am looking for. I am looking for a good recipe. The only things I know are in the version I have had are bitter melon, curry leaves, black cardamom, cinnamon, tomato, and onion. Any other bitter melon fans?
  25. Welcome Monika, Are you from a Marwari family? What is the Indian grocery situation like in Finland-are you able to get all the essentials or is it difficult to find things, like....besan for instance?
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