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Old 10-04-2004, 06:22 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by WayneT
aruzinsky was inquiring about my heritage. Well I am not Indian and I am not Aboriginal Australian even though I am Australian born and live in Sydney. My mothers side are German and My fathers side is Irish, with his mother actually being an Irish Jewess. Work that out.
Well if my strong opinion on Sesame seed oil is all you have to worry about in life you will be cruising through. I was only trying to help people who like me appreciate challenges in cooking and in life.

OK, that's it, no more Mr Nice Guy, sesame seed oil back in the cupboard. But don't come crying to me when all your friends start ignoring your Chinese banquet invitations and start hanging out in the restaurants again savouring the tastes and aroma of sesame seed oil blended in with those other wonderful asian flavours and aromas. I hope you don't criticise people who choose to use Szechuan peppercorns in their Szechuan recipes or Paprika in their Goulash. Yes, I do diversify and mix and match my recipes and ingredients, but I also like authenticity at times.
:? Where? I don't want to know anyone's heritage. You must be confusing me with Yakuta.

Your point about sesame oil is interesting because you seem to be saying that it is an authentic ingredient that is missing from older cookbooks, but found in newer ones. It is my experience that authentic ingredients are usually missing from newer books and found in older books.

Back in the old days, wasn't sesame oil available in Chinese grocery stores? When I go into ethnic Gocery stores, I often bother the clerks (assuming they speak English) with questions like, "What do you use this for"? I learn a lot that way.

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Old 10-04-2004, 06:48 PM   #22
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:? Where? I don't want to know anyone's heritage. You must be confusing me with Yakuta.
Please accept my appology. I was suffering computer burnout when I posted that reply and at the time I couldn't remember the posters name, so I just hit the back button and cut and pasted, but alas, I cut and pasted the wrong name. From now on I will be using the 'Quote' facility. The original message from Yakuta was directly under mine and I hastily assumed Yakuta was referring to me. Once again sorry. I have since edited my original message.

Yeah, sure, Sesame oil was available, so were a lot of other ingredients and cooking implements. I was, if you read all of my posting, referring to the fact that I was unaware of how important it was in Chinese cooking. Also in Australia we did not have Chinese grocery stores on every corner so unless one ventured into Chinatown in the very heart of Sydney and perhaps other capital cities one did not see these things. Besides, who cooked Chinese at home anyway, then, except Chinese people. Charmain's book (the original, not the one I pictured in my message) awakened me to this. Anyway, that is the way things turned out for me, so maybe it is time to move on, there are more important things to do, like eating..

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Old 10-04-2004, 07:03 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by WayneT
:? Where? I don't want to know anyone's heritage. You must be confusing me with Yakuta.
Please accept my appology. I was suffering computer burnout when I posted that reply and at the time I couldn't remember the posters name, so I just hit the back button and cut and pasted, but alas, I cut and pasted the wrong name. From now on I will be using the 'Quote' facility. Once again sorry.
No apology was necessary; the explanation suffices.
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Old 10-06-2004, 12:23 PM   #24
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"One of the few Indian Cookbooks that I have enjoyed is Sameen Rushdie's (Salman's sister). It's out of print and hard to find but the recipes are good. It doesn't have chicken tikka masala though."

writen by: scott123

In reply:

1. I am not familiar with Ms Rushdies's work. Perhaps she never spent any time working in a tandoori takeaway in Camden and the omission is due to this lack of cullinary experience.

On the other hand, it may be because it is a book about recipes for Indian food, and consequently would not include this piece of Anglo-nonsense. Chicken Tikka Masala has the same relationship to Indian cooking as a Chicago deep dish pizza pie does to a pizza Napoletana. There is some connection somewhere, but exactly what it is is hard to define.

Chicken Tikka Masala is a classic example of what happens to a sophisticated and cultured foreign cuisine when it is "on-shored" to England.

Firstly, by far and away the majority of "Indian" restaurants in England are in fact run by Bangladeshis, whose natural background would be in the cooking of Bengal. This is not by any means the same as the court cooking of the Moghul Empire and the princely states of central and southern India. In other words, a great deal of "Indian" cooking in England is being done by people for whom it is nearly as foreign as it would be for the Spanish to be making Finish food. Innevitably, different cooking styles are applied to dishes to which they should not be, and by sheer force of numbers and lack of choice become accepted as the reality when in fact they are anything but. This is not to say that there is no genuine Indian cooking in England. It is, in fact all arround. But it is in the homes of Indians, Pakistanis, and Bangladeshis. It rarely comes out to play.

Secondly, the Bangladeshi restaurant owners, being expert businessmen first and foremost, realised that profits depend on giving people what they want. And what the average English customer wants is something that is recognisably foreign. That is to say, it is not the real thing, but is in fact something very familiar that tastes/smells slightly foreign, but not enough to put you off or require an adventurous gastronomic approach. So, Chicken Tikka Masala becomes a standard piece of tasteless filler in the same way that an American hamburger in England has become a thinly disguised piece of virtually poisonous shoe leather. Low expectations produce low quality input. Gresham's law prevails in all things.

So please do not confuse Chicken Tikka Masala with Indian cooking. It is, quintessentially, English, an absorption of half understood ideas and words into English life like "pajamas", and "thug", where the meanings shift almost as soon as they are spoken.

The origin of Chiken Tika Masala, like all urban myths is shrouded in mystery. But it is beleived that the true version of it's birth goes something like this:

A customer (with friends) at his local Indian restaurant, after having first consumed at his local (pub) the mandatory 10 pints of lager required to preceed an Indian meal, ordered and recieved a chiken tikka (a chicken kebab, itself of doubtful origin). However, on this occasion it struck him as too dry, and after the normal and expected altercation with the waiter (the details of which are best imagined, but are an essential part of this traditional form of improvised public street theater), sent the offending chicken tikka back to the kitchen.

The chef, knowing that the tradditional rules of the game required him to ensure that the customer accepted and ate the original dish served, albeit in disguise, grabbed the first thing available, a can of Campbell's Tomato Soup, and placing the discarded tikka into a wok, reheated the same and poured the can of tomato soup over it. With a handful of fresh coriander the dish was re-served to universal acclaim. Honour was satisfied, and the English team left thinking that they had scored. Only upon later reading the official results did they see:

Bangladesh 1, England 0, a result which still stands today.

This story may be slightly appocraphal, but it is widely believed to be close to the truth.

2. And now on a more serious and constructive note, I have recently acquired a new middle eastern cookbook. It is by no means a substitute for Claudia Roden, but it seems a quite comprehensive guide to a distinct area of the middle east, containing quite a number of recipes not included in Roden's wider reaching work.


The Morrocan Collection

Hilaire Walden

Hamlyn, London, ISBN 0 600 60584 1

I commend it to you.



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