Saturday, January 26, 2013

Jan 26: Okra Fry & Sorrel Dal

There are so many ways to get Bhindi wrong and I have probably been to all those places. 

I have used way too much oil, mixed in yogurt to get rid of its sliminess, added besan, rice flour, etc. When these didnt work, I changed pans, non-stick to my usual aluminium handi. Non-stick worked at times, but at times I ruined it too. It was not consistent. But getting the same results in a cast iron pan made me realize it was not the pan either. 

After so many wrong turns, I finally realized the key was giving it time and not disturbing it while it is transforming itself into this wonderful curry, not rushing it, not mixing it way too much, but just letting it be. Not crowding it too much, then they will turn into mush. Let them cook covered till they lose their bright green and become very slimy, and then without a lid till they lose all of it. Ignore it more than it needs, then all you would have in your hands are too crunchy and dark bits of Bhindi which are a little over the top. Though that tastes nice to me, but that's just me. 

This has worked for me consistently more than any tip to get Okra to be its delicious self. 

Sorrel Dal: Chukkakoora (Sorrel) would benefit with a chopped garlic in the tadka as it is sour in nature. I remembered that when I was eating it. Next time. 

Jan 25: Besan Paratha

I had it bookmarked since ever. Besan Paratha by Anita from A Mad Tea Party

I finally tried it for dinner. Didn't improvise on anything, no tweaks, none whatsoever. Its kind of rare for me, but the recipe was simple and didn't call for untoward ingredients also. 

Dough and the besan paste didnt take much time at all. I could easily make one when one was frying on the pan. 

Verdict: Fabulously flaky, delicious parathas. I wonder whether it is the oil in the mixture or the besan, I never get my parathas so flaky. Wouldnt change the Ajwain seeds for anything, they make it what it is. 

Tweaks possibleIn fact the suggestions made in the recipe are very viable, I was wondering about the finely chopped garlic/methi as an addition to the chopped coriander I was using. Chopped green chillies probably, skipping the chilli powder in the paste. Would roasted gram flour will be an overkill? 

Next time. There will be definitely a next time, preferably for breakfast, this is a tad too heavy for dinner. And remember to serve with yogurt, it doesn't need anything else. 


Why a new blog?

I already do have one to record my experiments, though I havent updated it in years. I didnt reuse the same place for a new one, as it is absurdly easy to get a new one. I am indeed planning to abandon that one and record my lunches and dinners here.

I need a food diary, of what I cooked and what worked, what didn't and what could be tweaked to make it work or why it is useless to pursue that particular dish. More like a dish diary. What the original dish was, how I tweaked it to make it work, whether that tweak worked or probably destroyed the dish forever. Does it have a hope for coming on to the table in future. I tried doing this offline but I havent been able to keep it up beyond a day. :D Lets see the fate of this blog.

I have a couple of resolutions on my cooking, to make the basics, master them and then try doing all the fantastic things that I keep dreaming about. What is the point in trying to make a Biryani when I basically suck at all the basic Pulaos and Fried rices. :) I have a better success rate with Parathas and Naans than with rice. Leaving carbohydrates altogether from the diet is another fantastic thing I keep thinking about, but its not coming true any time soon given my love for all things wheat.

Anyways, this blog is for me to keep track of the lunch/dinner options that I have tried making and whether they were a success or a failure and why.