Feb. 14th, 2014

kindkit: Two cups of green tea. (Fandomless: Green tea)
Something I've cooked recently: Earlier in the week I made pork vindaloo in one of Raghavan Iyer's gentled-for-the-westerner versions (#2 in 660 Curries), which has cashews and coconut milk as well as garlic, chiles, and vinegar. On another day I cooked Spicy Potatoes and Spinach With Blackened Chiles and Coconut Milk, for which the recipe is under the cut: click here )

Since panch phoron is so aromatic and lovely, today I cooked a dal of chickpeas using basically the same dried chiles + panch phoron + coconut milk spicing as the potato dish, but with some shredded dried coconut (soaked in water for a few minutes to rehydrate) and some tamarind concentrate for sourness. Result = very good, although I may have overdone it a bit with the panch phoron, as the fenugreek seeds can be a little bitter in large quantities.

I used black chickpeas (kala chana) in the dal, since I have some dried and I'm trying to make use of the stuff that's in my pantry. In dried form they look quite like little dark brown rocks. As Iyer recommends, I washed them, covered them with hot water, and let them soak overnight at room temperature. Then I stuck them in the slow cooker yesterday morning before work, in which they cooked, and cooked, and cooked, and cooked. They were in the slow cooker for almost 30 hours altogether, until about 11 this morning, and honestly I don't think another 12 hours would have done them any harm. They were cooked through, certainly, but they still had a chewy texture and a tough skin. I don't know if those are just inevitable features of this type of chickpea, or if it's to do with how hard it is to cook beans at my altitude (about 7000 feet or 2100 meters).

To accompany the dal, I made rotis! That's a first for me--I get nervous about anything requiring dough to be rolled out. But they actually weren't difficult at all, just time-consuming. This is another recipe from 660 Curries. recipe under the cut )

Also, although I hesitate to call this cooking, I, er, assembled these no-bake chocolate peanut butter bars. I didn't add any peanut butter to the chocolate layer, and because the brand of peanut butter I use (Trader Joe's) is pretty soft, to get the right consistency I ended up using more graham cracker crumbs and a bit more sugar. I probably didn't need to, because once refrigerated the peanut butter layer firms up like whoa, but the extra graham cracker crumbs in particular are not a bad idea. These are delicious in their incredibly middle-American way, and console me for the failure of the peanut butter brownies I tried to bake the other week. (Said brownies are reposing in the freezer, as I hate to throw food away and hope they can be salvaged, crumbled, as an ice cream topping.)


Something I've got concrete plans to cook soon: I'm thawing out some ground pork for pork and soft tofu with preserved vegetable, which I plan to cook tomorrow. I don't actually have any szechuan preserved vegetable on hand, but I have kimchi, which I'm sure will work fine.

In the fridge I have bread dough fermenting, to rise overnight and be baked tomorrow. This week it's County Fair White Bread, again from Kneadlessly Simple. Last week's buttermilk bread was nice, but the buttermilk powder was hard to incorporate into the fermented dough. I thought I'd done okay, but there turned out to be some clumps of buttermilk powder in the finished bread. And the salt on the crust attracted moisture that soon made the crust soft. Next time I'll skip the salt topping and be more careful about the mixing.


Something I idly plan to to cook in the future: I keep thinking of things I can cook with what I have in the pantry, which is good because due to unexpectedly large bills this month, I have no money for the next three weeks. Luckily I have a good supply of staples such as rice, beans, flour, and noodles, plenty of spices, and some meat in the freezer. Red beans and rice are still a plan, as is a potato and corn chowder, maybe some chicken soup, maybe some polenta, and Iyer has a recipe for papads in yogurt sauce that I want to try, and etc. etc.

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