Sunday, October 12, 2008


A whole chicken, pale-cooked for presentation; a ritual dish. The coconut broth is barely tinged with turmeric, to the faintest of yellow; necessary, because it would otherwise have a slight greyish hue. Traditional. A dish to calm the spirits of heads taken in war.

Originally published here:


One whole chicken.
Two to three each: bruised stalks of lemongras, whole shallots, whole green chilies, thick slices of ginger.
One Tsp each: salt, sugar.
Half Tsp each: white peppercorns, coriander seeds.
Quarter to half Tsp turmeric.
Generous pinches tamo kuntji, langkwang.
Two whole cloves, a bay leaf, and a piece of dried orange peel.
Eight cups water.
Four cups coconut milk.
Quarter cup white liquor (either Dutch gin, or Vodka).
A jigger of vinegar.

Bring all save chicken to a boil, simmer for five to ten minutes. Inundate the bird and bring the pot back to boil. Turn off heat. Weigh the bird down - a large ceramic bowl partially filled with water will do so nicely. Do not use a metal object as it will affect taste and appearance. Let the pot sit for an hour. Then remove the chicken to a broad basin.
With a slotted spoon remove all solids from the broth. Bring the broth back to a roiling boil and pour slowly over the chicken, making sure all of it is touched by the hot liquid. Drain chicken, reserve broth to a pot and bring back to boiling, then simmer for ten minutes.

Serve the chicken and broth separately; chicken cool, broth hot.
Eat with compressed rice, chili and fishpaste strifried longbeans, and ripped vegetables.

Lemongrass: Sere or Sae - a stalkgras with a pleasing lemon-like aroma used in South-East Asian cooking. Tamo kuntji: Kaempferia Pandurata (Boesenbergia Rotunda) - a root related to ginger and galangal, with minor antibacterial and anticancerous qualities. It has a perfumy bitter taste. In the west it can be found in Thai, Indonesian, and some Chinese stores - temo kunci (Indonesian), krachai (Thai), fingerroot, Chinese Keys (Singaporean English), 凹脣姜 (Cantonese: au-syun-keung). Langkwang: galangal (Kampferia Galanga, Alpinia Galanga), also called red ginger or dwarf ginger. Called Kha in Thai, Laos in Malay. Dried orange peel: dry your own, or purchase chan-pei (陳皮) in Chinatown, even though it comes from a different citrus (Citrus Aurantium). Dutch gin: not the same as the aftershave lotion favoured in the English speaking world, this is more like kummel - except it is flavoured with juniper berries, not caraway. The Oude Genever is a pot still product, and will take your legs out from under you if drunk to excess. The Jonge Genever is made in a patent still, and is much smoother, though still likely to commit treason on your judgment. Oude Genever is the favoured style of import-plonk in areas up from the coast. Longbeans: also called yard long beans, these are much preferred over haricots.

NOTE: The chili paste and fish paste are on the stir-fried vegetables, because they are NOT in the broth or on the chicken. The chicken is mild flavoured, to correlate to a head taken after downing the victim. Arabs are cowards and barbarians because they take prisoners, then behead their captives alive. Such a head concentrates fear and is useless. Gut-stab to kill, then cut to harvest the head; such is the only proper way.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


Whenever some of my friends drag me to a new Chinese restaurant they have discovered that isn't actually run by Cantonese people, I usually order this dish. If they do it well, the place has promise. If not, not.
Often, alas, not.

Originally published here:

One block firm tofu (14 oz).
1/4 lb ground meat.
2 TBS chili paste.
2 TBS Szechuan hot bean paste.
2 TBS regular oil.
1 TBS chili oil.
½ TBS Szechuan peppercorns, roasted and finely ground .
½ Tsp fermented black beans, soaked and mashed.
2 scallions, cut to 2 inch lengths.
2 gloves garlic, chopped.
½ TBS soy sauce.
Quarter cup stock and a jigger of sherry.
Pinch of sugar, pinch of cornstarch - blended in a little hot water.

Cut tofu into chunks, blanch in gently boiling water, drain. Sauté the ground meat, garlic, and spicy bean paste in the two oils till the meat is no longer pink. Add the chili paste, dao see, and soy sauce, stir around to mix everything, then add the tofu, stock, and sherry. Cook, gently stirring (to prevent the tofu breaking up) for a few minutes, then add the fa-chiew, scallions, and the pinches of sugar and cornstarch which have been blended in a little hot water. 

Stir a little longer and plate it.

NOTESSzechuan hot bean paste: laat dou fan jeung (辣豆瓣酱). Also called 'Toban Jiang', or 'Toban Sauce'. Laat (辣) means hot. Buy hot.
Szechuan peppercorns: fa-chiew (花椒),alternative name: san-chiew (山椒). Chiew (椒) means pepper.
Fermented black beans: dou-see (豆豉).

Monday, October 6, 2008


Tamarao potato and bamboo shoot curry.

Originally published here:


Three cups match-stick cut potato.
One cup bamboo shoot, ditto.
Two or three shallots, minced.
Three to five cloves garlic, mashed, and an equivalent amount of ginger, ditto.
Three to five Roma tomatoes; peeled, seeded, chopped.
One and a half teaspoons each: cayenne, ground coriander.
Half a teaspoon each: ground cumin, turmeric.
Half a tablespoon shrimp paste, OR a suitable pinch of salt.
Generous pinch of sugar.
Half a cup each: ricewine or sherry, coconut milk, meat broth.
Cilantro and sliced green chilies to garnish.

Gild shallots in oil, add the garlic and ginger, stir briefly, add the spices, stir till fragrant, and seethe with a little water. Add the potato, cook for about five minutes till the liquid is gone. Add everything else, including the liquids, and cook for another ten or fifteen minutes (depends on how thick your matchstick cut potatoes are). Garnish and serve.

Bamboo shoot:
Edible young bamboo (called 'rabong' in Indonesian languages). Can be purchased in Chinatown in cans already blanched and sliced matchstickwise - simply rinse and drain before use.
If using fresh bamboo shoot, peel them, and trim away the root and any overly fibrous parts. Cut to the shape desired, and boil in a large pan of water for about twenty minutes. Do not cover the pan. This process removes the bitterness that makes raw shoots appealing only to pandas. Taste a little afterwards. If there is still some remaining bitterness, change the water and boil for another five minutes or so. Drain and rinse. Don't worry, they'll still be crunchy after cooking. Bamboo shoots are very low in calories, but a great source of fibre (hah, what a surprise!). They are reputed to be good for the heart, and both anti-viral and anti-cancerous in their effect on the body. Plus they taste good. That last bit is the most important reason to eat them. Really the only reason.
Shrimp paste: Trasi is the Indonesian version, being a dried dark brown smelly substance reminiscent of a bouillion cube..... A salty fishy rotten bouillion cube.
Nowadays I use the Cantonese version (鹹蝦醬 - haam haa jeung), which is a pungent purple-grey goop in a jar that keeps forever. It is high in salt, but also other minerals. Not very nutritious, but when cooked it is oh so tasty. Dipping green mango into a little of this is pure heaven. It should be in every kitchen, right next to the jar of sambal and the bottle of black vinegar.

Sunday, October 5, 2008


Javanese black soup-stew.

Originally published here:


One pound stew beef or lamb chunks.
One onion, chopped.
One stalk sere (lemongrass), bruised.
Three to five cloves garlic, mashed, and an equivalent amount of ginger, ditto.
One teaspoon ground coriander.
Half a teaspoon each: turmeric, cayenne, cumin, langkwang powder.
Half a dozen soaked kluwak nuts, mashed up in a little hot water.
A few daon parot (kaffir lime leaves).
Pinches salt, pepper, sugar.
Scallion and cilantro to garnish.

Gild onion in oil, add the garlic and ginger, stir briefly, add the spices, then the meat. Cook, stirring, till the meat is no longer pink and the fragrance rises. Seethe with a little water and add the mashed kluwak, stirring to dissolve. Add everything else, plus water to cover generously. Simmer for about an hour. Garnish with scallion and cilantro.

Lemongrass (sere, serai, sae). A tropical stalk-grass that smells like candied lemon. Available in S.E. Asian markets. Keeps away bugs, so worth growing in your backyard.
Langkwang: Galangal (lengkuas, laos); related to ginger, has an old-fashioned almost medicinal smell. Do not use the dried LengKeung available in Chinatown, though - while it is a close relative, it is more suited for cooking bushmeats (!) as tonic than regular meats as dinner table food. The proportions used are also different.
kluwak nuts: The seeds of the Kulape tree (Kepayang; Pangium Edule). Kluwak which are available in the west are thoroughly processed and have been dried - they must be made soft by steeping in a little hot water for about ten or fifteen minutes, whereupon they may be mashed to a smooth paste with ease. They add a nice 'rusty' fragrance to dishes, and change the colour to brown-black. Very delicious.
Daon Parot: Kaffir lime leaf; a leaf that adds a fragrance between tea-rose and citrus. No substitute, but not absolutely essential. It can be purchased in markets catering to a Thai and Indonesian clientele.

Thursday, October 2, 2008


Glutinous-rice sweets with pisang fire-roasted in banana leaves.

Originally published here:


3 cups glutinous rice.
1 - 1½ cups golden cane sugar.
Either two bananas, peeled and chunked.
Strips of meat from two young coconuts.

Banana leaves for wrapping

Soak rice in water for two hours. Drain, and grind to a smooth doughy consistency. Mix the sugar and the banana or coconut into the rice dough.
Wipe banana leaves clean, and pass over the fire. Cut into squares about the size of a plate.
Spread the rice mixture thinly over half of each piece of banana leaf, then roll into a sausage shape. Grill over coals till the inside is hot and goopy and the outside somewhat singed.
Serve warm.

Makes about two dozen pieces.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


A recipe left behind by a customer who died in Spring, in the prime of her life.

Originally published here:


6 cups whole oats
2 cups all-purpose flour
4 eggs
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup molasses
1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin
2 1/2 cups yogurt
1 - 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (she left cinnamon out of the recipe, but it really should be included).

Mix all ingredients. Decant into an oiled 9 x 13 baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes and cut into squares. Keep refrigerated in a closed container. They will keep for about 6 weeks.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


The correct name for the sweet is rahat lukum. Lukum means morsel, rahat means peace or contentment, so the translation is a 'morsel of contentment'.
The Turkish name may derive from Arabic: راحة الحلقم rahat al-hulkum: contentment of the gullet.

Originally published here:


2 cups sugar.
4 tablespoons cornstarch.
1 cup water.
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar.
2 tablespoon rosewater (available at Middle Eastern stores).
1/2 cup chopped pistachios, walnuts, or almonds.
Confectioner's sugar for dusting.

Mix sugar, cornstarch and cream of tartar with the water and boil for five minutes, stirring the while. Remove from heat and add rosewater and chopped nuts. Apply a little cooking oil to a rectangular pyrex dish (or use non-stick cooking spray) and pour in mixture to a depth of an inch. When cool, cut into rectangles and roll each piece in powdered sugar.

Store at room temperature in airtight container.


Fruit juice may be used in lieu of plain water - strained orange juice or clear apple juice is excellent, and a lemon may be squeezed in for tanginess. Food colouring as deemed appropriate can be added, and some people roll it in coconut shreds or crushed nuts.

Note that it can also be made with orange essence, or even orange blossom water (moit ez zaher), in lieu of the rosewater (moit el ward). Rosewater is traditional, but not essential.

Thursday, July 3, 2008


Apple Sauce Noodle Kugel
[Variation on a recipe that was an edible snark on a different blog.]

Originally posted here:

8 oz. broad noodles.
4 eggs, slightly beaten.
Half a cup sugar.
Half cup raisins.
Two cups (1 pint) sour cream (smetana).
Two cups (16 fl.oz) applesauce.
Half tsp cinnamon powder.
Half tsp salt.
Quarter tsp dry ginger.
Quarter tsp ground cardamom.
A little lemon zest.

Cook and drain the noodles.
Klits the eggs, apple sauce, sour cream, raisins, and sugar together, then add the noodles and mix. Dot with butter in greased 8x8-inch baking dish. Bake at 350 F for 60 minutes.


[Moist butter shortbread or cake.]

Orignially posted here:

One and three quarters cup of flour.
One cup of sugar.
Three quarters of a cup of butter.
One large egg, yolk and white separated.
A pinch of salt.
A pinch of dry ginger.
A teaspoon or so of almond extract.
About a quarter cup of sliced almonds for garnish, and a little butter for greasing the pan.

Cream the butter and sugar together. Mix in the egg yolk and almond extract, then add the flour, salt, and dry ginger. Knead to a crumbly dough - do not overwork it.
Grease a shallow pan or pyrex dish. Press the dough into the pan - it should be between an inch and an inch and a half thick. Brush the surface with the egg-white, which you have beaten beforehand. Strew the almonds over and press down slightly.

Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for no more than twenty five minutes. The result will be firm on the outside, still soft within, dense and buttery. Let it cool before eating.


[Dutch-Indonesian (Indo) Stewed Tongue.]

Originally posted here:

One three pound beef tongue.
One large onion, sliced thin.
Half dozen cloves garlic, slivered.
Half cup each: stock, rice wine (or sherry).
Quarter cup each: ketjap manis (sweet soy sauce), olive oil.
Two TBS each: lime juice, wine vinegar.
Half TBS ground coriander.
Half Tsp each: cayenne, turmeric, dry ginger, ground cumin, whole peppercorns.
Half dozen Roma tomatoes (or three beefsteak); peeled, seeded, chopped.
Bay leaves, stalk lemon grass, chopped fresh ginger.

Boil tongue in salted water for fifteen minutes. Remove, drain and dry, scrape off skin that covers the tongue. Trim the root end. Rinse and dry.

Heat oil in a large stewpan. Gild the onion, garlic, chopped ginger. Remove to a plate. Put the tongue in the pan and brown it all over. Re-add the gilded onion, garlic, and ginger. Add the tomatoes and spices - cook till the fragrance rises and bottom starts to crust. Add remaining ingredients plus water to cover, turn heat low and simmer for three hours.

Remove tongue to a plate and let it cool. Meanwhile, reduce pan-broth to a pourable sauce or gravy thickness, and remove the lemon grass. Slice tongue, arrange on a platter, and nap with the sauce.

Serve with stir-fried long-beans, crisp veggies, pan-roast potatoes and crusty bread to sop up the juices. Make sure that a little pot of Indonesian hot-sauce (sambal) is on the table. Also good served with rice.


[Dutch-Indonesian (Indo) treatment of shot fowl or game, often served for holdidays in the pre-war years. Nowadays a much-degenerated rarity.]

Originally posted here:

One LBS of meat, chunk cut; duck, hare, or chicken.
One onion, chopped
One teaspoon mace or ground nutmeg
Half teaspoon whole peppercorns
Two or three whole cloves
A generous pinch powdered cinnamon
One cup good stock
One cup red wine
2 tablespoons reserved blood from the animal, mixed with a squeeze of lime juice to keep it from congealing
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
Small squeeze of lime juice to finish

Rub the mace and cinnamon into the meat, with a little oil to facilitate.
Cook the meat and onions till fragrant and golden in a little butter or oil. Then add everything except the reserved blood, sugar, and soy sauce. Simmer on low until reduced by half. Now add the remaining ingredients, and simmer, stirring, for another ten minutes. Squeeze the lime over and serve.

Note I: one can do a whole duck breast this way, slicing it after cooking and serving with the sauce draped over.

Note II: If no blood is available, increase the soy sauce slightly.


[Philippino savoury-sour stewed pork ('adobong baboy') or chicken ('adobong manok').]

Originally posted here:

1 LBS pork or chicken, chunk cut
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon peppercorns
1 or 2 bay leaves
1/4 cup vinegar or enough to cover meat
2 tablespoons soy sauce

In a heavy saucepan, combine all ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until meat is tender and the liquid is much reduced.
If meat is still tough and there is no more stock, add 2 Tablespoons hot water and continue simmering.
When the meat is tender, brown the meat slightly in its own fat.

Note: I usually add some tomato paste and coconut milk (santen) to this.


[Philippino sour-cooked pork ('paksiw na baboy') or fish ('paksiw na isda').]

Originally posted here:

One pound fatty pork, or a nice fish, chunked.
Half a cup vinegar
One tablespoon amber fish sauce
Minced ginger and garlic
One teaspoon sugar
A mild or hot chili pepper, left whole

Mix all ingredients except the pork or fish, and bring to a boil. Turn low and simmer for five or ten minutes before adding the pork or fish. Pork will need over an hour, fish no more than ten minutes. Pork may therefore require more liquid, fish less.

Note: chunks of lechon (roast pig) are often also cooked this way.


[Philippino blood soup]

Originally posted here:

1 Lbs fatty pork, diced or chunks
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
1/4 Lbs pork liver, diced
1/2 cup vinegar
2 tablespoon amber fish sauce
1/2 cup stock
1 cup frozen pig blood (dugo na babuy - available at some Philippino or Vietnamese stores)
2 teaspoons Sugar

Cook pork in stock with water to cover for about half an hour. Sautee onion and garlic in a separate pan till golden and fragrant, then add the liver. When the liver is tender mash coarsely with a fork, and add to the pan with the pork chunks. Pour in the vinegar and the fish sauce, and simmer for about twenty minutes. Then add the pig blood and the sugar, and cook, stirring, for another ten to fifteen minutes.


[Green Papaya (duong) Soup]

Originally posted here:

One green papaya (approx 1½ pounds); peeled, seeded, and sliced.
A dozen black mushrooms; soaked, stemmed, halved.
Two stalks of lemon grass, bruised to release flavours.
Two or three shallots, chopped.
Two or three Roma tomatoes; peeled, seeded, chopped.
Some chopped celery - the quantity is up to you.
One Tsp ground coriander.
Half Tsp each: sugar, cayenne, turmeric, ground pepper.
Pinches cinnamon powder and dry ginger.
Two TBS each: lime juice, soy sauce, rice wine (or sherry), olive oil.
Six cups of clear broth.
One or two cups water.
Minced scallion, parsley and cilantro.

Sauté shallots, garlic and ginger till colour turns. Add spices, stir fragrant, and seethe with the rice wine. Add everything else except the scallion, parsley and cilantro. Simmer till the papaya is tender. Add the scallion, parsley and cilantro just before serving.


[Dressed cucumber]

Originally posted here:

Two cucumbers, peeled, seeded, coarse chunked.
Two TBS each vinegar, water, sugar.
One Tsp salt.

Dump everything in a pan and heat, stirring, till the sugar has dissolved. Decant and let it sit in a cool place for a few hours.


[Soured duck.]

Originally posted here:

One duck of four to five pounds.
One dozen shallots, sliced fine.
Several cloves of garlic, minced.
Equivalent amount ginger, ditto.
Four cups dark rice wine.
Four cups stock reduced to one cup.
Four TBS each: soy sauce, vinegar, sugar.
Hefty pinches mace, cinnamon powder, dry ginger.
Whole peppercorns, cloves, bay leaves.
A jigger aged vinegar.

Chop the duck into chunks through the bone. Brown the duck in its own fat, set aside.
Gild the shallots, garlic, and ginger. Add all other ingredients including the duck chunks, raise to barely boiling, then simmer on low for about twenty minutes.

Serve with a lime juice sambal and dressed cucumber. Rice is of course part of the meal, and some yau choi or greens in pot-liquor also go very well with this.


[Sweet soy-sauce]

Originally posted here:

Half cup each: sugar (white, or white and dark mixed), Kikkoman soy sauce.
Two tablespoons each: sherry, dark vinegar.
One teaspoon salt.
One whole star anise, one or two slices of ginger, and a clove or two.

Put everything except the vinegar and half of the soy sauce into a saucepan. Heat gently, stirring, till the sugar is fully dissolved and the liquid syrupy and starting to foam. Stir in the remaining soy sauce and in a minute or so turn off the heat. Let it cool and strain it into a bottle. Use the dark vinegar to swish the remaining syrup coating the inside of the saucepan, and add to the bottle.

This is as close to typical Dutch and Indonesian sweet soy sauce as you can get, and far better than most brands. And you know what is in it.


[Toasted coconut shred condiment]

Originally posted here:

One cup shredded coconut.
Half cup cashews.
Half teaspoon each: ground coriander, ground cumin, turmeric, sugar, salt.
Quarter teaspoon each: cinnamon powder, dry ginger.
Pinch: mace, cayenne.
Half tablespoon each: Louisiana hot sauce, lime juice.
Dash of hot water.

Whisk all flavourings till sugar and salt dissolve. Toss everything together to coat, let stand for an hour. Toast, spread out on a tray, for one and a half to two hours at 225 degrees Fahrenheit. It will be brown and crispy at this point. Can be kept in a jar with a screw-top lid for up to four or five weeks - but you will have eaten it before then.

This is used as a textural side-dish, adding crunch to curries and stews. It can also be eaten plain, or strewn over rice. Unlike the standard version, which you are probably used to, it contains no fish-paste, and no huge amount of palm-sugar (Javanese like much more sweetness than is strictly normal).

I have substituted cashews for peanuts - some people are allergic to peanuts.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


Standard Indian restaurant deep-fried potato and pea turnovers.

Originally posted here:


4 large potatoes, boiled, peeled, and mashed.
1/2 cup cooked and drained green peas.
1/2 TBS cumin seeds.
1 tsp ground coriander.
1 tsp amchoor(mango powder).
1 tsp cayenne.
1/2 tsp ground fennel.
1/2 tsp garam masala powder.
Squeeze from half a lemon, more or less.
A little minced cilantro or parsley.
Pinch ground cinnamon.
Pinch salt.

3 cups all purpose flour.
1/2 cup flour, for rolling out and flouring your hands.
4 - 6 TBS heated ghee (or oil).
Cold water.
Pinch salt.

Making the filling
Heat a little ghee in a skillet and add the cumin seeds.When the seeds splutter, add the various spices, stir, and add the mashed potatoes, green peas, minced herbs - mix well.Add salt to taste.Cook on a low flame for about 10 minutes and remove from heat. Squeeze the half lemon over for little moisture.

Making the dough
Prepare the dough for the samosa by combining the flour, warm ghee (or oil) and a pinch of salt. Add water, in drabs, to make a pliable dough.Cover with a damp cloth and set aside for about 20 minutes.

Putting the samosas together
Roll the dough into ten rounds. Divide each round into two halves. Flour your hands, so the dough does not stick. Wetten the long edge of a half round, and fold to form a cone, bringing together and sealing the wet edge (allow for an overlap). Fill with the potato stuffing, wetten the edges and fold over the remaining flap of dough (allow for an overlap), seal.

Deep fry the samosas in oil at medium heat till golden and crisped, drain, and serve with fresh green chutney.

Friday, June 27, 2008


[Fried brain, Sindhi style]
Serves 4

Originally posted here:

Four whole goat brains,
Four TBS butter or ghee.
Two Tsp. cayenne powder
One Tsp. turmeric powder
Generous pinches nutmeg or mace, ground black pepper, and salt.

Rinse the brains. Put a pot of lightly salted water on the fire (about six or so cups), add the cayenne and turmeric, and when the water boils dump in the brains. Cook for fifteen minutes.
Remove brains, drain, and when cool enough to handle remove the thin membranes. Slice each brain into four pieces, and pan-fry in the butter or ghee.
Add nutmeg or mace before removing from the flame, pepper and salt after. Serve hot.

Serve the bheja with some nice crisp roasted papad and rice or kichri.


[Green chilies in curry sauce - personal variation]

Originally posted here:

One pound of Mulatto Isleño chilies (or substitute any other large mild chili, such as Poblanos or Anaheims).
One onion, minced.
Three or four cloves of Garlic, minced.
A thumb-length of ginger, minced.
Quarter cup roasted Peanuts.
Two TBS Sesame seeds, lightly toasted.
Three Tsp. ground Coriander.
One Tsp. ground Cumin.
Half Tsp. Cayenne (or more).
Half Tsp. Turmeric.
A generous pinch of Sugar.
A pinch of ground Cinnamon.
Pinch Salt.
One and a half cups Water.
One and a half cups Coconut milk.
Half cup strong Tamarind water (2 - 4 TBS Tamarind paste in hot water).
Quarter cup chopped Cilantro.
Quarter cup chopped Basil.
Quarter cup chopped Parsley.
Quarter cup Olive Oil.
A hefty squeeze of Lime juice, added at end of cooking,

1. Grind peanuts and sesame seeds to a fine paste.
2. Roast whole chilies over a flame till the skin blackens. Peel, deseed, chop into large pieces.
3. Heat oil in a large frying pan, fry the onion golden, and add garlic and ginger. When the garlic has gilded, add the spices, salt, sugar, and stir-fry till the fragrance rises.
4. Add the peanut and sesame paste, plus the coconut milk and the water. When it boils, add the chilies. Simmer, stirring, till the sauce thickens and the oil separates.
5. Add the tamarind water, bring back to boil and cook a short while longer.
6. Stir in the fresh herbs and remove from heat. Now add the hefty squeeze of lime juice.
7. Garnish generously with two or three chopped Roma tomatoes.

Serve with flaky flatbread and rice.
Serves four.

Note I: Instead of grinding peanuts and sesame, one can substitute a quarter cup (four tablespoons) of smooth peanut butter. The taste will not be much affected.
Note II: There will be some wastage when peeling the chilies.
Note III: The hue of this dish should be a lovely speckled vert emeraude. It should be semi-scoopable, and not soupy.
Note IV: This is like the Hyderabadi Mirchi Ka Salan (see this post: ). But it is better. And not as greasy.


[Green chilies in curry sauce - Andhra version]

Originally posted here:

Half a pound of long green chilies (Paprika in Europe, Anaheim or Mild New Mexico in US).
One onion, minced.
Three or four cloves of Garlic, minced.
A thumb-length of ginger, minced.
Quarter cup roasted Peanuts.
Two TBS Sesame seeds, lightly toasted.
Three Tsp. ground Coriander.
One Tsp. ground Cumin.
Half Tsp. Cayenne.
Half Tsp. Turmeric.
A generous pinch of Sugar.
A pinch of ground Cinnamon.
Pinch Salt.
One and a half cups Water.
One and a half cups Coconut milk.
Half cup strong Tamarind water (2 - 4 TBS Tamarind paste in hot water).
Half cup chopped Cilantro.
Quarter cup chopped Basil.
Quarter cup chopped Parsley.
Quarter cup Olive Oil.
A hefty squeeze of Lime juice, added at end of cooking,

1. Grind peanuts and sesame seeds to a fine paste.
2. Blanch whole chilies briefly in boiling salted water. Drain, deseed, chop into large pieces.
3. Heat oil in a large frying pan, fry chilies to gild, remove and set aside.
4. Fry onion golden, add garlic and ginger. When the garlic has gilded, add the spices, salt, sugar, and stir-fry till the fragrance rises.
5. Add the peanut and sesame paste, plus the coconut milk, water, and chilies. Simmer, stirring, till the sauce is thick and the oil separates.
6. Add the tamarind water, bring back to boil and cook a short while longer.
7. Stir in the fresh herbs and remove from heat, add the hefty squeeze of lime juice.
8. Garnish generously with two or three chopped Roma tomatoes.


[Electric yellow rice with syrup, pineapple chunks, and ghee!]

Originally posted here:

One cup basmati rice.
One and a half tsp saffron.
Two cups sugar.
One cup pineapple juice.
2 TBS lemon juice.
5 cloves.
5 green cardamom.
5 drops yellow foodcolour.
5 fresh pineapple rings, chunk cut.
Quarter cup ghee.
1. Rinse and soak the rice for 2 hours. Drain.
2. Soak the saffron in two TBS warm water.
3. Boil sugar with half a cup water, pineapple and lemon juices; stir until the syrup becomes thick. Reserve.
4. Heat four cups water in a pot with the cloves, cardamom pods and yellow food colouring added. Boil fiercely for five minutes, skim out the spices with a kafgir, and add the rice. Cook till puffy and half way done. Drain.
5. Heat the syrup over low heat to boiling, add the rice, mix well and remove from the fire when heated through, whereupon stir in the pineapple chunks and the saffron water.
6. Transfer the rice mixture to a shallow casserole, place the lid on tight and set the casserole in the oven at 300 degrees for half an hour.
7. Melt the ghee and pour it in a circular motion all over the rice.

Note I: The dish as given above is not nearly sweet enough for some Indians; if you're cooking for such a person, add more sugar, plus extra ghee.

Note II: Muzaffar means yellowed. Which, thanks to liberal use of both food colour and saffron, it will indeed be.

Note III: This dish can also be done with mango (Aamb Ka Muzaffar) or even jackfruit (Kathal Ka Muzaffar).


[Semi-sweet meat and rice]

Originally posted here:

One and a half cups Basmati rice - washed, soaked an hour, drained.
One and a half pounds goat, chunk cut.
One onion, minced.
Half a cup sugar.
Half a cup water.
One lemon.
Six green cardamom pods.
Two black cardamom pods.
Two smallish pieces stick cinnamon.
Two blades of mace.
Two bay leaves.
One teaspoon whole peppercorns.
Six TBS ghee (or substitute vegetable oil).
Two TBS rosewater.
Two TBS kewra water.
A very generous pinch of saffron.
Pinch salt.

1. Mix saffron, rosewater, and kewra water, and let stand to colour.
2. Make a syrup by dissolving the sugar in the half cup water in an enamel saucepan. Squeeze in the juice of the lemon, and remove from heat.
3. Fry the onion in the ghee till glazy-golden. Add half of the whole spices, stir, add the meat and a small splash water. Fry till the oil comes out and the meat is browned. Cover with water, simmer till nearly dry. Remove the whole spices, and set the meat and onion mixture aside.
4. Bring a pot of water to boil with the remaining whole spices. Boil fiercely for five minutes to aromatize the water, then use your kafcha or kafgir to skim out the whole spices, and add the rice. Parboil till the rice starts to puff, then strain.
5. Mix the rice with the meat and onion in a casserole, add the syrup. Pour the rose-kewra-saffron water spiral-wise over the mixture, cover well, and use tinfoil or dough to really seal the edges and prevent much steam escaping. Set in a 300º oven for half an hour. Remove and up end on a platter.

Note I: Rosewater is available at Middle Eastern stores, Kewra water can be bought at Indian stores. Kewra, kewda, or keora is pandanus - the fragrant screwpine, which has a semi floral grass-like aroma. One can substitute a jigger of pandan extract (available in S.E.Asian markets) for the Indian or Paki product.

Note II: This version of Mutanjan is not nearly as sweet as some Indians would make it.


[A robust tribal pilaf from Afghanistan]

Originally posted here:

One large onion, chopped.
One and a half pounds of goat, cut in 1 inch cubes.
Two carrots cut into matchstick size pieces.
1 cup dark seedless raisins.
2 Tbs. blanched almonds.
1/2 tsp. each: ground cinnamon, cloves, cumin, and cardamom.
Pinches of turmeric and dry ginger (optional).
1/8 tsp. saffron (firm pack), soaked in a two tablespoons of warm water.
2 cups long grain rice (Basmati) - soaked, rinsed, and drained.
1 Tbs. sugar.
Water or broth

1. Heat four Tbs. oil in a heavy pan and fry onion golden.
2. Add meat and brown.
3. Add two and a half cups water, 1/2 tsp. salt and the ground spices. Cover and simmer until the meat is tender. Take out meat and set aside. Leave cooking juices in pan, which remove from heat and set on backburner.
4. Heat four Tbs. oil in a saucepan. Add the carrots and cook until well gilded, remove from pan and set aside.
5. Add 1 cup dark seedless raisins plus couple of tablespoons of blanched almonds, and cook until the raisins swell up. Remove and set aside.
6. Bring the meat juice in the first pan to a boil and add the rice, 1 tbsp. sugar, and 1 tsp. salt, with sufficient water to bring the liquid one and a half inches above the rice. Cook till water is absorbed.
7. Mix the oil in which the carrots were cooked and the saffron-water into the cooked rice. Add the meat, cover and set in a 300 degree oven for 20-30 minutes.
8. Mound meat and rice in the center of a large platter. Sprinkle with carrots, raisins, and almonds.

Note I: Afghans tend to use oil, grease, or clarified butter for this dish much more liberally than in the recipe above. But then it sits heavy on the stomach.

Note II: Qabili = tribal, regional. From Arabic 'Qabila' = tribe. Hence 'qaba'il' for tribesman, and 'qabaili' for the North West Frontier Province.
'Cabal' may also come from this root, though dictionaries standardly give an acronym as the derivation.


[Cassava greens, as eaten in West Africa.]

Originally posted here:

A big bunch of cleaned sakasaka.
One onion, chopped.
A tomato, peeled, seeded, and chopped.
One or two cloves garlic, minced.
One or two mild peppers, minced.
A palm-size piece of dried smoke-fish (substitute a tin of sardines, especially of you are British).
Three or four TBS palm oil.
A pinch of salt, and a pinch of wood-ash.

Chop and thoroughly bruise the sakasaka (and I do mean bruise - whack it with a rolling pin or a mallet). Simmer with plenty of water for an hour or two (the sakasaka should lose its toughness and fibrous quality). One the sakasaka is palatable, add everything else, and cook till the liquid is much reduced and the mass has become pulpy. Eat with fufu or rice.


Adding cooked white beans, lady fingers, or eggplant chunks to the sakasaka is authentic, popular, and good.

Sakasaka are cassava greens (feuilles de manioc), known by that name in the Congo, and as mpondu in other parts of central and western Africa. Cassava is also called manioc and yucca.

If you cannot find palm-oil, use moambé sauce (aka mwambe or nyembwé). Moambé sauce is a flavourful greasy pulp made by boiling mashed palm-nut fruits and straining out the kernels and skins. If even moambé sauce is unavailable (where ARE you living?!?!), just toss in some canned palm-soup concentrate (noix de palme, or sauce greine) into the pot.
Palm-oil, moambé sauce, and palm-soup concentrate add that authentic flavour to African foods - all are also good with meat stews and fricasseed chicken.

Some people add a scoop peanut butter or some coconut milk, either in addition or in-lieu of - this too is good.

The pinch of wood ash gives it the flavour of the crude salt used locally - a tiny pinch of baking soda is also good in this regard.

Fufu are West-African dumplings, very comparable to Surinamese Tongtong. Whatever starchy product is used (polenta, plantains, yams, manioc, etcetera) is first boiled till edible, than pounded to a paste resembling stiff mashed potato, and rolled into balls. These then are either dumped into soupy dishes (rather like matze-balls), or served as the staple on the side with the main-dishes and vegetable dishes, portions to be pinched off and sopped with the greens or sauces.


[Or, if you don't have access to bush meats, use some other animal. Goat is good.]

Originally posted here:

Two pounds of zebra, cut into chunks.
Two onions, chopped.
Half a dozen tomatoes, peeled seeded and chopped.
One pound of spinach or chard, washed and chopped.
One cup of Myembwe sauce (moambé sauce, nyembwe sauce, or canned palm soup base aka sauce graine).
Juice of one or two lemons.
Garlic, ginger, chilies – minced.
Olive oil.
Pinch of salt.

Mix lemon juice with garlic, salt, and chilies. Wet meat with this and allow to marinate for an hour.
Brown the onions in a large casserole, then add the meat and brown also.
Add the tomatoes and water to generously cover, simmer for about an hour (longer if it was a tough old beast). Then add the chopped greens and the myembwe sauce, and cook till the vegetables are mooshy.

Serve with fried plantains and fufu or rice.


[Or, if you don't have access to bush meats, use some other animal. Goat is good.]

Originally posted here:

Two pounds of zebra, cut into chunks.
Two onions, chopped.
Two tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped.
Two green plantain, peeled and chunked.
Two sweet potatoes, chunked.
Two large regular potatoes, chunked.
Two or three chilies, minced.
One can (one and half cup) coconut milk (santen).
One or two cups browned bone stock.
Minced garlic, ginger.
Salt, pepper, plus pinches of ground clove and nutmeg.

Rub the garlic, ginger, chilies, salt, and pepper into the meat, and let it rest for one or two hours in the refrigerator.
Then brown it in a heavy casserole with a little oil. When it is well gilded, add the stock and spices, simmer for an hour.
Then add the vegetables and scant water to cover. Simmer until the vegetables are tender, then mash everything with a potato masher. If using meat on the bone from an odd cut, it would be a good idea to remove it from the bones before mashing. Mix in the coconut milk before serving.


[Or, if you don't have access to bush meats, use some other animal. Goat is good.]

Originally posted here:

Two pounds of zebra, cut into chunks.
Two cups of crumbled roasted peanuts.
Two large onions, chopped.
Juice from one or two lemons.
Half a dozen chopped green chilies.
Plantain leaf – one or two whole leaves.

Cook the peanuts, meat, and onion with a little water for about twenty minutes. It should be a stiff glop.
Take a leaf and pull off the central rib (cut across the rib, flip the edge of the blade underneath the rib, and pull). Trim the leaf to a large rectangle. Sprinkle some salt on the leaf, and place the meat mixture on one side. Flavour it with the lemon juice and chilies.
Now fold over all ends to make a secure package within several layers of plantain leaf, and tie it up like a postage parcel. Place on a rack in a large pot and steam for over an hour.
Unwrap at the table and serve with corn mush.


[Or, if you don't have access to bush meats, use some other animal. Goat is good.]

Originally posted here:

Two pounds of zebra, cut into chunks.
One pound tomatoes, peeled seeded and chopped.
Two onions, chopped.
Two TBS flour.
One Tsp. paprika.
Pinches salt, pepper, turmeric, coriander, cayenne.
One cup browned bone stock.
Quarter cup olive oil.
Quarter cup heavy cream.
A good jigger of sherry.

Fry the onion golden in the oil and remove to a plate.
Dust the meat with flour, salt, and pepper, and brown in oil. Add tomatoes and onions, stir briefly to take up the crusty bits on the bottom of the pan, then add the sherry, stock, and spices. Simmer until tender, which may take a while if the beast was old. Before serving, whisk in the heavy cream.


[Potatoes in a butter (makhan) sauce]

Originally posted here:

Three large potatoes.
One and a half cups heavy cream.
Half a cup tomato paste.
Quarter cup butter.
One TBS cumin seeds.
One Tsp. Paprika.
Half a Tsp. Cayenne.
Pinches dry ginger, cloves, mace, salt, pepper.
A little mashed garlic and ginger.

Peel and chunk the potatoes, boil in salted water till the outside softens. Drain.

Roast the cumin seeds in a skillet till deeply fragrant, remove and grind semi-fine.

Cook the potato chunks in the butter with the garlic and ginger for a few minutes, and remove to a plate.
Add the spices to the grease remaining in the pan, stir briefly over heat, then add the tomato paste and heavy cream while stirring. Do not boil. The objective is a rich emulsion, which will form naturally, of a rusty hue, creamy and spicy. Taste it!
And adjust quantities of cream, paste, and butter as you see fit.

When the sauce has become what you have always wanted, slide the potatoes back in and simmer for about ten minutes, adding some sliced green chili and chopped fresh herbs for sparkle. Serve as a side dish. Or as a main dish.


[Parsi spice mixture used primarily for dhansak]

Originally posted here:

9 Dry chilies (Guajillo or New Mexico chiles secos).
Two and a half TBS coriander seed.
One and a half TBS cumin seed.
One TBS whole peppercorns.
Half a TBS fennel seed.
Half a TBS black mustard seed.
Half a TBS fenugreek seed.
Three Tej Patta (cassia leaves - bay leaf may be substituted, but it isn't really the same).
Three green cardamom pods, seeds only.
One black cardamom pod, seeds, only.
One three-inch stick of cinnamon.
One star-anise pod.
Nine whole cloves.
One Tsp. mace.

Roast all spices except the mace. Cool and grind. Add mace and regrind, sift. If it is to be stored use a brown or blue glass jar. Optionally add half a teaspoon of turmeric to inhibit mold if you intend to make more than you will use soon.

To use, mash with about eight or nine cloves of garlice and a thumb of ginger. It will be sufficient for enough dhansak to feed about eight people.

You would use two thirds of a cup of toovar dal (telwalla), one third of a cup each of masoor and moong dal. Slightly more than a pound of red pumpkin, one or two Chinese eggplants, three or four tomatoes, two or three onions, and a small bunch of methi leaves plus a handful of cilantro. You will need about a pound and a half of lamb-stew meat chunks on the bone, up to two pounds.

The procedure is standard, and you probably do not need me to describe it - cook the dals in one pan, gild the onion, aromatics, spices, lamb in another pan. Then mix everything for further cooking. A small dash vinegar and a little tamarind may be added for a pleasing tang. Do NOT add pineapple, unless you are Angrezi and more than a little mad.

Serve with kachumber and Parsi brown rice. Plus some lime segments for squeezing. And croquettes or pattice.

Then spend the rest of the afternoon sleeping.


PAYA NAHARI ( نہاری )
[Pakistani and Indian Muslim sheep-trotter stew, usually eaten for breakfast with flaky roti.]

Eight sheep's trotters, well-scrubbed.
Eight marrow bones.
Two large or three medium onions, chopped.
Three or four cloves garlic, minced.
A generous thumb of ginger, minced.
One Tablespoon ground coriander.
Half a Tablespoon cayenne.
One teaspoon ground cumin.
Half a teaspoon turmeric.
One teaspoon garam masala (Sindhi style - it is more fragrant).
Half a teaspoon salt.
Three or four whole black cardamom pods (bari elaichi).
Three or four whole star anise.
Three or four Jalapeňos, left whole.
A generous handful or two of chopped cilantro, or cilantro and parsley mixed.

Brown the onions in ghee or oil. Add the garlic and ginger, gild, then add the ground coriander, cumin, and turmeric. Stir till fragrant. Stir in the remaining spices and salt, put the trotters and marrow bones in the pan along with the whole green chilies, cover with plenty of water or meat broth, and simmer for several hours. Put in the chopped herbs to wilt with a little extra garam masala for fragrance. Serve with wedges of lime on the side for squeezing over, plus chopped green chili for heat.

It should be soupy. Feel free to slurp the soft meat off the bones.

Note I: It benefits from a long period on low heat. You could place it in the oven or on the blech overnight and have it for breakfast.

Note II: The Jalapeňos are left whole, so that they may impart their fragrance. You could eat them alongside the nahari - they will have mellowed considerably after cooking.

Note III: For broth or stock, added in lieu of water, I like to take shank bones, rub 'em with a little olive oil, and roast them dark in the oven, then simmer them with scrap mutton for a few hours. It yields a flavourful browned-bone broth which combines nicely with spices.


[Indian Rice pudding]

Originally posted here:

One cup milk.
One cup heavy cream.
One cup cooked rice.
Half a cup cane sugar.
Four or five green cardamom, seeds only.
A generous pinch of saffron.
Sliced almonds and golden raisins as you see fit.

Gently heat rice and milk to a barely boiling state. Add sugar, turn low and simmer, stirring, till much thickened. Now add the cream, cardamom seeds, the saffron, and the almonds and raisins. Simmer stirring till again thickened. Cool.
Serve garnished with a sprinkling of crushed pistachio for colour.

A few fresh rose petals on top are also a nice edible touch of colour to add.

The term 'kheer' refers to the thickened sweetened milk preparation. One can also have sevian (fried thin vermicelli) in kheer, or Sabudana (tapioca) ki kheer. But most often it will be long-grain rice.


[Enough of the Eastern European Sabbath afternoon hotpot for six to eight people. Sollst hobn a gitte shabbes. It's pronounced 'tsholnt'.]

Originally posted here:

Three quarters of a cup white beans (navy).
Three quarters of a cup red beans (kidney).
Half a cup pearl barley.
One and half pounds brisket or beef shortribs, attacked with a cleaver.
One and a half pounds potatoes, cut into large chunks.
One large onion, or two small - large chunks.
One large tomato, or two small, chopped.
Three to five cloves garlic, chopped.
One and a half TBS paprika.
Two or three bayleaves.
Salt, pepper, sugar, splash of sherry, jigger of Louisiana hotsauce.
Pinches ground cumin, turmeric, and dry ginger.
Olive oil.
Vinegar, to dash if wished.
Six or eight hardboiled eggs, rolled to crack the shells.

[Bonenkruid (Satureiea Hortensis, or Summer Savoury), if you have it in your larder, is an excellent addition - a sprig or goodly pinch added to the pot of beans has a salutary effect. Add it to all bean dishes.]

Soak beans overnight. Cast out the soaking water, and remove any grit or stones. Place in a large enamel stewpot with enough water to cover by an inch. Heat up the oil in a skillet, gild the onion and garlic, remove to the bean pot. Set the skillet aside for use in another hour or so for the meat. Bring the beans and onion to a boil, turn low, simmer for about three hours.

Salt and pepper the meat, and sprinkle just a pinch of sugar over, to facilitate browning. Put the meat in the skillet, brown a bit, stir in paprika and seethe with sherry before it burns, then transfer this also into the bean pot and scrape in the pan-crunchies after the beans have already simmered for about three hours. Add the pearl barley and everything else, burying the eggs and potatoes in the beans. Add a dash of vinegar also, and simmer on a backburner for an hour longer. Judge the liquid level and adjust (probably not necessary), then cover the pot and place it on the blech till Saturday afternoon, when you will serve it.


[Side-dish, perfect as an accompaniment to dhansak, among other things.]

Originally posted here:

One pound small green mangoes (or in any case, NOT squishy ripe mangoes)
Half a pound jaggery (palm sugar in big chunks)
A fragment of stick cinnamon
Chopped onion (about a quarter to a half) optional (some recipes leave it out, as would I also).
A green cardamom or two, a whole clove or two.
Water - two to four tablespoons.

Break jaggery apart, put in an enamel saucepan with water, the cardamom, and the cloves. Plus the onion, if despite my better judgment you decided to use it. Cook till the jaggery is dissolved.

Peel, cut, and de-seed the mangoes. Note that very nicely green mangoes will have a tender seed and the flesh will not have become all fibrous around it. Nor will juice and pulp cascade over your hands at this stage of unripeness, and the flesh is firm and fragrant, albeit pleasingly tart.

Add the sliced mango to the jaggery water, and simmer till the mango has softened and the liquid has become stroppy.


[Pakistani and Indian Muslim meat porridge for breaking the fast.]

Originally posted here:

Two cups wheat (whole grains).
Two cups masoor dal.
One cup dry chickpeas.
One and half pounds of lamb, cut into small chunks.
Three large onions, chopped fine.
Three to six cloves garlic, slivered.
A thumb of ginger, minced.
One Tablespoon cayenne.
Half a Tablespoon sweet paprika.
Half a Tablespoon cumin seeds (toast and grind).
Half a Tablespoon garam masala (Sindhi style - very fragrant).
One teaspoon turmeric.
One teaspoon salt.
Pinches of sugar (accentuates browning of ingredients).
Olive oil, samin, or ghee - your choice.
Juice of two or three lemons.
Generous handfuls of cilantro and parsley, plus a pluck of mint leaves. Finely minced.

Soak the grain, lentils, and chickpeas separately overnight. Drain, and cook separately with water to cover for an hour or so. Turn off heat and let cool.

Fry the onions golden (add a pinch sugar if needed), remove to a plate. Fry the garlic and ginger in the same pan, remove to a plate. Now decant most of the onion plus all of the fried garlic and ginger to the blender and pulp them (this is where the vigorously thrashing man came into play, in the days before blenders). Do the same with the lentils. And the chickpeas.

Put the spices in the pan with the onion puree and fry fragrant. Add the meat and turn to coat and brown well (again, pinch of sugar if needed). Add the grain, lentils, chickpeas, plus water to cover if necessary. Simmer for an hour or more on low, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching. At this point the grains should be mushy enough that a wooden spoon held by a strong hand will break them apart; do so (this also is the work of male muscles). If some of the meat also breaks apart, excellent. The result should be a meaty porridge. Simmer a bit longer, then add the herbs to wilt, salt to taste, some fresh garam masala for aroma, and the lemon juice for tang. Garnish with the remaining fried onion and serve.

I usually add a few tablespoons of minced green chili on top for my own pleasure.

Note I:
In order to smoothen the mouth-feel or thicken the porridge, some corn-flour paste may be used. Add a few minutes before turning off the heat, at the same time as the herbs, and stir.

Note II:
If the grain is omitted, it will be a type of kichri.



Originally posted here:

Masala - grind to a fine paste:
One teaspoon Methi (Fenugreek) seeds
Half teaspoon Cumin seeds
4 Cloves
2 Cardamoms (green)
Half inch stick cinnamon
Six to seven dry red chilies
One clove garlic

One and a half to two teaspoons dhana-jeera masala (add when frying paste)

Heat oil and fry ground masala paste. Add dhana-jeera masala and fry on low heat till done (clarification: the fragrance has changed and the oil has come out). Add dal and bring to boil. Simmer a while longer - about 15 to 20 minutes.

Add to dal and vegetable mixture. Add meat at your own discretion.



Originally posted here:

Masala - grind to a fine paste:
One teaspoon Methi (Fenugreek) seeds
Half teaspoon Cumin seeds
4 Cloves
2 Cardamoms (green)
Half inch stick cinnamon
Six to seven dry red chilies (more like chile d'arbol than other)
One clove garlic
One and a half to two teaspoons dhana-jeera masala (add when frying paste)

One and a half cups toovar dal
One onion, halved or quartered
Two and a half cups cubed red pumpkin
One eggplant (med - small) - no seeds if possible
One tomato
Half cup cilantro (not chopped)
Three to four sprigs mint (must!)
Four to five green chilies

Boil all vegetables and dal together until dal is done. Put dal and vegetables through sieve. Heat oil and fry ground masala paste. Add dhana-jeera masala and fry on low heat till done (clarification: the fragrance has changed and the oil has come out). Add dal and bring to boil. Simmer a while longer - about 15 to 20 minutes.

Serve with brown rice (Parsi style rice - gilded with some onion and sugar).

Note that there is no meat in this recipe - it is just the lentil gravy. Many cook it with meat (NOT chased through the sieve), and some prefer chicken over mutton, for reasons that are entirely their own. I would add about a pound of mutton, goat, or lamb, in chunks, to this quantity of dal. Browned in onion and spices first.


[Rice in sweetened cream.]

Originally posted here:

Two cups heavy cream, and a dash extra.
One cup rice.One cup cane sugar.
One cup plump golden raisins.
Four Tablespoons rosewater (Arabic: ma'-ward, moit el warda).
Four Tablespoons crumbled pistachios.
A pinch of saffron.

Wash the rice well, spread it out to dry on a tray for a day. Then pound with a brass mortar and pestle until the grains are about one quarter their original size.Add the saffron to the cream and bring to a boil, add the rice and bring back to boiling, turn low, stir, and add the sugar and raisins. Keep stirring till it has become thick and custardy (meh, takes about ten minutes or so). Remove from heat, and when it has cooled add the rose water and pistachio. Serve semi-chilled.

Shortcuts are possible: one is to dry the rice in the oven on a very low heat (which, if you live in a boggy climate, is better than relying on the weather), another is to use a coffee grinder and pulse the dried rice. The reason why you wash the rice and re-dry it is obvious - you do not want all the powdery crap that normally coats even the best rice, and washing the rice dissolves some of the starches. Redrying it afterwards makes it easier to pound, too.


[Parsi spice mixture used primarily for dhansak]

Originally posted here:

Ten Dry chilies - Guajillo or New Mexico chiles secos.
Three TBS coriander seed.
One and a half TBS cumin seed.
One TBS whole peppercorns.
Half a TBS fennel seed.Half a TBS black mustard seed.
Half a TBS fenugreek seed.
Four Tej Patta (cassia leaves - bay leaf may be substituted, but it isn't really the same).
Four green cardamom pods, seeds only.
One black cardamom pod, seeds only.
One three-inch stick of cinnamon.
One star-anise pod.
Eight whole cloves.
One Tsp. mace.

Toast all spices except the mace. Cool and grind. Add the mace and regrind, sift. If you double the recipe to have some for future use, store the excess in a brown or blue glass jar in a cool place. Use within a month.


Note: Guajillo chile: A nice winey dry chile that yields a lovely simmered salsa for New Mexicans, but which also makes a superior chile powder. One Guajillo is roughly equivalent to between two teaspoons and one tablespoon of powder.



Originally posted here:


Half pound prawns - shelled, deveined, rinsed.
Half dozen (or less) fresh green chilies.
Half dozen (or less) cloves of garlic.
A little bit of fresh ginger (approx. fingertip sized amount).
Two medium onions, chopped.
Two or three tomatoes, chopped (more if skinned and deseeded).
Half TBS tamarind pulp.
Fresh lime (for a squeeze of juice).
Vinegar (for a dash or jigger).
Between half to one TBS jaggery / palm sugar (golden sugar may be substituted).
Four TBS chopped cilantro / kothmir.
Oil, ghee, water (as needed).
One teaspoon EACH: Ground coriander seed, ground cumin (preferably both toasted before grinding).
Half to one teaspoon EACH: Cayenne, Turmeric, Garam Masala (Delhwi or Northern style).


Soak tamarind pulp in one cup hot water for half an hour. Kneed and strain. Set aside.
Grind chilies, garlic, ginger to a coarse paste.
Prepare the gravy first: Fry onion in oil and ghee till golden but not browned, on medium heat. Add the chilies garlic ginger paste, stir well, add turmeric, stir well, add remaining ground spices, stir well. After a few seconds add the tomatoes, tamarind water, jaggery, dash of vinegar, and salt. Once it has boiled for a minute or so, taste, and adjust the sweet-sour balance as appropriate - add more vinegar or jaggery.
Cook for five to ten minutes to develop the flavour and thicken the gravy - it should be semi-thick, not runny or soupy.
Add the prawns to the pan.
Add the chopped cilantro once the colour of the prawns changes, and stir briefly. Note that prawns cook very fast - it only takes two or three minutes for them to change colour.
Adjust flavour with a quick squeeze of fresh lime juice, and remove from heat.

Serve with moong dal simply cooked, yellow rice, and rotli.


1. For a somewhat more intense prawn flavour, boil the shells and a couple of extra prawns (chopped) in the water in which you will soak the tamarind.

2. Some curry leaf / kari patta may be added to the gravy at the same time as the tomatoes. They need not be removed later.

3. Some cooks add fenugreek / methi and coconut milk. But this is neither standard nor necessary.

4. Garam masala: The reason why Delhwi garam masala is specified is because, due to the inclusion of ground coriander and cumin, it is appropriate to add during early stages of cooking. If you are using a Sindhi garam masala, add just a pinch near the end of the cooking time, and increase the proportion of ground coriander and cumin.

5. Aromatics: Two or three whole cloves can be added, as well as pinches of ground cinnamon and star anise. Sour dishes benefit from aromatics, but should not be overwhelmed with them. The use of tomatoes begs for a touch of cinnamon.

6. Proportions: Adapt quantity of chilies, garlic, and tomatoes as needed. There is great variation in chilies, with d'arbol being very hot, serrano resinous in taste and milder, and jalapeno zesty-peppy. Garlic, while not as variable, may not please all people equally. And sweet tomatoes will give a different taste to the dish than slightly unripe tomatoes. The sour taste of the dish depends primarily on the tamarind, with tomato, vinegar, and lime juice filling it out. As for the spices, it is seldom good to use too much turmeric, and it should always be cooked to remove the raw taste. But it is good for the skin and the digestion, and does add flavour. One inch of turmeric root is roughly equivalent to one teaspoon.

7. Measurements: One teaspoon is an amount roughly equal to a fingertip in volume (unless one has unusually small or large fingers), and can easily be measured out in the palm of the hand. There are three teaspoons to the tablespoon, which is roughly equal in volume to the thumb from the ball to the nail. There are sixteen tablespoons in a cup.

8. Prawns should not be overcooked. It is actually best to slightly undercook them, especially in a sour dish such as this. They only take a very short while to cook, even if they are large. What are often called giant tiger prawns are actually estuarine crayfish or langouste, and should be treated as if they were small lobsters instead.

9. Cayenne: commercial cayenne is actually African birdpepper grown bred to a specific heat level. But it is seldom fresh, and flavourwise it is not very good even when it is. The same can be said about paprika. Instead of cayenne and paprika, I prefer to use ground toasted dry Thai peppers and sweet Spanish pepper. If you have access to a sweet and brilliantly red pepper powder, one or two teaspoons of that may also be added, in addition to whatever hot red pepper powder you actually prefer to use.

10. Ghee is clarified butter (regular butter also can), Garam Masala is a mixture of aromatic spices (pinches of cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, and black pepper can be substituted), rotli is a type of flatbread. Everything else, except kari patta ('curry leaf', optional in any case), should present no problem.


Going through several of my food-related posts on my regular blog (, I notice that some posts have multiple recipes. Which may not be the most convenient way of storing them on the internet, and might present problems if you (my reader) remember mention of a particular dish, but cannot find it again.

On this blog, each recipe will be reproduced, without the before and after text, but with a link to the original post. I hope you enjoy browsing here, and if you have any questions I will try to answer them.

------B.O.T.H. (The Back of the Hill)

Note: Tags will be similar to those on the regular blog.