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Showing posts from January, 2011

Is Galumpkis even an Indian word, leave alone patriotic?

Chanced upon the movie Mississippi Masala on Cable & started watching it out of sheer boredom... Denzel Washington was a definite eye candy redeeming feature, but what tugged at me was the scene where the Tape recorder starts playing that all time RK classic 'Mera Jootha hai Japani' it kind of seemed to add sense to my fledgling food endeavor,      (Yeh dishes  hai Japani, mere styling englistani, naamein hai French aur Roosi, phir bhi food  hai Hindustani), Ahh, the hallucinations that occur when you have no clue how to spend a snowed in afternoon!!

About Galumpkis, this is a traditional East European dish made with cabbage. Leaves are wilted in salted water, stuffed (or should I say rolled ) with rice, meat (usually pork) and seasonings & baked or steamed till the flavors have blended. This is  a staple dish in a lot of Slavic countries like Croatia.

Swiss Chard makes for a fabulous substitute for spinach in all Indian dishes, once the crunchy celery …

Friday night munchies

Whether its a football game or a bollywood masala flick, an essential part of the experience is having the right finger foods to go with it. My idea of relaxing on a friday night is whipping up something other than the traditional  Indian fare & the favorites are usually something Mediterranean or Mexican..
The bad thing about nacho's the difficulty in controlling portions.. the smallest baking tray accomodates 1/2 a huge bag of chip & with the toppings... forget it. When combined with a childhood habit of 'not wasting food' you're pretty much doomed as far as watching your caloric intake for the next week!
 Baking individual portions in muffin pans makes for a visually pleasing hors  d'oeuvres, while retaining all the elements of the incomparable umami.& the interesting part... no deep fried chips!.
For those of you in India where the listed ingredients may not be available in the standard form, I've provided substitutes that do not a…

Root Salad

In India, along with the pongal season arrives a slew of rhizomes in the market that are associated with this festival. Fresh Ginger & turmeric are found everywhere, whole plants with the rhizomes still caked in fresh muddy earth. The aroma is incomparable.
At home, invariably after the festivities were over there would be plenty of the fresh turmeric & ginger left over after some had been replanted in pots (Its quite another story that we needed to eventually buy more next year!)  for the next season, my dad would dice these finely, add finely minced green chilli, salt & a dash of lime to make this yummy relish/salad.. (it was a bit too spicy to load up by the ladleful, but mild & piquant enough to scarf down generously for an 'achar' (pickle/relish), so in later years I took to calling this a salsa). My mother in her characteristic southie tradition would add a tadka of mustard & a pinch of asafetida. This was one of my late fathers signatu…

Gothsu a la Symon!

Before you wonder why I dragged a confirmed meat n potatoes name like Iron Chef Michael Symon into a classic beloved South Indian dish, take a look at this creation of his. http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/recipes/michael-symon/pan-roasted-lamb-loin-with-sweet-and-sour-relish-and-smoky-or-grilled-eggplant-puree-recipe/index.html

NO.. NOT the Lamb, the grilled eggplant puree.

It was fascinating to watch how the Iron chef transformed a common man's vegetable into something so elegant!, Got me thinking, Isn't that on the same lines of the humble gothsu that any southie grandma whipped up? & if you go to the basics, this is exactly what chef Symon did for his 'high end' lamb dish.

In the days of cooking with firewood, the eggplant would be rubbed with oil & left to grill on the glowing embers after most of the the day's cooking was done. the charred skin would be discarded & the cooked flesh would be combined with tamarind extract,salt, asafetid…

Venn Polenta

If Yogurt rice occupies the # 1 spot in a South Indian's list of food faves, then 'Venn Pongal' is usually with in the top five list of comfort foods. Almost every South Indian reading this post has some story about a weekend brunch comprising of a large dollop of steaming hot & thick  porridge of rice & tasted moong dal, with a side of crisp Medu Vada with an almost unlimited supply of tangy piquant Coconut chutney to go with it. the added bonus was licking the plate clean!
 I had been toying with the idea of bringing out a series of dishes using grits & Yellow corn meal for sometime, but the push to get going never came until Shaila Ballal Nigam posted her delish recipe for Cornmeal Dhokhla a week ago. I promise that I'll recreate that recipe & post it.... as soon as I finish up this batch of hominy grits that I have on hand!
Back to Venn Pongal, as I said, Its a mix of well (even slightly overcooked) rice & moong dal ( which is the…