Tag Archives: food

How to: pick a mango

The mango trees are starting to get heavy with mangos!

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Mangos are my favourite thing in the world. They are wonderful by themselves, they are wonderful in cooking. And they are wonderful as pickle.

Problem is, they grow in tall trees. So they aren’t always easy to pluck.

Now there’s two ways to pick mangos: one is to climb the tree and pluck them. However heights and I don’t agree, so that’s not such a good option for me.

So instead, I used a stick to hit them and shake them loose.

RK showed me the technique: the trick is to hit the mango with the stick from behind, and to try to knock it down.

Now it seems quite easy in theory. But in practice it took a bit of work. We managed to hit down half a dozen green mangos before we bent the metal stick we were using. Game over.

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Indian Krispy Kreme experience

Krispy Kreme opened in Bangalore recently. Apparently when it opened there was a massive line of people not so patiently waiting for their donuts. Even now, months later, on Saturdays there is a line of people out the door.

Now, I’ve had Krispy Kreme in Australia. And I’ve had it in Europe. And I’ve had it in the UK. But I have to say the experience I’ve had with Krispy Kreme here has been unrivalled by these other places. And thats all because of this:

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Its the machine that makes the donuts. At the beginning there is the batter, and it is squeezed out into the donut shape, and dropped into hot oil where it cooks. Then it gets rolled up onto a conveyor belt where it is iced (or glazed), and then it rolls its way around before being put through a cooling tunnel.

Now if you manage to get there at the right time, and the production is happening, it is possible to ask them to get the donuts for you before they go through the cooling tunnel.

And let me tell you, you’ve never had donuts like this. Fresh, melt-in-your-mouth sugary goodness. They taste fantastic, and they are so light and soft. It tastes like fairies and rainbows and flowers. In donut form.

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Today as we were walking towards the store, we saw through the window that they were just finishing up a fresh batch. So we raced in, and raced up to the counter and asked for 6 donuts. The guy behind the counter asked whether we wanted them boxed, to which Anu frantically responded: “Just put them in the box! In the box!”. I’ve very rarely seen her so agitated and excited about something, and it really felt like we were down to the wire on this one. 30 seconds later and we would have missed them: the fresh donuts would have been swallowed by the cooling tunnel of boredom, and the whole experience would have changed.

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Anu enjoying fresh KK

How to: Make Yoghurt

I consume yoghurt (curd) by the kilo in this country. Its fantastic with every meal that contains rice, and I’ve really started to love having curd rice (rice mixed with curd and a little salt) to finish off my meals.

I tried making yoghurt at home in Canberra once, but it is far too cold there and we couldn’t get the cultures to set. Also i think the milk from supermarkets is too pasteurised and so the yoghurt can’t breed and set.

Here, it is incredibly easy to make your own curd, and it tastes fantastic when it is home made – no added sugars or anything. All el naturale.

YOGHURT (CURD)

  1. Boil milk, let it cool
  2. When milk is lukewarm, add 1/2 tsp yogurt
  3. Mix
  4. Leave in a covered container for 2-3 hours
  5. Enjoy!

TIPS: If the milk is too warm, or you add too much yoghurt, then the mixture will set too fast and become sour. If the milk is too cold, or you don’t add enough yoghurt, then the mixture won’t set.

Ganesha’s insatiable appetite

Part of a series of entries retelling Hindu legends about different Gods in my own words. While there are over 330 million Hindu gods, I’ll just tell stories that I encounter, or stories about particular gods that fascinate me. This is the final of a four part retelling of legends concerning Ganesha.

One day, Kubera, the god of wealth, invited Lord Shiva to a feast in his wonderful city of Alakapuri, so that he could show off his immense amount of wealth. Shiva replied:

I cannot come, but you can invite my son Ganesha. I warn you though, he has a voracious appetite!

Arrogantly, Kubera felt that he could satisfy even the most insatiable appetite with his opulence, so he took the small child Ganesha into his city, and sat him down before a great banquet. Such opulence had never been seen, there were hundreds of guests and thousands of dishes placed in front of them.

However, Ganesha gulped them all down: he ate all the dishes, without leaving any food for any of the other guests.

The kitchens tried to keep up with his appetite, but were unable to provide the food fast enough. Eventually, they ran out of ingredients with which to make more dishes. His appetite unsatisfied, Ganesha began to devour everything else in front of him: the decorations, the table, the furniture, the chandelier. Kubera begged Ganesha to stop, and leave the rest of the palace. Ganesha replied:

I am hungry! If you do not give me something else to eat, I will eat you as well!

Panicking, Kubera raced to Lord Shiva, to ask him for help in stopping Ganesha from devouring everything. Shiva smiled, and gave him a hand full of roasted rice:

You gave Ganesha a feast with pride and arrogance, to show off your wealth. This will never satisfy him. If you give him anything, even a handful of rice, with a clean mind and a pure heart, you will satisfy him.

By the time Kubera reached his city again, Ganesha had almost completely consumed it. Kubera prostrated himself before Ganesha and humbly offered him the handful of rice. With that gesture, Ganesha’s appetite was finally satisfied.

 

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Photo taken by author: Rama Temple, Hampi, Karnataka, August 2012

Biryani for Lunch

Today I went for chicken biryani for lunch. It is the first biryani I have had since coming to Coimbatore, and it was pretty good. 

I went with two of the guys from work, Bharathi and Rajkumar. We were originally looking for a restaurant close to our office, but Bharathi got a little lost. We ended up driving a bit further and stopped at another place selling biryani. They are very common here.

I was fairly happy with the taste, but Rajkumar informed me that it was tasteless. I don’t think my palette is discerning enough yet to tell the difference.

After lunch I had a can of Thums Up, a misspelt cousin of Coca Cola and Pepsi. It is unique to India and I enjoy it… but again it wasn’t appreciated by Bharathi and Rajkumar. I felt pretty cool riding along on the back of Scooty drinking my can of drink at the same time though.

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The sun is getting incredibly hot, and I think I may have burned a little in the 40 minutes that we were driving. Definitely need to remember to wear my SPF50 sunscreen everyday. Rajkumar complained that the sun was very affecting. So it is nice that I am not the only one!

Recipe: Coconut Chutney

Coconut chutney is a very common side dish in South India. It is served with almost all the breakfast dishes, and many lunch and dinner dishes too. Up until this morning though, I had only ever had the coconut chutney served in restaurants and eateries. And to be honest, I was not a great fan.

My world was changed this morning by homemade coconut chutney. It was almost hard to believe that what I had been given previously even counted as coconut chutney, because when homemade, it tasted completely different. And it was good.

So here is the recipe for you to try at home:

Homemade Coconut Chutney

Serves 4

  • 1/2 fresh coconut flesh
  • 2 green chillies
  • 1 garlic clove
  • pinch of dried tamarind
  • 7-10 curry leaves
  • 2 handfuls of split yellow pea daal (to quantity desired)
  1. Place ingredients in grinder with a little water
  2. Grind to paste
  3. Heat oil in pan, add teaspoon of mustard seeds, 7 more curry leaves and a dried red chilli.
  4. Add to chutney, and mix
  5. Enjoy with dosa, idli, or whatever it is that takes your fancy

How to: make sure what you just ate was actually good

At home, it is fairly easy to discern between the restaurants that you don’t want to eat at for fear of getting sick. Here, it isn’t so easy.

The best meals I’ve had here have been at shady looking places that I wouldn’t even dream about walking into at home, and the sickest I’ve been has been following eating at a fancy restaurant.

So, as the saying goes, “Don’t judge a book by its cover”. You cant judge whether what you are about to eat by the appearance of where you are going to eat it. Similarly, you can’t judge the quality of the meal by the initial taste.

Here is my tried and tested evaluation of whether what you ate was any good, and whether you should go back for more!

 

Emily’s Food Checklist

  1. So you’ve just finished your meal, and you thought it tasted pretty good. Now, sit for 30 minutes, and see what your stomach thinks. All ok? No grumbling, bloatedness or discomfort (NB: discomfort from eating too much and discomfort from illness is easy to tell the difference between)? Then you can progress to the next step.
  2. Now you’ve arrived back home/to the office/to the shopping mall/to the zoo, and its been a one or two hours since you ate. How is your stomach feeling? Is it still happy, or is it starting to grumble? If you don’t have an overwhelming urge to play princes and princesses and sit on the throne, then congratulations you can progress to the final step.
  3. The final step can occur several hours after you have eaten this meal. There’s no delicate way to put this… But if you and the meal part ways as friends, then you are friends. But if it leaves your life in an awkward, or overly dramatic way, then it does not matter how good the friendship thus far has been, it was all a lie.