Naan Therapy

Or should it be 'paratha' therapy …

Archive for the ‘Cuisine’ Category

Popped lotus seeds

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Puffed lotus seed have been part of Indian snack scene for as long as I can recall.I recently found this product at neighborhood market, Sigona’s. They are made here, right in Palo Alto! These have a little clarified butter, a touch of salt and a hint of heat. The entire 1 oz content is 130 calories. They are more substantial than rice puffs, very unlike popcorn, mostly crunchy and a little chewy. Closest in texture is perhaps pork rind Chicharrón. They do not appear to have a strong taste of their own, essentially picking up the added flavors. You can get these puffed and unflavored lotus seeds in Indian grocery stores but they often smell rancid. If you can find good quality unflavored version, then just toss them in hot butter, salt and perhaps some pepper, chili powder or lime. Enjoy with chai or beer.

Written by Som

October 9, 2016 at 4:26 pm

Coconut filled rice crepes, a Bengali delicacy

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Pati Shaptar Pithe/Pitha or coconut filled rice crepes. Pati means a mat, and shapta means simple in Bengali.

Grate raw coconut (or get frozen unsweetened grated coconut and thaw), about two cups, add sugar to taste and stir fry until golden brown. If you wish, you can add a tablespoon of raisins and a tablespoon of toasted and chopped cashew nuts or slivered almonds.

Pitha comes in various shapes. These are the simplest. To prepare the crepe batter, to a cup of rice flour, add a pinch of salt, and a tablespoon of sugar. Add milk, 2% or full fat preferably, until the batter consistency is like crepe. Heat up a non-stick pan. If needed, you can wipe it down with a buttered cloth/brush. Follow cooking temperature regimen for a crepe.

Pour about 1/4 cup of batter and roll it around on the hot pan to form a thin crepe.

As the crepe cooks, it starts to lift off the edges.

Add two tablespoons of filling. Optionally, form the filling in the palm of your hand in shape of a small spheroid.

Roll in form of a fat cigar.

Keep aside while you prepare the rest. These can be eaten warm or at room temperature. To take them to the next level (i.e. not simple), you can bake them in condensed milk as well but they do become heavy. Drizzling some condensed milk on top while not traditional can be an excellent substitute.

During this trip to India, I am seeing some new sweets in Bengal including baked rasogolla (boiled cheese balls dunked in sugar syrup) , Kolkata’s famous sweet and chana pora (literal translation for roasted cheese), a dish very similar to cheese cake.

Written by Som

November 21, 2014 at 6:16 am

Same to same?

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Several meat and lentil dishes served together on an injira, a fermented and steamed crepe. Fundamental flavors are surprisingly similar to Indian food – just imagine this served thali style. Overall tastes were sufficiently different to make it interesting.

Also served with injira on the side. Injira can potentially be made with teff alone but these at Asmara had wheat (gluten) in them. Sigh! Taste and texture wise, these are perfect to mop up curries. I like the fact that they hold up well at room temperature. I am on a quest to replicate these …

If you are going towards Asmara in Temescal, consider checking out Doughnut Dolly nearby. They do run out of doughtnuts and close shop – so adjust your expectations accordingly.

Written by Som

September 19, 2014 at 10:43 pm

Posted in Africa, Cuisine

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Taco Crawl – Catrina’s Taqueria

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Catrinas Taqueria, same site where Tacos Los Gemelos used to be.

We recently moved to a new home in Redwood City, Bay Area’s local Mexicana. Memories of Los Gemelos took us to the spot where Caterina now stands. Yes, the Lavendaria is still next door – bleach smell whafting in threatens to drown out the smell of seared meat. A sensual throaty voice was singing to some not to sensual music. The new owner is clearly fond of the “day of the dead” imagery. And food, well you can rarely go wrong with tacos, fatty bits of pig are fried to crispiness, served with corn tortillas (aah, gluten free….) and topped with spicy salsa.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Som

September 19, 2014 at 10:25 pm

Posted in Cuisine, South America

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Couple of little tarts

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Filled with home made apple jam and topped with crunchy almond slivers. Cream cheese crust . Cook says that it made the dough much easier to roll. Did not impact texture or flakiness.

Topped with dry figs cooked in ruby port.

Written by Som

August 9, 2014 at 6:49 am

Posted in Cuisine, Europe

First four meals from Munchery

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Perhaps the time is coming that I can get through the day in my jammies accompanied by laptop. I can work from home, get Google express to deliver the non-perishable stuff and now, get Munchery to deliver fresh food.

I recently ordered 8 items from Google express from 5 different stores. Crazy, right? Munchery is reverse of that. You can go to them for fresh food – different chefs, different cuisines, changing menu, local produce, all in one place. You can warm straight out of packaging and eat off it. This has to be the best thing that happened to frequent travelers and pajama lovers. They even donate a meal for every meal you buy. So here is what we tried for two nights, four different chefs, four different dishes. All meals were fresh tasting as promised, well balanced in flavors and ingredients, and reasonable portions.

Vera Cruz Style Rock Cod from Chef Scott Newman, Alum of Robicon and Coyote Cafe

Pan seared cod with basmati rice, light tomato based sauce with fresh vegetables like corn and red pepper. The sauce was very fresh tasting with excellent balance of flavors.

Sweet and Spicy Pollo (Chicken) Cubano by Chef Fletcher Starkey, Alum of Metro@Google

Chicken with rice and beans. I added some chopped persian cucumbers to the accompanying salad leaves. also added the plantain chips. Althugh chicken was cooked to perfection, the sauce for the chicken was tad too sweet.

Salmon with Sala Prezzemolo by Chefs Hayashida & Honda, Alum of Blowfish and Skool

Perfectly pan fried fish, spinach and a bean salad. Green sauce is prezzomolo, presumably parsely pesto with anchovies. This plate was excellent balance of flavors.

Tamarind-Chile Rainbow Trout by Chef Raymond Reyes, Alum of Gather, Michael Mina and Blowfish

Deboned trout, rice with vegetables and smoky chinese greens. Again an excellent dish with great balance of flavors.

Written by Som

June 13, 2014 at 7:07 am

Posted in Cuisine, World

Socca, Indian style

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We found some flowering coriander (aka cilantro) at the farmer’s market today. Normally this is cilantro past its prime but why not!

Harvest some of the flowers and young coriander seeds to make about a tbsp each.

Start with a cup of garbanzo flour, add 2 Tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper, 1 Tbsp of raw coriander seeds, 1/2 tsp onion (aka nigella) seeds and sufficient water to make this into a crepe batter consistency. You can substitute nigella with mustard seeds.

On a hot iron pan, add a tsp of oil. Ladle about 4 Tbsp of garbanzo bean batter and spread into a thin crepe. Cover and cook until the bottom surface is cooked, takes about a minute or so.

Flip and cook the other side. Keep in a covered container until all crepes are cooked. Don’t overcook or they can become dry. The steam from the crepes should keep them moist.

Serve with an indian style omelette – use the harvested coriander flowers, a finely diced thai green chili and finely diced fresh onions.

Written by Som

May 18, 2014 at 7:26 pm