Typical Christmas eve in Spain: meet frineds for drinks around eight, home for family dinner at ten, out again by two (am), breakfast in the town square, bed, then . . . that was last year.
This year we’re experiencing reduced staying-power and early nights, the effects of not drinking since before Easter. Even so, I set the alarm to be up in time to prepare Christmas brunch – just in case.
- air-fried onion and purple potato pakora
- sweet tomato and black mustard relish
- salted cucumber with dehydrated fermented persamons
- south Indian sambhar
- two poached eggs on buttered rye sourdough toast
- with alcohol-free lager
- and chocloate brownies. It is Christmas
Continue reading “Potato & Onion Pakora – With Cumin, Fennel And Black Salt”
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”
Ginger and garlic make a perfect pairing and the paste is much used in dishes throughout India and south-east Asia
Garlic-ginger paste can be bought ready-prepared or made in bulk and stored in the fridge. Continue reading “Garlic – Ginger Paste”
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”
Five-spice is used in charchari and other dishes other from Bengal in north-west India. The spice-blend (masala) also makes a great aromatic coating for roasting vegetables.
The original uses lovage, or wild celery (radhuni). You can buy these from larger Asian supermarkets. Otherwise black mustard seeds are a common replacement. Panch phoran is normally used whole.
Mix equal quantities of Continue reading “Indian 5-Spice: Panch Phoran”
Indian cooks tend to use use individual spices in dishes then add spice-blends to create extra layers of flavour. Garam masala and Panch Phoran are often used this way. Sometimes it’s the other way around: the masala forms the basic structure, other spices being added for individuality and regional variation. Sambhar powder, used to make a south Indian dish of the same name is used this way. Continue reading “Warming Garam Masala – Your Top-Note”
A member of the nightshade family, along with tomatoes, peppers, potatoes and others, aubergine’s popularity derives largely from its great abosrbency. They are masters at mopping up flavour – and also oil. As with potato, they’re no good raw. But while potatoes can be steamed or boiled, aubergines are at their best cooked in oil. Or are they?
Continue reading “Spiced Smoked Aubergine Curry – Began Bharta”
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”
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”