23 August 2010

mango armadillos and mango salsa

if some of your friends are jerks, they probably keep secrets from you and call you ugly behind your back.

fortunately, i am not a jerk and i think everyone is equally ugly, therefore i'm nice enough to share this nifty little tidbit on dicing up mangoes.

[mango armadillos!]
  1. quarter your mangoes all the way to the pit using a paring knife.
  2. slide your knife between the flesh and the pit to loosen the flesh from the pit.
  3. score each mango quarter all the way to the skin as in the photo.
  4. slide your knife between the mango flesh and skin, as if filleting a fish. you should end up with diced pieces of mango, or if you're unlucky, diced mango with nicks in your fingers.
after dicing your mangos, you can make this great fruit salsa!

mango mango salsa
3 mangos (ataulfo, preferably), diced
1 cup fresh coriander leaves, chopped
1 red pepper, diced
3/4 cup red onion, diced
1 fresh chili pepper, diced
1/3 cup olive oil
salt/pepper to taste
  • mix all ingredients together and then eat it with pleasure on fish, meats, roasted or unroasted vegetables, or with tortilla chips or with just a spoon and your guilty conscience.  
  • even goes with hot dogs!

16 August 2010

dahl 1 for butter, 2 for ghee, or dahl zero for the operator

my friend dan claims he's incompetent at cooking because he's scared of poisoning himself. i think if he's gone through 20+ years of feeding himself, and if you've only poisioned yourself once, it's a good start.

dan, however, is a vegetarian, not to mention a busy and talented artist. he is also a self-proclaimed lazy and terrible cook, and might actually be malnourished and anemic as a result.

so i said to dan, "dan, you should eat probably more legumes. it'll probably help with your anemia."

and dan said, "i'm not sure i want stuff up my butt."

"dan, i said 'anemia', not 'enema'."

i told him this lentil and beans dish will help him regain brain red blood cells he's missed out on due to his narcotics vegetarian habits. after eating half the dish, he asked that i make it for him again, to which i said he can make it himself by following these simple steps!

[murgh makhani (butter chicken) and not dahl makhani... guess my chicken fixation got the best of me.]

dahl makhani* (buttery lentils, i guess)
serves a 4 to 6

4.5oz (~125g) (dry weight) black lentils (~3/4 cup dry, or ~300g cooked)**
1.75oz (~50g) red (dry weight) kidney beans (~125g cooked)**
1.75oz (~50g) chickpeas (dry weight) or channa dahl (smaller chickpeas, aka gram dahl) (~125g cooked)**
2 cloves garlic
1 small bay leaf

1/2 onion, chopped finely
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp (!5ml)  ginger, finely julienned or chopped (reserve half)
1 tsp (5ml) ground cumin
1/2 tsp (2.5ml) ground fenugreek seeds
1/2 tsp (2.5ml) garam masala
3/4 to 1 cup (175ml to 250ml) tomato puree (or 2 medium tomatoes you've cooked down)
1 Tbsp (15ml) finely ground cashews (or almonds)
salt/pepper to taste

1/4 to 1/2 cup (65ml to 125ml) heavy cream
1/2 tsp (2.5ml) garam masala
2 Tbsp (30ml) butter or ghee
chopped coriander for garnish
  1. prepare the legumes/protein: if using dried, sort and rinse the lentils, and then cook them (~20 min); rinse and soak red kidney beans and chickpeas for a 4-6 hours or overnight. cook them in enough boiling salted water with garlic cloves, bay leaf, and some cooking oil (to keep the foaming down) until cooked through (~40 min). drain, remove garlic and bay leaf and set aside. if using canned, skip the cooking step; just rinse. set aside.
  2. prepare the gravy: cook  heat butter or vegetable oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and cook onions until translucent. add garlic, half of ginger, cumin, fenugreek, and 1/2 tsp garam masala and cook until fragrant (a couple of minutes).
  3. complete the gravy: add tomato puree and ground cashew to onion mix and stir occasionally until thoroughly heated. 
  4. add the protein: add the cooked kidney beans, chickpeas and lentils to the gravy. simmer for another 15 min or so.
  5. finish the dish.when ready, stir in cream, garam masala, butter and remaining ginger to the dish until heated through. serve by garnishing with chopped coriander. eat liberally with naan, rice, or whatever you want.
*you can make this dish with chicken (especially if you like dead fowl like i do). marinade about 1/2 lb (~250g to 300g) chicken bits with a yogurt-ginger-garlic-tumeric-salt and then pan-fry the chicken before adding the gravy/curry to it, as you would the lentils/beans.

** you can used canned versions which is about 2.5x the dry weight.

14 August 2010

fresh harvest: bloomin' tomatoes

first tomatoes of the season!

oh, ly-co-per-si-cum
so rotund and sweet!
unlike my chewing gum,
you are great with lunch meat!

10 August 2010

a marmite enthusiast by the name of chan

this adorable little lady is the only person i know who is obsessed, driven and corrupted by marmite, not unlike anakin skywalker being lured by the power of the dark side. most people i know have either never tried it or have never even heard of it, let alone devote an entire essay to it.

[channy chan-chan about to stuff her face with a beautiful flower salad; she probably would have doused it in marmite if she had a smuggled a bottle on her.]

she is, in fact, the transgressor behind my first taste of marmite (her diminutive size is no indicator for her uncanny ability to convince people to eat random, strange things).

however, as a result of her unhealthy obsession, the gods afflicted her with the curse of vertical challengedness. her "love affair" (her words, not mine...) with this by-product of beer-making makes her a marmitophile... nymphomarmitis... lady marmite!

read up on her infatuation with this weirdly wonderful, salty, yeasty goop!

[photo by g travel via flickr]

(considering that the uk ranks in the top 6 of highest amount of beer consumption per capita, that's a buttload of yeast extract!)