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Old 02-25-2005, 09:56 AM   #11
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I'm with Mudbug! I do have a quite old Indian cookbook that I use for reference (The Bengal Lancers Indian Cookbook by Mohan Chablani and Brahm Dixit), and have almost given up on Indian from Scratch (especially if you use the recommendation that you toss any spice over 3 mos old, if you don't cook Indian at least weekly you'll find yourself throwing spices in the trash constantly). So I use a lot of blends and jarred sauces, chutneys and pickles from Pataks line, then zip it up with one good dish or spice that Yakuta comes up with. I've found that those black mustard seeds really add a different dimension in texture that I just love!

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Old 02-25-2005, 01:04 PM   #12
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Hi Claire to tell you the truth even though I do cook Indian food quite a bit I prefer not to buy any of the spice powders (the only one I buy is turmeric and paprika). I like to buy whole spices because they last so much longer.

The list of spices for Indian can be quite elaborate/daunting as you know but here are a few basic ones you can keep and they will last you for a year if not more.

Cinnamon sticks
Cardamom pods
Black Peppercorns (you may already have these)
Dried Red Arabol chillies (available quite readily)
Whole Cumin Seeds
Whole Corrainder Seeds
Whole black mustard seeds (I am hooked on these and I can't imagine cooking many things without them. I actually have a chicken curry recipe that uses these and it is Oh soo good)
Curry Leaves (buy them and store them in the freezer). They turn black but the unique flavor will stay. I would never use dried ones. I actually have a small plant of this that stays on my kitchen counter
Whole fenugreek seeds (if you find them or else skip them)

These ingredients will do. You normally dry roast and grind them for most of the Indian recipes. It's how you mix them that changes the flavor of the dish.

Boy am I glad I have a large walk in pantry. You should see the number of spices I have. Since I cook so many different kinds of things my pantry is overflowing with various ingredients but on the positive side in an emergency I seldom run out to buy something.

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Old 02-26-2005, 09:52 PM   #13
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Are you saying that you use FRESH black mustard seed, picked from a plant?

How difficult was it to grow? Where did you get the seed?

I cook curry ( or some middle eastern dish) three times a week. Running out is normally of more concern re spices.

I have an Indian grocer not too fay away, so I can get yard beans, egg plant ( the white, egg shaped ones), bitter gourd, yams, 4 or 5 diferent kinds of chillies, all the spices ( except cellery seed), Indian pre packaged food, etc.

He also caters for an African community.
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Old 02-27-2005, 12:20 AM   #14
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Hi Darkstream, no I was talking about fresh curry leaves. I have a plant that I ordered from a greenhouse in Pennsylvania. It is called Murraya Koeniji - botanical name.

The black mustard seeds are something you just buy in the store but what I was saying is that it adds that complex flavor to a dish that cannot be paralleled. It's best to temper them in hot oil with fresh curry leaves before you add any other ingredients. For example I cook spicy poatotes where I first heat oil until it's really hot. Then I add the black mustard seeds, curry leaves and some dried red chillies. Then I reduce the heat and then add other ingredients. The flavor the mustard seeds add to the oil is very unique.
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Old 02-27-2005, 07:22 AM   #15
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Very VERY interesting.

I certainly know about using whole mustard seed. In fact obtaining black mustard seed is virtually impossible today (because unlike white or brown it has to be hand harvested, therefore expensive). The stuff that is sold "as" black mustard is in fact the brown, which has a coarser flavour.

But as regards curry leaves, I buy them fresh from said grocer, and freeze them.

BUT, I wonder, if I could find a fresh sprig, would it root?

Grow on a window sill?

I have recently bought a bay tree. What a diference in flavour.
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Old 02-27-2005, 05:17 PM   #16
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Darkstream you are right - my bad the mustard seeds are dark brown but most Indians will call them black.

As far as curry plant goes it's best to get a rooted plant. I have tried to plant it many times and it never takes root. I have a small pot right close to the window (my window has no sill). It is a rather slow growing plant but it's a good thing to have if you cook Indian food.
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Old 02-28-2005, 12:33 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Ishbel
Madhur Jaffrey - any of her books!

I agree
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Old 03-01-2005, 11:35 PM   #18
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Indian Cuisine

Thank you to all who have posted replies. I am a great experimentor when it comes to cuisine and love to hear from those of the same ilk. Keep up the replies, and Darkstream, I am on the search for the publication you recommended...please explain the extended version of Middlesex publishing? Warm regards to all! Lori
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Old 03-02-2005, 09:36 AM   #19
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It is the name of an English county lying slightly to the west of London. It is part of the publisher's address. Just remove the * to get the spelling.

It is printed in that format because English counties like E*S*S*E*X, M*I*D*D*L*E*S*E*X, S*U*S*S*E*X, W*E*S*S*E*X are rendered as:

Middlesex, Sussex, Essex, Wessex by the idiot savant that runs this forum.

I hope that the extinction of this excessive and uneccessary prurience will be one of the benefits that Andy R will be delivering.

People should try and understand that the English were Anglo Saxons before they became french. Most of them still are or are Viking.
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Old 03-02-2005, 10:21 AM   #20
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Just to correct - there is no current county of W E ss EX.... Like a lot of the old counties such as Westmoreland, it is no more.... However, the area of the SW that it covered is still referred to as Wessex in some books and publications. If it confuses the natives, what chance foreigners?

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