Tuesday, 8 November 2011

A Trisected History of Rap

Not really sure how I missed this when they first came out but I have since made up for it I promise! I have to give considerable kudos to  the talent on these. Justin Timberlake, already recognised as somewhat a comic genius and quite the media darling. But the surprise for those of outside the US, is how incredible Jimmy Fallon is.  A real step away from the usual level of talent from the plethora of late night show presenters that are so popular there.

I loved the trip down memory lane with some of these, the arrangement is very clever, some great iconic tracks represented and pretty fly for a couple of white guys!  (humour: this is not a political statement. Living in Sydney I have learned hip hop has no colour bar which is awesome).

So here they are to save you having to search for them. Enjoy! (before they get pulled again!)




Posted via email from @RadhikaR's Internal Dialogue

Friday, 4 November 2011

Cook's Thesaurus: Indian Spices

ajwain = ajwain seed = carom seed = bishop's weed = ajowan = ajowan seed = ajwon = ajwan  Pronunciation:   AHJ-a-wahn  Notes:   These look like small caraway seeds, but they taste like a pungent version of thyme.  Indian cooks like to sprinkle them on breads.  Look for them in Indian markets.  Substitutes:  dried thyme (use more) OR cumin OR caraway

ajowan (seed)  See ajwain.

amchoor = amchur = umchoor = green mango powder = aamchur = amchor = dried green mango = dried mango powder   Notes:   This is made from sun-dried mangoes, and it's used as a souring agent or to tenderize meats.  Indian or Middle Eastern grocery stores carry it.  Substitutes:  lemon juice OR lime juice OR tamarind OR chopped fresh mango (use more) OR chopped fresh papaya (use more)

amchur  See amchoor


asafetida [ah-sah-FEH-teh-dah] = asafoetida powder = asafoetida = hing = devil's dung = ferula = foetida = food of the gods = heeng = imguva    This powdered gum resin imparts a very strong onion-garlic flavor to Indian dishes. Use it sparingly—a little goes a long way.  Look for it in Indian or health food stores or in the spice section of larger supermarkets.  Substitutes:  omit it from the recipe OR garlic powder OR onion powder

asfetida  See asafetida (powder)

bishop's weed  See ajwain

black cardamom  See brown cardamom.

black cumin seeds = royal cumin seeds = kala jeera = shahi jeera = saah jeera  Pronunciation:   KUH-min   Notes:   Indian cooks use this spice in many of their curries and tandoori dishes.  It's darker and sweeter than ordinary cumin.  To bring out its nutty flavor, it helps to toast the seeds briefly before using them.   Substitutes:  cumin (Not as sweet as black cumin.) OR nigella

black mustard seeds  Notes:   Indian cooks prefer these over the larger yellow mustard seeds that are more common in the west.  Look for this in Indian markets or health food stores.  Substitutes: brown mustard seeds (very close) OR yellow mustard seeds

black onion seeds  See nigella

brown cardamom = black cardamom  Notes:  Pods of this spice are sold in Indian markets. Some recipes call for the entire pod to be used, others call for the ground seeds. Don't confuse this with the more common (green) cardamom, which comes in round green or tan pods.  Substitutes:  cardamom

brown mustard seeds   Notes:   These are smaller and hotter than the yellow mustard seeds that most western cooks are familiar with.  Look for this in Indian markets.  Substitutes: black mustard seeds (very close) OR yellow mustard seeds

carom seed  See ajwain

curcuma = Indian saffron  Substitutes:  saffron

devil's dung  See asafetida (powder)

fenugreek = fenugreek seeds = methi = halba   Pronunciation:  FEN-you-greek  Notes:  This adds an earthy flavor to curries, chutneys, and sauces.  It's available as seeds or powder, and you can usually find it in Indian and Middle Eastern markets.   If it's not available, just leave it out of the recipe.  

ferula  See asafetida (powder)

foetida  See asafetida (powder)

food of the gods  See asafetida (powder)

habasoda  See nigella

halba  See fenugreek.

heeng  See asafetida (powder)

hing (powder)  See asafetida (powder)

imguva  See asafetida (powder).

Indian saffron  See curcuma.

kala jeera  See black cumin seeds

kalonji    See nigella

ketza  See nigella.

methi   See fenugreek.

nigella = black onion seeds = kalonji = calonji = habasoda = ketza = black caraway  Pronunciation:  ni-JELL-uh  Notes:   This has a subtle flavor that's often used to enhance vegetable dishes.  To bring out the flavor, it helps to toast the seeds briefly before using them.  Substitutes:  cumin seeds OR sesame seeds OR oregano

pomegranate seeds = anardana  Notes:   Bits of pomegranate pulp remain on the seeds as they dry, so they're a bit sticky and serve as a souring agent in Indian cuisine.  The seeds also come ground.  

royal cumin seeds  See black cumin seeds

shahi jeera  See black cumin seeds.

white poppy seeds = kas-kas  Notes:  Indian cooks use these as a thickener in their curries and as a filling in baked goods.   Substitutes:  poppy seeds (black)


Copyright © 1996-2005  Lori Alden

Handy reference if you are wondering what to get at an Indian grocer.

Posted via email from @RadhikaR's Internal Dialogue

No that's not a chapatti... now this is a chapatti

Loving the randomness that the online world brings I enjoyed getting an email this morning demonstrating the making of GIANT chapattis. If you aren't already familiar, chapattis are a North Indian flat bread cooked over an open flame or or tawa (hot griddle or pan). I grew up calling them 'roti' and from watching this and many other videos this is exactly how we make them (some internet searches will suggest that chapattis are the triangular multi layered bread but anyone from Malaysia would know that as 'roti'). At the end of the day it doesn't bloody matter, they taste good, are a labour of love and are not gluten free.

This style of chapatti making is prevalent in Pakistan and as you can imagine one would feed many many people. After burning my fingers more times than I can care to mention, I am in awe of these men who no doubt have no feeling left in theirs and manage to handle the dough and the chapatti that looks like it is meant to be worn rather than eaten. Great way to stay warm in bitter winters!  I have also seen this type of chapatti called "roomali" which I can only guess is a reference to it resembling a giant handkerchief (if you know please leave a comment!).

This video captures a Pathan from Pakistan demonstrating this skillful art.

Don't you love the similarities to skillful pizza dough making? Watching how flat breads are made around the world is one my favourite pastimes.  I even use a Mexican hotplate as a tawa as I couldn't access decent Indian grocer when I needed one and 15 years later it is still going strong. The weight of it is ideal and it has a handle.

Guess it wouldn't be fair to leave you without a recipe right?  Kneading this hot dough was such a pleasure on really cold Wellington days!


  • 1 1/2 cup white flour
  • 3/4 wholemeal (you can replace both of these with 'atta' flour which is now available in Australia - especially Masterchef fans who may recognise the brand promoted by Jimmy)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 75g unsalted butter or ghee (preferable)
  • 1 cup boiling water (it has to be boiling)

Melt ghee/butter and rub into the flour and salt. Try to moisten as much of the flour with the ghee as possible. Slowly pour the boiling water (which kicks off the kneading process) and commence kneading the dough. This is a dough that really benefits from being well kneaded till you have a soft dough. Set aside for 30 mins.  

Good time to start heating up your griddle/frying pan/tawa. I keep melted ghee ready for cooking but health watchers may like to minimise the use of this to a light brush at the end (or use a paper towel soaked then squeezed of ghee to pat on).  Heat it up so there is a decent even heat, then turn down low to start cooking.

Knead the dough again and form into pingpong size balls. Roll in your hands to get to this shape. Flatten the ball between your palms before rolling out thinly on a floured surface. Breakfast plate size is large enough.

Throw the rolled out chapatti onto the griddle, when it starts to show heat bubbles at the top, turn it over.  Leave it on this side for a bit longer, use your finger tips to rotate in the griddle to even heat it. When bubbles start to form, use a clean teatowel folded up in your hand to gently push the air around to fill the rest of the chapatti (the true test of a great chappatti maker is being able to get that sucker to fill with air before deflating - a sign your dough is good!). Turn over and finish cooking. You are looking for a light speckled finish. Quickly brush with ghee and place on a plate or a roti container (lined with lunchpaper). As they stack the heat from each will keep the bread soft.

Your mastery will be assessed by having a soft, pliable roti that is not too thick and dry! It increases your marriageability status also!

Tip: To help reduce the amount of ghee/butter needed add a little yoghurt to the dough (e.g 1 tbslp to every 2 cups flour). Helps keep the dough very soft and roll out easily. Let me know how you go!

Posted via email from @RadhikaR's Internal Dialogue