JFI Tamarind: Panaka

Why oh why is June coming to an end? When almost all the blogs i know and love have an event submission deadline? :) This post has been in the works ever since JFI Tamarind was announced by Sig of Live to Eat.( JFI was started by Indira of Mahanandi - youve got to love the focus on uniquely indian ingredients).

Anyhoo, what began as a comic strip on the crazy adventures of our intrepid heroine imli aka Tamarind has mutated into a mini history slideshow on a beloved Indian Ingredient. But wait there's more( this is what happens when you watch one too many Kaboom adverts - wish I could go on a TV diet :))

There is also a recipe. Ha i knew you did not see that coming. That recipe however is thankfully a one liner, mix fruit juices with tamarind juice honey and water , attach ancient sanskrit name, panaka or panchamrutha sell for 500 rupees to unsuspecting foreigners as rejunuvating sanskrit waters.

But seriously, As a south Indian - tamarind is ubiquitous in almost all the foods I make. It also seems to be the "in" word for Indian Restaurant names in the US. Tamarind is the next India Garden( Every US city ive been to has an India garden - go figure). For Grandma backed authentic certified south indian food, always add Tamarind. The blacker the better - My grandma actually used to mail us tamarind from her village ( and in the Indian postal system it matured from brown youth to black old age). And then we used to play board games with the tamarind seeds, Dayakattai.

And now flashback over, quick summation - Tamarind has been around in Indian cuisine for what seems like forever- so much that even it has plenty of Indi in its official name, tamarindus indica. Wikipedia will tell you that it tamar al hind means Indian date, but did you know that Marco Polo was the first to write that down 800 yrs ago?

In vedic times, tamarind was also called chincha or amlika. It was commonly used in beverages and preserving meats. The seeds surprisingly were used to make a drink with whey.

So before you OD on tamarindus indica, heres wishing you khatta meeta imli times!

Note on the drawings: I sketched these with a black oil crayon and photoshopped the rest.


Foodie Nerd: Maps & ideas

What is the one dream you want to achieve desperately? For me it is making a Trip to Paris- THE foodie mecca. I am going to try to learn some french, it sounds so musical right? Oui Oui! I want to stay there for atleast a month, take in the sights and the sounds all while stuffing myself merrily. Meanwhile inspired by this beautiful article on Chow on various foodie maps, Ive started in a very small way to map the sights and patisseries I want to take in when I do get to Paris. I will share the map here at Sometime Foodie when it is somewhat complete.

On other news for food nerds, Ive started inputting my blog recipes into a database at blist which is a free web based MS Access style database. I just thought its a cool way to look at various ingredients and regional styles.


CLICK Yellow for Bri: Turmeric Ravine

This month’s CLICK is linked to a BREAST CANCER FUNDRAISER organised by Jai and Bee of Jugalbandi for Briana Brownlow @ Figs With Bri.

Turmeric is an auspicious ingredient marking all good beginnings in Indian Culture. I hope that this fund raiser is a good beginning for you Bri. I wish you all the luck and good will and hope that you feel better soon.

Bri was diagnosed with breast cancer two and half years ago. A mastectomy, chemotherapy and two years of relatively good health later, the cancer is back. It has metastasized to other parts of her body. At the age of 15, Bri lost her 41-year old mother to the disease. Now, she’s waging her own war against breast cancer. More about it here.

She is going through intensive chemo and other treatments and needs to focus single-mindedly on healing and finding what treatment works best for her. Her health insurance, unfortunately, does not cover holistic alternatives which she would like to try. Bri and her husband Marc have enough on their plates right now in addition to worrying about her medical bills.

The team organising the JUNE edition of CLICK at Jugalbandi has organised a fundraiser to help Bri and her family meet her out-of-pocket medical costs for ONE YEAR.

CLICK is a monthly theme-based photography contest hosted by Jugalbandi. This month’s theme is: YELLOW for Bri

Yellow is the colour of hope. Through the work of the LiveStrong Foundation, it has also come to signify the fight against cancer.

The entries can be viewed HERE. The deadline for entries is June 30, 2008. The fundraiser will extend until July 15, 2008.

The target amount is 12,000 U.S. dollars. We appeal to our fellow bloggers and readers to help us achieve this. Bri deserves a chance to explore all options, even if her insurance company thinks otherwise.

There’s a raffle with exciting prizes on offer. After viewing the list, you may make your donation HERE or at the Chip-In button on any participating site.

Your donation can be made securely through credit card or Pay Pal and goes directly to Bri’s account.

This month’s photo contest also has some prizes. Details HERE.

You can support this campaign by donating to the fundraiser, by participating in CLICK: the photo event, and by publicising this campaign.


Mooli ka kheema

I love vegetables and Indian food is unmatched in its sheer variety and ingenuity in vegetable preparations. I usually use Mooli in Sambhar or simply dressed with a Mustard seed vaghar. This recipe has an enticingly unsual combination of Mooli and peanuts with onions. Be warned that it is really really spicy and would go well with a cooling sort of dinner say Kadhi/Yoghurt and rice.

Recipe: ( from the Spice box by Manju Shivraj Singh)

2 tbsp ghee or oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
4 medium onions grated
2 cups grated Mooli / radish / daikon
2 dried red chillies, crushed
6 cloves garlic, crushed
salt to taste
a few chopped green coriander leaves
½ cup roasted peanuts
2 tsp mango powder
2 tsp garam masala

In a pan, heat the ghee and fry the cumin seeds, then add the onions and fry until light brown. Add the Mooli ,chillies, garlic, salt and coriander leaves. Cook for about 20 min, until the horseradish is done. Add the peanuts, mango powder and garam masala. Simmer for 10 more minutes.

I actually reduced the garlic to about 2 cloves because garlic available here is so fat. I also reduced the chillies. I used oil but I really recommend using ghee because it balances out the strong flavors of this vegetable dish.



Blog Goondaism: Support Inji Pennu

Hi ,
Im sure by now you are familiar with Inji Pennus fight against Kerals.com. Kerals.com reacted to Inji Pennu's request to remove plagiarised content with threats and cyber stalking. They are behaving like thugs of the first order, trying to set up fake websites and email addresses under Inji Pennus name, even to the extent of making up a member called Inji Pennu in one of their Porn sites.

It is high time to show our solidarity with Inji Pennus cause by publicising this thievery and goondaism and plagiarism. I support Inji Pennu and join the protest against Kerals.com.


Thank you Thali #3

A big thank you to Medhaa, Trupti, Prema and Mona for making my thali these last two weeks. Some recipes you try just for the novelty factor but these have ended up becoming household staples.

1. Sai bhaji from Medhaa of Cook with Love
2. Panchratan Korma from Trupti of the Spice who Loved me.
3. Tindora fry from Prema Sundars My Cookbook
4. Gobi Jalfrezie from Mona of Zaiqa

Medhaa I also tried your Gatte ki Kadi, Loved it, but I donot have any pictures of it. Thanks to you and your mom!


Mexican Series #10: Panuchos

Before I tell you about Panuchos, the easiest vegetarian Mexican Breakfast you can every make, a big thank you to Jayashree of My experiments with food for passing on the Yum blog award to me. Wow Thanks!

A Panucho is basically a corn paratha/roti stuffed with delicious black bean paste and hard boiled eggs thrown together with some toppings. I am really and truly lazy so i did not bother stuffing the corn tortilla but instead layered all the ingredients on top of each other and it tastes so delicious. You can find the more traditional( and pretty!) version here.

According to The art of Mexican cooking by Diana Kennedy, this is a Yucatan( Hey I did not know WHERE the Yucatan in Mexico was- hence the link) evening snack specialty. Mexican food is like a palette of tastes, and you can easily customize it according to your tastes. If you donot have the cabbage or onion - you can surely skip them.

To make 4 Panuchos you need:
1. 1 cup Finely sliced cabbage in 1 tbsp vinegar, 1 tbsp oil and salt
2.Corn tortillas from the supermarket or make your own
3. 1 can of Refried black beans ( Amy's Organic Refried Black Beans recommended)
4. 1 can of Red Enchilada Sauce or my red enchilada sauce
5. 1 can Red Tomato Salsa or Green Tomatillo Salsa
6. Four eggs Sunny side up, yolk cooked as well as you want.
7. 1 cup Onions in 1 tbsp Vinegar, 1 tbsp oil and salt.

Layer the ingredients from 1 to 7 on a plate one on top of another. Presto! Breakfast is ready!