What’s a Dhaba?

Posted by admin | Just Food Articles - writers invited | Saturday 30 September 2006 7:56 am

Came across this really interesting article while searching for a new recipe for Butter Chicken. (Ya, yet another version) Well written too, about dhabhas, that not-quite-explainable truckers’ stop cum gourmet food-stop cum way-to-prove-you know-your-indian-food topic of conversation that’s quintessentially North Indian but can be found almost anyplace there’s a highway, and lots of urban places there isn’t.

    I am a veteran of a thousand dhabhas – right from the sleepy ones tucked away in the dull greyness of Grand Trunk Road to the city-swank premises of Mumbai, Chandigarh and Chennai, where patrons can even have a back-rest to lean on. Dhabhas are as much a cultural icon as the Vedas and the temples of India and no sociological analysis of India is complete without a chapter on them. And for some of us, growing up very poor (translation: “depending solely on the kindness of dads, which in turn depended on college grades”) dhabhas were economic necessities. Dressed only in torn kurtas and Kalyanpur tire chappals, no self-respecting restaurant in Kanpur would have allowed us in anyways and so dhabhas were also a cultural refuge where we could be ourselves… I don’t think Mahadevan Ramesh will mind if I lead you there. Read more.
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Just some Foodie links

Posted by admin | Health Facts,Just Food Articles - writers invited | Thursday 28 September 2006 7:56 am

Some interesting links. Some nice articles…

MY PET PEEVES
By Rachel Forrest
…This is most noticeable when you’re sitting at the bar or at a table near a place where the staff has a place to pause and congregate. Staff members stand around talking among themselves about the events of their day, the kids, the husband, girlfriend, their day job or — most irritating — the job they’re supposed to be doing right that moment. Arguments over who takes what table (no one wants to take any table it seems), incredibly candid gossip about… Read more

PLUM CRAZY
Go a little plum crazy in the morning for a big antioxidant boost.

Plum pancakes? It may sound peculiar, but plums are a rewarding addition to your breakfast choices. Berries may boast the most antioxidant power, but plums win hands down over grapefruit, oranges, and even purple grapes. Toss a handful of dried plums onto your cereal or into your pancake batter before cooking and…. Read more

CHICKUNGUNYA HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH BIRD ‘FLU
“It is chi-kun-gunya, not chi-ken-gunya,” stressed State Animal Husbandry Minister Geetha Jeevan, while replying to the debate on the demand for grants to the Animal Husbandry department. Rumours were being spread that the disease had something to do with chicken and it was her duty to present the facts. Read more

“It is Chickun-gunya, drawn from Tanzania. It has nothing to do with bird flu,” Dr. Ramadoss said. Read more

The facts
The disease is not life threatening, but those affected could be physically weak for a fairly long time before recovery. It often starts with symptoms of flu, including high fever, followed by body pains, and pains in the legs. The pain can be so severe, that patients become unable to walk, and physically bedridden…….. Read more

OUT WITH YO-YO DIETS
Tired of the yo-yo diets and specialty foods? Take control of your diet and your life by incorporating these five easy steps into your food choices: Read more

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Gourmand to Gourmet

Posted by admin | Just Food Articles - writers invited | Wednesday 27 September 2006 7:57 am

I read an article in the local paper a couple of days back by Ashvina Vakil. It was about a diverse group of ‘ordinary’ people who has decided to get together to educate themselves about food, wine and single malts and turn themselves from gourmands into gourmets.
The Pune Gourmet Club, has been started by a gentleman called Shankar (first name only mentioned) who has collected together 13 members or varying ages, and their spouses so far, and the aim is for each to play host in turn, and all of them to bring to the table a variety of wines and foods that stays away from the ‘plebian’. Their common goal is to ‘develop a deeper relationship with food’. And the first meeting required each member to bring one tapa (that’s Spanish for starter, you lowly gourmand!) and Cabernet Shiraz from different vineyards.
This was very interesting to me because I’ve always thought that though you can read endlessly about the bouquet of wines, and their dryness, or sweetness, the tannins, white wine with this and red wine with that, and you can study encyclopedias on cheese, their tartness or sourness… surely I would need a teacher to actually point out to me what, for example, ‘dry’ really feels like. Sounds illiterate, but often I notice people are too embarrassed to ask what it seems to them, everyone else knows.

Which is why I like the sound of this group. Unfortunately this guest column had niether Ms. Vakil’s contact, nor Mr. Shankars, niether does either turn up on the search engines. I’ll keep you posted if I find more info.

Knowing and Making Wine The Wine Club: A Month-by-Month Guide to Learning About Wine with Friends About Wine

P.S. This is what I got when I googled ‘Cabernet Shiraz’.

    This deep, ruby Red wine is made from blend of Cabernet Sauvignon & Shiraz grapes. The wine is full bodied with good concentration of soft tannins, as a result of full maturity achieved in a tropical climate. With a upfront varietal fruit, powerful nose of black currant, it has a delicate spicy taste which lingers in the mouth. Food recommendations: Spicy food, meats and game at 16-18°С.

Sigh. Ya, that just about explains it. I should be able to recognise it anywhere.

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Airline food

Posted by admin | Just Food Articles - writers invited | Monday 25 September 2006 7:58 am

A friend returned from a holiday to the UK, and along the way our discussions came round, almost inevitably, to airline food and airline meals.

I don’t really understand why people bad-mouth airline food.
Let me say right off, I fly (economy) domestic about once in 6 months at the most. And though I last flew international to South Africa a few months ago, that was a fluke, and my average is more like once in 2-3 years, if that. And I do understand there are a percentage of people who fly every week, or every few days, and I understand that they have a right to comment about airline food.

But for the vast majority of us, bad mouthing airline food is almost a kind of mindless stereo-typing. You say it stinks, it’s uneatable, tasteless, etc., because that’s what everyone says. Like guys think it’s okay to joke negatively about their wives. No thought, it just spews out.
Possibly, people think, because they’ve paid so much; hundreds, or depending on your currency, thousands, that airlines, besides getting you off the ground, transporting magically through the air, across oceans and land mass, and depositing you safely on the other side within hours rather than days, should also bloody well give you a multi-course gourmet meal.

Maybe I’m lucky. I’ve never really had a totally, terribly, I-won’t-ever-live-through-this-LOUSY meal on an airline. Yes, it’s often cold, it’s sometimes bland (especially to the over-sensitized Indian tongue) and sometimes the bread is too dry or the portions too small, or the size of the piece of lettuce in the salad over-shadows everything else. But come on, you’re going to get off and you can go and have anything you want at the other end.
Come on, have a sense of humour about this, this isn’t your last meal!

Ahem…
Come to think of it though, in this day and age, that’s not entirely a safe assumption to make.
Well think of it this way then, if it is actually going to be your last meal, surely there are other things besides airline meals you sould be worrying about ??

More bad-mouthing Airline food

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Golden Pulao

Posted by admin | Poultry,Recipes | Sunday 24 September 2006 8:01 am

This rice dish is so simple, but tastes and smells absolutely exotic.

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GOLDEN PULAO Serves 6
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INGREDIENTS
2 cups long grain white rice
2 tbsp Olive Oil
3 cups reduced chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
Pinch of saffron
1/2 tsp oregano
1 tbsp milk
1 large onion, chopped fine

PREPARATION
Soak the saffron in the milk and set aside.

Saute the onion in the olive oil until golden brown

Add the chicken broth, turmeric and saffron; heat to boiling.

Add another 2 cups of water and bring to a boil.

Stir in the rice; cover and cook, without stirring, until the broth and all the water is absorbed and the rice is tender, about 20-25 minutes.

Add the oregano.

Let it stand covered. Serve steaming with a few sprigs of coriander or parsley on top for garnish

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