Sunday, November 8, 2009

Shrimp with Zucchini (Jhinga aur ghia) Review

4 stars (on a 5 star scale)
p. 118

Decent/good. My dinner companions really liked this dish, saying I was under-rating it.

A quick one-pot meal (when served with rice). Cooking is fast after you start, so chop and measure everything beforehand!

I changed the recipe slightly to apparently no ill effect. (I didn't bother sweating the zucchini, and I used about half the recommended oil.)

The sauce was too liquidy in my opinion, as is typical for this cookbook.

Note: Sorry for the shoddy picture; I made this at a dinner party where it was inappropriate to spend time posing the dish to be photographed.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Gujerati Carrot Salad (Gajar ka salad) Review

3 stars (on a 5 star scale)
p. 217

Not particularly good. In fact, the first time I cooked it, I burnt the mustard seeds (it's impossible to tell visually, but I could taste it) and the dish was so bad (though still edible) (2 stars) that I vowed to give it another try. I tried it again and didn't burn the mustard seeds. The flavor combination was interesting--lemon, carrot, and mustard seeds--and a bit better than before but still not something I'd make again. I tried both attempts at room temperature and chilled.

The recipe is easy and fast. Grating the carrots takes the most time, but that's not much.

Regarding the pictures, because both were of servings from the bottom of the bowl, they show more mustard seeds than the other servings.


Monday, April 20, 2009

Carrots, Peas, and Potatoes Flavored with Cumin (Gajar, matar, aur aloo ki bhaji) Review

4.5 stars (on a 5 star scale)
p. 147

A fresh-tasting dish that feels (and is) healthy. It's surprisingly good for such a simple recipe and doesn't take too long, assuming you boil the potatoes ahead of time. The dish is onion heavy, which is good for me because I like onions.

Some notes on the ingredients:
  • I substituted canola oil for the mustard oil, as the recipe said was reasonable.
  • I used only two tablespoons of oil (rather than the three recommended) to apparently no ill effect. I possibly could've used less: the vegetables were slick, though not unappealingly so.
  • I used dried arbol chilies for the dried hot red chilies called for by the recipe. Yes, I know they're Mexican, but they're what I had available.
By the way, 1.5 pounds of English peas makes 1.5 cups of shelled peas.

Addendum: One time that I cooked this later, I used frozen peas rather than fresh to apparently no ill effect. Maybe next time I'll use a bag of frozen peas and carrots to further cut down on the prep time.


prep: shelled peas, peeled and diced carrots, cumin seeds, and hot, dried red chilies

prep: chopped onions, boiled and chopped potatoes, and sliced green onions

completed dish

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Cauliflower With Potatoes (Phool gobi aur aloo ki bhaji) Review

4.5 stars (likely, if made with less salt) (on a 5 star scale)
p. 144

Solidly good but not great. The dish is definitely too salty, but otherwise I like the spicing. Also, it's easy to cook, even counting taking the time to roast and grind the cumin seeds.

Some notes on the ingredients:
  • I used four small potatoes instead of two medium ones.
  • I used half the recommended oil.
  • I ran out of ground coriander, thus using about 1/3 of a teaspoon rather than the 1/2 of a teaspoon the recipe calls for.
  • I used a whole jalapeno after seeding it (versus the 1/2 to 1 hot green chili called for by the recipe).


Sunday, April 5, 2009

Beets With Onions (Shorvedar chukander) Review

4 stars (or maybe 3.5) (on a 5 star scale)
p. 139

An easy recipe for a satisfying dish with a tomato tang. It's more like soup without much broth (i.e., mostly the soup solids, not much liquid) rather than a stew, if that makes any sense. The tomatoes practically visually disappear into the soup because they're cut so small (as instructed). I liked the dish better chilled than warm.

Some notes on the ingredients:
  • I cut the oil in half, using only two tablespoons.
  • I used 1/4 of a teaspoon cayenne (versus the 1/8 to 1/2 recommended by the recipe).
By the way, a beet weighs roughly 1/4 of a pound. Thus, this recipe uses three beets.

Note to self: I used my smaller saucepan; it just barely fit.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Carrot Halva (Gajar ka halva) Review

5 stars (on a 5 star scale)
p. 230

A pretty good Indian dessert tasting mainly of sweetened carrots. It's good warm and at room temperature. It tastes like traditional, moist Indian sweets, though in this case the flavor is carrot. There's a ghee flavor there too, but it isn't too strong. Also, leftovers smelled strongly of ghee, but they didn't taste any more strongly of it than the fresh dish.

Some notes on the ingredients:
  • I used incredibly sweet, fresh, farmers-market carrots--maybe that's part of what makes this so good. They're delicious alone.
  • I used only 4 tablespoons of ghee, not the recommended 5. This turned out well, as 4 left me with extra ghee that wasn't absorbed by the carrots.
  • I used currants instead of golden raisins because that's what I had at hand. (Yes, I know golden raisins would make the dish look prettier.)
  • I skipped the pistachios because I couldn't easily acquire any.
  • I declined to add the optional cream.
Some notes on the preparation:
  • It took about an hour to boil off all the liquid. (The recipe estimated 30+ minutes.) It's easier to boil when there's less liquid in pot--I found myself gradually turning down the burner to keep the amount of boiling constant and not scorch the carrots or the milk.
  • The recipe suggested 10-15 minutes of frying at medium-low should turn the carrots a "rich, reddish color" and make them "no longer have a wet, milky look." I found I needed medium heat to get anything to change color. Despite this, I never managed to turn anything red, though the carrots did get a bit darker. Furthermore, after 20 minutes, the carrots still had a wet look. (I thought that was enough frying so I stopped around then.)