March 12, 2006

Comments Roundup!

Peter F. Drucker rightly said these words “Time is the scarcest resource and unless it is managed nothing else can be managed.” I have learnt during this week that at times it is too difficult to reflect our highest priorities in the actual daily activities, and I am trying to relearn the basics of time management to effectively utilize the time and energy in a most effective way. Your inputs are appreciated.

Please find below some of the questions My Dhaba received via feedback and comments during the past few days. I am trying to answer all of those in a separate post today.

#1: Baskaran - We have a problem while making APPAMS the centre portion remains soggy and uncooked even after the appams are cooked well on the edges and seperate out from the vessel.. Can anyone suugest how we could overcome this problem.

Few thoughts on this - with a little patience, we can make appams successfully in a heavy shallow circular iron kadai or tawa. The tava, however, must be the type which is slightly hollowed in the center, not the kind which is dead flat. Also, choose for the kadai or tava a close covering lid which will not allow as far as possible the steam to escape easily. The batter of the appams should be thin enough to flow easily from the spoon. Now, while cooking, pour the batter in a circle, making the circumference of the circle first. Next, quickly spread the batter wich fallys in the center with the back of the batter spoon to cover the open gaps or complete the circle more symmetrically. Cover immediately with a close fitting lid. Allow to cook over a low heat. After a couple of minutes, see if the appam is well cooked. A well cooked appam will have a lacy brown rim with a thick porous well cooked center. Hope this info helps.

#2: Anupama - I wonder if you can share with me the recipe of the red masala used in north Indian dishes like paneer butter masala. i love it, but i have been unable to get the taste of the gravy ike they make in the hotels.

Hotels use packaged red tandoori masala on paneer butter masala. For now, try our combination of spice mix - I will post about paneer butter masala separately Anu.

#3: Ashwini (rawa idlee) - I see fine rava, coarse rava and idli rava in stores. Which should I use for this recipe? And also for your vermicelli idli?

Coarse or idli rava is better suited for both recipes.

#4: Sury (ginger mushrooms) - Is it necessary to boil the ginger for this recipe? Does that affect the taste in some way?

Boiled ginger reduces the characteristic odor and pungent taste and gives the needed subtle ginger taste to this dish. I usually boil the ginger in two or three changes of water.

#5: Aditi - I wanted to try this recipe, however i do not want to use the coconut. Can i substitute this with something else.

Help me in finding the recipe you are referring to Aditi.

#6: Samreen (chicken korma) - Now I want to try your "chicken korma" but in this recipe i found coconut,scrapings(it means fresh one,right)but i couldn't found it nearby so can it be replace with the dessicated coconut the one came in packets?if yes then how much amount i've to use instead of 1 cup.

Coconut scrapings when pan-fried to light brown and ground to a very smooth paste along with the curry leaves gives a unique flavor to korma dishes. Try substituting the fresh coconut with packaged coconut milk powder (3 tablespoons) diluted in a cupful of warm water. Dessicated coconut does not give the desired taste.

#7: Samreen (tomato sambhar) - i've a question about your tomato sambhar that when i've to add the garlic and red chillie as it's not mentioned in the recipe,sry to say.I made it today and i add garlic just before adding the onion in the heated oil and the red chillie i add it in the tuwar dal when it's boiling...i think i did it right it's still cooking so don't know the end result.

You were absolutely right. I have made the changes to the recipe to reflect those. Thank you for notifying it to me. How did it turn out at your home?

#8: Meenal Mehta (sweet prawns) - Why are these prawns called sweet?does the coconut add the sweetness?

Yes Meenal – the small piece of raw coconut, lime juice, and the combination of it with green chillies, perhaps, is the only reason to make it sweet.

#9: Anon - Are you from Nellai? Most of your recipes especially Sambar have Tirunelveli touch.

Wow! I take that as a compliment Anon. I have been living a nomadic life; no, I am not from Tirunelveli.

#10: Baskaran (shahi khichdi) - We have notced that the rice gets shrivelled after frying and the grains are not as long in grains as shown in the picture of yours.Your suggestions please!!

Have you used any of the basmati rice varieties for this dish? Rice-water ratio could be the villian here or was the rice over-fried making it shrivelled. I need some more inputs from you on your way of cooking rice.

#11: Kiran/Tanuja/Anonymous (pesarattu) - Your pesarattu & chutney is looking simply divine. I searched your database for the coconut onion chutney recipe, but couldn't find one. Could you please provide the recipe for the orange colored chutney. It is looking so appetizing.

I will post the onion-coconut chutney in a short while today.

#12: Shammi (pesarattu) - My mother uses the whole version of green gram dal for pesarattu - the ones with the skin on, I mean. But I guess taste-wise it would be pretty much the same, right?

You are right Shammi – it gives absolutely the same result taste-wise, color slightly changes to light green.

#13: Anjali (keerai poreel) - There is a recipe in your fried vegetables section called as keerai poreel i am a leafy veg fan.I just wanted to find out that , we dont get amarnath here at my place, can I switch it with spinach or some other leafy greens. And also, could you make more of rice dishes, party kinds to go along with the wonderful Non veg and veg dishes of yours.

Anjali – Not all greens will taste their best if fried this way, but spinach goes well with this recipe. I will be certainly adding many more rice dishes.

#14: Deepa (halwa Omania) - Would love to know if you or any of your visitors can help me find "Wheat Starch" in the US, wanted to try out the halwa.

Take help from a good nearby grocer with this Deepa.

#15: Zoya (pesarattu) - I made pesarattu this morning for breakfast. Tasted great. Thanks :) Just two small problems for which I need solutions please...even if they sound like silly queries ! 1) I could not spread them thin on the soon as I poured the batter, it started forming. Even after I reduced the flame, the same kept happening. 2) Mine were to the dry side..not totally soft and this the way they are supposed to be or am I going wrong somewhere ?

Few tips: Heat the tava over moderate heat. Sprinkle a few drops of water into the tawa and wipe it off with a folded piece of thick cloth. Do not grease the pan with oil before pouring the batter. Now take a big spoonful of batter and pour it in the middle of the well-heated tawa. Spread the batter lightly with the back of a spoon using a circular motion to a round of 6-7 inches in diameter. The back of the spoon should not touch the surface of the tawa. The dosai may be one-eighth of an inc thick or as thin as possible. Spread some ghee or oil around and over it, roast it for a while, turn it over, and cook the other side also in the same way. Batter consistency also plays a role in making it soft and fluffy, so take care of making the batter to a medium thick consistency.

#16: Samreen - I would like to try your "rock cookies" and "Tomato-chicken curry (with coconut milk)" but unfortunately the recipe does not exist in the link.Can u please post the same.

Rock cookies – pl find the recipe link here. Tomato-chicken curry recipe – I will add that one during this week.

#17: Anon (ragi dosai) - I have a small question my dad is diabetic so i want to make the ragi dosa for him but i wanted to find out if we can skip the coconut in the recipe coz of high fat content or provide me with a different alternative.

Yes, you can skip the coconut.

Folks - more later. Cheers!


Blogger shammi said...

VKN, thanks so much for taking the trouble to answer my question (and everybody else's!)... you've been silent a while and I was wondering why :)

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey vkn,
Thanks a lot for taking time and answering my q's. Appreciate all ur help


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