India is said to be the original home of the relish, with an array to match every one if its equally vast variety of street-food snack.
Imagine pakora without relish? It’s like pasta without sauce or pizza without a topping. It’s just not done
Continue reading “Spicy Tomato Relish”
It’s the custom in the Bengal region of north-east India to start a meal with a bitter dish. Shukto achieves this through the use of karela, a bitter gourd readily available from most Asian grocers. If bitter isn’t your thing you can simply omit this vegetable and use any of your favourite ones.
Two other flavours are common in Bengali dishes, mustard in the form of seed, the oil or kasundi and panch phoran or five spice. This dish combines all these flavours for a traditionally sweet dish with a mild bitterness – or leave out the bitter and keep it sweet. Continue reading “Shukto – Bengali Mixed Vegetable Curry”
Traditionally served with greens, kasundi ( कसूंदी ) is a perfect accompaniment to dry vegetable snacks such as pakora and samosa. Added to pasta it’s a marriage made in heaven.
Though available commercially, kasundi is easy to make at home. No vinegar or other acids, no additives, no cooking even. Just natural fermentation of raw materials for a condiment bursting with pro-biotic goodness and umami deliciousness. Continue reading “Aam Kasundi – Bengali Mustard & Green Mango Relish”
This is my earliest memory of making curry. 1981, the London Sivananda Yoga Ashram, my home at the time, is hosting a distinguished group of Indian scholars for a week of lectures on Vedanta philosophy. Declaring European fare as “bland” our guests have brought their own cook who is promptly dispatched to the kitchen.
A Brahmin, the highest of the Hindu casts, Rita handles food exclusively with her right hand, her left dedicated to supporting a long, shimmering fold of silken sari. She requests assistance. My luck is in. Continue reading “Aloo Gobi – Potato & Cauliflower Curry”
The third in our set of classic Indian spice-mixes or masalas, sambhar powder is the basis of the south Indian “curry” of the same name. Sambhar most likely originated in the southern state of Tamil Nadu. Did you know the word curry is an Anglicisation of the Tamil word kari, meaning with sauce? This may be the closest we get to “real” curry! Continue reading “South Indian Sambhar Powder”
I’m noticing a trend towards “healthy” Indian restaurants in London. I’m delighted, of course. The likes of Sonita’s Kitchen , Healthy indian Cooking in London’s Camden Lock certainly deserves every one of its 4.5 Google-stars.
The marketing, however, implies that normal Indian food is less than healthy. But India is a country of half a billion vegetarians. A country where through Ayurveda, India’s ancient healing tradition, ordinary folk are intimately familiar with the medicinal properties of their food. And Indian food is regional and as varied as anything accross any two European countries. No, the trouble is exclusively with the British curry’s heavy-handed use of oil. Continue reading “The Secret To The Great Taste Of The British Restaurant Curry”
When’s a curry not a curry?
An Anglicisation of Indian dishes containing spices in a sauce, curry has evolved into a by-word for Indian food. Indian food developed in the UK by Bangladeshi cooks into the British restaurant curry, a unique cuisine at the heart of which is a very special onion “gravy”.
Our simply spiced vegetable dish has no sauce, is not based on the restaurant gravy, and is not even Indian – or cricket – or curry. Continue reading “Sri Lankan Sweetcorn & Cauliflower Mallung”
Vegan Sour Tamales – Corn At Its Best!
The usual thing with tamal dough is to chill it, something which greatly helps it pass the float-test, a sure sign that the end result will be light and fluffy. Sour tamales, on the contrary, are allowed to rest in warm place to ferment.
Nixtamalization, or lime-treatment of corn has great nutritional benefits. The alkaline lime (calcium hydroxide) breaks down the indigestible outer husk releasing essential amino acids and vitamins. Enter fermentation to fully open the door to nutrients not otherwise available. This is maize at its very best. Continue reading “Vegan Sour Tamales – With Pumpkin-Seed, Tomatillo & Courgette Filling”
Polenta-based pizza is nothing new. And quite delicious, though many would argue whether it’s a pizza at all. The question seems to me academic. What is not academic is that nixtamal or lime-treated corn is not polenta! Nixtamalized corn has more protein, more vitamins – especially vit B3 (niacin), essentially unavailable in untreated corn – and of course exrtra calcium from the lime. It also has a more intense flavour – the flavour of maize. Continue reading “Pizza Tamalera: Gluten-Free Maize Crust Pizza”
The world knows salsa ranchera. That spicy tomato-jalapeño classic turning plain old eggs into huevos rancheros. Usually eaten at breakfast I’m equally happy to start, sustain or finish my day with this light but satisfying dish.
Ubiquitous in Mexico, caldillo is conspicouly absent in Europe. We introduce it here as a topping for pizza tamalera, subject of our next post.
Caldo means broth, soup or stock. Caldillo is a tomato sauce incrporating a big pot of of your favourite broth which has been slowly added and simmered off. Caldillo is typically served with stuffed poblano chillies but is heavenly with just about any dish using tomato sauce. Continue reading “Mexican Tomato Sauces: Caldillo”