Kas, I can't get Indian food where I live and it was nearly impossible to learn the basic whys and wherefores through books - like you said the regional differences and names of spices and dishes alone are daunting. Then I found the much loved Manjula (auntie) on YouTube. I think many of her viewers watch her because they are homesick or needing of a calming, honest presence as much as to learn her cooking! Her recipes are very basic and clear and from there you can gain an inkling about when to add which spices, which flours to use, the different names (regional) for different foods. I would look at her 'most viewed'. The samosas turned out perfectly as did the besan puda. She is a Jain so doesn't use garlic or onions - nor is she from the region that uses coconut milk or cashews - but you can easily learn to adapt or relate her recipes to those which do (like adding the garlic/onions with the ginger in the beginning). She gave me sort of a base to work from, something to relate other recipes to. http://www.youtube.com/user/Manjulaskit ... 3&ob=5#p/u
More flamboyant (one must ignore his opening music), yet also instructive and comparing his recipes and instructions with Manjula's on the same dish was when Indian cooking started to make sense to me - vahchef http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7dYrOVsBMkw
The above are carryovers from "What's the most interesting thing you've done today?" thread. I thought it was just as easy to revive the "Food" thread as start a new one. Besides, it contains lovely pictures, stories, and recipes.
I enjoyed greatly these stories and recipes - with one exception maybe. Must try that curry goat sometimes. And return the favour with Malabar lamb curry. Or maybe that "urban robber's lamb roast" we made last easter. It was one of the most delicious mutton recipes I have ever tasted.
Thanks for those Manjula links, Judith. I have caught a few of her recipes before. Jain cooking of course has its specialities, like not using onions, which are usually in almost every dish.
I became - not surprisingly - a raving fan for Keralan food during our trip there. You can get Indian food here, but the restaurants tend to serve the regular moghul style curryhouse fare that hails from Northern India. South Indian does not exist in their menus.
But luckily there are a couple of good South Asian shops where you can get this and that - even fresh curry leaves occasionally - they are omnipresent in Keralan food (and have a lovely and quite unique flavour). Coconut milk is no problem, grated fresh coconut is a bit. Different flours, various kinds of lentils and beans... It is a sea of varieties.
And the Net is full of fairly good food and helpful blogs... So I have been experimenting every now and then, with the ingredients I can get.
Here on Lewis the annual guga harvest has been landed - a team from the village of Ness goes out to the uninhabited rock of Sula Sgeir (for more info google guga ness) and catches, dries and salts gannet fledgelings. I have eaten it a couple of times out of curiosity, a forbidding greeny grey colour, a bit like fishy goose and it leaves your mouth corrugatingly salty. Allegedly sustainable though according to Scottish Natural Heritage.
Last edited by Janet M on Thu Sep 08, 2011 11:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
I had something a couple times cooked by some Indian freinds. It was called Daal(Spelled right?). It was a fried mixture of lentals,very hot peppers,rice,peas, curry, and I forget what else, also some lamb was in it. One lady who gave me some also gave me plain yogurt on teh side and said it helps to cool it a little. It really tasted good, other than being too hot for me. My one freind was Tamil and he cooked it for me too.
I love your posts, Janet and enjoyed learning about the guga harvest. I often compare your experiences to my own as I live in a coastal part of California that has areas very remote to the rest of the world, with people doing as they did even thousands of years ago. For example, Native American tribes that are still on their ancestral lands (Yurok, Hupa).We also have our variety flora and fauna of much that you mention, like eagles (usually lone), and recently (not long after your post about the whale rescue) people spent two months trying to get a grey whale to quite or course up an inland river and return to the sea. They were unsuccessful and when she died, there was mourning even on facebook.
Today, I tried to think of sea birds that are eaten here, and couldn't think of a one.
Thank you Judith, I'm glad you (and others) enjoy my postings. This is such an interesting place, a bit like having emigrated whilst still in Britain!
On the subject of Daal - when I first moved here, nearly 27 years ago, we had what was reputed to be the worst Asian restaurant in Britain - even the RAF would arrange training exercises up here so the crews could, in a perverse way, experience the very worst cuisine. I too visited once and thinking that it would be hard to get daal wrong, ordered that and some naan breads. Oh dear. Greasy washing up water with a few lentils swimming gamely up and down was served with obviously bought in and rather stale naans. That restaurant didn't last long, after all they got NO repeat custom, and if anyone had the temerity to complain, the owners mother (and head chef) would come out yelling and brandishing a ladle at the complainer and party! It lives on in local legend though.
Back to seabirds, apparently there is a still a guesthouse in South Uist that will, given notice, will prepare and serve Scart (Cormorant) for you. The Gaelic for Cormorant is Sgarabh pronounced scah-rav, and for Shag is it Sgarabh Mhor (sgah-rav vor) or big greedy
Cormorants very common here in Ibiza, don´t know if they eat them though. A lady in the restaurant down the road proudly showed me her tank full of crabs, lobsters etc, told me all the Spanish names which I´ve promptly forgotten. Not sure if I like the idea of seeing something alive before you eat it though.
I took a shot at making some South Indian rava dosas (or "dosai") yesterday. I failed miserably at obtaining the required flat pancake form, but the porridge-like thingy I came up with (rather like scrambled eggs in shape) tasted quite delicious with the chickpea curry.
Continuing my quest to eat my way round the world in Glasgow, I've now added Korean and Brazilian to the various cuisines I have enjoyed during my visits here (Mongolian, Turkish, Japanese, Russian etc.) The very best of all was a bit more home grown, I've written elsewhere in here about the excellence of Fanny Trollope's Bistro on Argyll Street, look on Trip Advisor for info
Last weekend I took part in a leisurely, all family indian food cooking class. On the menu were dal, chole (using chickpeas), rotis/chapatis, aloo para(n)thas and veg pakodas.
Everything turned out delicious. I've since made the chole at home and watched it disappear from plates in no time at all. The parathas I fried turned out fantastic (somebody else did the baking and and made the filling). While others left for a little Bollywood dance knees up, I and one of the other dads concentrated on finishing the pakodas (a very responsible job) and some Indian veg food philosophy. Neither of us is a veggie, but Indian veg food would easily keep you nourished and fairly healthy with little money - most of the ingredients are common and cheap, but some can be tricky and many seasonal in nature...
I continued my quest to eat my way around the world in Glasgow, last Friday I ate at the Hanoi Bike Shop just off Byres Road. The food was delicious, delicate and very interesting. Highly recommended but you have to book as it is very popular. The Hanoi beer was lovely and refreshing, but sadly the Saigon one was like shandy flavoured fizzy pop, sickly sweet.