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#1 mongo_jones

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Posted 24 March 2006 - 06:07 PM

a few ground rules/assumptions:

1. this thread will not care very much about authenticity.
2. everything i say here will be partial and open to supplementation by other sources.
3. no one will make posts/questions here that are designed only to demonstrate their existing knowledge.

okay, let us begin with a map. please examine it closely, noting physical and political boundaries, external and internal. remember that this is the seventh largest country in the world, about the size of western europe.

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my annoying opinions: whisky, food and occasional cultural commentary

 

current restaurant review: house of curry (sri lankan in rosemount, mn)

 

current whisky review: glen ord 28

 

current recipe: white bean curry with green peppers

 

 

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#2 pim

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Posted 24 March 2006 - 06:24 PM

3. no one will make posts/questions here that are designed only to demonstrate their existing knowledge.

what about the lack thereof? :P

It might just be evident, not sure if I could help it....

I can't even.

 


#3 Abbylovi

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Posted 24 March 2006 - 06:32 PM

a few ground rules/assumptions:

1. this thread will not care very much about authenticity.
2. everything i say here will be partial and open to supplementation by other sources.
3. no one will make posts/questions here that are designed only to demonstrate their existing knowledge.

Also add: 4. What happens in Indian Cooking Club stays in Indian Cooking Club.
It is better to have beans and bacon in peace than cakes and ale in fear.

#4 Orik

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Posted 24 March 2006 - 06:37 PM

Can we get an authentic recipe for curry please?

Also, I inherited some ikan kembong, what do I do?
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#5 mongo_jones

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Posted 24 March 2006 - 06:47 PM

demonstrating lack of knowledge is encouraged. i will be doing it myself on a regular basis. however, being a poseur is not encouraged.

okay, map perused? some points of interest:

1. note the coastline up and down the western and eastern sides
2. note the borders with myanmar and china on the eastern/north-eastern side (keeping in mind that east pakistan/bangladesh was removed from india in 1947)
3. note that the himlayas run from the north-east to the north-west

basically, we have natural barriers all around. points of entry include via the ocean in the south, through north-western passes in what is now pakistan and afghanistan, and via jungles in the north-east. so, you have some sense of where different cultural, and for our purposes, culinary influences enter. you should also have some sense of which states have coastal elements in their cuisines. keep in mind, however, that until relatively recently even a coastal state like kerala would not have had easy ways of delivering coastal produce to the interiors, so even in these states you will have cuisines that feature seafood, and cuisines that do not. there may be further subdivision by community--but more on that later.

generally speaking, we could break the existing populations of india into three large groups:

1) the tribal peoples. distributed all over india, may or may not be the "original" inhabitants. very little connection to the mainstream. do not ask about their cuisine since most of them exist at a subsistence level.

2) the people of the north-eastern states--basically east of bangladesh. most of these people are racially/linguistically/culturally distinct from the mainstream west of bangladesh. their food too has more in common with those of similar peoples in myanmar and china. china claims a part of arunachal pradesh, by the way.

3) the vast mainstream. some might want to divide this population into aryans and dravidians but it is not clear what these distinctions mean anymore, and fussing about too much with these issues will lead down ugly political paths.

as i said, very little of what follows will have to do with group 1. nor will group 2 be touched much, because i know very little about it. i have eaten some assamese food and some naga food, but that's it. since most of what i could say about the food of this fairly diverse region would be cribbed from this book, you may as well purchase it if you're interested. so, group 3 is where we will spend most of our time, and within it really in the parts that i am familiar with--bengal, where my parents are from (one from the west, and one from what is now bangladesh)--and the various other parts of india where my family lived (my father being in the airforce).

after i eat some bacon and eggs we will delve a little into the history of modern indian states. (all of this, by the way, is to very glibly map the difficulties of talking about indian cuisine in a coherent way--if you'd rather skip all this and get straight to some cooking, let me know.)

my annoying opinions: whisky, food and occasional cultural commentary

 

current restaurant review: house of curry (sri lankan in rosemount, mn)

 

current whisky review: glen ord 28

 

current recipe: white bean curry with green peppers

 

 

facts are meaningless. you could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
~homer simpson


 


#6 akiko

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Posted 24 March 2006 - 06:52 PM

demonstrating lack of knowledge is encouraged


I've already learned something. I thought Rajasthan and Agra were North of Delhi :P . I could have sworn the travel agent that helped us with our trip gave me a picture that had delhi on the bottom of the golden triangle... :P :D

#7 bloviatrix

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Posted 24 March 2006 - 06:59 PM

I recently finished reading Curry: A Tale of Cooks and Conquerors so this comes at a perfect time for me.
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#8 mongo_jones

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Posted 24 March 2006 - 07:15 PM

I could have sworn the travel agent that helped us with our trip gave me a picture that had delhi on the bottom of the golden triangle... :P :P

probably an australian. but don't feel bad--until shamefully recently i used to think goa was north of bombay.

my annoying opinions: whisky, food and occasional cultural commentary

 

current restaurant review: house of curry (sri lankan in rosemount, mn)

 

current whisky review: glen ord 28

 

current recipe: white bean curry with green peppers

 

 

facts are meaningless. you could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
~homer simpson


 


#9 Maurice Naughton

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Posted 24 March 2006 - 07:23 PM

okay, let us begin with a map. please examine it closely, noting physical and political boundaries, external and internal. remember that this is the seventh largest country in the world, about the size of western europe.

Wow! That's interesting. So India's sorta heart-shaped!
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#10 yvonne johnson

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Posted 24 March 2006 - 07:25 PM

Can you make the map bigger,like they do in the newspapers, you know a box within a box? I don't know where India is.
It was not a new dish, as I recognised my tooth marks. Wilfrid

#11 Squeat Mungry

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Posted 24 March 2006 - 07:25 PM

I could have sworn the travel agent that helped us with our trip gave me a picture that had delhi on the bottom of the golden triangle... :P  :P

probably an australian. but don't feel bad--until shamefully recently i used to think goa was north of bombay.

Speaking of Goa, I have a friend who lives there. She also happens to be an excellent cook -- any chance we'll cover any of the Portuguese-influenced Goan stuff?

Oh, and thanks for doing this!
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#12 mongo_jones

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Posted 24 March 2006 - 07:27 PM

the brief cultural/political intro will be resumed and finished later in the day--we now have to go out and look at a few neighbourhoods for our upcoming home purchase nightmare.

in the meantime, here's a list of basic ingredients you will need for what will follow in this thread:

ginger
garlic
onions--not sweet onions
tomatoes
fresh green chillies--thai chillies are the best of what's available in the u.s
dried red chillies

red chilli powder
turmeric
garam masala
curry powder
cumin powder
coriander powder

cumin seeds
panch phoron mix
fenugreek seeds
black mustard seeds

cauliflower
butternut squash
peas
spinach
potatoes--not russets
sweet potatoes
limes

channa dal
mushoor dal

chicken

if you wish to make your own garam masala by all means do so--i very rarely do. ditto if you want to sneer at curry powder and buy a battery of powdered spices or dry-roast and grind your own. my recommendation is that at the early stages you eschew all this foolishness and buy commercial stuff. go to a busy indian grocery and look for brands like mdh, everest or badshah. later you can get fancy on your own.

this is how we will do it: each instalment will contain recipes and directions for one meal comprising one dal, one veg and one non-veg.

pictures of dals in raw state to be posted later for clarification

Edited by mongo_jones, 24 March 2006 - 07:28 PM.

my annoying opinions: whisky, food and occasional cultural commentary

 

current restaurant review: house of curry (sri lankan in rosemount, mn)

 

current whisky review: glen ord 28

 

current recipe: white bean curry with green peppers

 

 

facts are meaningless. you could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
~homer simpson


 


#13 mongo_jones

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Posted 24 March 2006 - 07:33 PM

Can you make the map bigger,like they do in the newspapers, you know a box within a box?  I don't know where India is.

here you go, yvonne:

Posted Image

my annoying opinions: whisky, food and occasional cultural commentary

 

current restaurant review: house of curry (sri lankan in rosemount, mn)

 

current whisky review: glen ord 28

 

current recipe: white bean curry with green peppers

 

 

facts are meaningless. you could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
~homer simpson


 


#14 yvonne johnson

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Posted 24 March 2006 - 07:41 PM

Ah yes, between the cold bits.
It was not a new dish, as I recognised my tooth marks. Wilfrid

#15 Behemoth

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Posted 24 March 2006 - 07:46 PM

To the probable horror of my roommates, this one I might actually be able to participate in -- no complicated equipment needed, and I still have all the spices mouldering in milk crates from when I still had a decent kitchen. Thanks for doing this mongo. Bummer that you don't like eggplant or okra though. :P
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