South India- Week 10

Monday, September 13, 2010

This week we were still in India, although we moved to the South. I prepared Mango Chutney, Poori (a puffed flat bread), and Chai Masala (tea). The mango chutney was *loooooooooooooong pause here while I sort through a list of words in my head trying to find the right one to describe the chutney*, let's go with distinctive. It wasn't BAD, and in fact it was quite tasty, but it was not wonderful to eat on it's own. When it first hit your tongue, it was overwhelmingly sweet, but as you chewed it, the heat from the cayenne pepper hit you and balanced out the sweetness. It left you going, "Huh! That was...spicy. And really sweet. Weird." We didn't have a specific dish it was being served with so a few of us tried it on the puffed flat bread. This was pretty good, but even the small 5" round with a little of the chutney was just too much for a serving. I think the chutney would make an interesting ice cream topping or perhaps would accompany chicken or even a lamb burger nicely.

The puffed flat bread was intriguing. It was a simple recipe that called for 1 cup each of wheat flour and AP flour, 1/2 tsp salt, 2 Tb oil, and 1/2 cup water. You mix the flour and salt together, add the oil and mix to form "breadcrumb like texture", although I found it to be much looser than that, and then mix in the water to form a VERY stiff dough. I mixed in the water and let it sit for 5 minutes before I attempted to knead it so the water would be completely absorbed first. Then you cut it into 12 pieces, make them into balls, and roll them into 5" rounds. Once that is done, you heat 1" of oil in a saute pan to 350 degrees or so, and then add one of the rounds. Here is the intriguing part. How does a this super stiff dough PUFF UP?? I found myself grinning as I ladled the oil over the bread in the pan and watched in amazement as it did, in fact, puff up. I love this. THIS is what makes me tick. I seriously was grinning like an idiot.

I also made chai masala tea. This was a very simple recipe but it turned out to be so delightful. In the midst of all the tasting, I sipped my tea and savored every drop of it. I'm sure some of you go to Starbucks and pay over $4 for a grande chai latte. This tea tasted almost exactly like theirs, and I'm absolutely certain it cost far less.

Here is the recipe for those interested.
Chai Masala Tea-
Milk 1 cup(8 oz)
Water 2 cups(16 oz)
Cardamom pods 3
cloves 2
cinnamon 1/2 stick
fennel seeds 1/4 tsp
granulated sugar TT
orange peko tea bags 4

1.) Combine milk and water and bring to a boil. Stir in the spices and sugar to taste.
2.) Turn off the heat, cover and let the spices steep 10 minutes.
3.) Add the tea bags. Bring back to a boil, then turn off the heat and steep 3 minutes.
4.) Strain and serve piping hot.

Cauliflower fritters were also on the menu. I was EXTREMELY unenthusiastic about these. They were not very flavorful and the cauliflower was too crunchy in the final product for my taste. They were served with a tamarind sauce which I wasn't a huge fan of, either.

Another dish was banana erccherry. I was pleasantly surprised by this dish. I do like bananas, but I do not enjoy the texture of them. I thought that this may turn out to be the texture of the mashed plantains we made a few weeks ago and wasn't looking forward to that. This WAS pretty thick, but the coconut scrapings added a nice texture variation to them. The spices that were included in the dish also made it more enticing.

Another dish was kerala style lamb. The lamb was cut into cubes and simmered. Then a masala sauce was made and the lamb was coated in the sauce for service. This dish was delectable. The lamb was a little on the chewy side, but the flavor more than made up for that. One thing that I really enjoy about Indian cooking is the time and care that is taken to layer and truly allow the flavors to fully develop. Spices are added deliberately in certain quantities at very specific times throughout the cooking process to produce an exact flavor. I find this fascinating. I would love to learn even more about Indian cuisine.

There were many other dishes this week (13 in all) but I only included those that made an impression, good or bad. This was the last week of this quarter cooking new food. Next week is the final. We will be drawing a dish out of a hat and that will be our practical. We will also have a written final and a product ID. Then we will be deep cleaning the kitchen. I must admit that I am glad that this quarter is almost over. This quarter has been long and taxing to my sanity. Or maybe it was taxing because my sanity was in question to begin with. Either way, I think next quarter will be a little bit of a break for me. I am taking Garde Manger (a 2 day lab) and two entry level classes that somehow escaped my attention before now. I will have all my classes on Mondays and Tuesdays. That means those two days will be long, but I will have a whole five days between so that will be nice. I will try to post an entry sometime soon with my Menu Management project material. Perhaps that will be next weeks entry during the "off week" since I won't have new cooking pictures to post. Although pretty soon I will be cooking massive quantities of pumpkin items. Fall is my FAVORITE time of year and I go a little pumpkin crazy.


jennifer said...

The chutney looks delish. I bet that would taste good over a scoop of vanilla icecream.
I am rather bummed about no post next week, know how I look forward to these.
and i've already seen the management thingy.
you'll have to send me an email of dinner one night or something. haha.

You are doing great, I LOVE it, and I am so proud. I can't wait to eat at the Keepsake!!!!

FuzZycraM said...

Damn, you're hot!

Now This Is Life... Copyright © 2009 Designed by Ipietoon Blogger Template for Bie Blogger Template Vector by DaPino