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Dhansak Masala

Postby Paul Winalski » Thu Jul 22, 2010 1:53 am

This is the spice mixture that gives dhansak its distinctive character. This is the recipe I use, from Neelam Batra's cookbook 1001 Indian Recipes, Before the addition of the dhansak masala, my thoughts were, "OK, it's a standard dal and vegetable puree". Afterward, my reaction was, "OMG, this is something really special!!"

1 cup coriander seeds
1/4 cup cumin seeds
1 TBS black cumin (shah jeera) seeds
1/4 cup black peppercorns
1/4 cup fenugreek seeds
1/4 cup dried hot red chile peppers (e.g., chile de arbol), broken up
1/4 cup dried curry leaves (or fresh)
1 TBS white poppy seeds
1 TBS mustard seeds
4 star anise (that's four complete 8-clove stars), broken up
10 bay leaves, coarsely broken
1 inch or so cinnamon bark
1 TBS cloves
2 tsp seeds from black cardamom
2 tsp seeds from green cardamom
2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground mace

Dry-roast the coriander, cumin, black cumin, peppercorns, fenugreek, and chiles, over medium heat, stirring and shaking the pan until the mixture turns a shade darker, about two minutes. Mix in the curry leaves, poppy, mustard, star anise, and bay leaves, and roast another minute.

Let the spice mixture cool, then grind, along with the cinnamon, cloves, black and green cardamoms, nutmeg, and mace, to a fine powder in a spice or coffee grinder. Or, if you're a stickler for tradition and authenticity, pound the crap out of it all in a mortar and pestle, until it's a fine powder (I opt for the coffee grinder, myself--I have one reserved just for grinding spices).

I'm sure this spice mixture could be used in lots of other dishes, other than its traditional use in dhansak.

-Paul W.
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Re: What's cooking?

Postby Jenise » Thu Jul 22, 2010 7:16 am

Celia wrote:I have corn muffins in the oven - new recipe - and have just taken out a batch of chocolate meringues, made at the request of our youngest son. This weekend I've been baking (such a surprise) - maize loaf, semolina loaf and lots of savoury muffins (don't like sweet ones much). Plus lots of brownies for the neighbours! :)

Jenise, hope this isn't presumptuous of me, but I was thinking you might like these savoury muffins - they're very easy, and a great use of leftover baked vegetables.


Celia, I would indeed LOVE those. But, rather an interesting concept to have leftover vegetables. Believe it or not, I almost never do. I guess I just make exactly what I need for two servings. Never a problem, though, as with some meats, to plan for leftovers. And Bob would LOVE these--he's divested himself of almost every other southern affectation except cornbread and old cars. :) Thanks.
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Re: Dhansak Masala

Postby Jenise » Thu Jul 22, 2010 7:24 am

Paul Winalski wrote:This is the spice mixture that gives dhansak its distinctive character.
-Paul W.


Mmmm! But two of your ingredients I don't have. In fact one I have never heard of: white poppy seeds? Also, black cardamom seeds: I once owned a small packet of them, but before I got around to using them some time passed, and when I next opened the jar they'd grown mold! They were quite large compared to a green or white cardamom pop, about the size of my thumbnail, and may have acquired their color through smoking or fermentation--they were intensely smokey. Is that typical?
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Re: What's cooking?

Postby Paul Winalski » Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:14 pm

Yes, black cardamom pods are larger than the more common green/white cardamom. The black variety does have a smoky aroma. As with the more common cardamom, you remove and discard the pod and just use the seeds inside.

White poppy seeds are a bit smaller than black poppy seeds. Ground into a powder, they're commonly used in India to thicken sauces, and also (as here) as an ingredient in spice mixes.

Penzey's carries both black cardamom and white poppy.

-Paul W.
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Re: What's cooking?

Postby Ian H » Thu Jul 22, 2010 7:10 pm

Paul Winalski wrote:Yes, black cardamom pods are larger than the more common green/white cardamom. The black variety does have a smoky aroma. As with the more common cardamom, you remove and discard the pod and just use the seeds inside.
-Paul W.
Hmm, I've never discarded the husk of the black cardamom, I use it almost only in making Pilau rice where it gets fried in with cinnamon/cassia bark, cloves, peppercorns and some fresh root ginger. Most interesting.
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Re: What's cooking?

Postby Celia » Thu Jul 22, 2010 8:12 pm

Jenise wrote:
Celia wrote:I have corn muffins in the oven - new recipe - and have just taken out a batch of chocolate meringues, made at the request of our youngest son. This weekend I've been baking (such a surprise) - maize loaf, semolina loaf and lots of savoury muffins (don't like sweet ones much). Plus lots of brownies for the neighbours! :)

Jenise, hope this isn't presumptuous of me, but I was thinking you might like these savoury muffins - they're very easy, and a great use of leftover baked vegetables.


Celia, I would indeed LOVE those. But, rather an interesting concept to have leftover vegetables. Believe it or not, I almost never do. I guess I just make exactly what I need for two servings. Never a problem, though, as with some meats, to plan for leftovers. And Bob would LOVE these--he's divested himself of almost every other southern affectation except cornbread and old cars. :) Thanks.


Jenise, in my last batch, I substituted some corn maize flour (the fine stuff that looks like flour, not the grittier cornmeal) for about 1/4 of the SR flour (I used 200g SR flour and 65g maize flour). It worked a treat - even more Southern for your Bob. :)
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Re: What's cooking?

Postby Paul Winalski » Thu Jul 22, 2010 9:45 pm

Ian H wrote:
Paul Winalski wrote:Yes, black cardamom pods are larger than the more common green/white cardamom. The black variety does have a smoky aroma. As with the more common cardamom, you remove and discard the pod and just use the seeds inside.
-Paul W.
Hmm, I've never discarded the husk of the black cardamom, I use it almost only in making Pilau rice where it gets fried in with cinnamon/cassia bark, cloves, peppercorns and some fresh root ginger. Most interesting.


Yes, in a pilau you'd use the cardamom pods whole. But if you're grinding it into a masala powder, you only use the seeds.

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Re: What's cooking?

Postby Robin Garr » Fri Jul 23, 2010 8:22 pm

Poulet l'estragon, with breast medallions from a gently poached local free-range hen from Adam Barr and a velouté fashioned from its broth and fresh garden tarragon. Very fine, and a tasty pairing with a light red wine, Jean-Paul Brun 2008 Beaujolais "Terres Dorées."
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RCP: Poulet l'estragon

Postby Robin Garr » Fri Jul 23, 2010 10:39 pm

Robin Garr wrote:Poulet l'estragon


Previous day, gently poach a 5 pound roasting hen (free-range preferred) in water flavored with a carrot, stalk of celery, onion, garlic, sea salt and black peppercorns. When tender, trim out boneless, skinless breasts and leave them refrigerated overnight in some of the resulting broth and 3-4 sprigs fresh tarragon. (Reserve all the broth, which should be rich and jellied, for later use.)

Next day, cut each breast into 5-6 medallions. Near serving time, warm them. Discard soaked tarragon. Snip and chop enough fresh tarragon leaves to make 2 tablespoons. Make a simple velouté using 1 cup of the tarragon-scented broth and a blonde flour-butter roux. Put in the chopped fresh tarragon after the sauce thickens. Pour it over the warmed medallions and serve with steaming white rice and a simple, cool salad.
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Re: What's cooking?

Postby Jeff Grossman/NYC » Sat Jul 24, 2010 12:27 am

Robin, that sounds simply delicious.
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Re: What's cooking?

Postby Matilda L » Sat Jul 24, 2010 8:59 am

Saturday night dinner for two at home.

2 fillets of salmon - seared in a hot pan, then placed in a moderate oven in an open dish, with a slice of prosciutto laid on top of each fillet. Served with with a generous sprinkling of finely chopped fresh parsley and julienned lemon zest sprinkled over it, with mashed potato/carrot/pumpkin, and some steamed broccoli on the side.

Delightful.
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Re: What's cooking?

Postby Howie Hart » Sat Jul 24, 2010 10:27 am

Greens & Beans soup, pasta w/meatballs, Italian sausage, BBQ chicken, hamburgs, steamed clams, corn on the cob and extras for a class reunion picnic (43 years). Expecting 20-30 folks.
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Re: What's cooking?

Postby Jeff Grossman/NYC » Sat Jul 24, 2010 3:06 pm

It's warm here so last night was cold chopped chicken salad: cut up the rest of a roaster we made earlier in the week, add chopped carrot and celery, a handful of peas, and several heaping tablespoons of sun-dried tomato pesto. Served with slices of cucumber and croccantini (Italian flatbread).
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Re: What's cooking?

Postby Jenise » Sat Jul 24, 2010 7:56 pm

Four fresh sand sole ($1.40 lb!) purchased literally right off the boat down in Squalicumm Harbor. Friends are coming over; he's a chef and between us and the haul I brought home from today's farmer's market, we'll figure something out.

New find: yellow romano beans!
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Re: What's cooking?

Postby Carrie L. » Sat Jul 24, 2010 8:32 pm

Making dinner tonight in my Mother-in-law's kitchen for her and her son, so I'm making a simple roast chicken with garlic, rosemary and lemon, along with roasted baby Yukon Golds and cauliflour with shallot rings. It's all in the oven right now, smelling pretty good. Spring mix salad with sliced strawberries, green onions and raw walnuts--homemade Champagne vinaigrette.
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Re: What's cooking?

Postby Carl Eppig » Sat Jul 24, 2010 10:50 pm

Grilled rib eye steak, corn-on-the-cob, sliced tomatoes, green beans, cheap Zin. Lovely!!!
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Re: What's cooking?

Postby Rahsaan » Sat Jul 24, 2010 11:46 pm

Carrie L. wrote:Spring mix salad with sliced strawberries, green onions and raw walnuts--homemade Champagne vinaigrette.


Is that with lettuce plus the strawberries, onions and walnuts? Or just strawberries, onion, and walnuts. Either way, nice combination I haven't thought about. Will have to try it next year when strawberries come back in season!
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Re: What's cooking?

Postby Redwinger » Sun Jul 25, 2010 9:59 am

Grilled loin lamb chops with fresh rosemary, greens from the garden and a delightful 1991 Cote-Rotie from Lyliane Saugere that was still vibrant and youthful.
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Re: What's cooking?

Postby Carrie L. » Sun Jul 25, 2010 12:32 pm

Rahsaan wrote:
Carrie L. wrote:Spring mix salad with sliced strawberries, green onions and raw walnuts--homemade Champagne vinaigrette.


Is that with lettuce plus the strawberries, onions and walnuts? Or just strawberries, onion, and walnuts. Either way, nice combination I haven't thought about. Will have to try it next year when strawberries come back in season!


Yes, Rahsaan. Baby lettuces with some baby spinach. It's also really nice with just the spinach. I usually also add some crumbled feta but had forgotten to buy it.
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Re: What's cooking?

Postby Carrie L. » Sun Jul 25, 2010 12:40 pm

Jenise wrote:

New find: yellow romano beans!


What the heck are they?
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Re: What's cooking?

Postby Jenise » Sun Jul 25, 2010 3:35 pm

Carrie L. wrote:
Jenise wrote:

New find: yellow romano beans!


What the heck are they?


A romano is like a very long, wide flat green bean. But these were yellow, like a wax bean!
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Re: What's cooking?

Postby Warren T » Sun Jul 25, 2010 8:31 pm

Jenise wrote:
ChefJCarey wrote:
to be a roasted pork loin on the bone, frenched


I'd be careful about licking that raw pork, Jenise.


Oh dear, there went my tea! ROFL.


I won't go into details, but I'm still traumatized by the smoothie in which the frozen sausage looked an awful lot like the frozen bananas. The brutal grind in the magic bullet blender should have cued me in, but didn't.
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Re: What's cooking?

Postby Warren T » Mon Jul 26, 2010 2:26 am

Raw pork, the sure-fire thread killer and the other white meat.
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Re: What's cooking?

Postby Jenise » Mon Jul 26, 2010 8:58 am

Warren T wrote:I won't go into details, but I'm still traumatized by the smoothie in which the frozen sausage looked an awful lot like the frozen bananas. The brutal grind in the magic bullet blender should have cued me in, but didn't.


That's just how good those magic bullets are. I hope you chose the yellow cup. :)

You remind me, wait until Lars and I tell you about what happened during the sixth, or was it sixteenth, course at dinner last week on Lummi Island. A sausage WAS harmed in the making of that movie.
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