"It IS all about the TASTE"
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  • Lauki Ke Kofte (Squash Kabob)

    kofte
    I am sure any number of folks out there will be screaming that this is really bottle gourd, but as the bottle gourds in the Bad Wolf garden are not ready yet, I’ll have to make do with what my green grocer can find for me.

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  • Bhindi Bhaji

    okra

    Literally, okra and onions. yes, I know, done wrong okra has the consistency of snot! But they can be so good and so good for you. Well, worth the little extra work to make the dish pleasant

    Background
    Okra is richer in potassium than bananas and has nearly twice as much calcium gram for gram as milk. 100g supplies a third of the recommended daily intake of magnesium (needed for energy release and healthy nerves) and more than 10 per cent of the RDA for iron. Okra is also a source of fiber – stir-fried okra contains much fiber as whole wheat bread. In addition it is quite a good source of vitamin C and the antioxidant betacarotene, which has a range of benefits, including protection against cancer and heart disease by helping to neutralise free radicals.

    Okra is one of those “binary foods” where people seem to hate it or love it, just like mushrooms, seaweed, and tofu. The hate is usually because of the gooey slime that coats the okra, but that is not a preordained fate

    Okra becomes slimy when cooked with a moist method—in a stew, curry, gumbo (in all these the sliminess helps to thicken the overall dish), or a steamer basket. Stir-frying or sauteing in hot oil, in contrast, keeps the slime within the okra pieces, or perhaps causes the moisture in the mucilage to evaporate, thus improving the pods’ texture.

    There are cooking techniques tol prevent your okra dish from being slimed. Indian food has many techniques of okra preparation, and I have three recommendations from my Indian friends.

    1. Trim just the very tip and the end of the okra and pan fry the whole okra pods until tender.
    2. Trim and round the pods then saute with onions and spices
    3. Trim SMALL okra pods, dredge in spices and corn meal / flour, and deep fry

    Note : After you wash the okra pods, wipte them dry with a paper towel. Controlling moisture is the key to controlling the slime.

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  • Pressure Cookers

    PressureCooker

    Once a MUST HAVE for any cook, now an item relegated to the back of the cabinet, since the advent of the microwave. These vessels can product feats of culinary magic that no other cooking method can rival.

    Pressure cookers are especially designed cookware of aluminum or stainless steel. All types have a locking lid and a vent for a weight or pressure regulator. Most pressure cookers are designed to be used on top of your stove, but at least one model has its own electrical heat source.

    Food is cooked by the high temperatures inside the cooker. This high temperature is made possible by raising the pressure to a point greater than atmospheric pressure. One atmosphere (15 pounds) of pressure will raise the boiling point of water in the cooker high enough to cook soaked beans in 3 to 8 minutes. (Before cooking beans in your pressure cooker, read the manufacturer’s instructions.)

    All pressure cookers have the same principles of operation. Heat produces steam in an a closed container which raises the boiling point to cook foods faster. A pressure cooker cooks food in superheated steam, not by boiling, so taste and nutrients stay in the food not it the water.

    There are two basic types of pressure cookers. The old style pressure cooker had some type of weighted, or “jiggle top” pressure regulator which sits a top the vent pipe on the lid, or the newer style is a closed system and uses spring valves.

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  • Sausage, Peppers and Onions, Pub-Grub

    saupep

    It’s summer, it’s hot, and I do not want to cook anything on top of the stove.. But I have such a wonderful oven, maybe I can try that to make a hearty, tasty, sandwich.

    Background
    A sausage sandwich is a sandwich containing cooked sausage. Outside the United Kingdom, it generally consists of an oblong bread roll such as a bagette or ciabatta roll, and sliced or whole links of sausage, such as hot or sweet Italian sausage, Popular toppings include mustard, peppers, onions, and tomato sauce.

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  • Kachumbar salad

    kachumbar

    A nice cool refreshing vegetable salad that works well as a side to rajma chawal and naan… It is also quite in season for the spring / summer.

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  • Basmati Rice (Punjabi Style)

    New048

    Basmati rice, traditionally a special strain of rice from India and Pakistan, is indistinguishable from brown rice to the untrained eye, but a quick whiff of the Basmati rice will tell you they are not the same. Basmati rice has a strong, pungent odor that also has a much stronger flavor than regular long grain brown rice. When cooking Basmati rice, it’s always a good idea to wash it first in water which washes away a bit of it’s starch, making it less sticky when cooked. Sought after for Asian cuisine, many people have grown to love the flavor and texture of this rice grown half way around the world.

    As a general one cooks Basmati in the following method:

    1. Measure 1 cup of Basmati rice into a 1 quart bowl.
    2. Wash and drain the rice several times, stirring rice with your fingers until the water no longer clouds up. This removes a bit of the starch and rice powder that make “gummy or sticky” rice.
    3. Drain out the water and refill the bowl with fresh water. Allow to soak for at least of one hour.
    4. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a medium sauce pan. Add 1 teaspoon salt and 1-2 tablespoons clarified butter (ghee).
    5. Drain the washed rice and pour into the boiling water. Stir a few times with a wooden spoon. Do not over stir.
    6. Return to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer and cover.
    7. Cook over very low heat for about 15 minutes or until the water is absorbed. Stir once, cover again, and let it sit for another 5-10 minutes before serving.

    For “Punjabi Style” we’ll add a few other items.

    A “rule of thumb” for cooking basmati is one cup of rice to two cups water to cook on a stove, one cup rice to 1.5 cups of water in a rice cooker.

    Measure 1 cup of basmati rice and put it into a bowl. Sift quickly thru it make sure there are no stones or other particles. Use both of your hands to gently clean the rice using a gentle gliding friction with the rice between your hands. Once you have cleaned once, drain the water and replace with fresh. Repeat cleaning the rice. Change the water about 4 times or until the water runs clear. Cover the rice with fresh clear water and let the rice soak while you prepare the rest of your meal.

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