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


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when you think of indian food what do you think of? specific dishes? other associations?

i'm very interested in different people's answers to this general question. there's no right answer of course, but lots of good raw material for us to cook with.

some others... lamb vindaloo, chicken in butter sauce, green chile chicken, mushroom bhajee, great cauliflower dishes, eggplant bhurta, saag paneer, korma curries, biriyani,

poori, naan, chapati, poppadom, great basmati rice with peas, dhals, chutneys including tamarind and cilantro chutney, raita, onion relish, samosas...

chai and lassis

just starting to explore southern cuisine but for here idli, rava masala dosa, coconut chutney, pakora, tomato-cucumber salad,

*love kheer rice pudding w/cardamom, and garnished w/ a few raisins and pistachios*, carrot halva

One avenue that I have not explored at all yet is Indian seafood dishes. Given many of the egullet threads I've seen, I know that I need to fill this gap.

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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Lucy, you can see a picture of curry leaves here. Curry leaves are delicious and used in lots of South Indian dishes.

Wow - not only that, but who knew they were part of the Citrus family and were related both to Rue (which I grow) and to the infamous Szechuan Pepper (which I'd be rich if I grew)?

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when you think of indian food what do you think of? specific dishes? other associations?

I've been really lucky as far as Indian food goes:

Rogan Josh, lassis, great breads, the smell of onion and garlic paste frying in oil, cardamom-flavored rice pudding, the smell of basmati rice...

The spicy green beans my uncle's indian ex-gf used to make

That chicken in sour lime pickle sauce my friend rohit made once and then dammit moved to freakin' England. I don't suppose someone has a recipe? At least, he did leave me the recipes for rajmah masala and bhel poori ...

I don't know why this is, but for some completely unconscious reason I glom on to any indian people in my circle. They seem amused by it, more than anything. I think it's the sense of humor I like, apart from the food.

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Mrs. Jones (who must be saintly I am certain) is Korean? Have you found any ways in which the two cuisines can influence each other and create some interesting results (that would the "New KorIndian" cusine that has us all a twitter)

mrs. jones saintly? that's a laugher. the woman is evil. let me say only that she has a long history of eating the last piece of chocolate cake. not only eating it but making no announcement of this event so that the person who had been hoarding it for just the right moment gets to go to the refrigerator at that moment, tingling with anticipation, only to find it gone.

and yes, she's korean (korean-american from age 10). our korean-indian fusion has largely been confined to eating korean and indian food together in the same meal. i've posted in the india forum about kimchi going well with certain bengali dishes. as for fusing in the cooking process, the changes have largely occurred in her cooking: she has started using indian chilli powder in some of her dishes (her dok-bok-ki tastes more like the korean street version with it she says) and other dishes she has started preparing with a lot more sauce than before (given the bengali penchant for dousing rice with lots of sauce as opposed to the korean method of eating rice alongside bites of relatively dry dishes).

but enough about her, i have pictures of mackerel.

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I mostly think of lassi, curries of various flavors, nan and the look on slkinsey's face the time he ate the REALLY HOT LAMB VINDALOO.

It was hilarious. :laugh:

K

Basil endive parmesan shrimp live

Lobster hamster worchester muenster

Caviar radicchio snow pea scampi

Roquefort meat squirt blue beef red alert

Pork hocs side flank cantaloupe sheep shanks

Provolone flatbread goat's head soup

Gruyere cheese angelhair please

And a vichyssoise and a cabbage and a crawfish claws.

--"Johnny Saucep'n," by Moxy Früvous

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a disassembled mackerel artfully arranged around the spices (turmeric, chilli powder) in which it is about to be coated

mackerel1.jpg

2 medium tomatoes, 1 tspn chilli powder, 1 medium onion, 6 cloves garlic, 1/2 tspn turmeric, 1/2 tspn coriander powder and salt shoved into a blender and blended till it resembles something someone with nasty lung problems might cough up on a bad day

mackerel2.jpg

the coated fish

mackerel3.jpg

first heat some oil and fry the fish on all sides till the skin is crispy. remove fish

mackerel4.jpg

add the spice/tomato paste to the pan

mackerel5.jpg

cook down to this texture

mackerel6.jpg

return the fish to the pan, coat gently with the spice-paste, cover and simmer till done (add as much or as little water as you like--i made it drier than usual this time). once almost done add a pinch of garam masala and cook for another minute.

mackerel7.jpg

horrible, blurry picture of end result

mackerel8.jpg

normally i would have garnished this with chopped cilantro and sliced green chillies but we're uncharacteristically all out.

as i noted earlier this isn't a classic preparation (for all i know, anyway). feel free to adapt it in any way you want. increase/decrease individual spices, water; add some sugar along with the water etc. etc. the sweetness of the tomatoes will go a long way towards determining the end flavor of the dish.

i can pretty much guarantee that this will probably be the only dish in the blog that will have been photographed at all stages of its preparation. from now on out it is end-results only!

(edit to ask: why the hell do i keep pasting in only the url when i mean to link to the image?)

Edited by mongo_jones (log)
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Mrs. Jones (who must be saintly I am certain) is Korean?  Have you found any ways in which the two cuisines can influence each other and create some interesting results (that would the "New KorIndian" cusine that has us all a twitter))

Oh gosh, and here I thought it was New KorIndian Fusion (frequently elided as "Kor'nFusion") Cuisine we were twittering about. Silly me. I must not have gotten the latest memo from on high.

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If you noticed the odeng that mongo's wife made earlier, you'll see where all the peppers went. Damn, I've never seen odeng with that many peppers, but I don't get out much.

--so is this yet more proof of her evilness?

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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ai can pretty much guarantee that this will probably be the only dish in the blog that will have been photographed at all stages of its preparation. from now on out it is end-results only!

Fortunately we don't believe everything you write. I'm confident we will have full prep disclosure in the week ahead!

And I'm so happy you've overcome your shyness and agreed to blog!! :laugh:

Back to the food: mackerel is under-appreciated. Yours looks delicious!

My father used to make it for us for Sunday breakfast, steamed and then served with butter and vinegar. Which sounds really strange, but I loved it...I remember the smell so clearly.

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mongo i love your blog already. that mackerel looks wonderful. is it not a classic preparation in the sense that mackerel is not typically cooked in that style? i've never seen mackerel in an indian restaurant - maybe it's perceived as too strong?

in any case - i love mackerel...and am now inspired to butcher your interpretation.

my impressions/imprinting of indian food:

madhur jaffrey's "introduction to indian cooking" the first cookbook i ever used, and from which i made her keema recipe constantly for about 2 years.

dal and rice fragrant with cardamon. dal makhani at moti mahal in chicago, onion kulcha, coriander chutney with mint and jalepeno. (is it normal to add yogurt? i'm always a little bitter when it's diluted with yogurt) creamy yellow dal with tomato and yogurt, potato samosas, channa masala, smoky eggplant, aloo gobi, vindaloo -the hotter the better.

from overheard in new york:

Kid #1: Paper beats rock. BAM! Your rock is blowed up!

Kid #2: "Bam" doesn't blow up, "bam" makes it spicy. Now I got a SPICY ROCK! You can't defeat that!

--6 Train

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This blog is awesome. I see another week shot to hell. *sigh*

Hey Mongo, I've had my share of American version Indian food but I have no idea how it's supposed to be made. So your pics of preperation were helpful. It might be old news to those more knowledgable in the cuisine than I, but I hope you'll throw in a few more pics, unless it's too big a pain. Your mackeral looks delicious.

Carry on...

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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...my bowels and bladder...

I thought you were talking about an English pub there for a minute. :laugh:

I have to admit I have never had Indian food before. Experiencing it (and fusion food) vicariously through your blog will have to do until I can get around to experiencing it firsthand.

Blog on...

 

“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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mongo i love your blog already. that mackerel looks wonderful. is it not a classic preparation in the sense that mackerel is not typically cooked in that style? i've never seen mackerel in an indian restaurant - maybe it's perceived as too strong?

mackerel is in fact a fairly popular fish in india among those indian communities that eat it. as i say that i immediately forget all the various local names for it (episure, help me out here). my people (the bengalis, not the crackheads) don't eat that much of it since their own obsessions are with riverine and estuarine fish.

and i say it isn't a classic preparation only because it isn't something i'd eaten or read about before i made it. inspiration is largely the last stage of mental osmosis though and i hesitate to claim originality or ownership for something that is merely the result of having arrived at a particular stage in my relationship with indian spices, flavors and fish. and for all i know this does resemble some indian region's classic fish dish.

keep the answers to the "what does indian food mean to you?" question rolling in people. i'm going to wait for a few more responses before weighing in.

as for the self-deprecation part: i wasn't saying i'm not going to post detailed pictures of food prep because my photographic skills suck; i was saying it because it is a pain in the ass to cook and photograph what you're cooking--i almost scorched the fish! my photographic skills (as compared to every other blogger before me) do suck though. though instead of pointing to the endless blurry shot as proof of that maybe i should just echo billy wilder who quipped to his cinematographer during the filming of sunset boulevard, "keep it out of focus, i want to win the best foreign film award". or something like that. the self-deprecating sense of humor, alongwith a love of cricket and p.g wodehouse/conan doyle/agatha christie/enid blyton/spike milligan/gerald durrell/et al., is my most enduring inheritance of colonial history (thankfully i escaped the teeth issues...).

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the mackerel does look great! I dont care for the fish's head though.. i am told it is the best part of the fish.

while bengalis eat fish-heads with relish (mmmm fish eyes...) even my mother won't eat the mackerel head. i throw it in with everything else to extract flavor. once done cooking i pick the flesh out of the rear of the head and discard the rest.

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mongo i love your blog already. that mackerel looks wonderful. is it not a classic preparation in the sense that mackerel is not typically cooked in that style? i've never seen mackerel in an indian restaurant - maybe it's perceived as too strong?

mackerel is in fact a fairly popular fish in india among those indian communities that eat it. as i say that i immediately forget all the various local names for it (episure, help me out here).

My side of one billion people mackerel =bangda.

Not the punjabi dance which is bhangra.

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

http://www.gourmetindia.com

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If you noticed the odeng that mongo's wife made earlier, you'll see where all the peppers went. Damn, I've never seen odeng with that many peppers, but I don't get out much.

--so is this yet more proof of her evilness?

no, we actually use entirely different kinds of peppers. those lethal slim thai chillies for me, a whole different range of korean peppers for her. even though these peppers she used aren't that hot this might give you a sense, jschyun, of why i always say i find korean food to be very spicy.

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This has to be one of the most rapidly expanding topics ever. It is difficult to catch up let alone keep up.

Indian food to me must be classified as BA (Before Amma) and AA (After Amma). BA was notable for samosas, pakoras, biryanis, papadums, naan's, tandoor, vindaloo, tikka, lassi, dal, etc. AA is another world in which I lack fluency, but very much look forward to exploring further.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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What Indian Food Means to Me:

spices, fragrant, mysterious spices

sauces with names I have trouble remembering

breads that are so good I fill up on those first

blistering hot balanced with cooling raiti (spelling?)

the 'bird seed' that's in little dishes that you eat on the way out of a restaurant

an amazing store on Lexington Ave with an unbelievable variety of spices and spice blends, breads, dahl and an entire wall of 'cow ghee'

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That chicken in sour lime pickle sauce my friend rohit made once and then dammit moved to freakin' England. I don't suppose someone has a recipe? At least, he did leave me the recipes for rajmah masala and bhel poori ...

Behemoth,

Is this the recipe? I called a friend who dictated this to me over the phone. Her auntie's recipe, not in any cookbook as far as she knows.

Goan recipe, Chicken Caafreal or Cofreal, (She was reading from a scribbled card and translating into English.

1 chicken cut up, about 2 pounds

3 teaspoons salt, non-iodized, sea salt or kosher

1 sour lime

10 Indian chiles, dry, small (about 1 1/2 inch x 1/4 inch), chopped

2 green chiles fresh, medium size, chopped

5 large garlic cloves

4 inch piece ginger, grated

4 black peppercorns

Oil for deep frying.

Directions

Cut the sour lime in half, rub the chicken pieces with the sour lime, squeezing the juice onto the chicken. Lay on a platter to catch the juice.

Sprinkle the salt over the chicken then rub well onto the meat.

Place all the chiles, the garlic cloves and the ginger into a mortar and grind to a paste (or process in a mini food processor). Grind the black peppercorns and add to the paste, mix well.

Spread the paste onto the chicken pieces.

Cover tightly with plastic wrap or place in a container that can be sealed and place in fridge overnight or for at least 8 hours.

Pour about 2 inches of oil in a pot and heat to 350 degrees.

Fry 3 or 4 pieces at a time until nicely browned, turning 2 or 3 times.

Remove from oil, drain on paper towel (or brown paper bag) and place in oven while you fry remaining pieces.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Behemoth,

Is this the recipe? I called a friend who dictated this to me over the phone. Her auntie's recipe, not in any cookbook as far as she knows.

Oh wow, thanks so much for doing that! The one Rohit made was with lime pickles. I think the pickles were actually chopped and incorporated into the sauce. There dish was very wet -- after the chicken was gone I was able to eat the lovely sauce on rice for a couple more meals. It was reddish in color so I assume it contained some mix of hot & sweet red chili powder. Come to think of it, I owe that kid a phone call, as we will be sleeping on his floor in late July. I have cut & pasted your recipe to my desktop for later experimentation though :smile:

This is utterly off topic but there is an adorable bunny eating weeds right outside my window right now and all I can think of is "hmm, curry sauce".

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This is utterly off topic but there is an adorable bunny eating weeds right outside my window right now and all I can think of is "hmm, curry sauce".

Actually I think they serve the chicken with a yogurt sauce but she didn't give me the recipe for that and is now off doing something with her kids.

As I read your bit about the bunny rabbit, "jugged hare" popped into my head.

I think I need some lunch.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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What Indian food means to me:

Well, mostly South Indian for me, a holdover from my longtime vegetarianness. Though i like a good butter chicken, I love even the cheapest, crappiest $2.50 masala dosa. Also, I never fail to get excellent service from south indian restaurants, in Artesia. I guess Koreans are rare in SI restaurants. I got even better service when I was a vegetarian.

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

--NeroW

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