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eG Food Blog: Percyn (2011)


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Nice blog Pastameshugana. Let me know if you miss any particular food item and I will try to post about it if I can.

Day before yesterday, we made a Parsi style lunch which is typically eaten on auspicious days.

Dhan Dar with Haveji Patio (Rice with yellow lentils and spicy tomato fish sauce).

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The item at the 11 o'clock position is local Tomato chutney which contains some dried fruits as well. Delicious.

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Haveji is a special kind of Patio, which is rare to find even in Parsi circles. You made it my lightly frying onions, adding garlic and then add a paste made from water and tumeric, chili powder, dhana jera, garam masala and usually any other masala you fancy from your "masala dubba" or small box of spices which is omnipresent in every Indian kitchen.

Once you fry the spices along with the onions for 10-15 min, you will see the oil start to separate out. Add in pureed tomatoes along with a few tablespoons of dark vinegar for a sour component and jaggery for a sweeter note.

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You may have noticed that the "recipe" did not provide strict measurements. This is because as with many ancient recipes, there are various adaptations, including family variations. I don't believe the recipe for Haveji (if it is spelt that way) has been published before. I could not find it on the web nor in the cookbooks in hand in India. Will have to check my larger collection of cookbooks in the US.

Marinate fish in salt, tumeric and a little chili powder. Pan fry it until golden brown and you can serve it along the side to enjoy the crispy skin or add it into the Haveji.

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This kitchen is quite different from what I am used to, but there is something about cooking without fancy gizmos in simple, old hand hammered pots that adds the flavor of nostalgia to the dish.

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Went to Mahableshwar yesterday, passing local traffic.

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When we reached the market, one of the first stops was the Ice Gola guy who serves flavored shaved ice.

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For a late lunch we stopped at a family run restaurant by the lake for a Maharashtrian thali.

The family kitchen where they cook.

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Corn Pattice - Spiced corn fritters

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Corn Pakkoras

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Onion Pakkoras

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Thali - clockwise from 12 o'clock - Eggplant, Kadhi, Yoghurt, green wheat chapati, potatoes, corn.

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for dessert - Strawberries & Cream

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Edited by percyn (log)
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Thought it looked like jowar...as I said, I am jealous! It is not wheat. I was always told it is a kind of millet, with the other kinds most popular in India being ragi and bajra.

Gola looks good. Will admit that I nearly always have kala khatta, but it's good to try different things!

Edited by Jenni (log)
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Happy Diwali to you Percyn, your foodblog is breathtaking. That great view with the ring-shaped stone (post#67) is a bench with herbs? Something else?

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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I have a question about the Thali, I've been eating a lot of them recently but am never sure what (if any) is the correct way to eat them. Do you start eating at 12'oclock and work your way round clockwise? If so how do you eat the liquidy gravy before the yoghurt - is it just by dipping chapatis into

It or do you do something different? Do they sometimes serve dessert on them too? I've had a couple with almost a rice pudding or sago pudding on them and assumed that was what it was but wasn't sure...

"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

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Percyn, you have always been one of my favourite posters, so I am overjoyed to see a full week of your eating/cultural experiences!

You may have addressed this in a past travelblog, but are you ever wary of digging into the goods of street food or roadside vendors? Or do you travel back to India often enough not to worry about re-introducing such foods to your diet. In reading your blog, I am reminded of my father who, after spending decades away from Thailand, found that he could no longer partake in such delights without some serious consequences.

Thanks for the pictures of jalebi. I love love love jalebi, but I prefer mine with cold milk. :-)

Did I miss the burfee pictures, or are they coming? hint hint. . .

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God God in Heaven, I want to eat everything you've shown us ! Indian food (and I realize saying "Indian" food as a generalization is as absurd as saying "American" food) is really probably my favorite cuisine. Everything, EVERYTHING, looks amazing.....

And I second the request for additional details about the tandoori lobster. Oh. My.

--Roberta--

"Let's slip out of these wet clothes, and into a dry Martini" - Robert Benchley

Pierogi's eG Foodblog

My *outside* blog, "A Pound Of Yeast"

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These lobsters look fantastic, and I would love to try the tandoori version.

Can you share more details regarding the preparation? Thanks!

The simple version of the tandoori marinade can be made by mixing ready made tandoori spice with yoghurt. This version also had fish masala and a touch of dhansak masala for an extra kick :wink:

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I have a question about the Thali, I've been eating a lot of them recently but am never sure what (if any) is the correct way to eat them. Do you start eating at 12'oclock and work your way round clockwise? If so how do you eat the liquidy gravy before the yoghurt - is it just by dipping chapatis into

It or do you do something different? Do they sometimes serve dessert on them too? I've had a couple with almost a rice pudding or sago pudding on them and assumed that was what it was but wasn't sure...

I do hope that percyn will forgive me for jumping in here but I will offer a quick explanation.

Thali refers to the plate the food is on. A thali meal is a general way of referring to a traditional meal of several components. The manner of serving a meal varies depending on what region of India you go to, what community people are from, etc. In some communities there is a specific order to the way food is served and eaten, and in others it a very loose affair. An example of the former is the traditional order of many areas in South India. First rice is eaten with sambar, then with rasam and then with yoghurt. Side dishes are eaten alongside these courses and dessert is traditionally served before the rice and yoghurt course. As a foreigner, you will probably not be expected to eat things absolutely in "the right way". Meals may be served up to you in sections anyway, to guide this.

Often, a thali is served with all the dishes at once. Generally speaking, it is down to the diner's discretion how she or he eats. Each dish is mixed with some of the starch (bread or rice) and eaten. Remember that the starch is sort of the main point of the meal and the other dishes are things to make the starch taste good! The bread is torn into pieces (ideally with just the right hand but I've seen many North Indians use both) and used to scoop up dishes quite easily, but the rice can be harder for Westerners. You sort of mix and mash a small portion of a (very often wet) dish into the rice before taking a small portion of it to your mouth. You sort of push the rice off your fingers and into your mouth with your thumb rather than shove your whole hand in! By the way generally speaking in the North you should just use the tips of your fingers to eat but as you go further South, it's acceptable to get your whole hand a bit messier. There's a joke that for South Indian's the whole arm is utensil!

Some people consider it rather "gross" to mix lots of things together and instead keep things separate. Others like to combine certain dishes together. A tip is to use the bread to scoop up drier dishes, and mix moister dishes with the rice. Pickles and chutneys are eaten in small portions with other foods. Not everyone uses their hands for everything - North Indians in particular may prefer to use a spoon for sloppier dishes. Sometimes other dishes are brought to you as you eat.

To mention dessert, yes a sweet is often served on the thali with everything else. Often it has a spoon with it. Actually spoons often come with a thali anyway so people can choose how to serve and eat. Some people, including myself, like to eat a little of the sweet at the start of the meal. Some even continue to nibble a bit of it throughout the meal. However, if you are a foreigner and you do this than people will most likely just think you are confused and may have a little chuckle or offer you advice!

Something to note: in several parts of India, the last mouthful is some rice mixed with yoghurt (and possibly pickles, relishes, etc.). This is considered settling for the stomach. I always do this, setting aside a little of my rice and yoghurt for this purpose and eating it after dessert. Try it, you might like it!

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Peter,

The legend is that there was a tree planted by none other than Mahatma Gandhi in the center of the ring. Unfortunately, several decades ago, the tree was damaged in a storm and lost. Because of its historic significance, it has not been renovated into a garden or fire pit.

Our neighbor has a similar tree which was also struck by lightening but is still growing.

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I have a question about the Thali, I've been eating a lot of them recently but am never sure what (if any) is the correct way to eat them. Do you start eating at 12'oclock and work your way round clockwise? If so how do you eat the liquidy gravy before the yoghurt - is it just by dipping chapatis into

It or do you do something different? Do they sometimes serve dessert on them too? I've had a couple with almost a rice pudding or sago pudding on them and assumed that was what it was but wasn't sure...

Nikkib,

IMHO there is no right or wrong way to eat a thali. In fact, in some communities, they start the meal with dessert. However, typically I start with the Papad along with some pickles or yogurt, then eat the vegetables with the roti, then they serve rice on which you can pour the dal or kadhi and finish with a sweet dish like shrikhand or eat the yogurt which is supposed to cool your digestive system.

Jenni, I invite you to add to this.

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Jenni, I invite you to add to this.

I am so glad you say this...please look a little upthread!

ETA: Your style broadly reflects mine. If roti and rice is served then I eat the roti with veggies first as the roti should be eaten hot and fresh. Then rice is eaten with stuff. Personally at home we usually do rice at lunch and roti at dinner and not both, but you are definitely in the right state (Maharashtria) for both to be served at a meal. At home we usually don't have sweets with a meal either, just fruit if anyone wants pudding. Sometimes there may be kheer/payasam (broadly speaking could be called rice pudding) but only on special occassions. Sweets are generally eaten as snacks.

Edited by Jenni (log)
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Percyn, you have always been one of my favourite posters, so I am overjoyed to see a full week of your eating/cultural experiences!

You may have addressed this in a past travelblog, but are you ever wary of digging into the goods of street food or roadside vendors? Or do you travel back to India often enough not to worry about re-introducing such foods to your diet. In reading your blog, I am reminded of my father who, after spending decades away from Thailand, found that he could no longer partake in such delights without some serious consequences.

Thanks for the pictures of jalebi. I love love love jalebi, but I prefer mine with cold milk. :-)

Did I miss the burfee pictures, or are they coming? hint hint. . .

You are too kind Prasantrin.

While it is true that my stomach may have a slightly higher tolerance level, one can have a good time by being a little smart about what and where they eat. I avoid the water, ice, etc (the gola was enjoyed by my nephew and brother not me but did get a nimbu soda from bottled club soda, without ice). Most of the street food is safe if made fresh and hot. Avoid anything that is sitting out for a while, check the rancidity of the oil for fried items and avoid the street chutney because of water. Watch the surroundings in which the food is prepared. Basic steps.

I did fall a bit ill on my last trip but I suspect it was from jumbo prawns at an upscale restaurant rather than street food.

I do carry prescription medication with me and luckily I have not had to use it thus far.

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I never had the inclination to visit India before reading this thread and now I have to go. Thanks a lot, percyn.

That rumali a couple of pages back looks exactly like the sabanas made in one of the neighboring towns from here, btw. (I have no idea if they're made the same way or anything, they just look exactly alike).

This is my skillet. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My skillet is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it, as I must master my life. Without me my skillet is useless. Without my skillet, I am useless. I must season my skillet well. I will. Before God I swear this creed. My skillet and myself are the makers of my meal. We are the masters of our kitchen. So be it, until there are no ingredients, but dinner. Amen.

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In keeping with the "Per Eda" tradition...

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Kera Per Eda - Eggs with spices on Bananas

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Sali Per Eda - Eggs on spiced crispy potatoes

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Kheema (spicy minced goat) and Scrambled Eggs.

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Smoked Duck Breast and Duck Crackling with Fried Egg

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Edited by percyn (log)
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I never had the inclination to visit India before reading this thread and now I have to go. Thanks a lot, percyn.

That rumali a couple of pages back looks exactly like the sabanas made in one of the neighboring towns from here, btw. (I have no idea if they're made the same way or anything, they just look exactly alike).

Dakki, hope that is a good thing :biggrin:

Actually, my aunt owns a travel/tourism company in India and perhaps I can work with her to setup a food centric tour :wink:

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Not a good thing, an excellent thing.

Food-centric tour of India is a fantastic idea. I bet I could sign up half a dozen people just from my local acquaintances, assuming accessible pricing.

This is my skillet. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My skillet is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it, as I must master my life. Without me my skillet is useless. Without my skillet, I am useless. I must season my skillet well. I will. Before God I swear this creed. My skillet and myself are the makers of my meal. We are the masters of our kitchen. So be it, until there are no ingredients, but dinner. Amen.

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I promised Dhansak, which is served with white rice which is stirred with butter, onion, cinnamon, cardamon and bay leaf.

Instead we made the Dal along with Mutton (goat) Pulao. The Pulao was cooked in an old pot over a wood fire with the lid sealed with dough.

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Mise en place

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It was delicious. The rice was fluffy, the meat succulent, potatoes crispy from the frying yet tender from the inside. The Dal had a velvety texture and melting fat from the goat added an extra dimension of umami.

Edited by percyn (log)
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Jenni/percyn thanks for the explanation - I've been eating different regions thalis and noticed they were quite different from north to south. The yoghurt with vegetables I initially thought was a dessert and ate it last & noticed it was quite settling for the stomach but it's the really thin gravy that confuses me as I've been trying to eat with my hand (sometimes the restaurants don't have a fork or spoon) and have had varying levels of success - I figure I'm entertaining if nothing else! The dhansak looks great too! Brilliant week percyn, thank you for allowing us to join you!

"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

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