Posted in Recipes

Chili Beef with Pickled Cauliflower

Chili Beef with Pickled Cauliflower 1

The Pickled Cauliflower I made a little while ago turned out quite nicely and I was interested to see how it might be used as a cooking ingredient. The dish I came up with for today’s post is something of a fusion, incorporating a little of India, China, and the American Southwest. That being said though, I’m going to save you the trouble of scrolling all the way to the end-notes and tell you right away that the result was not quite as good as I hoped… Still, some of my readers might like to see what I did and suggest how it might be improved…  Continue reading “Chili Beef with Pickled Cauliflower”

Posted in Spicery

Spice Blend: Panch Phoron

Panch Phoron 1

Panch Phoron, sometimes spelled ‘panchpuran’ along with a host of other variations, is a blend of whole spices (as opposed to ground) that is native to north-eastern India in general, and the state of Bengal in particular. Because it is typically composed of 5 different spices, it is often called ‘Bengali five-spice’ although, as we shall see, there are variations not only in the types of spice, but also the number… Continue reading “Spice Blend: Panch Phoron”

Posted in Spicery

Spice Blend: Chaat Masala

There is a whole range of snacks in Indian cookery, somewhat corresponding to Chinese Dim Sum, or Spanish Tapas, that known generally as Chaat, or Chat. The name is commonly translated simply as ‘snack’ but it is actually derived from an onomatopoeic  Hindi word that captures the sound of smacking lips. A Masala, as I have mentioned in many previous posts, is a common term in Indian cuisine meaning spice blend, and, not surprisingly, there is a specific mixture, albeit with many different permutations, specifically used for these tasty treats.

I have experimented with some different blends ever since my wife brought home an excellent commercial variety from New Delhi several years ago and I decided that I would like to do a bit of an in-depth study of the various versions and then come up with something of a definitive basic blend for my own use… Continue reading “Spice Blend: Chaat Masala”

Posted in Recipes, Spicery

Spice Blend: Chili Garlic Ginger Paste

Chili, Ginger and garlic, are a trio that come together in all sorts of dishes and, in Indian cookery especially, many cooks pre-make their own pastes from the ingredients and keep it on hand as a convenient time-saver. It is tremendously versatile, being used as-is or as the base for more complex Masalas, and it keeps very well indeed. Most recipes you come across suggest that it will keep anywhere from a week to a month (or longer frozen, of course) but, if a little salt (or sometimes vinegar) is added, it will last for ages. I actually have some in my fridge right now that is pushing six or eight months in age and, although the color has faded just a little it still tastes great. Still, the original fresh taste of the chili has diminished a bit and I thought it time that I made a new batch and share the process with my readers… Continue reading “Spice Blend: Chili Garlic Ginger Paste”

Posted in Experiments, Recipes

Experiment: Spicy Roast Potatoes and Peppers

I put this dish together as an accompaniment to my Haldi Chicken, which I featured in another ‘Experiments’ post. In keeping with the Indian ‘spirit’ of that dish, I tried to select a spice blend that would complement the flavors of the chicken and, since the chicken seasoning was quite mild, I decided to ‘fire up’ the spice blend for the potatoes with a little chilli… Continue reading “Experiment: Spicy Roast Potatoes and Peppers”

Posted in Foodstuffs, Recipes

Foodstuffs: Two Tandoori Spice Blends Compared

I love Tandoori Chicken. It is something I often order in Indian restaurants and my wife and I almost always include it on the menu when we entertain with Indian food.

For years, I have used Sharwood’s Tandoori Barbecue Marinade for the spicing when I make Tandoori Chicken. I have made and used my own spice blends on occasion but, though some of these have genuinely been pretty good in their own right, I have never been able to duplicate (or equal) the taste of the Sharwood’s mix even though they actually list the spices used on the back of the container.

When I saw the Patak’s Tandoori Curry Paste in our local store recently I had to wonder if it was as good as Sharwood’s and I grabbed a jar with a view to doing a comparison. The best way to do this, I thought, would be to whip up a couple of batches of Tandoori Chicken using each blend and then see which produced the tastiest result…  Continue reading “Foodstuffs: Two Tandoori Spice Blends Compared”