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eG Foodblog: mongo jones - how to lose friends and annoy people


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Mongo, from one charter member of the Anti Root Beer, Dr. Pepper and Van-Sassafrassians League to another, I wanted to chime in and congratulate you on this extraordinarily entertaining blog. I've been lurking through all 16... good Lord, 16... pages of it and have, like the Fanta channel, loved every word.

Kudos!

Joie Alvaro Kent

"I like rice. Rice is great if you're hungry and want 2,000 of something." ~ Mitch Hedberg

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thank you mooshmouse.

lunch is almost ready:

the alu-gobi is done--and pretty damned good if i do say so myself

ditto for the potato-sweet potato "chaat" medley

the rajma is 4 whistles of the pressure cooker away--i didn't soak the beans overnight as the traditional cooks will have you do it (this thanks to russ parsons' lessons on cooking beans), and so it is taking a little longer in the pressure cooker than usual.

alas my camera batteries started to die as i was photographing the rajma process so i had to ditch the plan of taking pictures of every stage of every dish and save the batteries for ingredients and final product shots.

give me a couple of hours or so to eat, digest and upload.

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the last set of pictures for the blog. i'd originally thought i'd prepare a crazy feast today and invite some people to help us eat it, but as the weekend approached, energy ebbed. and in any case as t.s eliot (the first to be referenced in the blog's signature series) tells us, "this is the way the blog ends, this is the way the blog ends, not with a bang but a whimper".

okay, so three new dishes isn't exactly a whimper.

1. rajma (red/kidney beans). uberleet, if you're reading this is the recipe i promised you ages ago. rajma is not something bengalis in bengal eat much of. this sort of a preparation is a north-indian, more specifically punjabi thing. when my calcutta cousins would visit us wherever in india we happened to be they'd always ask my mother to make this--it was a faintly exotic thing for them. as per my mother: "one way to cook rajma is to cook it exactly like you would a meat curry"

ingredients:

rajmaing.jpg

preparation: heat oil in a pressure-cooker (you pressure-cooker-phobes are on your own)--add a couple of bay leaves, 3-4 cloves, a small piece of cinnamon. when fragrant add about a cup chopped onions. saute till golden and add ginger-garlic paste (4 cloves garlic, 1 inch piece ginger). saute till brown'ish and add the masalas (1 tspn each red chilli pwder, curry pwdr and turmeric, plus salt to taste)--saute on medium heat for a bit and add 1 cup red beans. saute for a while, add 1 cup chopped tomato (since i was out of fresh tomatoes i used the pomi chopped tomatos instead). stir till tomatoes give up all liquid. add 4 cups water (you can always cook it down later) and pressure-cook till done (if you soaked beans overnight it'll take less time than if you didn't). uncover--mash some of the beans with a spoon, add 1/2 tspn garam masala, stir, bring to a boil, take off heat, garnish with a chopped green chilli and a little cilantro till it looks like this:

rajmadone.jpg

you could also garnish it with some chopped onions, and if you like float a little cream on top.

alu-kofir tarkari (bengali style alu-gobi)

ingredients: roughly 600 gms cauliflower, 200 grams small potatoes quartered, 1/2 cup peas, 1 chopped tomato, 1 tspn panch-phoron mix, 1/2 tspn turmeric, salt, 2 green chillies and cilantro chopped for garnish.

alugobiing.jpg

prep: heat oil. toss in panch-phoron, wait till popping begins to subside--dump in everything but garnish. stir on medium heat for a while. add a little water, cover and cook till potatoes are done (the water should all or mostly be absorbed). remove from heat. sprinkle a little of my mother's "only made in our house" masala on top, garnish with chilli and cilantro. serve.

and the final product:

alugobidone.jpg

potato and sweet potato medley with chaat masala

i "invented" this one--again it is doubtless an unconscious recreation of half-remembered classics.

ingredients: 4 small white potatoes and 1 large sweet potato diced. a shit-load of cumin seeds (well, maybe not a shit-load). 1/4 tspn turmeric, salt, a few pinches chaat masala, 1/2 a lime

mishtialuing.jpg

prep: heat oil. dump in cumin seeds. when nice and fragrant dump in the potato and sweet potato. fry, stirring vigorously to coat with cumin seeds. add the turmeric and salt and cook till potatoes are soft (if sick of stirring you can lower the heat and cover the pan). when potatoes are done, take off heat, squeeze the lime all over, sprinkle the chaat masala and stir. you're done. and you're in paradise. this can be a veg side dish or an evening snack by itself.

this is what it looks like when done:

mishtialudone.jpg

phew! i'm never photographing food again! but once again i'll say that cooking for the blog has meant that i've cooked very carefully all week and as a result we've eaten fabulously. so, thank you all!

probably just one post left tonight before i pass the torch.

Edited by mongo_jones (log)
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OK - so tumeric shows up repeatedly in your dishes, which is not surprising. I've been under the impression that tumeric is used mainly for its coloring capability and not as a distinct flavoring agent. What's the deal? Does it bring flavor?

Your humble servant,

Tastes pretty good, needs more salt

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dried turmeric powder is almost entirely a coloring agent. you can buy turmeric root (pictured in the grocery store pics from tuesday) and other kinds of turmeric which function as flavoring agents, but i never have and don't have the first idea of what to do with them. this would be a great question for the india forum (in fact i think it was discussed there).

okay, so probably one more post after this one.

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this is my last post in this blog and i want to thank everyone who has participated. the blogger is only part of the story of any blog (in my case roughly 30% of the story) and i'd like to thank you all for the stimulating discussion, the laughs and the support. to be completely honest i'd resisted the idea of doing a blog for some time; both because i really didn't think anyone would be very interested in "hanging out" with me for a week, and also because i wasn't sure my ironic, smart-ass personality was a good fit for the blog. 460+ posts later i'm very glad to be wrong on both counts. and while i didn't start out with any fixed agenda or goals, in hindsight some seem to have developed and been met: discussing the diversity of indian cuisines, showing some of the difference between home-cooking and restaurant food, pointing people to the incredible resource on indian food that is the india forum on egullet, and introducing some of you to some of the wild and wacky colorado egulleters. i think one of the great things about the blog tradition is that it makes people who live on particular parts of the site interact and meet with people from other parts.

i have myself gained a lot from doing this blog: new friends; invitations to dinner (far too few of these, by the way); and also a good model of creating cultural knowledge-- a communal, participatory model in which a lot of different people weigh in with their partial knowledge and experience and together create a shared archive that is more generous, assimilative and trustworthy than the sanctioned "book of the individual expert". and so thanks to everyone who pitched in with explanations, anecdotes and recommendations. i reserve the right to steal all the best lines and use them as my own.

of course, it isn't all a happy story. some things remain incomplete. despite picaman's best efforts the steven tyler/joan rivers mystery is still out there (alongside a new question: why do men in shaving product commercials always seem to have completely shaven bodies as well? and if i buy their products will a terrible compulsion to shave myself completely come upon me?); my ass still hurts; and i still don't know why earl grey tea is not banned under the geneva convention. then again if all of life's mysteries were solved what would we do with our time?

but i'm going on rather a lot again. in closing: blogging good, but the redoubtable but ABSOLUTELY NOT EVIL mrs. jones better (yes, she's finally evinced an interest in reading the damned thing--to buy some time i've told her it is housed on chowhound). if anyone would like to know more about any of the dishes etc. that i've talked about here, come to the india forum, pm me, or send me an email at mongo_jones@comcast.net

as we wait for the next blogger to come online i leave you with one of my favorite songs from one of my favorite movies (even has a food name), animal crackers:

captain spaulding: hello, i must be going.

i cannot stay, i came to say

i must be going.

i'm glad i came, but just the same,

i must be going.

mrs. rittenhouse: for my sake, you must stay,

for if you go away,

you'll spoil this party i am throwing.

captain spaulding: i'll stay a week or two,

i'll stay the summer through,

but i am telling you,

i must be going.

chorus: before you go, will you oblige us

and tell us of your deeds so glowing?

captain spaulding: i'll do anything you say,

in fact, i'll even stay,

but, I must be going.

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Can we put Mongo over the top at 500 posts to his blog? A most enjoyable experience and someday I'll try to cook like him. I'm 467.

Bruce Frigard

Quality control Taster, Château D'Eau Winery

"Free time is the engine of ingenuity, creativity and innovation"

111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

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hey Mongo,

just joining the chorus of praise for this blog, and thanks for the kind words many many pages back. What I particularly like about the blog, is that you're including some of those really basic, day to day, recipes that, as you point out, are what most Indian households cook everyday. It hardly sexy food - vegetarian rather than meat and its going to win no awards for looks (and no, your camera skills aren't to blame, if anything your food looks better than what I've seen in most Indian cookbooks), but its great stuff when cooked with a modicum of care, and that really comes through in your blog.

Have you got a book deal yet...

Vikram

PS: For those looking to buy MrsK.M.Mathew's book at ridiculous prices, please keep in mind that her recipes can be a real pain to do. This doesn't detract from the book - its a classic, and if money is not an issue and you're really into Indian food (or if you have someone coming from India who can buy it), then go for it. But I've found her recipes quite labour intensive as is often the case with many Indian recipes where there's an unspoken assumption of servants in the background to do the really annoying cutting and chopping work.

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I am so glad that you allowed yourself to be tagged, Mongo. So how much did you spend on food this week? :)

Best compliment I can give is to say that I've got green mangos at home right now, and I'm making chutney tonight. Thanks.

--adoxograph

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people, i know the blog is important but my simpsons, complete 4th season dvd set arrived today and let no one say i don't know my priorities.

not to go off into a simpsons sub-thread here but the 4th season has one of the greatest food-episodes of them all--the one in which homer sues "the frying dutchman" for not letting him eat all he can at their "all you can eat seafood buffet". mmmm simpsons dvd set...

I'm way late in replying to this, but the 4th season also contains "Last Exit to Springfield," the episode in which Lisa gets braces, Homer becomes the union boss and organizes a strike, and is the source of just about one of every three Simpsons references I make.

Where's my burrito? Where's my burrito?

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Am I the only one standing around kicking the dirt and scanning the horizon for the next blogger?

Hm-de-dmmm-de-deeee.

Thanks, MJ, for the most fun I've had around eG in a long time. I'll be returning here repeatedly when I get some time to cook. :smile:

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Why is Indian savoury food always shades of brown?

Is there any not based on onion, brown spices etc?

Mybe this is a seperate thread...

Yes, it is. We've got a whole forum where you can ask a number of expert people any (or all) of this stuff.

Jon Lurie, aka "jhlurie"

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Am I the only one standing around kicking the dirt and scanning the horizon for the next blogger?

Hm-de-dmmm-de-deeee.

Thanks, MJ, for the most fun I've had around eG in a long time. I'll be returning here repeatedly when I get some time to cook.  :smile:

No...you're not the only one. Who's up next? Did everyone get scared away by the fabulous Mongo blob?? :raz:

EDIT: I really did mean to type blog..not blob!!

Edited by hathor (log)
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Thank you MJ for a great blog! Haven't read it thoroughly yet, am saving it for a treat on the next rainy day. :smile:

May have missed it, but do you have a job? Didn't seem to me you'd have time..... :raz:

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Am I the only one standing around kicking the dirt and scanning the horizon for the next blogger?

Hm-de-dmmm-de-deeee.

Uhm...er...I noticed this, too.

Is the fact that the new blogger hasn't started yet so disconcerting because we've grown addicted to the Blog?

"The eGullet Food Blog...the New Crack!"

Maybe this would be a good time to suggest to the "eGPowers That Be" at they should shift the Blog hand-over date to the middle of the week or Thursday night instead of the weekend. A lot of people just aren't home on the weekend, aren't home to answer tagging emails or to surf eGullet (from what I understand, most people surf eGullet during the weekdays...like me :rolleyes: ).

Just a thought...[as he quickly ducks out the door]

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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Thank you MJ for a great blog!  Haven't read it thoroughly yet, am saving it for a treat on the next rainy day. :smile:

May have missed it, but do you have a job?  Didn't seem to me you'd have time..... :raz:

he's a professor and school's out...

lucky for me school is finally done here too. But I'm not interested in being the next blogger. My life is hellishly busy enough already.

--okay the real reason is...I'm not following this act! :laugh:

Edited by jschyun (log)

I love cold Dinty Moore beef stew. It is like dog food! And I am like a dog.

--NeroW

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Am I the only one standing around kicking the dirt and scanning the horizon for the next blogger?

Hm-de-dmmm-de-deeee.

Uhm...er...I noticed this, too.

Is the fact that the new blogger hasn't started yet so disconcerting because we've grown addicted to the Blog?

"The eGullet Food Blog...the New Crack!"

Maybe this would be a good time to suggest to the "eGPowers That Be" at they should shift the Blog hand-over date to the middle of the week or Thursday night instead of the weekend. A lot of people just aren't home on the weekend, aren't home to answer tagging emails or to surf eGullet (from what I understand, most people surf eGullet during the weekdays...like me :rolleyes: ).

Just a thought...[as he quickly ducks out the door]

Nah. The tag actually takes place mid-week, so that there is plenty of time for the blogger-elect to accept/refuse the tag and then, having accepted, to get good and nervous. 'Course, Mongo may have improved on that tradition - we won't know until a successor creeps out of the woodwork.

As for surfing the Gullet during weekdays - I can't even remember whether this was up-thread or via PM, but that's why I argued when Mongo placed Hump-day on Wednesday. For those of us with no fixed schedule, work avoidance can take place at any time of day or night, and on any day of the week!

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