Showing posts with label ginger. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ginger. Show all posts

Dec 17, 2018

Date and Ginger Gems

Chewy dates, spicy ginger, and sparkling sugar give these cookies a festive flair. Their natural sweetness and moist texture make them the perfect anytime treat or holiday gift!

I've been looking for the perfect recipe to showcase these Khalas dates from the UAE and this is it! Khalas are one of over 250 varieties of dates grown throughout the Middle East. They are one of the most popular dates due to their high sugar content, rich caramel-like flavor, and tender flesh. Amazingly enough, they are less than $5USD a pound here in Nepal and come beautifully hand-packed in a resealable tub. (No, this not an advertisement nor sponsored post for Date Crown- these are really a fabulous product!)
I also wanted to utilize this "new to me" product in a recipe, date syrup. Date syrup is made from cooked down dates and is commonly used in the Middle East in everything from chicken dishes to desserts. Molasses is a rarity in South Asia and I was curious to see if date syrup would work in baked goods in its place. It does! The flavor is a bit lighter than burnt sugar taste of molasses, but not as caramel-like as golden syrup. It perfectly compliments the chopped dates, brown sugar, and the double dose of fiery ginger (both fresh and dried) in this cookie recipe. If you can't find date syrup where you are at in the world you can try making your own or just use molasses instead. I was going to take more photos of these cookies but my family ate them before I had a chance. Guess that's a testament to how truly yummy these are! I'll be sure to make these Date and Ginger Gems for Eid as well as Christmas from now on! Off to the recipe:

2 C flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 TBS ground ginger
1/2 C butter
1/2 C date syrup (or molasses)
1/2 tsp salt
2 TBS fresh ginger, grated or minced
1/2 C brown sugar, packed
1 C chopped dates
1 egg, beaten
1/2 C coarse or sanding sugar for rolling

Here's what to do:
1) In a medium saucepan, melt together butter, date syrup or molasses, 1/2 teaspoon salt, brown sugar, and fresh ginger. Stir in the dates. Remove from burner and allow to cool for about 10 minutes.

2) While the above mixture is cooling, in a medium-sized mixing bowl combine the flour, baking soda, and ground ginger.

3) Add cooled butter mixture to flour mixture, stirring just enough to combine. Add beaten egg to dough and stir in just enough to combine. Refrigerate dough covered for at least 30 minutes.

4) When ready to bake, line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone mat and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

5) Put the coarse or sanding sugar in a small bowl. Scoop tablespoonfuls of the dough and roll into 1-inch balls. Coat each ball in coarse or sanding sugar and place on prepared baking sheet.

6) Bake each batch for 7-9 minutes. Allow to cool on a rack. Keep in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks. Makes 3 dozen.

Anyone else doing any holiday baking?
What are you baking? 
I want to know it all!
(Especially any date related recipes!)
Let me know in the comments....
Calmly currying on,

Nov 27, 2017

Perfume Review: Twilly D'Hermès

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On our recent trip to Delhi, I had a chance to try the new fragrance: Twilly D'Hermès. I'm not a big Hermès fan but the simplistic notes listed for this new fragrance intrigued me- ginger, tuberose, and sandalwood. And who could resist this campaign spiel:

"The scent of the Hermès girls, Twilly d'Hermès is a daring fragrance woven with striking ginger and sensual tuberose—floral, spicy, and oriental. Ginger, tuberose, and sandalwood are given a new twist. Combined differently, they become searing spice, a disconcerting attraction, a revelation of the carnal." 

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Grace Kelly: "It's Air-maysss, dahlings!"
Hermès is IMMENSELY popular in Asia nowadays. A Twilly is the iconic brand's long thin ribbon-like silk scarf. They are worn mostly by young fashionistas/os in all sorts of ways: as neck scarves, headbands, wristbands, belts, or purse accessories tied in a bow on the handle. Your bog-standard 32" x 2" Twilly costs about $160. I have seen many South Delhi Brats ferrying their Kellys, Lindys, and Birkins about with a Twilly festooning the handle. Apparently, youngsters find the Twilly less matronly than the 35" x 35" traditional Carré scarf. 

twilly, hermes, Twilly D'Hermès, perfume, review, polvolide, tuberose, sandalwood, ginger,
Start'em young, Hermès!
The ad certainly seems to target young girls. The campaign straddles the line between not too hip and not too twee. The bottle with its derby hat lid and jaunty silk necktie certainly suggests something stylish yet fun. Looks like the perfect fragrance for a young girl's first "grown-up" perfume. My initial thoughts were something along the lines of "Ooo! A bubblegummy tuberose paired with bright, lemony ginger? The American Bazooka brand bubblegum's original flavor is a mild ginger with vanilla.That actually sounds like an interesting twist on the floral-fruity genre. 
twilly, hermes, Twilly D'Hermès, perfume, review, polvolide, tuberose, sandalwood, ginger,
Christine Nagel
(Hey Goody! She's got your glasses!)

"It is with young women in mind, by observing their lives, that I created Twilly d’Hermès. Free, bold, and irreverent, they swim against the tide, impose their own rhythm, invent a brand new tempo."
- Christine Nagel

Christine Nagel is the new house perfume at Hermès replacing Jean-Claude Ellena. Mr. Ellena has developed Hermès' perfumery style as minimalistic, transparent, and focussed on a key accord. He usually achieved this by using copious amounts of the popular synthetic Iso E Super. Christine Nagel's style is apparent in her creations such as Armani Si, Versace WomanNarciso Rodriguez For Her, Karl Lagerfeld for Her, and Miss Dior Cherie.

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Upon two sprays applied to the inner wrist: A very earthy, peppery, ginger followed by a shrill, sweet orange blossom note that lingers for about 10 minutes then disappears. There's a green, herbaceous note that's almost licorice-y? After about twenty minutes all that's left is a bit of creamy sandalwood and a slightly vanillic musk. So I guessed the orange blossom was supposed to be the hint of tuberose washed clean of any trace of indoles. (Apparently, indoles are equated with 'old lady' perfumes in the younger set.) What was that earthy, peppery, herbaceous, licorice note that bunged up the lemony ginger?

twilly, hermes, Twilly D'Hermès, perfume, review, polvolide, tuberose, sandalwood, ginger,

A little internet research led me to determine that this note was a new synthetic musk called Polvolide from the Japanese company Soda Aromatics. Polvolide is a potent macrocyclic musk with a herbal-spicy, fennel-anisic side. According to the description on Soda Aromatics' website the musk's fragrance is also “luminous,” "like a flower suddenly blooming," and has a "powdery fragrance that Japanese people like." Musks are one of those strange molecules that seem to be perceived differently by everyone. Some people are completely anosmic to particular musks and some can only detect certain facets of them. Women’s sensitivity to musk is 1,000 times greater than men’s. Evidently, my olfactory bulb picks up on the fennel-anisic side of Polvolide and interprets its powderiness as vanillic. Your mileage may vary.

twilly, hermes, Twilly D'Hermès, perfume, review, polvolide, tuberose, sandalwood, ginger,
Will the young ladies love Twilly D'Hermès? I don't know. Thankfully it's not another hyper-sweet sugar bomb or pink fruitichouli like most other recent fragrances marketed for girls. It definitely wasn't "a revelation of the carnal" as the ad implied. I'm not a huge fan of Hermès' minimalistic and abstract fragrances anyway, I prefer a little bombast for my dollar.  I would give it kudos for originality though and would definitely like try it on my skin again. If only the ginger were the "searing spice" and the tuberose a "disconcerting attraction" as advertised.

Anyone else try Twilly D'Hermès? What did you think?
I hope all of my American readers had a lovely Thanksgiving!



Mar 1, 2017

Parsi Style Scrambled Eggs (Akuri)

akoori, akuri, cilantro, cili, cream, easy, eggs, garam masala, garlic, ginger, green chili, milk, parsi, Recipe, scrambled, tomato, parsi scrambled eggs, parsee,

Scrambled eggs take a spicy twist in this classic dish from the Parsi community of India. Ginger, garlic, green chilis, tomatoes, a hint of cilantro, and a pinch of garam masala make these eggs the ultimate breakfast for dinner. A quick and easy recipe that's ready in twenty minutes.

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Parsi scrambled eggs, akuri, or akoori is one of my favorite dishes to order when we eat out. So when I saw this recipe in Saveur a few years back I had to try making them myself. The Saveur recipe was a little different than what I've tasted in restaurants in India so I've tweaked it a bit. I've added ginger, turmeric, and garam masala because that's what I've tasted in restaurants here. The turmeric gives the eggs a brilliant color while the ginger and garam masala gives them a bit more Indian pep. I usually use a little milk in the recipe rather than cream simply because I rarely have cream on hand. Whether you choose to enjoy these Parsi scrambled eggs atop buttered toast with orange juice in the continental manner or with rice and rotis in the subcontinental way I'm sure you'll love'em!

4 eggs
3 TBS cooking oil or ghee
1/2 C onion, finely diced
2 tsp ginger/adrak paste
2 tsp garlic/lahsun paste
2-3 green chilis, finely chopped (omit for less heat)
1 tomato, finely diced
1/4 tsp garam masala or ground black pepper
1/4 tsp turmeric/haldi powder
2 TBS milk or cream
2 TBS cilantro/dhania leaves, chopped coarsely
optional for garnish- 2 TBS chopped cilantro/dhania leaves

Here's what to do:
1) Heat oil or ghee with one tesaspoon salt in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent. Add ginger, garlic, chiles, and tomatoes. Cook until tomatoes soften, about 5-6 minutes.

akoori, akuri, cilantro, cili, cream, easy, eggs, garam masala, garlic, ginger, green chili, milk, parsi, Recipe, scrambled, tomato, parsi scrambled eggs, parsee,

2) While onion mixture is cooking mix eggs, garam masala or black pepper, turmeric, milk or cream, and chopped cilantro together until thoroughly mixed. (Sometimes I cheat a little and run this through the mixie.) 
akoori, akuri, cilantro, cili, cream, easy, eggs, garam masala, garlic, ginger, green chili, milk, parsi, Recipe, scrambled, tomato, parsi scrambled eggs, parsee,

3) Add egg mixture to fried onion and tomato mixture in skillet with a half teaspoonful of salt. Mix well. 

akoori, akuri, cilantro, cili, cream, easy, eggs, garam masala, garlic, ginger, green chili, milk, parsi, Recipe, scrambled, tomato, parsi scrambled eggs, parsee,

4) Stir and cook egg mixture until set into soft curds, about 6 minutes. Transfer eggs to a platter. Garnish with cilantro sprinkled over eggs and serve hot with toast, rice, or as a fiiling for a kati roll or breakfast burrito.
akoori, akuri, cilantro, cili, cream, easy, eggs, garam masala, garlic, ginger, green chili, milk, parsi, Recipe, scrambled, tomato, parsi scrambled eggs, parsee,
Helpful Hints:
For breakfast on-the-go or a tea time treat we like to roll Parsi scrambled eggs in a roti with a dollop of chutney. This is sort of like the street food called a kati roll in Kolkata, a frankie in Mumbai, or a breakfast burrito in the United States.

Nov 4, 2016

Kashmiri Style Chicken Curry

Kashmiri Style Chicken Curry recipe curry indian authentic kashmir

From the beautiful vale of Kashmir comes this recipe for a brilliant red chicken curry. The warmth of traditional aromatic spices and crimson Kashmiri chilis are melded in a velvety yogurt based sauce. Crisply seared chicken is then simmered until meltingly tender in this richly aromatic sauce. The Kashmiris enjoy this dish garnished with dried mint or perhaps sultanas and cashews stirred in on special occasions.

Kashmiri Style Chicken Curry recipe curry indian authentic kashmir

This is our everyday chicken curry recipe. No, it not sweet, nor does it have any sugar in it, or coconut, or pineapple, or dried apricots like most of the abominations called Kashmiri chicken you'll find in restaurants. As is the traditional Kashmiri manner the chicken is first browned in salted oil and set aside. Browning the chicken in salted oil gives it a bit of a crispy salt crust as well as leaving delicious drippings for making the sauce. The sauce is quite soupy as it is served with rice like most Kashmiri dishes. The flavor is more aromatic than spicy hot with a bit of a tang from the yogurt. If you want to make it really fancy you can toss a handful of cashews or sultanas in about ten minutes before serving.

1kg/2lbs chicken, skinless and cut into 8 pieces with bone in
3 TBS cooking oil or ghee
2 onions, sliced thinly into half moons
1 TBS garlic/lahsun paste
1 TBS ginger/adrak paste
7 green cardamoms/elaichi, bruised with mortar and pestle
5 cloves/laung
2 inch piece of cassia bark/dalchini (or cinnamon stick)
10 black peppercorns/kali mirch, coarsely ground
1 tsp cumin/jeera seeds
2 tomatoes, diced finely or pureed
2 C water or stock
2 TBS sultanas (optional)
2 TBS cashews (optional)
1 TBS dried mint/pudina (optional for garnish)
Mix until smooth for sauce-
1 C yogurt/dahi
1/2 tsp flour/maida (this will keep the yogurt from splitting)
1 TBS Kashmiri mirch (or 1&1/2 tsp paprika plus 1&1/2 tsp cayenne powder)
2 tsp ground fennel/saunf
2 tsp ground coriander/dhania
1 tsp dry ginger/soonth
1/4 tsp turmeric/haldi

Here's what to do:
1) Heat cooking oil or ghee with 1 teaspoonful salt in kadhai or deep heavy bottomed skillet for 7 minutes. While oil is heating mix yogurt together with spices and flour as listed for gravy until smooth and set aside. Fry chicken pieces in hot oil or ghee for about 3 minutes on each side or until browned. Set fried chicken pieces aside on a plate.

2) In same pan fry sliced onions until beginning to brown. Add garlic paste, ginger paste, green cardamoms, cloves, cassia bark, black peppercorns, and cumin seeds. Fry for about 2 minutes or until raw smell is gone from garlic.

3) Add finely diced tomatoes and fry for about 2 minutes. Remove pan from heat and add yogurt mixed with flour and spices to fried tomato and onion mixture. Stir well and return pan to heat. Bring mixture to a simmer. Allow mixture to simmer for 5 minutes. If mixture begins to scorch or stick reduce heat, add 1/4 cup water and stir well.

4) After 5 minutes return the fried chicken pieces to the pan with the onion and spice mixture. Stir well. Add 2 cups water or stock to the spice and chicken mixture and bring to a simmer. Cover pan and allow to simmer for 15 minutes or until chicken pieces are cooked through and oil separates from the sauce. (If using sultanas or cashews stir them in after the chicken has simmered for about ten minutes.) Salt to taste and garnish with dried mint if desired.

Helpful Hints:
I do find that sometimes chicken can get a bit dry when cooked this way. To prevent that I usually soak the skinless chicken in a brine solution of 3 tablespoons salt to one liter/four cups water for at least 3 hours or preferably overnight in the refrigerator. Before frying rinse the chicken pieces well  and dispose of the brine solution. This really makes for tender, juicy chicken!

An illustration of market boats on Nallah Mar canal in Srinagar from Francis Younghusband's 1917 book Kashmir.

May 30, 2016

Ingredient of the Week: Ginger, Adruk, Adrak, Soonth, Inchi-ver

Variously known as ginger, adrak, adruk, inchi-ver, gingembre, zanjabil, Ingwer, khing, and myin this is probably the most versatile and distinctive spice in the world. In South Asian cuisines ginger plays a major role. There is no other flavor quite like it. Ginger is simultaneously lemony, hot, pungent, slightly woodsy, and sweet. Thought have originated in the lush jungles of the Indian Subcontinent, ginger is now known worldwide. Ginger's name derives from the Sanskrit term srngaveram, derived from the words srngam "horn" plus vera- "body" referring to the antler-like shape of its rhizome.

Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is an herbaceous perennial belonging to the same family as cardamom and turmeric, Zingiberaceae. It grows to about three feet tall, has a reed-like habit, yellow flowers, pink buds, and strap-like leaves.

Ginger thrives in rich well drained soils and subtropical conditions as you can see in the above photo of a ginger field growing in India. As ginger is a perennial plant the stalk withers with the onset of Winter and the ginger rhizome is harvested in early Spring. 

There's a bit of confusion as to whether there are different types of edible ginger. Rather than different breeds there is what is called "green" ginger which you see in the left side of the above photo and mature ginger on the right. Green ginger is just young ginger from a plant that's probably less than two years old: it is less fibrous, juicier, and milder in flavor and heat than mature ginger. The hotter, more flavorful, and fibrous mature ginger rhizome is from a plant older than three years. 

Fresh ginger is called "adrak" or "adruk" in Hindi and gets it's heat and flavor from the aromatic compound gingerol. Heating or cooking fresh ginger causes the gingerol present to transform to zingerone. Zingerone is similar in structure to vanillin (an artificial vanilla flavoring) and eugenol (the compound responsible for the flavor of cloves). So when we cook raw ginger it becomes sweeter and spicier. Candied ginger is a good example of the flavor of zingerone.

The Desi mirepoix: ginger, onions, garlic, & chilis.

Fresh ginger or adrak is a part of what I call the "Desi mirepoix" of ginger, garlic, onions, and green chilis. When sautéed in oil or ghee these ingredients form the flavor base in the layering of many a Desi dish from dals to meat curries. Fresh ginger's pungency and heat mellows when cooked this way to rich, mildly lemony, and subtly sweet notes. These harmoniously subdued flavors provide a perfect background for the earthy notes of traditional South Asian spices like cumin, fenugreek, and red chilis. Fresh ginger is often an ingredient in spice mixtures for milky chai in Winter or chilly regions like the Himalayas. When julienned, fresh ginger is often used as an attractive and tasty garnish atop dishes at fancy restaurants and posh dinners in South Asia.

Dry ginger is called "soonth" or "sunth" in Hindi and has a different flavor than fresh or cooked ginger. When fresh ginger rhizomes are dried a dehydration reaction is triggered, causing the gingerol present to transform to a compound called shogaol. Shogaol is twice as hot as gingerol which is why dried ginger tastes so much hotter than fresh ginger. 

Dry ginger or soonth features in many Desi cuisines. Although dry ginger is only used in baked sweets in the West in South Asia it lends it's almost peppery heat to chutneys, chai, dals, curries, and spice blends. Punjabi cuisines often use it in marinades for tandoori meats and in masalas for lentils, beans, and vegetables. Dry ginger is one of the traditional spices commonly used in Kashmiri dishes along with fennel, black cardamom, and the famous red chili known as Kashmiri mirch. "Sukku kaapi" is a tea made with dried ginger in South Indian states specially brewed for cold winter mornings. 

Mmmmm...ginger-y hot chai, my favorite!
As you can see I'm a big fan of ginger. It truly is a "super food" which has all sorts of health benefits and fantastic flavor.  One of my favorite ways to enjoy fresh ginger is in chai in the Winter. A few slices of fresh ginger boiled with black tea, a few black peppercorns, and milk is my morning beverage of choice. Try it!

Calmly currying on,

Apr 10, 2016

Bihari Green Beans Masala

Bihari Green Beans Masala

The classic combination of green beans and almonds gets the masala treatment in this easy to make side dish. Green beans are simmered until tender in a velvety coconut milk sauce laced with the warmth of traditional North Indian spices. Lavish and rich enough for a posh dinner yet simple enough to make every day, this vegetarian dish fits the bill for any occasion.

I thought I got this recipe from my long lost copy of Julie Sahni's 1980 cookbook Classic Indian Cooking.  A brief perusal of the internet and this recipe turns up in a 2010 article about Julie Sahni in the New York Times. I really must replace my copy of Classic Indian Cooking. The recipes are somewhat westernized in techniques and flavor but easily tweaked to make them more Desi. Over the years I've heavily embellished and adapted Ms. Sahni's original recipe to suit my family's tastes.

Bihar is a region of North India just south of the Nepal border. It is a land of fertile subtropical plains where the river Ganges pours down from the Himalayas into India. I'm not really familiar with Bihari cuisine except to say it is largely vegetarian, uses a lot of besan (chickpea flour), and features smoked chilis for seasoning. The only Bihari food I've had the opportunity to sample was an interesting drink made from besan and a besan stuffed paratha.

1/2kg/1lb  green beans, tops and tails removed and cut into one inch pieces
3 TBS cooking oil
3/4 C onion, finely diced or ground
1 TBS garlic/lahsun paste
1 TBS ginger/adrak paste
2 tsp coriander/dhania ground
2 tsp cumin/jeera. ground
2 tsp Kashmiri mirch (or 1 tsp paprika plus 1 tsp cayenne powder)
1/4 tsp turmeric/haldi
1 can coconut milk (400ml)
2 tsp lime/nimbu juice
3 TBS chopped cilantro/dhania leaves (optional)
9-10 almonds, roughly chopped (optional)
salt as required
Here's what to do:

1) In a kadhai or large heavy bottomed skillet heat oil for 5 minutes. Fry almonds until golden and set aside if using. Add onions to same oil in pan with 1 tsp salt fry until just translucent.  

2) Add the garlic, ginger, coriander, cumin, Kashmiri mirch, and turmeric to the fried onions. Allow to fry for 2 minutes.

3) Add coconut milk and green beans to fried onion and spice mixture. Stir well and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer covered until to desired tenderness. This usually takes about 10 to 12 minutes.

4) Add lime juice and cilantro leaves to dish if using and stir well. Salt to taste and garnish with almonds if desired.

Our little teepee trellis of green beans.
An interesting aside:
I have been notified that I have been nominated for the "Best Food Blog"  AND "Best New Blog" awards on the  nepaliaustralian blog so get on over there and vote for my blog if you choose at:

Be sure to check out all the other amazing blogs in all the different categories and vote for all your favorites!!! Winners will be announced in May.

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