Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Recommended Posts

i don't think your thoughts on any of this make you out to seem like a "jerk" or a "cultural vampire", and i don't think pat or anyone else used that term to characterize your posts either--most of what i said does not even apply to someone like you (as i noted earlier), though one part of it is an attempt to modulate some of what you said. i think we may be talking past each other on some points but that's an unavoidable hazard with disembodied communication.

Yeah, whippy for the record while I did say "cultural vampirism", I wasn't using it in reference to anything you'd posted. Mostly was just trying to pull apart something in an effort to try for something productive amidst all the morass around racism and colonialism anyone would have to deal with when trying to figure out how to learn about something that's been on the pointy end of that morass.

Basically, I was interested in what you'd asked and at the same time I could see why mongo might have gotten pinged anyway; all I wanted to do was figure out where the lines were, while brainstorming a bit on how possibilities around respectful dialogue could take place and what larger purposes they could serve.

Anyway, I agree that there's some talking past each other here, but I'm hopeful we can get through it to get to the questions.

[edited this to make it sound less presumptuous, hopefully!]


Edited by Sleepy_Dragon (log)

"I... like... FOOD!" -Red Valkyrie, Gauntlet Legends-

Link to post
Share on other sites

...and some of this is probably my responsibility too because I was the first to ask whether or not learning ayurveda might make things easier for a non-Indian cook. Wasn't an attempt to New Age woo-woo the food, but rather my own attempt at fumbling for an anchor somewhere that bore a little resemblance to what I grew up with around Chinese cookery and medicine, as well as trying for a possibility of mental organization beyond one of ack, I have dozens of spices, I better use them in exactly the quantities called for.


"I... like... FOOD!" -Red Valkyrie, Gauntlet Legends-

Link to post
Share on other sites

Many thanks sleepy_dragon, very interesting grouping, seems to make a lot of sense. Reminds me of my mother's way of cooking. She makes no pretence of the fact that she hates cooking - at least of the daily, dhal-roti kind - and has always insisted on having a cook. But on the occasional times when he's on leave and she has to whip up something, its often something using these vaguely similar groupings of spices and the results are always excellent.


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'll cook everything tomorrow and report back.

Excellent, sleepydragon, look forward to your accounts.

I should tellyou, by the way, that I've been extolling the virtues of this Rushdie book on various Internet sites for at least 8 years (not foodie ones like this, granted) and you are the first person who has gone out and tracked it down. I feel certain that your efforts will not go unrewarded.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yep, that Salman has all the luck, have you seen a photo of the bodacious Ms. Lakshmi?

I'm not ashamed to admit that I have a copy of her unbelievably banal cookbook, not for the take-instant-noodles-add-frozen-vegatables recipes, not for the extremely pedestrian girl-in-Paris stories, but for the fantastically titillating photos of Padma - in a negligee at the market, in a halter top choosing artichokes, etc. I mean, this is real gastro-porn.

I mentioned these Tam-Brahm couples in another thread, I happened to show the males the cookbook when they visited. An indication of the way they rec'd these photos of the (equally Tam-Brahm) curvy Padma Lakshmi is that they slinked away into the bedroom, closed the door, flipped through it and returned it with guilty looks on their faces.

This is a cookbook!!


Link to post
Share on other sites

Padma Lakshmi and Nigella Lawson... separated at birth? :laugh:

Well, I guess this is yet another idea for Rushina's book. When in doubt, stick a model's face on the cover to move copies! :laugh:

Ok, time to start cooking with Mrs. Rushdie's help...


"I... like... FOOD!" -Red Valkyrie, Gauntlet Legends-

Link to post
Share on other sites

on the other hand do we trust cookbooks written by such svelte people? if they can't bring themselves to eat their own food why should we...he types while hoping no one who sees his recipes page ever finds out how scrawny his own build is...

Link to post
Share on other sites
Excellent, sleepydragon, look forward to your accounts.

Well, the cooking and eating is done. And it was good. So very, very good.

I followed one of her menu suggestions and made:

Aloo Palak

Diced Potatoes and Spinach

This was flavored with golden fried onions, chopped tomato, garlic, ginger and spices. I was a little too impatient with this dish, and ideally should have chopped the tomatoes more, as well as let it cook longer. It's just that it was the last one I finished, and chopping and frying yet another onion until golden brown was almost the last straw! But it tasted good. Just have to tweak the chopping and cooking times a bit to get a more cohesive look and mouthfeel to the dish. I went through 5 onions tonight.

Channa Dal

Split Yellow Channa Lentils

This was my favorite dish out of the three. Maybe that sounds a little strange considering the richness of the chicken dish, but cooking-wise I think I hit this one the most accurately. I love the garam masala recipe she's got, especially the addition of bari elaichee (large cardamoms) and sticking with kala zeera (black cumin seeds), and this combined with the bhagar of fried onions and white cumin seeds made for a meaty dal dish with an extra smoky element to it, even though there was no charcoal involved whatsoever. Maybe this is old elementary news to you all, but it was a revelation to me, and something I intend to keep in mind for other foods. Her suggestion to squeeze lemon juice over the dal before eating was all the more perfect because of that smoky taste.

All throughout the clean-up, I kept dipping a fresh spoon into the dal pot, just to have a perpetual one last mouthful. It was truly irresistable.

Murgh Irani

Chicken with Fresh Cream, Saffron and Green Cardamoms

Well, I am sure this dish would have been better had I been able to control the heat and not curdle the aforementioned fresh cream, along with the yogurt. Argh. But it still tasted good. In addition to the description above, this was also flavored with black cumin, cayenne, black pepper, almonds, saffron, fried onions, ghee, ginger and garlic. It had a really nice orange-ish color with a clingy sauce when I got done with it, all accomplished without a single drop of that "tandoori" food coloring! :laugh: Next time I'll be more careful with the heat, as well as remember to toast the saffron in a frying pan first, but it was still very fragrant and tasty.

I'd also probably reserve the chicken breast for another use, and only cook dark meat parts in it. The chicken gets browned first in the onion flavored ghee, but this didn't seem to prevent losing all the flavor in the white meat.

So that's everything, plus rice and yogurt.

I should tell you, by the way, that I've been extolling the virtues of this Rushdie book on various Internet sites for at least 8 years (not foodie ones like this, granted) and you are the first person who has gone out and tracked it down. I feel certain that your efforts will not go unrewarded.

Well, thank you again for the recommendation. I think I got lucky finding this book, it's great. I hope it sees a second printing.

Pat, with leftovers galore

"I... like... FOOD!" -Red Valkyrie, Gauntlet Legends-

Link to post
Share on other sites

Now that you mention it, I think I'd like illustrations. But like others have mentioned before, it depends who you want your audience to be.

One thing I was uncertain about with tonight's cooking was seemingly obvious things like what a "chop" amounted to when chopping an onion or bunch of spinach. I recall Madhur Jaffrey mentioning in "A Taste of India" that there are different knife cuts used depending on the recipe type. So, if you're interested in catering to us clueless newbies, knife cut illustrations could be really helpful.


"I... like... FOOD!" -Red Valkyrie, Gauntlet Legends-

Link to post
Share on other sites

I wanted to buy a Vietnamese cookbook but was unable to find one written by a native author so I returned empty handed.

I'm sure there are exceptions to this but I dont think I would buy an Indian Cook book written by say Mary Smith or even Episure unless it had rave reviews.

I fry by the heat of my pans. ~ Suresh Hinduja


Link to post
Share on other sites
I wanted to buy a Vietnamese cookbook but was unable to find one written by a native author so I returned empty handed.

Somewhere I have a Vietnamese cookbook written by a Vietnamese woman who was living in Madras (I think she was married to the director of the Alliance Francaise). There are several Vietnamese families living in Pondicherry - years back I remember eating good, basic, Vietnamese soups and dumplings in a tiny, spotless restaurant that also double up as a laundry - and I think she took their help in finding out how to make authentic recipes using standard Indian ingredients.

Now that I think about it there's probably a minor category of cookbooks written by people from a particular culture, but based in a different country. (Of course, that description could apply to a whole bunch of Indian-American books, from that grad students guide to Indian cooking that's still available online to the efforts of our own Monica). Diplomats wives have often produced cookbooks, and the spouses of executives in multinational companies are keeping up that tradition.

Its an interesting and I think quite valuable and practical category - you get the expertise of another culture adapted to the constraints of your own,


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Similar Content

    • By Sheel
      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.
    • By Deeps
      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
      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
      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.
    • By loki
      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.

      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.
    • By loki
      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
      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.
    • By rxrfrx
      South Indian Style Broccoli
      Serves 2 as Main Dish.
      Broccoli isn't a traditional Indian vegetable, but I designed this recipe to use up leftover boiled broccoli in the style of cauliflower.

      3 c broccoli, cut up and cooked
      3 T oil
      2 T cumin seeds
      2 tsp tumeric
      2 tsp corriander powder
      2 green chilis, sliced thinly
      1/2 c chopped cilantro
      salt, to taste

      Fry the spices in the oil until they smoke a little. Add the broccoli and chilis and fry for a couple minutes to get the flavors mixed. Add salt to taste and stir in the cilantro before serving with chapati.
      Bonus recipe: just before adding the cilantro, crack 2-4 eggs into the pan and stir them around.
      Keywords: Main Dish, Side, Easy, Vegan, Vegetables, Indian
      ( RG2107 )
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Create New...