Locomotoring

Spending our time untethering the mind, getting the fidgets out, exploring the in-between ideas, and learning kintsugi.

Archive for the ‘Recipe’ Category

One thousand and one nights: Lentil soup recipe

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Chana daal

Chana daal

Why 1001 nights? I reckon there are at least that many lentil soup recipes. I am adding mine to the mix.

Why is this special? Aside from the fact that I am not an impartial judge, this one has a variety of textures and flavors that are noticeably distinct but combine to form a wonderfully aromatic and light soup.

Key ingredients? Fresh pickled ginger, finely chopped pickled lime, slow roasted garlic, …

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Written by Som

October 4, 2010 at 6:00 pm

Posted in Cuisine, Food, Recipe, South Asia

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A slice of lemon on your pizza?

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Lemon, salami, roasted heirloom tomatoes, arugula pesto and goat cheese

Lemon, salami, roasted heirloom tomatoes, arugula pesto and goat cheese

After years of trying out all sorts of techniques, I have converged on a few basic aspects in pizza making – a) a soft and stretchy dough that is not a rubber mat but has sufficient elasticity to be hand stretched into a thin base, b) a 500-600F oven, and c) minimal but flavorful topping. Result is a chewy crust with a crisp bottom and rich flavors in every bite.

Some say that we should always eat whole grains. I agree, whole heartedly.  I have gladly swapped out white bread for wheat bread – thanks to Acme. There is no better chappati than whole wheat one. I adore whole wheat or buckwheat parathas and puris. I have cheerfully replaced white flour with whole wheat pastry flour in cookies and cakes.  I have even grudgingly swapped out regular pasta and white rice for whole wheat pasta and brown rice. But no whole wheat pizza for me. I have tried to swap out regular flour with white whole wheat, part whole wheat, part whole wheat pastry flour and I have failed to like them. So, my compromise – I don’t make pizza often and when I do, I don’t eat too much of it. If, however, you have to have whole wheat pizza, then give Heidi’s recipe a try.

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Written by Som

August 31, 2010 at 8:05 am

Yogurt curry with spinach dumplings

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Yogurt curry with steamed spinach dumplings

Yogurt curry with steamed spinach dumplings

The yogurt curry is like  hot raita. It is tasty and when had with a bowl of white rice, is a light and easy to digest meal. The lovely yellow color comes from turmeric, a spice with anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory responses. An ingredient is this spice, called curcumin, is now being tested against Alzheimer in scientific studies. The nutrition in the meal comes from the steamed spinach dumplings.

Ingredients for the steamed spinach dumpling (6-8 servings):

  • A pack of frozen chopped spinach, microwaved for a few minutes until warm.
  • 3/4 cup of besan (de-husked black gram flour). Can be substituted with chickpea flour.
  • 4-5 pickled pearl/cocktail onions finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp amchoor (mango powder)
  • 1 tsp lightly crushed coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp paprika

Mix the above ingredients to make a soft dough. Prepare your steamer – I use a bamboo steamer. Make small dough balls with your fist, shape is not terribly important, and steam for 12 minutes. Cool and chop into bite size pieces.

Cook’s reward: Pop  a few of these pieces in your mouth while you proceed with the rest.

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Written by Som

August 24, 2010 at 7:16 am

Posted in Cuisine, Food, Recipe, South Asia

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Trio of preserves

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Jams and marmalades this season

Jams and marmalades this season

Black berry jam:
It is the end of the season here, and I picked up 2 lbs of blackberry at 1/2 the usual price!

Rinse, crush, and add 1 lb sugar. Add juice of 1 lemon reserving the zest. Cook on medium until candy thermometer reads 220 F. Switch off flame, add zest of the lemon and proceed to can.

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Written by Som

August 17, 2010 at 7:45 am

Homegrown la ratte potatoes

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Freshly harvested la ratte potatoes

Freshly harvested la ratte potatoes

This year’s potato crop is a bit of a disappointment. We got La Ratte seed potatoes from Seed Savers Exchange but the yield hasn’t been very encouraging. Perhaps the unusually cool weather is the culprit.

Slow cooked la ratte (serves 2-3)

  • 40-50 of the small potatoes (~ 1/2 lb) scrubbed clean but skin on
  • 2 Tbsp of European style unsalted butter
  • Fleur de Sel or other flake salt to taste

Melt butter in an omelette pan. Cover and cook the potatoes on lowest setting for 20-25 minutes. Pick up the potatoes with a slotted spoon and serve hot with sprinkling of salt. Typically, fleur de sel is used in this quintessential french recipe but I didn’t have it handy. The flesh is buttery and nutty. I found the skin a little peppery. Fantastic with a glass of chilled white wine.

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Written by Som

August 13, 2010 at 10:50 pm

Calcutta street to California home – Kathi rolls unwrapped

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Home made Kathi rolls

Home made Kathi rolls

After eating Kathi rolls at Kasa, I was inspired to make this quintessential Calcutta street food at home.  When you take on such a formidable challenge, you know you are not going to win. There is nothing I can do in my California kitchen that will replicate the experience of eating outdoors at one of Calcutta’s busiest streets. Neither can I hope to replicate the rich interplay between textures and flavors that the street vendors have mastered. When my father’s generation talks about eating out during their college days, they often reminisce about these mouthwatering rolls!

So what can I hope to achieve? I can definitely beat Kasa. I can make mine with healthy, fresh, organic ingredients, mindful of the calories and the nutritional balance. I can bring my experience with modern techniques to traditional Indian cuisine to create something healthy while preserving the authenticity of tastes and flavors.

There are several key aspects to a perfect roll – the paratha, the kabab and the chutney.  These ingredients need to come together in a timely manner. The container that wraps the kababs, paratha, should be chewy and flaky. The filling itself, kabab, should be charred and juicy. The condiment, chutney, should create a taste explosion in your mouth.

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Written by Som

June 26, 2010 at 10:45 am

Mochar ghonto – a quintessential Bengali recipe

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Flower on a banana plant

Flower on a banana plant

Mocha or banana flower is one of the more complex Bengali cooking but it brings out the flavors of rural Bengal – fields of paddy, fresh rain on dry earth, and the green smell of ponds…..

On a recent visit to Delhi, had some mocha chops at My Calcutta restaurant. So, inspite of its robust flavors, it is not merely the terrain of a home cook. Once the basic prep method is complete, it can be moulded into various forms – chops, kofta curry etc.

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Written by Som

June 4, 2010 at 7:50 am

Stinky goodness of sun dried cauliflower

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Sun dried cauliflower

Sun dried cauliflower

Not as bad as your stinky tofu or durian but we are splitting hairs. When cooked, it is yummy – obviously. So, lets take  this cauliflower journey – from raw to sun-dried to hydrated cauliflowers.

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Written by Som

October 12, 2009 at 9:52 pm

Lentil bombs

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Moong Daal Vadi

Moong Daal Vadi

OK, thats not what they are called. But I am tired of the spelling variations – vadi, badi, bodi…

So what is this bomb?

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Written by Som

April 10, 2009 at 11:52 pm