I am sending this picture to CLICK: Yellow for Bri.
Goa: a sliver of a state on the West coast of India, consisting of beach after beach after beach, and some beautiful temples and churches and the winding Mandovi river as well. It is one of my favorite places in the whole wide world, with so many water bodies. Last time my parents were there, they picked up this very touristy (and cute) drawstring bag with some typical Goan spice mixes. They said it was a gift "for the blog". Friends and family have nearly stopped giving me gifts- now they keep an eye out for food-related stuff and give gifts to One Hot Stove instead! Anyway, the drawstring bag was coaxed into the luggage of their friends and winged its way to me. I was thrilled to bits, needless to say :)
Inside are four neatly packaged spice mixes, all representing the typical curries of Goa. As it happens, they are all meat/fish curries, but my mother wrote a note saying that it would not be too difficult for me to come up with some meatless versions and "show them on the blog" (blog var dakhav). So that's exactly what I plan to do. Note that none of the recipes I will be making from these spice mixes are authentic in the least; they are simply my own adaptations. Each packet has a recipe on the back. The first one that I am using today is the Goan fish curry masala.
Unfortunately, the packets don't list the spices included in the spice mix. This fish curry spice mix was a brilliant shade of red and the aroma was mostly of fiery dried red chillies. A look at similar recipes on a few different blogs shows that the predominant dry spices used are chillies, coriander seeds, turmeric and peppercorns, so those of you who want to try this at home could blend these spices and give it a try.
I converted the fish curry recipe into one for egg curry, because egg curry is certainly one of my weaknesses. My mom reminded me that fried slices of tubers (such as yam) are very reminiscent of the texture of fish (but none of the other aspects of fishiness that make me not want to eat the real thing), and that might make for an interesting curry too. I'll try that sometime when I have yam on hand. Here's the recipe, adapted from the back of the spice packet.
Goan-inspired Egg CurryIngredients:
4 hard-boiled eggs
2 t oil
2 medium onions, sliced thinly
1 fresh green chilli, slit lengthwise
1 t ginger-garlic paste
1 C coconut milk (fresh or canned)
1 heaped T tamarind pulp
1 T Goan fish curry masala (or to taste)
Salt to taste
1. Using some hot water, extract the tamarind juice and set aside.
2. Heat the oil in a saucepan. Fry the onions and green chilli until the onions are translucent and browning slightly.
3. Add the ginger-garlic paste and stir for a minute.
4. Add the coconut milk, tamarind juice, masala and salt. Simmer for 5-10 minutes.
5. Peel the eggs and slice into quarters. Add the eggs gently into the curry and simmer for a few more minutes.
I served the curry with some freshly steamed rice and a bright salad (red bell pepper, cucumber, lettuce, lemon juice, freshly ground pepper, salt). This was a weekday dinner that came together in no time at all. The egg curries I usually make contain tomato, and this tomato-less one was wonderful, with the tamarind adding its unique sweet-tangy flavor. The spice mix is tasty without tasting too complicated and "busy", if you know what I mean, and I really enjoyed the simple flavors. I will be using each of the other three spice mixes in the coming weeks, so watch out for weird adaptations of xacuti, vindaloo and cafreal!
I am convinced that knitting is an infectious disease! A few people have been sending me comments and e-mails asking me what resources were helpful as I started to knit. I am taking something of a just-in-time approach to learning to knit, picking up each stitch and method as I need it in various projects. Here are the resources that helped me immensely:
1. Learning a few basic stitches from a friend was the only reason why I even started knitting in the first place. If you don't have a friend who knits, consider taking beginner classes at a local craft or yarn store.
2. Ravelry is the most incredible resource ever.
3. Books: The Vogue Knitting book is my textbook. A friend tells me that she learned to knit all by herself from the Stitch 'n Bitch book. Your local library will have plenty of knitting books so check them out (no pun intended).
4. Knitting videos. A web search will yield many other sites for knitting videos, including several on YouTube.
There are other resources like knitting blogs (of course!) and knitting e-newsletters that I am only now starting to look into.
Want to see my latest projects? Here, I am trying my hand at simple lace designs:
After a dozen cloths, I am finally working on my first full-size garment, a summer vest. I'll show it to you when I am finished with it, hopefully in the next week or so!
Enjoy your weekend, everyone.