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December 2005

Laid Back Balchao at Bob's Inn

 

It is not even a month since I came back from a short break in Goa and it seems like time to return. To the sun, the sand , the sea and mostly the food.

When in Goa I tend to stick to what they do best...sea food. I ate every variation of prawn and fish dishes that they had to serve.I haven't had time to post all the wonderful things we ate there so here I continue.....

One day was spent in the North near Candolim where we had a pleasant meal at Bob's Inn.

Bobs_inn

A bit more expensive than the seaside shacks,it has a maze of small tents and huts attached to each other to make up the restaurant.There are several cosy areas, where one can have a private lunch and spend several hours in the welcoming shade, while quaffing Kingfisher beer. Which ,by the way, goes very well with the Prawn Balchao we had there.

Prawn_balchao

Goan Prawn Balchao

Ingredients for a generous 4 helpings:

Make a paste of the following:

1 pod of garlic, peeled.
3 "fresh ginger, cleaned and grated
15 whole dried red chillies
4" dalchini / cinnamon
15 green elaichi/ cardomom
15 lavang / cloves
1 tsp whole black peppercorns
1 tsp jeera/ cumin seeds
1/2 cup malt vinegar.

1 kg prawns, shell, devein and wash well.
Vegetable Oil
1 cup onions, chopped
1 cup tomatoes chopped
1 sprig of fresh curry leaves (or a tbsp dried leaves)
2 tsp sugar
Salt

Heat oil and deep fry the prawns for a few minutes...not more than 3 -4 minutes, till they change colour. Take out and set aside.
Remove some of the oil and leaving about three tbsps fry the onions until well browned.
Now add the chopped tomatoes and stir well till softened. Add the paste and saute till the oil seperates from the paste.It gets a light shine.
Return the prawns to the kadhai,/pan add curry leaves and sugar, stirring well. Now add salt to taste.
Serve with steamed rice . This tastes delicious with chapathi or any crusty bread as well.


To Market , To Market- EOMEOTE #13

Fast And Furious Eggs Sowari

Too_furious_too_fast_1

This is an easy peasy recipe guaranteed to taste good and open to lots of little interpretations like the nursery rhyme:

To market, to market to buy a fat pig
Home again, Home again jiggety jig
To market ,to market to buy a fat hog,
Home again, home again jiggety jog,
To market , to market , no not a slog
(its)Eggs for Eomeote and my bliggety blog.

Eggs Sowari/ Pig Eggs- a very Indo Anglian dish well known among the khansamas of yore.

Ingredients:

6 boiled eggs
1 tbsp ham, finely chopped
6 frankfurters chopped into 1/2" bits
2 tbsps butter
1/2 cup tomatoes, peeled and cooked.
1 cup white stock
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp chopped parsley or coriander
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt
Pepper
1/2 cup grated cheese
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs

Place the eggs, whole, in a baking dish. Make a sauce of the remaining ingredients, except the cheese and crumbs. Pour over the eggs. Mix the cheese and crumbs and cover the eggs.
Bake in a hot oven, about 350 degrees for 35 minutes.

P.S to peel tomatoes dunk in boiling hot water for a couple of minutes, then into ice cold water for a short while. The skin just slips off in a second.

Khansama=Cook


Garam garam Canteen aka Masala Chai


Canteen Chai

It is not coffee but Chai, that provides that kick start to the human heart  in the Indian subcontinent.

What is life without a cup of morning tea, the auld chhota hazri?

A bloke called Sir Reginald Bennett , once started the Imperial Poona Yacht Club at Oxford, while an undergraduate in 1930.Their speciality was racing backwards .(which is neither here nor there) However. I have no idea what it had to do with Poona nor the  relevance of the intriguing club motto -Chhota hazri, which Bennett, who was a renowned epicure ,translated as: "There is nothing worse than a continental breakfast." 

Actually Chhota Hazri means a little brekker of tea and biscuits, usually served in the bedroom,in a propah tea set dedicated to the purpose. This which was followed somewhat later by a pucca larger breakfast.

Well, even if we are no longer sahibs and memsahibs, nobody should have to face the world without that cup of chai.It straightens the shoulders, it gives a spring to a flagging step and it is what I miss most from those old days as a film maker.

The ' habit' began at the Film Institute Canteen where we gathered, as soon as it opened, to quaff tiny glasses of tea, brewed so strong, it lifted even the laziest of aspiring directors off the chairs and got them moving to class. This was the only canteen I have ever seen with a full length mirror installed. Fixed to a wall at the far end, it enabled our  neophyte actors and actresses to check their carriage, their muscles, their smiles, their clothes -, for all of 20 yards.Imagine, if you will , Mithun, (da),Shabana,(bi) and several others, walking that imaginary ramp, the aisle between two lines of painted blue tables, upto the mirror. What can I say. It enlivened our days.


Boiled to Blithereens

After tea dust was boiled with water, milk was added to it and reboiled till the mixture got the colour of dark camel and tasted distinctly of horse leather. I can't figure out why.There were rumours that tea dust was mixed with leather shavings for colour but I cannot verify this.

In any case it was not possible to do any shooting, or editing, or anything without copious cups of this chai. Boiled till every bit of tannin had been wrung out of the tea dust or CTC ( crush tear curl , a process after which the tea is named), it provided succour to any despairing creative soul, struck again and again, by the terrible certitude  that, on a film shooting, anything that could go wrong, would go wrong .

It is pretty much the same situation in any other office, site, factory, you name the place or the work and it won't carry on without that cuppa.

Now it is surprising to hear that the Tea Board of India is planning a campaign to promote tea among the younger generation whom they think are changing habits  and attitudes to 'the cup that cheers'.

Are they really that threatened by Barista and Cafe Coffee Day, the two large chains who have grown at an astonishing pace to become the haunt of choice for young people? I was under the impression the tables at these coffee shops were full, more because young people need a place to hang out, than for the taste of their coffee.

The Tea Board thinks differently. Apparently they plan to appoint an advertising agency to get the message that tea is contemporary, wholesome and healthy, across to a nationwide  audience of young consumers.It is said that they want tea to be declared a 'national drink' and they want the Union Commerce ministry to fund the exercise.

Somehow I cannot believe that coffee is more popular than tea, except in the South, where a true blue filter coffee can outtaste any Columbian , Sumatran or Blue Mountain bean. And  is definitely not to be turned down in favour of chai.

But...the rest of India.I mean, begin a chain of trendy Chai shops and see what happens.

Meanwhile you make your own Canteen Chai

For each cup, measure out one half milk and one half water into a pan. Add 2 teaspoons of sugar per cup. Bring to the boil. Turn the heat down and add 1 teaspoon of CTC tea per cup to the mixture. Boil on a slow fire  till the right colour is obtained. It should be a medium saturated brown and should not be at all transparent.Remove and strain into a glass or mug.

For adrak chai/ Ginger tea add  3 slices of fresh ginger, at the start .Strain out with tea leaves at the end.

For masala chai /Masala Tea add a pinch of  the following  ground mixed masala  to the water and milk in the beginning.

  • 1 tsp soont (dried ginger powder) If this is not available add a few slices of fresh ginger to the water.
  • 1 tsp  lavang /cloves
  • 1 tsp elaichi / cardomom
  • 1 " piece of cinnamon.

Grind all together in a coffee grinder or with a mortar and pestle.Reduce the amount if the taste is too strong for you.

N.B This post was written at a time when our cornerstone of polite societea , the Irani bun maska and chai shop was still to be found at the end of every long and lonely road. Now those corners have crumbled , replaced by Reebok and Nike shops, Benetton and Wills Lifestyle.  Ha ! What Lifestyle is that, without the cup that cheers ?