Idli

idli and sambar

  Idli is not originally an Indian dish, but an import to India — I’m full of trivia. ūüôā When I was at CII idli was not on the menu, so to speak. A fermented mixture of beans and rice, steamed, then served with chutney or sambar, idli is a home cooked dish which you can sometime find out. Idli batter follows the same steps as dosa, but idli is steamed rather than cooked on a hot griddle. There is what’s called an idli steamer you can purchase to make the standard… Read More

sarson ka saag (recipe)

sarson ka saag

I came across a recipe online many years ago for a curry of mustard greens. By chance mustard greens were in season and I bought them not for onigiri, as the Japanese use them, but for Sarson Ka Saag.¬†Since then I’ve sampled dozens of recipes, which don’t vary much. Mustard greens aren’t popular here, so when they come into season I buy them in bulk to freeze. I stem them and blanch the stemmed leaves from the stems separately. I prepare the dish with the tender parts of the leaves for guests… Read More

Idli and sambar: White-boy-does-Indian

I have wanted to write a post on idli and sambar since I started this blog. I tried to finish one before I left but I didn’t have a chance to organize the photos before I left. So I’ll leave you with a photo of my breakfast, which is just as satisfying as lunch or dinner and suggest that if you’d like to learn how to make this go to the Reasder and in the tags section put in Idli or Sanbar. There are many, many, talented cooks on WordPress. I’ll post… Read More

Vegetable Curry, a book and recipe

vegetable curry

(recipe follows) Several years ago the love of my life, Hiro, gave me an unexpected birthday present: A curry cookbook written in both Japanese and English. Until then I had never made Indian food — curry had just never occurred to me. He didn’t know me that well at the time but mine is the personality that when I do something, I devote myself to it and so I bought every single ingredient in the index from Asafoetida¬†to Yogurt and went to work page by page, which created some friction in our… Read More

Play with your food! Aloo Gobi

Aloo Gobi

(recipe follows) A classic Indian dish, Aloo Gobi is cauliflower and potato cooked with regional variations on spices. Here it’s presented in phyllo dough which has been rolled over a hollow cylinder of wax paper and foil. After baking, the foil is removed for a flakey shell to fill. Here, I placed the Aloo Gobi at either end with several chunks of lamb in the center. Phyllo is traditionally rolled with butter between the layers. To keep with the Indian theme I used melted ghee and in the variations olive oil, canola,… Read More

Play with your food! Spinach curry as strudel

IMG_2164

You’ll soon see that I’m in strudel mode. But why not blend food traditions and put Palak Paneer (Spinach Curry with Paneer) inside strudel dough? I made five different curried versions, variations on colors and flavors. They are really delicious. (Can anyone tell me why my iPhone 5S takes better photos than my Nikon S9300?)

Dosa, a recipe

Dosa and Sambar.

I received a bilingual Indian cookbook about seven years ago, English and Japanese — I ordered every single ingredient. Two years later I was attending¬†cooking school in India. The first day I had to study in the library, which was packed with Asian, European, African, and Indian faces — every one of them were Indian — their culinary traditions as varied and in harmony with each other. In southern India Dosa is ubiquitous and varied like the faces in India. It is made with urad dal¬†and rice, or semolina, or with an… Read More

Play with your food! — Dosa Your Way

I poured Dosa batter into a waffle iron and set it to high. Ten minutes later -- beep, beep, beep -- and it was on a plate. Coconut chutney is usually served much, much thinner, but I wanted to see how the thicker texture would fill the gaps.

I wanted something different for lunch, but my refrigerator is filled with leftovers. To add variety I changed the approach to something typical by using different tools: I used an American waffle maker to make an Indian dosa (link to recipe) — and it was perfect. Crisp on the outside, it gave way with a loud, satisfying crunch. Inside was the flavour of urad dal.¬†If I had added a thinner coconut chutney, it might have made this particular Dosa soft, muted the urad dal flavour, and required a knife and fork.

First recipe: Indian: Murgh Methi

My classmate took the sauce down to a paste and added tomato in place of yogurt. Indian tomatoes are sour compared to American varieties.

A few years ago I had the honour to study cooking at The Culinary Academy of India (CAI). Chef told me that teaching regional Indian cooking is impossible as every 20 kilometres from wherever you are, the food is prepared differently: What X connotes in one city can be very different just one town over. To teach me Chef printed out recipes from the web and taught me why tomatoes are used here but fenugreek there, and we cooked and tasted at every step. This was my base education.¬†Indian Food: A Historical… Read More