Saturday, September 16, 2006
I know there are many of you who probably wonder, me being Indian, not cooking Indian food too often. The truth of the fact is that I have spent my entire life outside India, brought up all around the world that this seems to have influenced a larger part of my adult life too. My parents cooked Indian food everyday for us at home. So, I DID grow up on this cuisine. However, when I moved away from home and took on my life on my own, I found cooking other types of cuisine was simpler, easier, quicker and just different.
Should I tell you a secret? When I left home, my mum was petrified that I might starve to death. I could not cook, you see. That is the honest truth. I was rather spoilt at home and did not have to do much. I never took a keen interest in cooking. I was more interested in sports and doing stuff with my friends. So, when I left home, my mother gave me a cookbook with the words "It is a very simple book - but it will help you!"
Hey Mum! Look at me now!! No seriously, my mother is very proud and totally amazed that after all these years that same girl cooks, blogs about food and photographs food. How wild is that?
Coming back to the Indian food though. When I started experimenting with cooking I found making Indian food too complicated. Making all that onion, ginger, garlic paste or grinding spices for a masala was far too much work. The book my mum gave me was actually for European food. I found the recipes here easy, healthy and delicious. Especially the Italian recipes. See it was actually my mother who planted that first seed for my Italian food craze.
My mother would say "Beta (that actually means Son in Hindi Beti being daughter - my parents used to refer to me as beta as I was the eldest. Don't ask where the sense is in that!) you must try to cook Indian food, how will you survive on that European stuff?"
"Mum, you are the one who bought me that book, so what are you complaining about?"
"Yes, I know but it was because you were going to Europe and I thought it would be fitting."
"So, I am still in Europe and I enjoy the food!"
"Make daal! It is easy and you do not have to put much effort!"
"Yes, mum. I'll make daal tomorrow!"
Now, this is a telephone conversation between a daughter in Germany and her mother in Dubai!
I did NOT make daal. It seems to be solution for everything among Indian parents.
"Eat more Daal!" If you are feeling down "Eat Daal!" Feeling depressed - "Eat Daal!" Feeling energetic and full of life - "Eat Daal!"
Even when I was in San Francisco in May, after days of eating daal, when my cousin Varoon gathered up his courage and dared to say "Mum, I don't want anymore daal!" All he got was a "Shut up! You don't know good food when it is in front of you - just give them pizza and pasta then they are happy. You eat your daal!", from my aunt (whom I love and adore!) Well all of us (my cousin Megha, brother and me) grabbed our spoons and started eating our Daal.
But I am sure you will understand when I say that even though I joke about it, I love Indian food. It is healthy (Daal) and satisfying. Ever since I joined the Blogesphere and got into my little Indian Blog circle I tend to experiment even more with my Indian recipes.
This style of curry I made is something that you would not see very often. Firstly, beef is not very common in India. However, it can be easily substituted with chicken or lamb and for the vegetarians you can use mushrooms or hard boiled eggs. I created a taste that combines all the flavors of India in one dish. The tamarind adds a tangy aroma, combined with the ginger and tomatoes the entire dish became delectable.
I suggest serving it with a simple rice like my Pilaw with mustard and coriander seeds.
Music while cooking
Rishi Rich Featuring Veronica and Juggy D - Aj Kal
Album: The Project - *New on my iPod
Events on WFLH
Monthly Mingle - Take Two
From My Rasoi - Pumpkin
I have no special amounts to give you for this one as this was made more or less to the feel and the taste. I am sure many Indian housewives will tell you the same as my mum tells me "The most delicious recipes are made with the feel of your own talent for cooking!" For those who are less experimental, a word of encouragement - just go on and give it a try. I do try where ever I could. Simply try adding the other ingredients according to your own taste. Although I followed a basic recipe from a German cookbook for Indian curry it was too European for my taste - how ironic? That is why I spiced it up.
For Bhuna Paste:
50 g Ginger - mashed
4 Garlic cloves - mashed
2 red onions - finely chopped
1 red chili - finely chopped
400g Beef rump - cut into cubes
2 large potatoes - cut into cubes
400 ml beef stock
450 g tomatoes - de-seeded and cut into bite size pieces
Salt and pepper to taste
For the Bhuna paste:
In a large pan heat up the oil and add the cumin seeds, cardamom pod and black peppercorns. For a minute or two cook till the spices have released their aroma. Now one after the other add the rest of the ingredients for the paste. Saute for a few minutes until all the flavors have combined into a thick paste.
Add the potato cubes and cover with the paste. Now add the tomatoes and simmer for a further few minutes.
Add the stock to this mixture and cover with lid. Simmer for a few minutes - approx. 10 minutes.
In a separate pan fry the beef on a high heat quickly until brown. Add this to the potatoes and simmer for a further 10 minutes. If you prefer this curry to be less liquidy then simmer without the lid.
Serve with Pilaw with mustard and coriander seeds.
OK this is not Daal, but it is so gooood! The combination of all these spices really was completely satisfying to the soul. We made this one evening when Soeren was away at his granparents for the weekend. It was just perfect - spicy and tangy all at once.
This is the perfect entry for this issue of Weekend Cookbook. The theme being an ingredient from my own country's culture. I have used several and combined them into a paste called Bhuna.
Off to Cate for the ARF 5 A Day Tuesday.
Also for Tony's Curry Mela.
beef, potato, event, cummin, tamarind, food, recipe, indian, cardamom, food blog, music, rishi rich, Weekend Cookbook Challenge, Curry Mela