Tag: India

Cuisine of India: I need a road map

bhelpuriI have stepped into the grand adventure of teaching myself how to cook the cuisine of the subcontinent India. It is not an easy task, and involves hours of research, reading, and learning techniques in the kitchen. Mostly it is a language barrier.

During the research process, I have discovered that terminology is specific to region. Names of ingredients and processes are different, but mean the same thing. And that can be terribly confusing for someone trying to learn how to cook new foods.

The prime example is the backbone of India cuisine, Masala. But what is it, and how do you define it? Wikipedia says “any spice mixture.” And that can mean either a dry spice mix, or a cooked  spice mix. But how is it determined? Almost every website I read has a different kind of description for the same thing. Masala can be a wet or dry spice mix. chaat is a dry mixture, punjabi is a wet mixture. However, more identification of regions is necessary for my American head to wrap around. I am trying to learn something on my own, that most Indian cooks know instinctively, through language and region. read more

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Spices: Saffron

SaffronSaffron is the most expensive spice in the world today. It can cost as much as $300.00 U.S dollars an ounce. This is because the part of the plant that is used must be hand-harvested.

Saffron is harvested from the three stigmas of the Crocus Sativus flower. The flower has to be hand picked, the stigma removed, and then separated. There is no machine that will do this job. Only human hands are capable of picking the threads without damaging them.

What’s in the name? Saffron is from the Arabic word zafaran which means ‘yellow’. The French culinary term safrané means ‘coloured using saffron’. The colouring properties of Saffron have been prized as much as its unique flavor.

Where does Saffron come from? It spread out from Ancient Persia, down through the Mediterranean peninsula, and up into China, and throughout India, where it was quickly adopted for dying Buddhist monk robes and anointing deities.

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Books by Chef Johnna

  • Delectable Vegan Soups -------------------------------------------------------
  • Things Vegans Fry: Crunchy Comfort Food for Vegans

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