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eG Foodblog: Monica Bhide - Thoughts without a thinker


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I am enjoying hearing what you make for dinner. I have loved Indian food for years (eating and cooking it), but it has been self-taught. I always wished/wondered what it would be like to be a dinner guest in an Indian home (here in the States), so now I am finally getting an idea! thank you

My love for Indian food began as a child, when my mother made curries she learned from other military wives (my parents never had the chance to travel to India). My first cookbook, believe it or not, as a teenager (college) was Madhur Jaffrey's. That copy is now so stained and dog-eared these many years later.

I loved Julie Sahni's Mogul Microwave, when it came out, because i had babies and toddlers at the time, so it really seemed to cut back on some steps, making life easier, without sacrificing taste. Several of her recipes are now part of my usual day-to-day repetoire, when I want Indian food, but need shortcuts. I still love cooking from Madhur's book though. Do you use the microwave much in your Indian cooking?

Edited by simdelish (log)

I like to cook with wine. Sometimes I even add it to the food.

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Monica

I am enjoying your Blog tremendously. It’s a bit of slow read for me being as unfamiliar with the cuisine as I am. I often have to stop to do a search to familiarize myself with what you are discussing.

Could you point me to a resource or provide me with a list of what to stock in the pantry to be able to try some of the delicious dishes you are discussing?

Thanks

Elie

Thanks

There are a few threads on the basic Indian pantry in the Indian forum.

Real Simple magazine had interviewed me on this topic as well -- Monica's Basic Indian pantry

Monica Bhide

A Life of Spice

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I am enjoying hearing what you make for dinner.  I have loved Indian food for years (eating and cooking it), but it has been self-taught.  I always wished/wondered what it would be like to be a dinner guest in an Indian home (here in the States), so now I am finally getting an idea!  thank you

My love for Indian food began as a child, when my mother made curries she learned from other military wives (my parents never had the chance to travel to India).  My first cookbook, believe it or not, as a teenager (college) was Madhur Jaffrey's.  That copy is now so stained and dog-eared these many years later.

I loved Julie Sahni's Mogul Microwave, when it came out, because i had babies and toddlers at the time, so it really seemed to cut back on some steps, making life easier, without sacrificing taste.  Several of her recipes are now part of my usual day-to-day repetoire, when I want Indian food, but need shortcuts.  I still love cooking from Madhur's book though.  Do you use the microwave much in your Indian cooking?

Julie Sahni is quite amazing as is Madhur. I think they have really set high quality standards for cookbooks in general.

I dont microwave a lot unfortunately. Just use it to defrost and reheat my coffee (which I have to do at least ten times a day)

Monica Bhide

A Life of Spice

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Here we are back after dinner.

WIth due respect this is Monica's version of a Malay curry -- I hope people from Malaysia dont laugh at this. I cant remember where I learnt this but I have been making this for years.

Here we go, Monica's Malay Curry

1. Heat oil in a pan and add finely ground shallots and ginger

gallery_6825_1143_1150356.jpg

Fry them till they change color to a light brown. Add a cinnamon stick and 2 star anise.. and smell paradise.

2. Now comes the AWESOME part -- add as much of this sambhal as you can take

gallery_6825_1143_807592.jpg

3. Now add the your spice paste (Monica's spice paste -- in a bowl add turmeric, red chili, coriander powder, cumin powder, salt, a touch of dried mango powder -- if you dont want to do this add a spoonful or two of any commericial hot curry like Shan)

gallery_6825_1143_685736.jpg

4. Cook for a few minutes. If the spice paste starts to stick add some water.

gallery_6825_1143_1035671.jpg

5. Add the chicken and continue to cook for 10 -12 minutes or until the chicken is 3/4 cooked.

gallery_6825_1143_658658.jpg

6. Add a can of lite coconut milk and bring to a slow boil. Cover and lower the heat. Cook for about ten minutes or until the chicken is done.

gallery_6825_1143_1335541.jpg

7. gallery_6825_1143_274184.jpg

Serve with a Smirnoff Ice .. ice cold

Dessert

We had rice pudding. Most Indians make rice pudding a lot thinner than I do. When I lived in Cleveland many years ago, my dearest friend and I used to eat at this Greek joint run by Indians and this is how they made their rice pudding.. and I have adored it since.

1. Add a handful of washed rice to a deep pan. Add milk (2 cups) , cream (1/2 cup) and sweetened condensed milk (to taste). Simmer uncovered for about 45- minutes.

Serve cold garnished with thinly sliced almonds and crushed green cardamoms

gallery_6825_1143_853959.jpg

Monica's Devilish rice pudding --

gallery_6825_1143_932030.jpg

Monica Bhide

A Life of Spice

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That's it I'll never eat again! I can't bear the dissapointment of eating anything after looking at these pictures. If its possible you can actually taste the dishes in the pictures. Why try anything else.

**************************************************

Ah, it's been way too long since I did a butt. - Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

--------------------

One summers evening drunk to hell, I sat there nearly lifeless…Warren

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Have you tried the indian restaurant just outside of Fairfax, VA? I think it is called the Bombay Cafe. I told me its very spicy, I said, unknowinglike, yeah I like it spicy make it the way you like it, they blew my head off!

One of the best meals I ever had. :wub:

**************************************************

Ah, it's been way too long since I did a butt. - Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

--------------------

One summers evening drunk to hell, I sat there nearly lifeless…Warren

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Have you tried the indian restaurant just outside of Fairfax, VA? I think it is called the Bombay Cafe. I told me its very spicy, I said, unknowinglike, yeah I like it spicy make it the way you like it, they blew my head off!

One of the best meals I ever had. :wub:

I have not tried it. What did you order?

Monica Bhide

A Life of Spice

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Tomorrow -- Hmmm.. Lunch will be leftovers. I have so much food left!

Dinner will be Salad ala Monica -- Fruits, Walnuts and imagination :laugh:

Entree -- A grilled chicken with orange juice, peanut butter and curry powder... a treat I learnt here on eG.

Dont knock it til you try it :smile:

Monica Bhide

A Life of Spice

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I had vindalo (sp) my brother in law who followed my lead had black pepper chicken. He followed my lead and asked for spicy as well. At the end of the meal we were sweating like we ran a Marathon, but oh boy we were happy! We actually split the dishes.

We had a mussel app., a tomato based soup that was outstanding and somosas.

The BIL order some really nice bottles of white wine, crisp, cool, it took the edge off and was a really great combination. The restaurant has been written up as one of the best in the DC area. It is on rt 123 chain bridge road. It is out a ways but it is not a bad drive.

The rest of the Fam had chicken tikka, the girls, left, had tandori chicken for the first time and loved it.

**************************************************

Ah, it's been way too long since I did a butt. - Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

--------------------

One summers evening drunk to hell, I sat there nearly lifeless…Warren

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Yes, sorry for being a lunkhead. It was in January. Boy that was a long time ago.....

**************************************************

Ah, it's been way too long since I did a butt. - Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

--------------------

One summers evening drunk to hell, I sat there nearly lifeless…Warren

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Here we go, Monica's Malay Curry

6. Add a can of lite coconut milk and bring to a slow boil. Cover and lower the heat. Cook for about ten minutes or until the chicken is done.

gallery_6825_1143_1335541.jpg

Looks & sounds delicious!!!

I was alway told NOT to cover any pan to which coconut milk was added, or the coconut milk would curdle. You didn't have any problem?

SuzySushi

"She sells shiso by the seashore."

My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

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Monica

I'm loving your blog. I always wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed your writings. I can almost taste the dishes you write about and I could never read about it on an empty stomach because it would drive me crazy!

I'm wondering if you can recommend some titles on Indian food essays. I remember reading some posts on the India board about these writings but I'm not really too sure if they've been translated into English or even sold in the US. Thanks in advance.

Amy

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Monica,

Thanks for blogging this week! I know how difficult it can be to juggle the blogging and photography with an active kid running around. You are doing a wonderful job, and I'm looking forward to getting your cookbook and trying some of these recipes for myself.

I was wondering if you'd have some time to chat a bit about how you made the transition to full time writing. I think I remember reading that you attended Toni's Greenbrier Symposium. Was that a turning point for you?

Before you left your tech job, how did you juggle family, work and pitching articles? (I struggle with this!)

Thanks in advance!

Danielle

Danielle Altshuler Wiley

a.k.a. Foodmomiac

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Here we go, Monica's Malay Curry

Looks & sounds delicious!!!

I was alway told NOT to cover any pan to which coconut milk was added, or the coconut milk would curdle. You didn't have any problem?

No it wont curdle at all .. dont worry. Its a good dish for a cold night.. very spicy :cool:

Monica Bhide

A Life of Spice

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Monica

I'm loving your blog.  I always wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed your writings.  I can almost taste the dishes you write about and I could never read about it on an empty stomach because it would drive me crazy!

I'm wondering if you can recommend some titles on Indian food essays.  I remember reading some posts on the India board about these writings but I'm not really too sure if they've been translated into English or even sold in the US. Thanks in advance.

Amy

Thank you very much.. so very kind of you.

Pengiun India came out with food essays that are good. If I were you, I would order Mistress of Spices.. I love her style of writing..

Monica Bhide

A Life of Spice

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I was wondering if you'd have some time to chat a bit about how you made the transition to full time writing. I think I remember reading that you attended Toni's Greenbrier Symposium. Was that a turning point for you?

It just happened... and then it took forever to happen.. I guess the answer changes depending on the day you ask me. My story "The Color of your dreams" on how I became a food writer and what it has taken over the year was on the cover of the IACP magazine this quarter. I am attaching the file here for you to see.

IACP_Color_of_your_dreams.pdf

Monica Bhide

A Life of Spice

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Before you left your tech job, how did you juggle family, work and pitching articles? (I struggle with this!)

Thanks in advance!

Danielle

It is a struggle.. I know many writers who struggle with the same thing. it is also off topic here and I am sure the moderators will send me a note if I blabber on about this.. email me and we can talk offline. :wub:

Monica Bhide

A Life of Spice

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I was wondering if you'd have some time to chat a bit about how you made the transition to full time writing. I think I remember reading that you attended Toni's Greenbrier Symposium. Was that a turning point for you?

It just happened... and then it took forever to happen.. I guess the answer changes depending on the day you ask me. My story "The Color of your dreams" on how I became a food writer and what it has taken over the year was on the cover of the IACP magazine this quarter. I am attaching the file here for you to see.

OK, I'm really embarrassed now. I have a copy of that in my living room, and I have an article in there myself. I think I was so enamored of the fact that I had a nationally published article that I forgot anyone else had written in the issue.

(heading downstairs to fetch the magazine and read the rest of the articles in there, starting with yours)

Danielle Altshuler Wiley

a.k.a. Foodmomiac

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