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25-02-2011
AN INDIAN FEBRUARY

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Shakespeare said said 'if music be the food of love then play on'..but I say if food gives the mood for love then eat! Valentine's day is always a good day to bake so I tried my hand at some cookies made with some chopped peel from my mum's marmalade; the result..have already made a second batch and more are requested!
We have an Indian couple staying with us, Poorvaja and Anand. She had the same idea as me to put her heart on a plate...see her chapatti with strawberries on the photo. I just used raspberries. Indians and Italians love home cooked food so Poorvaja and I share this passion. Her husband, Anand, had his dad, uncle and cousins over and Poorvaja cooked Rajma, a red bean dish served with tumeric basmati rice.
If you feel like trying your hand at either the cookies or the Indian dish here are the recipes:

Irma's Marmalade Cookies

1 cup Margarine
1cup unrefined sugar
2 cups kamut flour
2 egg yolks
juice and rind 1 orange
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon chopped  thick cut marmalade rind in tiny chunks

Cream sugar and margarine together. Add yolks and orange juice and peel. Fold in flour and baking powder. Leave in freezer 15 minutes to chill, then form small balls. Flatten them on a baking sheet and cook for 10 minutes in an oven pre-heated to 200°C


 Poorvaja's Rajma...5 spice  red bean dish

soak beans in water with salt overnight and pressure cook until soft.

1 yellow onion
2 tomatoes
a few green chilies (Indian chilies are very hot)
fresh ginger

dahnia-cumin
tumeric
coriander
red chilie powder
garamasala

Blend the chilies, onion and ginger to make a paste

Fry half teaspoon cumin 'dahnia' and 1 teaspoon of tumeric (this keeps the spices from burning and gives the wonderful yellow colour to the food) and a teaspoon of coriander powder. Add the chopped onions.

Cook the onions until golden then add the chopped tomatoes, 1 1/2 teaspoons red chilie powder and 2 teaspoons of garamasala. Lastly mix in the beans.

I microwave my basmati rice, 1 cup of rice to 2 cups of water. Full power on the microwave for 15 minutes.
Poorvaja fries her cumin seeds in oil then adds turmeric, she also adds peas before adding the washed rice and water.

 *see the photo of the essential spices for Indian cusine.

central spice is: fenugreek (aromatic leaves of cloverlike plant with white flowers, Tamil name)
staring with red chilie powder and going clockwise the spices are:
cumin
tumeric
mustard seed
coriander powder
garam masala (a mix of all the spices or masala's, masala meaning mixed spice from Northern India,  name has Hindi and Urdu origins)

Poorvaja's tips:
add lemon to make less spicy
add potatoes to make less salty
(Gujurati's add sugar to make sweeter)


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