Monday, December 26, 2011
Friday, November 4, 2011
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Saturday, September 10, 2011
Sunday, August 14, 2011
Friday, July 29, 2011
The dough for sevai is made by soaking parboiled rice, then grinding it to a batter. This batter is then cooked with water till a soft dough forms. This dough is then shaped into balls and steamed. The final step is to extrude the dough through an old-fashioned cast-iron press. Though this looks like a medieval torture instrument, it's fairly easy to use: just pop in a ball of hot dough into the cylinder, and twist the handle down with all your might. Et voila, fresh rice noodles, ready to eat. What makes them unique is that the noodles need no further cooking as the dough they're made from is cooked twice before extruding.They can be eaten plain, with any curry of your choice, or stir-fried with seasonings or vegetables of choice. My favorite accompaniments are sevai urulai masala (spicy potato curry) and pulisseri (coconut-yogurt gravy). The icing on the cake: plenty of fried pappadums, of course!
Polis are also a multi-step process, but the end result is well worth the effort - that is, when I'm not doing it! First, the filling is made by cooking together a mixture of cooked lentils (chana dal) and sugar, flavored with nutmeg, to a soft paste.The next step is to make the outer shell, a pastry enriched with ghee and saffron. Next, each poli is painstakingly shaped by hand, by stuffing a bit of the filling in a pastry case and rolling it out into a round. The rounds are then shallow-fried in ghee. A final sprinkling of powdered sugar and you're ready to dig in. They're delicious hot or cold!
Friday, July 15, 2011
Monday, June 6, 2011
First you will need to simmer the coconut milk in a large 12” nonstick skillet over medium-low heat for about 15 minutes. While it is simmering, make the flavoring paste by whizzing all the ingredients together in a food processor, adding a few tablespoons of water if necessary to keep the mixture moving. Add the flavoring paste to the simmering coconut milk, along with the daun salam and basil. Continue simmering the mixture, stirring occasionally, until it is reduced to half its original volume, about 45 minutes. While it is simmering, scrub the potatoes and slit each one half way through to help the flavors penetrate. Do not peel the potatoes as this will cause them to disintegrate from the long cooking.
When the coconut milk mixture is reduced, add the potatoes and salt, and continue cooking the mixture, stirring often to prevent sticking. Cover the potatoes and cook for about 10 minutes to make sure they cook through. Continue this until the liquid has dried up completely and the fat is rendered out. Add some peanut oil to the pan, if necessary, to have a total of 2 tablespoons of oil in the pan.
Turn the heat down to low and brown the potatoes and aromatics in the oil until medium-dark brown, about 20-25 minutes. The finished dish should be quite dry. Transfer the potatoes and the sautéed flavoring paste to a serving dish. Allow to rest for at least 30 minutes before serving.
|Colorful shophouses in Singapore's Geylang neighborhood|
|A bewildering array of tropical fruit. Clockwise from top left:|
Baskets of stinky durian; pomelo, dragon fruit and star fruit;
mangoes aplenty; mangosteen and rambutan
|Bright and perfumed garlands of flowers in Little India|
|Exotic produce of every stripe in Tekka Market.|
Clockwise from top left: Four angled beans; turmeric and galangal;
Asian greens galore; Fresh tofu and egg noodles.
Saturday, April 9, 2011
|Rum raisin ice cream|
My first attempt was not exactly a success. I made a batch of vanilla creme anglaise, intending to churn it into ice cream to accompany an apple tart I was taking to a friend's place for a dinner party. I thought a dash (okay, a healthy dose!) of bourbon would elevate this pairing from the classic to the sublime, but alas, in my enthusiasm, I forgot my middle-school science lessons: alcohol retards freezing! So my delicious custard never made the leap from liquid to frozen, and I had to resort to the making-ice-cream-without-a-machine technique of open-freezing, which yielded decidedly icy results.
The next recipe I tried, Butterscotch Pecan Ice Cream from David Lebovitz's The Perfect Scoop, also called for whisky, but I decided to add the alcohol in the last few minutes of churning and everything worked just fine. Ditto the Rum Raisin ice cream I made to celebrate India's victory in the Cricket World Cup. I didn't know that India was going to win when I made the ice cream, but I reckoned that a boozy flavor would help us drown our sorrows if we ended up losing!
|Coconut Ice Cream|
Recipe: Quick Coconut Ice Cream with Saffron
I replaced the sugar with jaggery. I also scaled the recipe up by 50% (and am happy I did!) to use up the cream I had left over from my previous week's Rum Raisin ice cream, and it worked fine.
Monday, March 7, 2011
Top: Gateau Basque, homemade granola, vanilla yogurt
Bottom: Winter fruit salad, green bean-tomato salad, ricotta tart
Not pictured: Bagels and cream cheese, mimosas/ bellinis
|Gateau Basque, cherry preserves filled in a cake-like cookie crust|
My Saturday brunch this past weekend was extra special because a friend who came over later took me grocery shopping in a Korean store. Now, I love Korean food, but have never attempted to cook it before. I even have a store near me that sells a number of Korean products, but unfortunately the packages are all in Korean, leaving me wondering if they are safe to buy for vegetarians or not. It was great to get a guided tour from someone in the know, and I came back happily armed with rice sticks, Korean red pepper paste, kimchi and three different kinds of mushrooms! I'm excited to expand my culinary repertoire some more.
|Spoils from my trip to the Korean store|
Adapted from Ready for Dessert by David Lebovitz
Crust: 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup ground almonds (I used Bob's Red Mill almond flour)
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cubed
1 large egg + 1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
Filling: 1 cup good-quality cherry preserves (Raspberry might be nice too)
3 tsp brandy
Egg wash: 1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tsp whole milk
To make the dough, put all the dry ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and pulse till combined. Add the butter and process till it is in small pieces. Add the egg, yolk and extracts and pulse till the dough comes together in a ball. Divide it into two pieces, one larger than the other, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour.
To make the filling, stir together the preserves and the brandy.
Preheat the oven to 350F(180C). Butter and flour a 9" springform pan. Roll out the larger piece of dough into a 10" circle between two sheets of lightly floured plastic wrap. Line the pan with this circle of dough, then spread the filling in the center, leaving a 1" border. Similarly, roll out the smaller circle of dough into a 9" circle and place it on top of the filling. Press the edges to seal, then brush the top of the cake liberally with the egg wash and run a fork diagonally across to create a criss-cross hatch pattern. Bake the cake in the preheated oven for about 40 minutes, or until the top is deep golden brown. Cool completely before serving.