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Monday, April 29, 2013


Something hard to live without when you're addicted to the part of life which yields the most pleasure...
2 cups whole wheat flour (230g)
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp oil
all purpose flour for rolling
1.  Sift the whole wheat flour and salt together.
2.  Add the warm water a little at a time and mix with your bare ringless hands.  Oil the hands to avoid the stickiness.
3.  Add a bit of oil if the dough is not moist enough.  Knead until even.
4.  Cover and let sit for at least 30 minutes.
5.  Separate dough into 16-20 balls.  I make about 6-8 balls for a 2 person meal.  This dough should last 4-6 meals for 1.  The dough can be frozen or stored several days refridgerated, so make as much as you want to eat, and store the rest.  Rotis are better when they're freshly made.
Roll out the balls into a more or less 1/16" thick circle.  I actually never measured, I just kind of eye it.  You don't want them too thick.  Sprinkle all purpose flour liberally to help you roll, or the dough will stick to the rolling pin.
6.  Cook in a hot skillet until it starts to bubble, then turn over until it puffs up.  The best is to put it on an open flame if you have a gas burner.  I do not.  It works just as well this way.  I wish papadams were this easy.

This takes some practice.  The first or 2nd time, you will feel discouraged because the rotis do not have the exact texture you were expecting, or they were too thick, or too hard.  Magically, you will find the correct rythm and thickness that suits you.  There is no other way to explain it.  Just like all good things in life, practice makes perfect.

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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Gujarati Mutter Curry

Although my family owns a Lilva farm in India, I can't find them fresh or frozen here in France (yet).  They are so good I just ate them raw out of the pod, directly after picking them.  They're a key source of protein in Inida, and especially in Gujarat.  Fresh they are called lilva.  Dried, they are toor dal.  They're naturally sweet and have much more flavor than their less fornuate western counterparts, but in the meantime, I'll be subbing regular green peas.
The itch is back in full force... Although it never really went away.  I've already made my paneer for the main event, paneer makhani.  That one is easy since I bought the instant "just add paneer" packet. Next time I'll do a well researched paneer dish, since there are just so many and I keep discovering more everyday.  Yes, everyday.  I am going to get my hands nice and floury making rotis to accompany my little thali tonight.  Naan will happen, but I want a pizza stone first, or a tandoor, but I'd have to find a place where I could store it... Or even legally use it.
1 1/2 cup fresh or frozen peas
1 cup chopped cauliflower
1 cup chopped carrot
1 chopped tomato
1/2 chopped onion
1 tsp chili powder
1 tbsp turmeric
1 tbsp ginger
1/2 tsp hing
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp mustard seeds
1 tbsp fenugreek seeds
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp garam masala
2 whole dried red chilis
3-4 dried curry leaves
3 Tbsp oil
3 Tbsp heavy cream
2 cups water or whey
1.  Heat oil in a large heavy based pan or wok.  Place all the seeds, curry leaves, and dried chilis until it starts to snap crackle and pop.  Add the chili powder, coriander powder, garam masala, hing, and onions.
2.  When it starts to dry out, add the turmeric, tomato, and fresh ginger.  Add a bit of whey to avoid burning.  Cook for a few minutes until tomato disintegrates.
3.  Add the carrots and cauliflower.  Stir to coat everything well.  Add whey gradually if the mixture gets too dry.  Lower the heat and cook, adding whey from time to time and stirring, approximately 15 minutes.
4.  Add the peas and rest of the whey and cook for another 5 minutes.
5.  Stir in heavy cream and taste.  Add salt if needed.

Serve with Roti, Naan, and Jeera Rice

I think hing is an essential ingredient in any Gujarati dish.  It brings out depth in a dish that no other spice or root can do.  If you buy it whole overseas, make sure to package it tightly so it doesn't destroy your clothes.  It has a poignant smell that is hard to remove from fabric, but in a dish, it just makes sense.

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Friday, April 26, 2013

Chicken Pad Thai

While waiting for my voices to speak to me, I started rummaging through my pantry and tried to concoct something exciting while also trying to stray from Indian.  Otherwise I would have made yam curry and naan.  I'll probably make that tomorrow, no worries.
So I'm very familiar with all the different existant Thai curries, but I've never ventured into Pad Thailand.  I don't know why, I'm just naturally drawn to curry, so I never researched the Pad Thai business that seems to be a favorite among all my Thai restaurant goers.
Tonight's the night, and the list of ingredients is so intriguing I just had to experience the outcome.
Serves 3-4
1/2 lb (250g) Thai flat rice noodles
2 large chicken breasts, cubed
1.5 Tbsp soy sauce (or GF alternative)
3-4 cloves garlic, grated
1 tsp ginger, grated
1 green and 1 red chili, chopped
4 green onions, chopped with whites separated from greens
1 carrot, peeled and grated
2 eggs
handful bean sprouts (omitted)
1/3 cup chopped peanuts
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
Pad Thai Sauce:
1/3 cup chicken stock
3 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 Tbsp lime juice
1 Tbsp molasses
2.5 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp fish sauce
1 Tbsp soy sauce (or GF alternative)
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/8 tsp white pepper
1.  Marinate the chicken in the 1.5 Tbsp soy sauce and set aside.
2.  In a bowl, mix all the Pad Thai Sauce ingredients together and set aside.
3.  Cook the noodles in a large pot of boiling water for 6 minutes.  Drain, rinse in cold water, and set aside.
4.  Heat the oil in a large wok or heavy based pan, then add the garlic, chili, ginger, carrots, and the white parts of the green onion and stir fry 1 minute.
5.  Add the chicken and stir fry 5 minutes, adding some of the pad thai sauce to deglaze, 1-2 Tbsp at a time.  You don't want it to dry out.
6.  Make a hole in the center of the wok by pushing the chicken and veggies to the side and crack an egg in the center.  Wait 2 minutes before scrambling so it is cooked through, then mix it with the rest.  Repeat for egg number 2.
7.  Drop in the cooked noodles, and stir fry, tossing and adding the pad thai sauce.  Add the peanuts little at a time.  Keep doing this until the noodles are deliciously chewy and mouth wateringly delicious (about 10 minutes).
8.  Fold in the green part of the green onions and the bean sprouts before serving.

Serve with a wedge of lime.
Don't forget to bust out your sexy chopsticks to correctly enjoy this dish.

I would never have thought to put those pad thai sauce ingredients together, but they work very well.  It is perfectly spicy, although I had to add a Thai chili to adequately rip my face off.  Everything was perfect.
The original recipe has half chicken and half shrimp, but I had to make do with what I had on hand.  I'm sure it would be lovely with shrimp as well!

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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Magic Green Chutney

Heaven must be filled with this type of chutney.  I borrowed it from ShowMetheCurry again, and used it as a marinade to grill some chicken, but it is definately papadam-samosa chutney worthy.  For a number of years now I've been looking for a good green chutney recipe, and this is the one that stole my heart.  I'm going to keep it as a regular freezer item I can take out whenever I feel the urge.  I'm going to be feeling the urge over and over and over....OOOooooooh!!
5 green onions
1 slit green chili (or more if you want to be spanked)
1 bunch cilantro
5 large garlic cloves, peeled
1 tsp whole black pepper
1 tsp red chili flakes
1 Tbsp canola oil
1 Tbsp lime juice
1 tsp salt
2 tsp oregano
Blend all ingredients together.

Use as a dip or as a marinade for chicken, cauliflower, other veggies I'm not thinking of, fish, lamb.. whatever tickles your fancy.
Life just got incredibly fancy in my mouth.
It was like a tenderizer and an infusion of flavor.  I only used 1/2 green chili, but I will definately use a whole one next time.. to guarantee a good cheek-slap.  I added a bit of yogurt once the chicken was half cooked, and I don't really have a valid or authentic reason for doing that, but it turned out to be one of those things I will probably always do from now on.
 I've taken my own advice and started marinating some fish filets and some broccoli and cauliflower florets.
 I can't cut myself off.  It's a part of me now.

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Monday, April 22, 2013

Yam Baked Fries

The French can't tell the difference between a Yam and a Sweet Potato.  They don't even have a word for Yam.  Everything is just a sweet potato.  My heart breaks for them.
Anyway, they were on sale this week and a little voice in my hair has been telling me to make fries with them.  Since I always listen to my voices, tonight was the knight.  I couldn't help but to spice them up a bit, and they turned out soo naughty with the chili powder and nice with their natural sweetness brought out by the mango powder.  I could probably replace oxygene with amchur and live happily aver after.
Serves 2 as a side
1 very large or 2 small yams, cut into thick fries
Drizzle EVOO
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp mango powder (amchur)
1/2 tsp garam masala
1.  On a baking sheet, toss the yam pieces with EVOO and garlic powder.
2.  Spread out the pieces so they are in one layer.  Bake for 20-30 minutes (until they look crispy enough) at 200°C.  I admit I didn't quite time it, but when all the happy hour shrimp were gone, I decided it was time after tasting a wedge.
3.  Take out of the oven and sprinkle a mix of mango powder, chili powder, and garam masala while still hot.

Serve with whatever you see fit.  I had some Indian dry rubbed Panga.  I just rubbed the filet with the amchur + chili powder + garam masala spice rub and pan fried it in a drizzle of EVOO, then added a pinch of salt.  It was comforting in a way that I felt I was actually detaching from India (since it's not really a saucy curry dish) yet still was staying connected to the afterglow.
I made happy noises at the table and I was asked to stop.  That's usually a good sign.

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Wednesday, April 17, 2013


First night away from home...lucky me, there is an Indian restaurant within walking distance of my hotel in Marseille.
I'm craving samosas and naan.  My pores are filled with curry.  The India dreams haven't stopped yet.
I want that green chutney pumping through my veins...
I only captured the samosas, which were above and beyond my expectations, but this is one of the best Indian restaurants I've tried in France so far, so Namaste, I will come again.

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Sunday, April 14, 2013

Plancha Tandoori Chicken

 You can go Indian on the plancha
...and make leftovers feel royal

in case the Indian urges flare up without notice...

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Gujarati Toor Daal

I think I've perfected the roti.  Maybe I was recently blessed with the skill, but this was the first time they came out exactly the way I eat them with family.
For this dish, you need a ton of different ingredients.  I borrowed it from Show me the Curry.  Surprisingly, I had everything on hand.  It tasted like home.
Which home?
Under pressure:
1 1/2 cups toor dal, soaked at least 20 minutes and washed
1L whey (or water)
1/4 cups raw peanuts
1/8 tsp fenugreek seeds
1/4 tsp turmeric
After pressure:
1/2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp garam masala
3-4 pieces tamarind or kokum
2 green chilies, sliced
1 chopped tomato
3 Tbsp molasses or jaggery
2 tsp freshly grated ginger
additional water for desired consistency (I used 2 cups)
3 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
pinch hing
1 whole dried red chili
4 whole cloves
1 inch piece cinnamon
1 sprig curry leaves
Salt to taste
1 tsp amchur (mango powder)
chopped cilantro
squeeze of lemon
1.  Place the "under pressure" ingredients in a pressure cooker and cook for 4 to 5 whistles.  Open it up and keep it on medium heat.
2.  Add the "after pressure" ingredients, adding water if necessary.  Let boil at least 10 minutes.  The longer it simmers, the more flavor will be released.  Mmmmmmmmmmmmm.  While you're waiting, prepare your rotis if you're going to multitask.  It's so worth it.  Once you get the hang of it, it almost feels natural and you can't really imagine an Indian meal without them.  Or naan, but I haven't done that yet.  Perhaps next week.
3.  Make your seasoning by heating oil in a small saucepan.  Add the seeds until they start to crackle, then add the rest of the seasoning ingredients.  Hing smells like illegal drugs.  Sometimes it smells bad, but when it's in the food, it gives the dish extra special Gujarati depth.  Add the seasoning to the daal.
4.  Add the amchur, the gift to us all from mother Earth.
5.  Taste and add salt if necessary.

Serve with basmati rice and rotis.  You can do this in a thali with several other dishes, but that requires more planning.  Ah this gives me an idea for leftovers.
This stuff makes me go into a trance.  It makes my skin smell like peppery curry...

After eating this, I had a dream I was making samosas and gatta masala.  I may have lost my mind to the point of no return.

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Saturday, April 13, 2013

Plancha Mackerel and Sardines

Keeping it simple works as long as you have a drizzle of some extra special basalmic vinegar with love...
At the first ray of Spring sunshine, my hibernating plancha asked to come out and play.  This time, I grilled some sardines and mackerel seasoned with a splash of lemon, some grated garlic, fresh ground  pepper, and a drizzle of quality basalmic goodness.  The zucchini slabs and sliced bell were seasoned the same way.  All i did was slap everything on ( the fish only for the last 5 min) flip once, and enjoy the delicately seared finished product.
The plancha was harder to clean than the first time.  I maybe should have sprayed some EVOO on before placing the fish skin down on it.
I'll do that next time.
I'm not a teppan yaki expert yet, but the plancha does bring a whole new dimension to outdoor cooking.

That's enough of that.  I've got some Toor daal soaking for tonight's main event.
Who would like to join?

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Friday, April 12, 2013


This week:
"regular" food is tasteless...
I've already made 2 batches of paneer,
Eaten chicken curry twice,
Made a stop for Tandoori's once,
Munched on Kara Sev every evening before dinner,
Been thinking non stop about Toor Dal and Bhakarwadi,
Been wondering where I can eat some Dosas,
Had 4 India dreams...make that 5
Been reconnected spiritually,
Been disconnected physically.
Am I ready for real life yet?
How long is this withdrawal going to last?

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Sunday, April 7, 2013

My family owns a Chili farm

 I couldn't have turned out any other way...
This little chile didn't fall far from her branch...

This may be the most enlightening thing I've ever seen.  I just want to dive into those bags and breathe in deeply like a maniac.

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Eat a mango Patel style

This is the best explanation!
And then you suck it haha

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Saturday, April 6, 2013

What to expect when you enter a Gujarati house

Heavenly food.. Kadhi, Dhoklas, pickled chiles, raita, and these lovely chickpea flour spinach fritters that I can't quite remember the Indian name for.  I think they're called methi na gota (fenugreek pakoras.
Fabulous royal treatment.
Try and eat with your hands, eat very little if you're making several stops, because no matter what time of day you visit, expect to be eating something.  This was just the appetizer.  We left and came back, and had the main course (which I didn't photograph).

Only one thing, no matter how much they insist or how sincere they are... stick to bottled water!

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Wednesday, April 3, 2013


Interesting... Samosas are street food.  You can't get them in every restaurant.  The price can vary from 50 rupees a pair to 350 rupees depending on how light skinned you (or your accessories) are.
When you do get your hands on them.... They are one of the most amazing things in the world.  Why can't the majority of Indian restaurants in France get them right?

I smuggled some over from India and just had them for breakfast.

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Monday, April 1, 2013

Chiku Chiku

I spent some time in chikuland, eating fresh ones for the very first time.  It is an acquired taste.  When you crack it open an savor its flesh, biting into it using only your lips and tongue, you expect it to be juicy, but it does not drip down your face as does a ripe mango.  It is textured like a thick pear and sweet in a way that does not overpower, but leaves you wanting more...

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