Wednesday, March 26, 2008

parupu urundai kuzhambu

So, the only cookbook my mom ever gave me was the "Samaikalaame" by Gemini Mahadevan.
I know for a fact that my grandma has a copy, and that my mom too has a copy. Am sure she gave me sister one. So, is this the ultimate tambram cookbook? How come nobody knows about this. How come there ain't no glowing references to this book on any blog.

May be Gemini was merely related to my family and tried in vain to peddle some copies to his relatives. Or, may be, I am in possession of a true gem in cook bookery. An original Julia Child or James Beard.

Anyways, as soon as I realized Blogger had a Tamil transliteration tool, I knew I had to play with it.

So, here's an homage to the cook book that's helped my grandmom and mom weather storms in the kitchen.

The following a recipe for a type of kuzhambu-parruppu urundai kuzhambu. Briefly, you make the kuzhambu/sambar the usual way, but add some semi-cooked lentil balls to it.
Not a very visually appealing dish, but tastes great. Well, let me qualify that. I would argue that it tastes great because I'm familiar with its specific flavor. Am not so sure if it would appeal to a spaghetti chomping sicilian or a kimchi crunching korean.

"பருப்பு உருண்டைக் குழம்பு:

150 மில்லி துவரம்பர்ருபை ஒரு மணி நேரம் உறப்போட்டு வடிகட்டி நான்கு மிளகாய் வற்றல், முக்கால் டீஸ்பூன் உப்புப்போட்டு கெட்டியாக அரைத்து உரூட்டி வைத்துக்கொளவும்.

புளி கரைத்துவிட்டு, உப்பு, மஞ்சள் பொடி, 2 டீஸ்பூன் சாம்பார் பொடி சேர்த்துக் கொதிக்க வைக்கவும். நன்றாகக் கொதித்துப் புரண்டு வந்ததும் ஒவ்வோர் உருண்டையாகப் போடவும். கோதி அடங்குமுன் எல்லா உருண்டைகளையும் போடவும். அடுப்பை நன்றாக எரியவிடவும். இடையில் கிளர வேண்டியதில்லை. சிறிது நேரம் கொதி வந்ததும் உருண்டைகள் வெந்து மிதப்பாக வரும்போது, கீழே இறக்கிக் கடுகு, கறிவேப்பிலை தாளித்து காயம் கரைத்து விடவும்.

கூறிப்பு: இந்த முறைப்படி செய்தால் உருண்டைகள் கரையா. பருப்பை அதிக நேரம் ஊரவைககூடாது. தவிர, உருண்டைகள் நெகிழ்ந்து இருக்காமல் கெட்டியாக அரைக்கவும். ஒரு டீஸ்பூன் அரிசிமாவை அரைத்த பருப்பில் கலந்து உருட்டிகொண்டால் கரையாது. இந்தக் குழம்பிற்கு மாவு விட வேண்டியதில்லை."

This is the recipe as it appears in the cookbook.

Wait, so Kosher salt is not as salty as table salt? salt (I mean s#!t)

I found this out the hard way when I was trying out this goan-style curry recipe.
So, every thing's going fine.The curry looks great, the aromas are just right. But wait, when did I miss the class on salts?
Apparently, it turns out that when one substitutes regular salt for kosher, one has to adjust the measures:approximately by half, that is 1 tsp regular for every 2 tsps kosher.
This was a rude awakening for a person that always thought kosher meant good, clean, pure, like pure salt,or clean salt, or good salt. Ok, I figured, so the Times had high standards for food ingredients.

Now, I know.

P.S.: The curry was great, despite the overabundance of salt.

2 sentence review: Fried Butter, Abe Opincar

Fried Butter, A Food Memoir

-Part food memoir, part general amble down memory lane.
-When I grow up,I'd like to write like Abe.
-Little vignettes, Paris here, Jerusalem there, and then some Tijuana.
-Does it make you wanna don your stained apron, sharpen your knives and saute? Not quite.But it does make you wanna cuddle up in your lazy boy with a cuppa joe and brood, not that that's a bad thing.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Red Lentil Soup

* About a cup of red lentils or masoor.
* 1 tsp ground jeera (cumin), pinch each of dhania (coriander) powder, pepper flakes,regular pepper, sea-salt, turmeric.
* 2-3 cloves chopped garlic, 1 tsp chopped ginger.
* 3/4-1 cup chopped onion.
* 3-4 baby carrots, chopped.
* 4 cups water.
* 2.5 tbsps olive oil.
* 1 tbsp tomato sauce/paste.
* 1cup coconut milk.

Heat oil, saute garlic, onions, ginger. Add carrots. Then add the tomato sauce. Later add all the spices, including salt.

Saute, then add 3 cups water and let boil. Add the washed lentils. Bring water to boil then cook on low-medium heat.

Cooks in about 20 minutes or even less. I added about a cup of water again, as the consistency was too thick. Then I pureed all of it. Tasted great, but could have cut back a bit on the heat. May be fewer ginger pieces or pepper flakes.

Then heat again, adding coconut milk. Bring to rolling boil, simmer and turn it off in a couple minutes.

turns out a tad coconutty. Don't know if its because the milk was added when hot. But not overpowering. Transferred to bowl, garnished with cilantro and few drops of lemon juice.

Tastes really good!

Ought to be healthy too. Hopefully the lentils are good enough to compensate for the coconut milk and olive oil. Ala the Amateur Gourmet's food negation theory.

Note: Pardon the tenses. Result of experimenting with live spoon by spoon blogging.
Also, recipe adapted from here and here.

Monday, March 17, 2008

PBJ, V.2.0

At what point does your blog piece sink into mediocrity and when do you stop? I don't know about you, but this might be mine.
Parle G PBJ is what you make when all you've consumed all day is garlic toast, and a spoonful of PB.


Take 2 twice baked Parle G's. (Biscuit=twice baked, so. I shouldn't try too hard to impress. This blog has a huge fan following. Check the comments) (not)

Slather a spoonful of any jam/jelly/preserve of your choice on one Parle G.

Slather a spoonful of PBJ on the other Parle G.

Press the two together.

Serves one.

Can be served with a dose of insanity and lot of boredom.

Chaat you say?

If you've exhausted all your chaat possibilities in the ATL and cannot for the life of you imagine doling out this much for bhelpuri or ragda, may I suggest the chaat at Rajbhog? I've had their bhelpuri, dahi papdi, samosa channa, and then some. Very tasty, right amount of condiments and large portions too.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Rosa Mexicano, Atlanta

Went to Rosa for the first time yesterday. The guacamole prepared at the table side was great. But the good food ended there. Also, the guacamole was a bit overpriced at 12$. For the entrees we had peppers stuffed with goat cheese, mushrooms and spinach, and two soft tortillas stuffed with spinach and mushrooms. Both dishes were served in a bed of mexican tomato sauce. What really got to me was not that the food was mediocre (which it definitely was) but that we were paying a heck of a lot of money for it. The entrees were about 15$ each.

The spinach in both the dishes was too dense and under cooked. The stuffed peppers were too hot and not adequately compensated for by the flavors of the stuffing. The tomato sauce was the only redeeming factor. I pretty much dunked every morsel in the sauce.

The pomegranate margaritas were good, but really, when one goes to restaurants such as this one, you expect good food, not great cocktails.

Many of the smaller , less fancy mexican restaurants in Atlanta serve far better food, and more importantly purse friendly food.

Its possible that their meat based dishes are better, but then again an upscale restaurant cannot throw in vegetarian dishes into their menu purely as an after thought.

I would have considered going back there, if the prices were reasonable.