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  1. It's been 5 long years since we last went to Kerala, which I wrote about here. That was to celebrate my niece's wedding. This time we're back on the occasion of the rice feeding ceremony for the couple's 5 month old son. It won't be as big a do as the wedding but it will be a more intimate gathering. So here is my first lunch in my mother's kitchen. Rice, yellow daal, pan-fried mackerel and a mackarel curry. In the background is some fried chicken and a green lentil daal. I never asked for nor touched the fork, honest!
  2. My niece has just married and we are in Kerala as part of the celebrations. I wish I could have preserved the whole event in detail for eGullet, as I’ve enjoyed the posts of others so much. In particular I’m thinking of @chefmd's Mongolia blog and @sartoric's amazing South Indian report. Forget that standard! I’m going to try a little mini-blog. Not only am I terribly disorganised and IT challenged but I am also currently suffering from a rotator cuff tear which makes photography painful and difficult. Even though this will be a very scanty record, I think I can offer something a little different to what we've seen before. Prawn fry. Chicken fry. Rice. My mother used to send us off to school with our lunch of fried prawns, rice and yoghurt. I think this rice is basmati, which is not quite correct. The yoghurt is home made daily. The prawns are from the Kerala backwaters; large and fresh caught. These are spiced mainly with chilli paste, and cooked in coconut oil to a somewhat firmer consistency than would be considered polite nowadays in the UK. This combination takes me right back to kindergarten tiffin. The nuns used to roll their eyes and tut at how red and hot the prawns looked. We don’t get it much or at all any more when we’re back in England, so this was an absolute treat. The chicken fry and chicken curry (just pictured with the rice) would normally have been stars in their own shows, but got hardly a look-in today. The thoran (again not pictured) being vegetarian, was sadly neglected. I’m sure it was very good but vegetables really have to fight for their space on my plate. Please bear with me for the misalligned pictures, varying resolution and clunky editing...
  3. Inspired by a similar thread under 'General Food Topics', I wanted to know how many Indian cookbooks we collectively own on this forum. I have 43 right now, but I'm sure more will turn up from under the bed etc. I'm particularly curious about your collection Vikram, because you seem to own every Indian cookbook under the sun. Here's a picture of my very modest collection (a few on the left haven't come in the shot) This is in the kitchen, although there are not that many Indian books here ('Indian Everyday' is from the library) except the small booklets at the end.
  4. We're 50 something Aussies who enjoy travelling, eating, cooking, markets, kitchen shops, cooking utensils, animals & plants (often food related), architecture & photography (both kitchens and food) and exploring different cultures (of which food is a big part). The trip was January 14 - February 6, it was just marvellous. My favourite meal is now masala dosa with sambar, I had many. Here's some highlights of the food. A late afternoon snack of Sichuan pepper squid was washed down with a beer at the Ajantha Seaview Hotel on the promenade in Pondicherry. It's a colonial building with a first floor terrace overlooking the colourful display of women in their finest, and the Bay of Bengal. We're here on a Monday public holiday for the Pongal festival, a four day celebration of the harvest, with many different ceremonies and traditions. A visual bonus, cows (and sometimes goats) get their horns painted and wear flower garlands or other decorations.
  5. I previously posted this on the cooking board, but just was scrolling down and found there is a whole board to discuss Indian food! Wow (and duh on my part). I'm getting bored with my garam masala mixes, which usually I grind from a variation of the following: whole anise, whole cloves, whole cardamon, whole cinnamon and black peppercorns and sometimes some cumin and corriander. I can't seem to find a mixture that I like that has a lot of flavor, but tastes pretty balanced when mixed into a curry or a yogurt marinade for meat. Hubby (he's Indian), likes really flavorful, spicy blends like the ones his mom makes. I like aromatic and flavorful blends, but not necessarily really spicy (I'm a wuss). I'd love it if some of you could give me their recipe with their ingredients and ratios of spices for a nice, aromatic garam masala blend that can really make a curry or a marinade pop. Or, if you've got links to good Indian cooking sites, bring 'em on.
  6. This almost had me in tears of nostalgia. My London home is a few minutes walk from here and I love the place. So glad to hear it seems to be being protected from developers, as I had heard it was under threat. Wonderful food, too. Mostly vegetarian, which I'm decidedly not, but will happily eat from time to time. London's most authentic Indian food?
  7. Kerala( southern most state of India), we call it "GODS OWN COUNTRY", why won’t it be ... Lush green fields , beautiful rivers and lakes , backwaters , unadulterated spices , Big coconut trees (now even come in varieties with yellow coconut on them), sprawling beaches , ancient temples , mysterious shrines , beautiful churches , enthralling wild life, pure ayurveda , amazing martial arts , enchanting dance forms , classical music and top of all beautiful people. It’s an amalgamation of extraordinary things, but the thing that has left the most biggest impact on my soul, is the cuisine of this beautiful state. Coming from a Malayali family(resident of kerala), I always looked forward to our visits to Kerala just for the food, the smell of those freshly cut bananas deep frying, fresh fish coated in spices and shallow fried, rice delicacies cooked in banana leaves, greatest varieties of tubers, stews, appams, parotha and for the sweet tooth’s the Special Halwa(convection) from those lovely bakeries which are mushrooming everywhere in the state. Being a coastal state Kerala cuisine has in it lots of seafood delicacies, beautiful fresh water fishes, cooked in aromatic masala is a feast for soul. Being a avid foodie there are varieties of recipes which I would love to share but the recipe which I will be sharing is the one which I always look forward to and the one unique taste which I deeply miss, although I have been trying this recipe here in Delhi but the taste which comes from cooking in earthenware (chetti) dish and using kokum / gamboge ( souring agent found in kerala) and fresh ingredients of Kerala is not matched. The smell of the curry with deep red colour is something for the senses to feel. So I would like to share one my mother’s recipe which is meen (fish) curry Fish - 500 gms Salt- 2 tsp Turmeric - 1 tsp Fenugreek Powder - 1 tsp Red chilli powder - 2 tsp Onion - 2 tbsp chopped Ginger- 1 tbsp finely chopped Garlic - 1 tbsp finely chopped Kokum/ gamboge - 2 no. Curry Leaves - 7 nos. Water - 2 cups Method: 1. Finally chop ginger , garlic and onions and keep aside 2. Rub little salt on the fish pieces (skinned or de skinned fillets) and keep it to rest. 3. Take oil in a special earthenware (called chetti), add oil and sauté onions, garlic and ginger. 4. Once the raw aroma of garlic is not felt, add turmeric, coriander, fenugreek & red chilli powder. 5. When the masala is cooked add kokum and fish 6. Add water and little salt and let the fish cook in water. 7. Reduce it till the desired consistency is reached. 8. Serve with rice or kappa Note: if you don’t have( kokum/ gamboge) , tamarind or tomatoes can be used as alternative. This dish tastes best with boiled kappa (which is a tuber found in Kerala) or with steamed rice.
  8. Poha can be bought in Indian stores as Thick or Thin Poha. It is flattened rice and is used in India for making Poha that many eat as a pilaf (a snack pilaf that is) or even into Chivras/Chevros (Indian version of trail mix). Do you use make Poha? What recipe do you use? What all do you add to the Poha? Have you used Poha to make anything other than the usual stuff one sees in Indian homes? For that matter, what is the usual for you?
  9. This is a general question to the readers to think and discuss why there aren't many Indian chefs pursuing the field of food writing whereas international chefs are releasing best sellers almost every year. Also if any change can be brought about by understanding the factors which are acting as barriers and obstacles for Indian chefs to pursue food writing alongside their primary careers. when we think of Indian chefs who have released books, there may be many, but only few come to mind, such as, Sanjeev Kapoor, Vikas Khanna, Madhur Jaffery etc. Again what I wish to know is that why is the awareness level low in India as far as our own chefs are concerned? with such advancements happening in this field, why is it that many chefs find food writing a challenge?
  10. Sour Tomatillo Achar Made this one up from a recipe for lemons. It really works for tomatilloes. A unique spice mix, and really sour for a 'different' type of pickle, or achar. It is based on a Marwari recipe - from the arid north-western part of India. Tomatilloes are not used in India (or at least not much) but are quite productive plants in my garden while lemons or other sour fruits are not possible to grow here. No vinegar or lemon juice is used, because tomatilloes are very acidic and don't need any extra. Ingredients 3 lbs tomatilloes husks removed and quartered 1/4 cup salt 1 Tbs black mustard seeds 2 star anise buds 10 dried chilies (I used very hot yellow peppers) 1 tsp fenugreek seeds 2 inch ginger (ground to a paste) 2 TBL dark brown sugar 1/2 cup sugar 1. In a large bowl, put the tomatilloes and sprinkle salt over them. Cover it and leave for a day, mixing occasionally. 2. Next day drain the tomatilloes. 3. Dry roast the star anise (put in first as these take longer, the black mustard, and the chilie pods (add last and barely brown in places). Cool. 4. Grind the roasted spices with the fenugreek and put aside. 5. Add tomatilloes, ginger, sugars, and everything else to a large pan and heat to boiling. 6. Cook till fully hot and boiling. 7. Fill half-pint jars and seal.
  11. Sweet Eggplant Pickle This is an Indian pickle, some would call a chutney, that I made up from several sources and my own tastes. It is based it on my favorite sweet brinjal (eggplant here in the US) pickle available commercially. It has onion and garlic, which are often omitted in some recipes due to dietary restrictions of some religious orders. It also has dates which I added on my own based on another pickle I love. I also used olive oil as mustard oil is not available and I like it's taste in these pickles. Use other oils if you like. This has more spices than the commercial type - and I think it's superior. I avoided black mustard seed, fenugreek, and cumin because almost all other pickles use these and they start to taste the same. One recipe from Andhra Pradesh used neither and I followed it a little. It's wonderful with all sorts of Indian foods - and also used for many other dishes, especially appetizers. SPICE MIX (Masala) 4 Tbs coriander seeds 3 hot chilies (I used a very hot Habanero type, so use more if you use others) 18 cardamom pods 2 inches cinnamon 24 cloves 1 1/2 Tbs peppercorns MAIN INGREDIENTS 1 cups olive oil 4 inches fresh ginger, minced fine, about 1/2 cup 6 cloves garlic, minced 1 large onion finely chopped 3 lb eggplant, diced, 1/4 inch cubes 1/2 lb chopped dates 1 1/2 tsp turmeric powder 2 cups rice vinegar (4.3 percent acidity or more) 2 cups brown sugar 2 Tbs salt 2 tsp citric acid Spice Mix (Masala) 1. Dry roast half the coriander seeds in a pan till they begin to brown slightly and become fragrant - do not burn. Cool. 2. Put roasted and raw coriander seeds and all the other spices in a spice mill and grind till quite fine, or use a mortar and pestle. Put aside. Main Pickle 1. Heat half the oil and fry ginger till slightly browned, slowly. 2. Add garlic, onion, and half the salt and fry slowly till these begin to brown a bit too. 3. Add eggplant, turmeric, and spice mix (Masala) and combine well. Fry for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. 4. Add rest of ingredients, including rest of the salt and olive oil and heat slowly to a boil. 5. Boil for about 5 minutes. Add a little water if too thick - it should be nearly covered with liquid, but not quite - it will thin upon cooking so wait to add the water till heated through. 6. Bottle in sterilized jars and seal according to your local pickling instructions. This recipe will be sufficiently acidic.
  12. I am looking for recommendations for a gift. I want to give a cookbook on Indian food to someone who is a relatively sophisticated cook but knows very little about Indian cooking. He works full time (not as a chef) and cooks mostly for his family. Thus, he is not going to want recipes that take a long time to prepare. Suggestions?
  13. Hi Friends A very important everyday question, What should I cook today???? It would be interesting to know what everyone out there is eating and cooking for lunch and dinner......
  14. Prawn Balchao is a very famous Goan pickle that has a sweet, spicy and tangy flavor to it. For the balchao paste you will need: > 8-10 kashmiri red chillies > 4-5 Byadagi red chillies > 1/2 tsp cumin seeds > 1/2 tsk turmeric powder > 1 tsp peppercorn > 6 garlic cloves > 1/2 tsp cloves > 1 inch cinnamon stick > Vinegar First you will need to marinate about 250 grams of prawns in some turmeric powder and salt. After 15 minutes deep fry them in oil till them become golden n crisp. Set them aside and add tsp vinegar to them and let it sit for 1 hour. Now, make a paste of all the ingredients mentioned under the balchao paste and make sure not to add any water. In the same pan used for fryin the prawns, add in some chopped garlic and ginger. Lightly fry them and immediately add one whole chopped onion. Next, add the balchao paste amd let it cook for 2-3 minutes. Add in the prawns and cook until the gravy thickens. Finally add 1 tsp sugar and salt according to your taste. Allow it to cool. This can be stored in a glass jar. Let this mature for 1-3 weeks before its use. Make sure never to use water at any stage. This can be enjoyed with a simple lentil curry and rice.
  15. This is one of my daughter favorite dishes, being mild and less spicy she loves this rice dish. Its super easy to make and goes well with most Indian curries. Do try this out and I am sure you will be happy with the results. Prep Time : 5 mins Cook Time: 5 mins Serves: 2 Ingredients: 1 cup rice(basmati), cooked 1/2 cup coconut, shredded or grated 1 green chili, slit 1 dried red chili 1 1/2 tablespoon oil/ghee(clarified butter) 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds 1/2 tablespoon chana dal(split chickpeas) 1/2 tablespoon urad dal(split black gram) 1 teaspoon ginger, finely chopped A pinch of hing (asafoetida) Few curry leaves Salt to taste Directions 1) Heat oil/ghee(clarified butter) in a pan in medium flame. I used coconut oil here because it tastes best for this dish. 2) Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, chana dal(split chickpeas), urad dal(split black gram), green chili, dried red chili, ginger and curry leaves. Fry this for 30 seconds in medium flame. The trick is to ensure that these are fried but not burned. 3) Add a pinch of hing(asafoetida) and mix well. 4) Now add the cooked rice and coconut. Stir well for about 15 to 20 seconds and switch off the flame. 5) Finally add salt into this and mix well. You could add peanuts or cashew nuts if you prefer. Goes well with most curries.
  16. Goa being one of the popular cities of India is known for its local delicacies. These delicacies have been passed on from generation to generation, while some of them have continued to remain popular, some of them have lost their charm with the introduction of newer cuisines. Since the Portuguese entered Goa, they have had a strong influence on the local cuisine. A major turning point came when they introduced a variety of spices that changed their style of cooking completely. The Portuguese introduced plants like corn, pineapple, papaya, sweet potato and cashews. One such example of a popular dish would be Pork Vindaloo. Goan food is a mix of hot and sour ingredients that make their seafood delectable. Kokum is one such ingredient which is known to be a tangy-sweet fruit. It is added in curries to render a sour taste and is often accompanied with seafood. Dried red chillies are one the most vital ingredients common among all the local delicacies that is either used in its whole form or ground into a fine paste. Since seafood is the soul of Goan food, it is preserved and relished in other forms too. Goan pickles are known to be quite famous. Prawn Balchao, a very famous prawn pickle prepared with dried red chillies is relished with a simple lentil curry and rice. Another delicacy is the Goan Para Fish made with mackerels, red chillies and goan vinegar. These are regular accompaniments with their routine meals. When talking about Goa, you cannot not mention their sausages. These mouth-watering and spicy sausages are made with pork and a variety of spices. Last but not the least, is the widely famous Goan bread, locally known as Poi. Leavened bread which is part of almost every meal and eaten with plain butter too. These ingredients make the cuisine extremely palatable and continue to make this cuisine stand out from the rest.
  17. A few weeks ago I checked out a copy of Madhur Jaffrey's Vegetarian India from the library, and it is well on its way to earning a permanent place in my collection. I've really enjoyed the recipes I've cooked from it so far, and thought I'd share a few of them here. Of course, if anyone else has cooked anything from the book please share your favorites here, too. To kick things off, something that appears in nearly every meal I've cooked this month... a yogurt dish such as Simple Seasoned Yogurt, South Indian-Style (p. 324)
  18. Do any one familiar with the Bengali spice brands of India, my friend is Interested in Cooking Bengali Food. Can any One Suggest me few Brands to Reffer. Please comment
  19. As a tandoor is not a regular BBQ but an oven which walls need to be hot in order to cook I was wondering if I could use a charcoal chimney to light it. Firstly, I don't know how long it would take for the walls to heat up (I guess quite quick) but secondly (and most important) will the walls crack because of the sudden change in temperature? Any experiences here?
  20. Hi There, I came across this term, Bunooing, which I'd never heard before. I had a look around to try and understand the method behind it, but came across a number of inferences on what bhunooing is and how it works, some of which were conflicting and a little confusing. I would be very grateful if someone could clear this up for me and perhaps answer a few questions. This is my understanding of bhunooing so far:- Essentially, this is a method of releasing essential oils that are cooped up in your dry spices and leaves too. The types of spices used are the hard spices such as cumin seeds, cloves, cinnamon, mustard seeds etc. As I understand it powdered spice can be added, but nearer the end of the bhunooing process. The thinking behind this method is that spices take on moisture over time which dilutes the essential oils in the spices. By slow frying the spices you are gently evaporating the water and releasing the concentrated essential oils from the spice which enhances the power of spice, giving it more punch. The bhunooing process can be used to make a vibrant base for your gravy. To do this, heat a good amount of oil on high and then bring it down to a medium heat. Add your spices and onion and slowly fry until the onion turns a light brown. At this point add your liquid/ gravy. Some questions that I have are:- Why heat the oil to hot and bring to medium? Why not just heat to medium?Does bhunooing always have to include onions?The first time I tried this, the onions absorbed all of the oil after a while - is this okay? Or does it mean that I used too much oil?Is this the same, or does it have any relation to the bhuna?I have come across articles and recipes that refer to bhunooing and suggest that it's (perhaps) just the process of slow cooking ingredients on a flame/ hob - is this correct?How long should I be frying the spices for?I would be very grateful for any help you can provide. Thank you in advance Phill
  21. Guys In many indian recipes I follow, you usually add the oil, jeera/rai, some initial spices like big elaichi, cardamon, etc and then add the vegetables that take longer to cook like potatoes. Now the problem is the potato gets all the flavoring and what comes next seem to lack in flavor. This seems to happen with many dishes I make. For eg I made sabudana khichdi yesterday and the potato was great but not the sabudana I know there may be a quick fix to this by adding half spices initially and the other half in the middle. However, the flavoring is best when you add the spices directly into the oil. Does it make sense to remove part of the oil after flavoring it and add it back later? Thanks
  22. I make roti with white and whole wheat flour...can u also get a good consistency with besan flour ?
  23. Hi, Mustard greens have come into season and I've washed 6 giant bunches of mustard greens. After tearing off the soft outer leaf I'm always left with the harder stalk. I was wondering if there was anything I could do with it, any other application or recipe some could suggest. Cheers,
  24. Over the weekend, I picked up a bag of idli rava (rice semolina). I had no specific plans for it, but I do love my starch, and wheat and potatoes are problems for me, so I enthusiastically seize any fresh iteration of rice. Even if I have no idea of what to do with it. I doubt I'll be making idli, since I haven't seen anything that looks like it will work as an idli pan, let alone the real thing (the wells in an æbleskiver pan seem too small and deep), but I'd love to find other things to do with this stuff. I could experiment, but I'm using someone else's kitchen, which restricts my more flamboyant efforts just a bit. I took a peek online, and there seem to be a quite a few of confident-sounding recipes, but honestly, I'd much rather hear about what you've tried, and how it worked out.
  25. 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,
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