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Archive for the ‘Potatoes’ Category

Pumpkin-flower Fritters and Similar Stories

In Bengal, Bengali, Currently reading, Potatoes, Under 30 min!, Vegetables, Vegetarian on October 4, 2014 at 4:17 pm

Sometime back there was a discussion amongst some food-blogger friends on cookbooks and their relevance in a world of food blogs and websites.  The topic was triggered by the surprising admission of some food-bloggers (aspiring writers at that!) that they only look at and rarely cook from cookbooks.  My bookshelf is lined with cookbooks I have been collecting since my teens; they are a weakness.  They are my insights into a new cuisine or deeper explorations of a favourite one. I put a moratorium on further cookbook purchases because I am constrained where bookshelf-real-estate is concerned.  That ended, as all fad diets do, in a binge.  With e-shopping only a click away, I was on Flipkart, ordering away.   I am no longer looking for cookbooks titled “All About Baking,” but seek out books that link food to a culture: “Gujarati Cooking”, or “Simply South.”

cookbooks

I have been searching for a recipe for the Goan Sambarachi Kodi ever since I tasted it at O’Coquero.  On the Web, I came across only one recipe, the one on the charming Goan Food Recipes blog.  While Googling for it yet again (I try to check multiple recipes before attempting a less-familiar dish), I came across a mention for it in Pushpesh Pant’s India: A Cookbook.  Now, I am usually weary of cookbooks that want to cover all of India in one book.  If you know anything about the diversity that is India, you cam imagine how daunting a task that is. In India, I assure you, we know nothing as “Indian Food.”  But Pushpesh Pant is a respected scholar and reading some of the recommendations for the book, I thought, well, his might just be the definitive volume, the exception. To his credit, it has a 1000 recipes and weighs in at over a kilo!  With those statistics I was expecting a tome of great research and insights.  As usual, I started with the section on the cuisine I know better than any other – Kashmiri.  That right there, is the cornerstone by which I judge a cookbook dishing out “Indian” Cuisine. Read the rest of this entry »

Goan Sausage

In Goan, Potatoes, Rice, Under 30 min! on January 31, 2013 at 5:44 pm

My interest in food and cooking is known to most of my friends, family, and colleagues, and even students.  Towards the end of the term I bring some food, usually home-cooked, to the class on  a day when informal interactions are scheduled.  It is a pleasant way to conclude the semester.

Some students stay in touch after they graduate.  Some come and visit and we exchange notes as colleagues.  A special mention here is Ryan, who remembers to bring me foodie-things from his travels around the country; many times these are ingredients sourced from where they are grown (or brewed!).  Amongst the many gifts I have received from him are coffee from a Chikmagalur plantation, his aunt’s home-brewed plum wine, his mom’s fruitcake, Shrewsbury biscuits and ginger cookies from the famous Kayani bakery in Pune, toddy from Kerala, and Mahuwa (the drink!) from Madhya Pradesh.  Recently he brought me dried kokum and kokum syrup on his return from a visit to the Konkan.  He seems to be partial to the western coast; perhaps because of his ethnic roots.  Back from one such visit to the coast last year, he brought me a packet of Goan pork sausage.  Until then I had only read about it.

Remember I asked all of you to suggest recipes?  Raji had suggested I use it in a pulao, and Ryan shared a recipe for a curry cooked with the sausage and potatoes.  The Goan Chouriço, also known as linguica, is an important element in the Portuguese-influenced Goan Catholic cuisine.  Though often identified as a sausage, it is made with chopped pork instead of ground meat and cannot be consumed uncooked.  The prepared pork is combined with spices and vinegar, stuffed into cleaned cattle gut, and usually dried in the sun.  The resulting aged meat imparts a unique taste and aroma to whatever it is cooked with.

goan sausage

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It’s time for some Deep Fried Bedmi Love

In Bread, Deep Fried!, Potatoes, Tea Party, Uttar Pradesh, Vegetables, Vegetarian on February 9, 2012 at 3:46 pm

The first month of this year is history already.  How time flies!

After some fumbling this season, old man winter got into his groove here in Delhi.  The weather has been at its frigid best for the past 6 weeks even though we celebrated Basant Panchami  (the fifth day of Spring) last Saturday.  I even poured myself a glass of kanji while preparing dinner the other day. But, the thaw has certainly started and if you blink the short Spring will be over.

In the fast pace of 2011 many celebrations got left out.  No one got a birthday cake :shock:.  The blog anniversary was overlooked since there was no time to come up with a theme, announce a party, or be a proper host to all of you.  But, it is always party-time at A Mad Tea Party where we celebrate food as just that – nourishment; food that satiates, the kind that engages all our senses.  Mindful eating without dissecting what is on the plate.

bedmi poori

One-dish-themed blog-events are now commonplace.  The poori-party might have been one of the first of that kind but it was quite by accident.  None of the subsequent celebrations were a patch on that first party.  From that party on, I have made a concerted effort to fry poories more often.  Every time the son visits for holidays, poori-bhaji features on the breakfast menu on one of the days.  Just the once maybe, but it is sure to be there.  Then, for Ram Navmi I indulge the little girl in me who misses doing rounds of the neighbouring homes to gather loads of prasad be part of the ritual to revere the goddess in all girls, by cooking poori, halwa, and kala chana.  That adds up to at least three poori-frying sessions a year!  And if there are friends or family visiting (and it is cool enough to fry in the kitchen) then it is likely they will get some deep fried love!

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Tchaman Kaliya (Paneer in a milky broth)

In Kashmiri, Potatoes, Under 30 min!, Vegetarian on October 24, 2010 at 10:37 pm

Paneer kalia, radish greens, andhra daal

Paneer is de rigueur for a Kashmiri vegetarian spread.  Good high-fat milk is hard to come by in mountainous Kashmir since there are no water buffaloes; low fat cow milk is what you get.  Despite this, dahi (yoghurt) and paneer are plentiful and a regular part of the diet.  On days fasting is prescribed, all Kashmiri Pandits practice vegetarianism; even those who may not be fasting.  Observing periodic dietary restrictions are to be found in most faiths and belief systems, be it Ramzan for Muslims, or Lent for Christians. Us Hindus seem rather fond of fasting and have created an immense variety of them.  To add to the fun, each fast comes with its own rules: what is kosher, what is not, or the length of the fasting period (half a day to up to an entire month).  You may also chose the frequency of fasting: weekly, fortnightly, monthly, or yearly.  If you like to walk your own path, well, you could even customise your fasting routine.

Some food preparations are so intricately tied with f(e)asting that it is hard to imagine anyone would cook them on ‘normal’ days!  Breaking of a fast with specific foods also brings a special significance to those foods and further intensifies the link between our memories of events and places with the food we eat.

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Potato chips anyone?

In on the side, Potatoes, Under 30 min!, Vegetarian on February 10, 2010 at 11:52 am

potato chips

Winter seemed almost over.  The sun was out from behind the fog and days were back to being like they are in Delhi – bright and shiny.  There were signs of spring and I was determined to turn over a new leaf.

You have to make the most of spring in my neck of the woods; you blink and you might have missed an entire season.  Not so fast.  We are back to gloomy overcast days; with added rain, for good measure.  Which is all fine; who needs summer along before spring has had a chance.  Just that I decided to put the sunshine to good use and make a batch of home-style potato chips which are an essential ingredient in my chiwda.  Long story short – Lord Indra got a whiff, took a peek, decided to stay.  I thought I would get around him and make sure I had chips that stayed white as if they had received their two days in the bright sun.  Yup, the sun does different things for different people – some it bleaches, others it tans.  Determined to save my chips from browning I heated the oven, turned it down all the way to barely warm, set my cellphone alarm for 10 minutes, and went up to the office with my cup of tea. One hour later…
…toast!

potato chips
Yes, these are from last year’s batch! :-)

Well anyway, it was good weather for potato soup, which is what we ate for dinner last night. Read the rest of this entry »

Cranberry Beans

In Kashmiri, Low Fat, Potatoes, Under 30 min!, Vegetarian on November 12, 2009 at 7:46 pm

cranberry beans

It’s nippy tonight – it has snowed in the mountains and it is raining in Delhi.  Some beans and rice is just what I would like…

I was lucky to get a little of the stash of fresh cranberry beans that a cousin brought over from a visit to the valley and shared with my mom who, indulgently, shared it further with me.  I had never seen these beans fresh before.  They are called thool razma in Kashmiri. Much rounder than the regular kidney beans, they do indeed, resemble tiny spotted eggs!  I had never cooked with them or even eaten fresh ones before so I asked my mom for some general directions.  She suggested I cook them with potatoes using the usual Kashmiri combination of fennel and dried ginger powder. Read the rest of this entry »

Birthdays and other days

In Kashmiri, Potatoes, Rice, Traditions and Customs, Under 30 min! on November 13, 2008 at 1:29 pm

taher

Kashmiri Pandits, just like Bengali Brahmins, are known for their love of mutton and fish.  Just the sight of a goat can make my Bengali professor salivate.  Likewise, a Kashmiri is within her rights to discount a meal that did not include meat.

Food is perhaps amongst the most gossiped topics in the Kashmiri community.  The usual greetings and hugging are always followed by queries regarding the last meal.  How do you do?  What did you have for lunch?  The aunt will barely keep herself from clucking if you omit to mention some meat dish, real or imaginary, in your previous repast.  And you had better include the leftover morsel from yesterday’s meal while you are recounting the feast which is obviously your norm.  You can see the mental balancing underway as the relative from one side (paternal or maternal) weighs the meal in question (enjoyed at the other side) and determines who the winner would be after they are done serving you next. I have been accosted on the street – and after the pleasantries were done with –  “Ah, on your way from your maasi’s eh? So, what did you eat?!”  Now I look back at it with nostalgia; it did make our once-upon-a-time annual summer visits to Srinagar all the more colourful.

Yet, this blog speaks little of my nonvegetarian heritage.

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Deep Fried Love: Batata Vada

In Maharashtrian, on the side, Potatoes, Tea Party, Vegetables, Vegetarian on August 24, 2008 at 5:11 pm

batata vada
If you have been seeing Batata Vadas appear in some of the food blogs you read and wondering what is up with that, here is what is at the root of it all – old fashioned indulgence.  A year ago, while discussing this and that on this blog, I and my readers decided a party was in order – an old fashioned yet not completely throw-caution-to-the-winds party.  Celebrating food without worrying about what went into it, or got left out; being intuitive instead of thoughtful.  It lead to a bunch of us frying poori last year, some for the first time!

This year we are experimenting with frying batata vadas, some of us for the first time!  The motive, again, has been to cook and share with friends and family, and remind ourselves that a little indulgence is a good thing.  And, of course, have some fun while we were frying!

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The Old Faithful: Aloo Parantha

In Bread, Low Fat, Potatoes, Punjab, Vegetables, Vegetarian on May 11, 2008 at 2:48 am

aloo parantha

Usually, I love my time in the kitchen. More often than not, TH stays out, and is very appreciative of the food I put on the table (even when it is store-bought bread on days such as today when I am too rushed for even a 30-minute meal). But there are (many) days when I am not inclined to step into the kitchen at all.

One such day last year was my birthday. It is rather pathetic to have to cook yourself a special meal when it’s the perfect opportunity for others to show their love for a change. Yet, neither my son nor TH can be expected to bake a cake (not everyone is like Jai!). Every time I am not inclined to cook, the son is willing to order pizza and TH is only too happy to step out to get a fresh loaf of bread. But that day I insisted on a home cooked meal, and varan-bhaat was not going to cut it.

As it crawled towards dinner time and I showed no signs of getting off the couch, TH finally got the message and decided to grab the bull by the horns :D . Off he went into the kitchen and busied himself to prepare paranthas stuffed with my favourite vegetable – no prizes for guessing this time – potatoes. To bide my time till the paranthas were ready was a seasonal twist on my favourite drink – mango margaritas! Yes, he excelled himself.

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Moongre ki Subzi (Radish Pods)

In Edible Flowers, Low Fat, Potatoes, Punjab, Rajasthani, Under 30 min!, Vegetables, Vegetarian on February 7, 2008 at 10:15 pm

radish blooms

I seem to gravitate towards strong tasting vegetables – the pungent and very-brassica smells and tastes my husband likes to categorise as oogra. Nothing brings out the link between all the diverse members of the brassica family (such as broccoli, kohlrabi, haak, cabbage, cauliflower, radish, mustard, kale, and collard) like their flowers and seeds. All of them have the characteristic four-petal blooms (thus the name crusiferae – from ‘cross’ – for this group of plants, also collectively called the mustard family) and the brown-to-black oval-spherical seeds borne in tapering bean-like seedpods (a silique). Maybe now Nabeela will see why I first identified the mustard pods in her quiz as radish pods. The flowers vary in colour from white or cream to lavender or yellow, and are all edible! Read the rest of this entry »

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