Idli

  Idli is not originally an Indian dish, but an import to India — I’m full of trivia. 🙂 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)

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

Hing: A story ending in divorce

pigeon funny story

This is a story about a spice widely used in the near East, a bird, and a divorce. One day many summers ago I was sitting in the courtyard of my neighborhood department store. Frantically going nowhere was a pigeon. People were busying by, which should have made this bird fly the coop, but it stuck close to a tree round and round and round. Curious, I went up to it. It ran away — it couldn’t fly! I reached down to pick it up and saw that something had taken a… Read More

Love and tip your Indian Chef!

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.

A week of ten minute recipes

boiled daikon, first step

I’m new to blogging. To get my bearings I’ve been read, read, reading blogs. A constant theme in the food-o-sphere is ‘quick and easy’. Myself, I prefer slow and complicated; but delicious, inexpensive, healthful food is easy to prepare at home and so I’ve decided to do a series of posts in which I make meals in no more than 10 minutes — preparation is required. I spent two hours preparing last Friday and no more than 10 minutes each day throughout the week. (Links to my recipes will follow in the… Read More

First recipe: Indian: Murgh Methi

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