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Indian food
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2008 10:10 pm    Post subject: Indian food Reply with quote

I'm going to try to make samosas tomorrow. When I went looking for a recipe I found a whole series of YouTube videos on Indian cooking.

Since trying a new and unfamiliar cuisine on my own devices is quite intimidating I found these visual resources to be really useful. I hope they're equally interesting and provocative for someone else as well. I found, from watching, that I was trying to make naan with dough that was far too stiff. And I would have missed the technique of overlapping the pastry for the samosas since the text recipe I had simply said to "seal" it.

I've put the link in my recipe DB. I'll do transcriptions too but the videos themselves are gems.

Nima, if you happen to see this I hope you'll add whatever reflections. I note, for example, that she doesn't use any nuts in her korma.

•Vegetable Korma http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oSJBiL5dsNI&feature=related
•Naan http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vow-kxTPatc&feature=related
•Malai Kofta http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_LNnIf-u5k
•Vegetable Samosas (in 2 parts)
filling and pastry http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FUA4g874WUs
shaping and filling the pastry http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6g2sGcIgKfA&feature=related

Enjoy!
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Erin



Joined: 18 Oct 2004
Posts: 1654
Location: Within view of Elliot Bay, The Olympics and every ship in the Sound

PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 2:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oooh, exciting! I adore Indian food love to cook it. Of course I love going to the Jackson Diner in Queens to pig out on their Sunday brunch even more. I love korma, but it is too rich and threatens to put me into a korma coma. I am excited to hear how your samosas turn out.

I wrote a song about vindaloo............
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Donna



Joined: 14 Oct 2005
Posts: 827
Location: Oakland, CA

PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 4:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting! So did you cook the naan on a baking stone? I am very interested in the korma recipe - oh YUM!

I have just been given a packet of garam masala by and Indian colleague. I am looking forward to checking out these videos and trying some Indian cooking myself. Bharti is vegetarian and I am hoping she'll share some recipes with me as well! Chickpeas! Eggplant! Cauliflower!

I have a great Tandoori Chicken recipe from the old Time-Life series of cookbooks. (Remember those in the 70's?)(oops - dating myself...) It has a great flavor, but it's not that shocking red color that most Indian restos serve. I have seen a tandoor marinade recipe that calls for food coloring!

My godmother - my mentor in adventurous cooking - used to make a brilliant chicken curry - not very spicy though. She would serve it with "boys" - small dishes of things to sprinkle on top of your curry - raisins, grated hard booiled egg, chopped nuts etc. She said they were called that as a hold over from the Raj, when the household "boys" would go around the table offering the various toppings. Anyone here ever hear that lore?
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Griffin



Joined: 09 Jun 2006
Posts: 932
Location: England

PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 5:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rainey,

One thing I found is that there's no 'definitive' filling for a samosa. There are lots of regional differences in Indian cooking. Generally the further south you go the hotter the food. I have never quite got this. It seems to me that South India is hot enough without making things fiery in food.

It's said that the hot food makes you sweat so you cool down. I found that the hot food made me sail past Pluto with a scream that could easily be heard six galaxies away... and made my lips go numb into the bargain.

My mother's lot, from Coorg in South India do a particular pork curry called pandicurry which was the one that made my lips numb after the second mouthful. At which point a glass of whisky was offered to me to cool me down! Rolling Eyes

Books on Indian cookery by Madhur Jaffrey were big over here, but as I had a mother who cooked Indian food anyway I never bothered buying any!! As a result I have no idea how to cook Indian food... even tho' both parents are Indian. Embarassed

Good luck with the samosas tho'... just be careful how much chilli you put in... and possibly get a spacesuit - just in case!!!
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sweetbabyjames



Joined: 05 May 2006
Posts: 357

PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 5:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Griffin, that's a heck of a chaser for curry! My gosh.

Rainey, thank you for posting these links. I love malai kofta but that's one that always seemed too intimidating for me to try. And I promised myself I'd try it this year, so this video's a real boon. (Not to mention becomming supermom, according to chef.)
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 6:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, seeing is a great asset to getting a feel for the texture.

Griffin- Steve and I pass on the "hot" too. When everything goes numb what pleasure is there left for flavors that get blotted out?

Perhaps you know what a Western equivalent of the "red chili" powder that several of the recipes use is. It is finer and more evenly colored than crushed seeds but definitely redder than the chili powders I use for Mexican.

I've got to see if the local Indian grocery has that mango powder too. Unfortunately, it's always very busy (I think it's a social center as well as a grocery) and I guess I'm one of the few Anglos who ever goes in there so they don't have much time for a simpleton... The clerks are also male and I get the feeling they don't do much of the cooking so they're not so knowledgeable about equivalents, etc.

In general, isn't the woman a gas? She just seems so motherly and unflappable and you've got to admire the way she handles her doughs!
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Erin



Joined: 18 Oct 2004
Posts: 1654
Location: Within view of Elliot Bay, The Olympics and every ship in the Sound

PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 6:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can only find real chilie powder at Indian Grocers. I didn't know that most of the chili powder we buy here is blended with other herbs and spices. The first time I made chili with real chilie powder I couldn't eat the meal as it had about four tablespoons of the hard stuff in it.

Madhur Jaffery rocks, I learned a lot from her books. Maya Kamal is no slouch either.

Griff, what are the chances your mother passed on her knowledge of vindaloo? I have a weakness......
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gingerpale



Joined: 23 Jan 2006
Posts: 1324

PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 9:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Erin I don't know why this stuck in my head but it did--
if Griffin is not forthcoming with a Vindaloo recipe, here's one from another Englishman who says Vindaloo is a favorite.

http://www.expressmedia.co.uk/malcrfl/hopkins.htm


jeez! I'm trying to prepare the simplest of simples from a salad tome called "Lettuce Entertain You" and suddenly complicated Indian exotic India turns my head.. the malai kofta recipe I have says "don't use Mozzarella", which makes sense, but what kind of cheese is used in Indian food? Seems like it would be very mild and fresh (queso fresco is the Mexican type).
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Erin



Joined: 18 Oct 2004
Posts: 1654
Location: Within view of Elliot Bay, The Olympics and every ship in the Sound

PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 11:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

GP, Paneer is the only one that comes to mind. Many recipes say you can sub it with mozzerella, but I think it is just too distinct and has no sub. That's just one girls opinion though.
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DebbieN



Joined: 24 Aug 2007
Posts: 28

PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 11:12 pm    Post subject: Good blog site for (somewhat) cooler Indian cooking Reply with quote

A really interesting site for North Indian home cooking is Mahanandi, at http://www.nandyala.org/mahanandi . The author, in Seattle, is from Andhra Pradesh and has a pretty comprehensive category listing by individual ingredients, a lot of variety for completely vegetarian cuisine, pretty simple instructions, and good pictures. Most of the food is medium-ish on chile power, with the possible exception of the fried whole fresh chiles. Hmmm.

gingerpale, the cheese you want is probably paneer. Panela or queso fresco are okay substitutes, if you can get them. Paneer is fresh white curd cheese you can make very easily (if a bit messily) at home, if you have a pyrex bowl and a microwave. Pour a quart or so of milk, maybe a cup of buttermilk if you have it, plus a lemon's worth of juice, into the bowl, mix, and nuke on high about 5 minutes, until the milk solids separate from the clear yellow whey. They should float in a mass and be pulling away from the sides of the bowl. Take a colander or strainer over another large bowl, line it with a couple of layers of cheesecloth or 3-4 overlapping round paper coffee filters, whatever works for you. Carefully pour the whey over first, keeping the curd back in the bowl as far as possible until you've poured most of the whey through. Then drain the curd on the filters and press it until it's fairly firm and could be cut into cubes without crumbling apart. You'll get about 5 oz fairly dry curd for a quart of milk, so not a great yield. You can use some of the warm whey to make bread, or use it in pureed vegetable soups--it still has a lot of soluble smaller proteins and calcium in it, so it's worth keeping if you can use it quickly.
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 11:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here is my transcript of the samosas videos.

I'm skipping the red chili and dried mango powders 'cause I've got to get them going if we're going to have them tonight. Wish me luck!


Vegetable Samosas
Recipe By: Manjula
Serving Size: 8 pieces

Pastry:
• 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon semolina flour
• 4 teaspoon canola oil
• 1/4 cup warm water

Filling:
• 2 medium-sized red-skinned waxy potatoes, cooked to be tender but firm
• 1/3 cup peas
• 2 tablespoon canola oil
• 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
• 1 teaspoon corriander powder
• 1/4 teaspoon red chili powder
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon garam marsala
• 1 teaspoon unchoo (sorry for the spelling) (dried mango) powder
• 2 medium-sized jalapeño chiles, seeded and chopped fine

PASTRY:
Combine the all-purpose and semolina flours and the oil.

Stir in the water to make a fresh pasta-like dough dribbling in additional water as necessary for a soft dough.

Knead until silky. Then cover and allow to rest for 20 minutes.

FILLING:
Cube the cooked potatoes. Heat the oil in a medium-sized pot with the cumin seeds. The seeds should pop. Add the peas and stir them in the oil. The oil should be hot enough to cause a good amount of sizilling. Add the corriander, garam masala and the jalapeño. Stir in the potatoes. Season with salt. Cook about 2 minutes.

Add mango powder and stir. Taste to see if flavor needs adjustment. Add red chili powder according to taste. Stir together. Allow to cool so that you can handle it to fill the pastry shells.

SHAPING:
Divide the rested dough into 4 parts.

Roll into flattened balls. Working with one ball at a time roll each in turn into disks about 6" in diameter (quite thin but still manageable; she is able to lift and turn the dough over quite easily).
Cut each disk in half for a semi-circle that will be one samosa.

No loose flour is used in the forming of the pastry. Pull off a couple tiny parts of the pastry to test the heat of the frying oil.

Holding one semi-circle in your palm, lightly coat the diameter and the circumfrence with water. Now, bring one side over to overlap the other and form a cone with the diameter section as the open end. (This movement is much like making a parchment cornet for piping) Press to seal along the sides and down to the point.

Hold the cone in your left hand (for righties) and place two generous soupspoons of filling in the cone. Press down lighting with thumbs to compact. Try not to leave any air bubbles or voids inside the samosa. Cover with one side of the pastry cone. Then overlap with the second one. Press to seal the seams paying attention to the corners.

Repeat to form 8 samosas.

FRYING:
Several inches of oil are heated to a medium-high heat in a deep pot or wok. Drop in test sections of the pastry. It should drop to the bottom and take a few minutes to rise to the surface a golden brown.

Place 4 or so samosas in the hot oil making sure they're not crowded. Turn when they float to the surface. Cook second side to golden brown. About 4 minutes per side (I think she says 8 minutes at first and 4 minutes at the end. I took that to mean 4 minutes per side.

Notes:

Watch them being made on the video clips below
making the pastry and filling: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FUA4g874WUs
shaping & filling the pastry and frying the samosas: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6g2sGcIgKfA&feature=related
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2008 5:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

First of all, that lady has skills and my hat's off to her. Not only did she roll out perfect little circles of dough but I didn't realize until I tried to fill mine how adept she was.

I thought the filling was delicious and the pastry was interesting to work with. It's very pliable but I think I made mine too wet and that probably made it harder to hold onto and work with. It is, however, very sturdy and forgiving. Actually, I think if you get the hang of it, it's probably very nice to work with. I also think you could probably cheat and use wonton skins if you had a mind to.

I left air bubbles in mine and that made the difficult to turn over.

I also worked a lot (I mean a LOT) slower than she did. Consequently, I had some that were drying out and some that were still very soft. I have no idea which they should be when they go into the oil. But, then, I can't say I noticed a lot of difference. ...except for the moist ones sticking to the plate they were sitting on and leaving some holes. Fortunately, I had some of that dough that I reserved for testing the temperature of the oil to make patches with. Also, fortunately, the dough seals very well.

All in all, I'll do it again and hope to get better at it.

We had them for dinner with chutney and mulligatawny soup and it made a very nice meal. I'd say "light" except that the lentils in the soup really made it quite substantial. And the amount of prep really defies that breezy concept.

Hope if anyone tries them they'll enjoy them.
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Griffin



Joined: 09 Jun 2006
Posts: 932
Location: England

PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2008 8:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Erin,

My mum never made Vindaloo 'cos it wasn't what her granny taught her (her mum died when she was young so she was brought up by granny). Coorg is very green and leafy and south of Mysore. They grow coffee, cardamom, pepper and other mysterious spices of which I know not of, being more into herbs than spices. In fact my cousin has a plantation where they grow coffee and pepper. Mum shamelessly asked him for - and received - a big bag of pepper which we realised having got home was quite a lot of money's worth. She sent him something with another cousin who was going on holiday there.


Rainey,

I think Indian samosa makers are taught by their mothers and the skills are handed down. Mum could do it but made them so rarely that she never taught us. After a hard day's work she wasn't interested in anything that took too long.

If you know any Indian women near you, or there's an Indian Women's Association near you, ask them to teach you. They might be glad to see an 'Anglo' being interested in their cuisine. Then they'll teach you all kinds of things! Maybe even how to wear a sari... which mum taught me for a giggle. Also to make my competitive sister wear one! It didn't work on my sister, but I love saris... tho' possibly not to wear!
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Erin



Joined: 18 Oct 2004
Posts: 1654
Location: Within view of Elliot Bay, The Olympics and every ship in the Sound

PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2008 1:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pepper from the grower! That is so much cooler than my aunts apple orchard. Did you tour his plantation when you and your mother visited?

Thank you GP for the link, I forgot to mention it earlier.

This conversation made me pull out a cookbook; Raji Cusine I haven't read in a long time. I decided to look up the chef, because if we move south I have always wanted to visit her resto and found out some sad news; http://starchefs.com/Raji/biography.html . Her cookbook features a really fantastic fusion cusine based on French and Indian cusines.
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"It's hot ham water."
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2008 6:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

South? I thought you were hoping for and expecting the NW.
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