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Topics - Bob_McBob

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Traditional Indian Recipes / Recipe Book Suggestions?
« on: January 13, 2007, 12:31 PM »
I'm interested in ordering one or two more Indian recipe books, and I'd love some suggestions.  I find any given book will have quite a few recipes that are pretty good, but perhaps one or two that I *really* like, so it is nice to grab a new book now and then :

Here are the books I have:

"50 Great Curries of India" by Camellia Panjabi.  This one has a lot of recipes I really enjoy (rogan josh and chicken pistachio korma in particular), but I find she concentrates rather a lot on lamb, which I don't often have the opportunity to cook.

"Classic Indian Cooking" by Julie Sahni.  This one has a huge selection of recipes, but I wish there were more meat recipes that didn't include things like cloves and cardamom, which I find often overpower the rest of the dish.  A lot of the vegetable recipes are quite good (the hot Hyderabad tomato chutney is absolutely to die for), and it is definitely a good overall resource for a wide variety of Indian cooking.

"Indian Cooking" by Madhur Jaffrey.  This one is a bit hit or miss, but there are lots of hits.  There are, however, a few recipes that always end up being crap, no matter how I make them.  I also find the selection of stuff a bit random, but again, most of the vegetable recipes are very good ("dry" okra and the black-eyed pea one).  It's too bad so few of the recipes are photographed like "50 Great Curries".  It's annoying when there's a huge photo of some random spice where a photo of the recipe itself could go!

There isn't really anywhere here that carries much in the way of Indian recipe books, so I would have to order online, which means I can't check them out beforehand.  I've been looking at "Classic Indian Vegetarian and Grain Cooking" by Julie Sahni and "Lord Krishna's Cuisine", but these are both vegetarian books.  I would like some suggestions for other authentic Indian books to try out.  I'm especially interested in chicken recipes, since I never have time to cook lamb or seafood :(

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British Indian Restaurant Recipe Requests / Chicken Jalfrezi
« on: January 13, 2007, 12:04 PM »
Does anyone have a good chicken jalfrezi recipe that doesn't use pre-made spice mixtures and bases?  This is the only curry of this type I'm interested in making, so I'd prefer to do it from scratch.  I used to like getting it from one of the local Indian restaurants here, but I haven't been there for ages as I make all my own curries now.  What I remember is a somewhat thin, bright red sauce with lots of tomato, onion, and green pepper.  The chicken was stained red like tandoori chicken.

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Cooking Equipment / Pots and Pans?
« on: October 30, 2006, 12:34 PM »
What exactly does everyone use for cooking curry?  I have read great things about the traditional cast iron "kadai", but there is really not much information to be found about it on the internet.  Also, if you can find them for sale, they are pretty much all little tiny ones, or industrial manufacturers who want to sell in large batches.  Not too promising!  However, I just came across a place in the US that sells various Indian cookware, including large cast iron kadais.  Check it out here: http://www.nishienterprise.com/Iron-Kadai-for-frying-p/iron-kadai-18.htm (they also do a 24" for $99).

I am sorely tempted to order one of these, but cast iron cookware can be of variable quality.  I like the look of the "Lodge" cast iron stuff, but everything they make that I'm interested in is unavailable right now.  At the moment I am mostly using a deep non-stick pan for most of my curry cooking, transferring to a cast iron Dutch oven for stuff that requires baking.  I have a really heavy-bottom stainless steel skillet I use for roasting spices.  I tried a really cheap wok from Ikea a little while ago, and as expected it was pretty much crap, but I can see how a nice thick cast iron pot of similar shape would be useful for cooking Indian food.

So, what does everyone else use?

4
Cooking Equipment / Help me choose a mixer/grinder!
« on: October 29, 2006, 01:08 AM »
Hi guys, I've been looking for somewhere where I might get more information on Indian "mixie" mixer/grinders. Hopefully there are a few people posting here who have used them :)

At the end of July, I ordered a Sumeet "Asia Kitchen Machine" from the North American distributor at sumeet.net.  They are actually only about an hour from me here in Ontario, so I assumed things would go fairly smoothly.  I was promised delivery in a few weeks, then at the beginning of September, end of September, and beginning of October. Now they are no longer replying to e-mail or answering their phone.  I know they're still around since their phone message changes now and then, but it is often forwarded to a voice mail system that is regularly full (of complaints, no doubt).  I have left a couple of messages and they never call me back.  Anyhow, it is not looking promising.  Unfortunately, the Asia Kitchen Machine seems to be out of stock pretty much everywhere in North America, and everywhere has been expecting stock "in a few weeks" for the past three months.

When I originally started looking for an Indian mixer/grinder, I decided the Sumeet was probably the best for my needs.  I cook a lot of Indian food, and I need to be able to grind anything from a few teaspoons of dry spices to large quantities of wet nut pastes and things like that.  I like how the Sumeet has the stirring lid on even the small spice grinder.  However, if I can't buy it, then it's not much good to me.  I've been looking around on Google and found posts dating back a couple of years detailing how poor Sumeet's customer service is: waiting six months for replacement parts, poor warranty service, mixers breaking down after only a year, etc.  I heard from someone's Indian wife that they apparently have a bad reputation in India now as they recently switched motor manufacturers to someone cheaper.  Apparently it is hard to get them even in India. Given how poor Sumeet's *pre-sale* customer service is, I don't fancy my chances if anything went wrong with the mixer.

Anyhow, I just started going through the alternatives available in North America.  I was told by the same person's wife that of all the brands available in North America (Sumeet, Premier, Preethi, Butterfly, Innomix, Relin, etc.), the only one with a good reputation in India is Rico.  Unfortunately, they don't really have much of a presence in North America, with only a single place (in Texas) stocking them.  That is a bit concerning as I don't know what I would do if anything went wrong.  Their mixers do look good, though.

The other option I've been considering is the Relin "Megamix" model. Relin, like Sumeet, has made a serious effort to enter the North American market.  They have obtained the correct Canadian safety approval, and their distributor is also only about an hour from me here in Ontario.  They have been extremely good about replying to e-mails and answering their phone.  They tell me they have their model in stock and available for immediate shipping, so I could have it by Tuesday if I ordered now.  However, I can't find anything about their Megamix model, even on Usenet.  They seem to be a fairly new company by Indian standards (early 80s), and I don't know if they have a decent reputation for quality.

So, based on everything I've written, what do you think I should do? The Rico model is actually $30 cheaper than the Relin, but I would have to either pay $40 to have it shipped here, or have it shipped to my dad when he is down in the States next week.  Is it worth the extra hassle over the Relin model, especially considering Rico has no actual presence in North America and Relin has a distributor right by me?

I hope someone here can help me out.  If not, I would really appreciate if you could direct me to another newsgroup, forum, etc.  The question is somewhat time-sensitive as the Relin model is apparently "on special" until the end of the weekend.  Please check out the links below for more info.

Sumeet: http://sumeet.net/Models/ModelsNew.htm
Rico: http://appliances.safeshopper.com/150/1367.htm?710
Relin: http://www.relin.com/item1.htm

Thanks so much!

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