Saturday, December 29, 2007

Red Kidney Beans (Punjabi rajma) Review

3 stars (on a 5 star scale)
p. 169

Okay. Significantly different in color--it's lighter--and taste than the traditional chile-like rajmas I've had previously. This rajma smells of ghee, but only tastes of cream. I don't think it's bad, yet I won't cook it again, partially due to my lack of excitement about the taste and partially due to the dish's unhealthiness.

Red Lamb or Beef Stew (Rogan josh) Review

5 stars (on a 5 star scale)
p. 70-71

Very good: well worth the significant preparation time. I used lamb cut from the shoulder. It ended up pretty tender. I had to de-bone the lamb myself, which was a bit of a hassle.

Although I had some trouble with the recipe, somehow everything worked out and we were all very pleased with the results.

First, my blender had trouble blending the ginger, garlic, and water because most of it ended up sinking below the blades. I kept having to push things around to get it to puree. The result was a mixture of liquid and pulp: not quite a paste.

Second, the onions took about twenty minutes before they began turning brown, not the five the recipe said ought to be necessary to get them medium-brown. After twenty minutes, though they were not really yet what I'd call medium-brown, I moved on.

Although the recipe suggests using paprika that is "fresh and has a good red color," the paprika I used was probably two years old and reddish-brown. Nonetheless, it seems things turned out all right.

After the period of covered simmering, the dish still had too much liquid. I boiled it more, uncovered, for about thirty minutes. It didn't end up as thick as I wanted, but I was hungry and stopped then. Next time, I'll simply add less liquid (than the 1.25 cups the recipe says). The juices must've congealed overnight, as the leftovers had the perfect consistency.

After mostly everything was done,
but before adding water and simmering for an hour.

After adding water and simmering for an hour.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Red Split Lentils with Cumin Seeds (Masoor dal) Review

4 stars (on a 5 star scale)
p. 165

Originally, I said the dal had too much ghee and was too soupy and I was going to give it three stars. J agreed with me on the latter count. Perhaps I should've boiled it less gently. However, leftovers both condensed (i.e., became less soupy) and mellowed, making the ghee less noticeable, and hence I'm bumping up the rating.

J tasted the coriander in the dal and appreciated it, saying that it added a kind of meatiness.

We both liked the cilantro and felt it complemented the dish well. I thought it so much that I added much more cilantro to my dal than called for in the recipe.

I didn't use the optional asafetida.

It's odd that the dal looks yellow yet is made from red split lentils.

Cauliflower with Onion and Tomato (Phool gobi ki bhaji) Review

4 stars (on a 5 star scale)
p. 142

Not amazing, but both J and I liked it. She identified the lemon juice and enjoyed the tartness it added.

The cauliflower was supposed to brown in two minutes. I waited five to ten for it to brown; it didn't. I gave up and moved on. (I didn't want the cauliflower to get too soft during this step.)

It takes a while to prepare all the vegetables.

I used a serrano chile, seeds and all.

I wonder what soaking the cauliflower in water does.