June 25, 2005

Dhokla Deluxe

I have to admit it, I've always been scared of Indian food... not the ingesting (although after a lamb saag and too much onion kulcha, my tummy does feel a slightly weighed down), but attempting to make it!

For example...

Ingredients :

50 gm lamb (cleaned & washed)
100gm toovar washed - HUH?
75 gm masoor dal washed - umm...
30 gm ghee
150 gm chopped onion
2tbsp ginger garlic paste
100gm red pumpkin peeled & diced
100 gm brinjal peeled & diced - WHO?
100 gm potatoes diced
50 gm sweet potatoes diced
30 gm fenugreek leaves chopped/spinach
30 gm coriander leaves chopped
200gm tomatoes chopped
8 pepper corn
2-3 green chilli chopped
1tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp dhania powder - uh, ok?
1.5litres water
30 gm tamarind pulp

Dhansak masala (grind to paste) :
2 garlic
60 gm ginger
6 nos kashmiri dry chilli
1tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1stick cinnamon stick
2 cardamom
3 cloves

Spices! The spices! Nevermind trying to get the right ingredient, but the magnitude of how many are required per dish, (I'm guessing on average .. uh ... 20!), always ensured that I'd be a regular take out customer at India Clay Oven in San Francisco. (By the way, Moroccan food phobia too for the same reason). I am in full-awe of anyone who cooks Indian food, utterly and completely.

But, I decided this weekend, it was time to bite the bullet, get the chillis and curry out baby! I'm going to cook some Indian!

(Ok, maybe not whole-hog-like, just make my first attempt with some fairly easy stuff... dhokla and chana masala).

I first tasted dhokla at a friend's baby shower, yummy stuff. I think it's made from chickpea flour and spices. The batter is steamed (which makes it light and fluffy) and cut into squares with more spices and coriander sprinkled on top. It kind of reminds me of cornbread (in appearance).

I did look online for a dhokla recipe (from scratch), but even something that simple looked scary-like, so I opted for the pre-boxed version (not cheating really, cuz I still had to actually make the batter, steam it and figure out the spices on top part) ... small steps, small steps. Plus, who could pass up "Gits" brand! hee.

dhokla box.JPG

So I followed the recipe, mixed flour, water, and 150ml of oil (!) YOWZA! It was about a cup and a half pure oil. (Side note: I have cousins who are 1/2 Spanish, 1/2 Chinese who had visited and brought amazing olive oil from Spain, which ended up being the only oil I had in the house. It was kinda nice to think that I was mixing all these multi-international ingredients!)

Good good, mix mix, but then the BIG question was, how the heck to steam batter? Apparently you're suppose to spread the batter in a baking pan and steam it ... ???

Hmm...

Solution: rice cooker! Dhokla - Chinese steamed cooking style. It was a little hard trying to figure out how long to steam it for, but I just let it bubble away until it looked good. The fun part was frying up some mustard seed, some indian spice thingey and chopping the coriander.

The result - (I didn't manage to cut it into squares, more like scooped it out, ... slightly too salty (the original mix), but yummy!)

dohlka.JPG

shirl_dohlka.JPG

Chana masala - I just bought a packet of the spices and added all the chickpeas, etc. myself. I also added a little Asian touch by putting in tofu.

chana masala.JPG

Oh, also found this Indian recipes site with some great recipes.

Posted by slin at 03:48 PM

June 23, 2005

Huh.

Just been thinking about this lately.

Blogs are a funny phenomenon aren't they? They come in all shapes and sizes, from the inane to the surreal, detailing monotonous aspects of a person's life to a place where people share stories, facts, figures, crafts, politiks, anger, empathy, fetishes and experiences ...

I don't really know why I have a blog.

I guess people have them for diverse reasons, maybe the feeling that you're so important that someone wants to read what you have to say. Or maybe that you just want to share. Or possibly that it's just your own record of your own thoughts. Maybe it's like talking to the friend that always listens, but can't really respond (so by default they always understand what you're saying -- good reason not to have a Comments option on the blog - ha!)

I think that if I had to choose, it would be a little bit of the reporting thang. But the funny thing is, I'm waay too 'guarded' to totally share and what's going on on here [blog] isn't really what's going on in here [pointing to my head].

But that's the great thing of it, isn't it? It doesn't have to.

It's a bit of fun. It's a bit of documentation. It's a place to record, (so what if the close family and friends I harass are the only ones that read it!)

It's a nice outlet, a personal place to do whatever you want with it, to say whatever you want, and just be whatever you want.

And so it continues...

Posted by slin at 04:37 PM

June 16, 2005

Linomen

So I worked on multiple linocuts recently, carving out different figures and then sort of using the stamp effect to make a scene.

I finally got a piece together that I really like, a sort of party scene, but my camera broke, so sorry no pics. But I do have the test print I did to check out if the 'stamps' would come out.

linofaces_small.jpg

I kinda like it, it's all wrinkled now but I think I like the effect!

It'll be on show (the final piece) at my very first EVER art show!

SF Open Studios
October 9/10 - Reception
Up all of October at Market Street Gallery

Stay tuned ...

Posted by slin at 09:55 PM

June 12, 2005

Italiano

It's been a while since my last entry, just finished a whirlwind tour returning from Torbole at Lake Garda, Italy from Sue & Ben's amazing wedding!

What an adventure, we had our own mini Amazing Race landing into Brescia/Bergamo airport via the fantastically cheap Ryan Air. We had no idea where we were going and absolutely no idea how to get there. All we knew was get to Atlantic Club Hotel, Lake Garda, (by the way, when they charge you 55 Euros, it's per person, not per room).

So you'd think that travelling 100 miles to Lake Garda would be what? Two, three hours at the most? ... uh try SEVEN HOURS, 3 buses, 1 taxi (and a partridge in a pear tree)...

gardamap.jpg

But the great thing was that it was SO much fun!! Tom got to try his long-forgotten Italian on the locals (which consisted of "Hi, please speak English!?") - ha! It really was a fun way to see Italy, in s-l-o-w m-o-t-i-o-n ... we mixed with the locals, got lost and generally crawled our way to our final destination. We were just so proud of ourselves cuz we cut off a whole hour on the way back. ONLY 6 hours, 4 buses and a train ... now that's progress!

Some choice pics:

Windsurfers paradise

windsurfers2.jpg

Malcesine Castle

pointy.jpg

Mainstreet Torbole

lakegardastreet.jpg

Dogs in Your Crotch?

twomenbig.jpg

Check out the rest of the pics on the Ben & Sue Wedding photo album complete with Malcesine Castle wedding.

Posted by slin at 10:57 PM