Saturday, October 23, 2010

Muthia Cheatsheet ( Gujarathi Steamed Dumplings)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

10 Major Gujarathi Dhokla/ Handvo families

For each dhokla family, look up the model recipes below for detailed instructions and pictures.

1.: Cereal(s) grits Dhokla

2. Cereal(s) grits + lentil flour Dhokla

3. Lentil(s) flour : E.g. Besan Dhokla , Mung dal Dhokla

4. Cereal(s) flour + lentil(s) flour Dhokla :

5. Soaked and ground cereal(s) + lentil batter Dhokla : E.g Rice + Urad dal + Chana dal Dhokla, Rice + Chana dal Dhokla

6. Soaked & ground Lentil(s) batter : E.g Chana dal Dhokla Or Chana Dal + Green peas Dhokla

7. Fresh / boiled / sprouted lentil(s) batter: E.g Green peas Dhokla

8. Soaked, dried and ground cereal(s) + lentil(s) flour : E.g Rice + Urad dal Dhokla

9. Roast and ground cereal(s) + lentil(s) E.g Rice + Urad dal Dhokla ( See Dhokla #2)

10. Processed cereals. E.g Rice flakes Dhokla, Rolled oats Dhokla

Friday, October 01, 2010

10 Raw Meat recipes from across the world

10 Tanjore Curries

Due to Tanjore becoming the heartland of Tamil Brahmins, almost all its famous recipes are Brahmin recipes, with an almost total absence of Non vegetarian recipes.

Kadappa is a unique curry made by adding dal to a Tamil kuruma. It is an excellent example showing how core building blocks ( milk, dal) can be combined together. Same is the case with Irupuli Kulambu (yogurt & tamarind) , Arai puli kulambu & thlaagam ( Tamarind & coconut) , all of which combine two building blocks of Tamil cuisine.

Anything mixed with yogurt would taste delicious avers Indian cuisine. Marathis figured out that Urad dal powder mixed into yogurt would make a great Raita or Urad dal Dangar ( Dangar : Marathi for powder). It is now a part of traditional Tamil Brahmin cuisine as the Dangar pachadi.

Vazhakkai podi – neither a podi nor a poriyal demonstrates how recipes defy categorization and how innovative people can get. You can use thousands of Podis in this recipe, with hundreds of starchy roots / veggies, yielding infinite recipe combinations.

Cooking curries with milk is not usually done in Tamil cuisine and so Pal kootu is probably an adaptation of the Marathi doodh pitla. Race Kulambu can be thought of as a mixed dal sambar where lentils are roast and ground, instead of being boiled and mashed.

Gothsu was probably adapted from the Marathi / Kannada Gojju. Poricha kootu was probably an adaptation of the Marathi sappak pitla as is the unusual Dangar Pachadi. Whenever you encounter a recipe name which has no meaning in the local language, it is likely that it is an import. Sambar, Idli, Gothsu, Usili, Dangar, Kadappa, Pitlai , panagam etc have no meaning in Tamil. It is likely that they have been adapted from other cuisines. Gothsu is probably a corrupt form of Kannada gojju, pitlai is almost certainly derived from Marathi pitla, Idli is from Kedli ( as the food historian Achaya notes), Panagam from Marathi panha, - but the etymology of most other dishes has been lost.

Deep fried & spiced tuvar dal / chana dal paste becomes Vada. Steamed and crumbled, it becomes the Usili. In fact you can use leftover / store bought masal vadas, in this recipe in place of the steamed lentil paste and not many would spot the difference !

While researching for this book, I was engrossed in the bloody Muslim occupation of Madurai and Tanjore. Tamilnadu had been fortunate in escaping the massacares, temple razings and looting which plagued North India between 1000 and 1200 AD. Its luck ran out in 1311 when it experienced the brief but brutal Sultan occupation. . One of the sultans, Ghiyas-ud-Din Muhammad Damghani seems to have been especially brutal.

Ibn Batuta, the great Islamic traveller records: “…the Hindu prisoners were divided into four sections and taken to each of the four gates. There, on the stakes they had carried, the prisoners were impaled. Afterwards their wives were killed and tied by their hair to these poles. Children were massacred on the bosoms of their mothers. Then, the camp was raised, and they started cutting down the trees of another forest (for more impaling stakes). This is shameful conduct such as I have not known any other sovereign guilty of. It is for this that God hastened the death of Ghiyath-eddin”.

And “I was another time with the Sultan when a Hindu was brought into his presence. I rose hurriedly (to leave). He understood my reason, smiled, and ordered the hands and feet of the idolater to be cut off. On my return I found the unfortunate swimming in his blood”.

Madhura Vijayam, a 14th century Sanskrit poem by poetess Gangadevi also records the brutality..

I very much lament for what has happened to the groves in Madhura. The coconut trees have all been cut and in their place are to be seen rows of iron spikes with human skulls dangling at the points.

"In the highways which were once charming with the sounds of anklets of beautiful women, are now heard ear-piercing noises of Brahmins being dragged, bound in iron fetters.

The waters of Tambraparni which were once white with sandal paste rubbed away from the breasts of charming girls are now flowing red with the blood of cows slaughtered by the miscreants.”

It is ironic that after such suffering, just 300 years later, the Madurai Nayaks would again appeal to a Sultan to send in his army to settle their succession dispute! The lessons of history are indeed short! Tamilnadu was fortunate that the Maratha rule, which resulted, was much more benevolent!

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Cooking is fun - Duplication is a pain !

"It is extraordinary to me that the idea of creating thousands of recipes by mixing building blocks takes immediately to people or it doesn’t take at all. .... If it doesn’t grab a person right away, ... you can talk to him for years and show him demos, and it doesn’t make any difference. They just don’t seem able to grasp the concept, simple as it is". ( Thanks Warren Buffett !)

"What's angering about instructions in many cookbooks is that they imply there's only one way to cook a dish - their way. And that presumption wipes out all the creativity." Cook dishes your way - Download  1001 South Indian curries now and learn to cook, not to duplicate ! ( Thanks Robert Pirsig !)

"Recipe purity is no different from racial purity or linguistic purity. It just does not exist. Cuisines are alive and change all the time. What is traditional today was esoteric just a few decades back. So being a 'foodist' is as bad as being a racist !

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Okay, let me start from the very beginning. 1500 crore years ago, with a Big Bang, the Universe is born. It expands dramatically. Hydrogen forms, contracts under gravity and lights up, forming stars. Some stars explode, dusting space with the building blocks of life. These condense into planets, one of which is Earth. Over time, self replicating molecules appear, multiply and become more complex. They create elaborate survival machines (cells, plants, animals). A variety of lifeforms evolve. Soon, humans arise, discover fire, invent language, agriculture and religion. Civilisations rise and fall. Alexander marches into India. Moguls establish an empire. Britain follows. Independence. Partition. Bloodshed. The license raj is in full sway. I'm born. India struggles to find its place. Liberalisation. The Internet arrives! I move from Tirupur to Chennai. Start a company. Expand into Malaysia, Singapore and the Middle East. Poof! Dot com bust. Funding dries up. Struggle. Retire. Discover the joy of cooking, giving, friendships and the pleasures of a simple life. Life seems less complicated. Pizza Republic, Pita Bite and Bhojan Express bloom !

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