Dracodl's Profile

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ISO recipe for Qabuli polow (Afghan rice)

Yummmy! This sounds so good I'll try it very soon and post with the results. Many thanks.

May 08, 2010
Dracodl in Home Cooking

Scientific or other names for "aji dulce"? [moved from Central America board]

I found some chilies that are similar in appearance but way too hot in the latin market stalls around Kensington market (Toronto). However, my sister sent me some seeds from down south and if they grow and produce a crop, I'll be jumping in joy. If that happens, I'd be willing to trade dry peppers or seed for other food goodies available in the West.

May 08, 2010
Dracodl in General Topics

ISO recipe for Qabuli polow (Afghan rice)

I fell in love with the Qabuli pilaf/polow (spelling?) rice dish served at the Afghan pizza/kebab joint next door. This is the fried Basmati rice served with carrots in thin ribbons, raisins and almonds, plus stewed beef or goat.
I'm looking for the recipe of the Qabuli rice only, and would love to find "authentic" recipes or recipes handed down from generations.... but won't say no to modern alternatives! ;-)
Happy cooking!

Apr 18, 2010
Dracodl in Home Cooking

Indoor Composting Systems

I've been keeping a worm bin I made myself since last winter. It's sized for a pound of worms and has a bottom lid that catches the liquid ("compost tea"). So far I've harvested it once and save for a bout of fruit flies due to overfeeding and blocked drainage holes, it doesn't smell bad or grows mold.
I live in a small condo and the bin ( 12x16x8) is perfect for a single-person's food scraps (meat and oil excluded). Bottom line: As long as you keep the worms in a fresh, dark place, keep the scraps covered with soil and change it regularly, there shouldn't be any problems.

Apr 08, 2010
Dracodl in Features

ISO queso blanco or queso fresco in the GTA

I love this kind of cheese with beans, baked ripe plantain and even cut in sticks, wrapped in pizza dough and deep-fried... South America's version of the Mozza sticks.
But... where to get it?

Are glass lids safe for oven use?

I bought a nice-looking Chinese stainless steel pot that I hope to use as a braiser but it has one of those glass lids with metal rim and knob.
Are these lids safe for oven use? I don't plan to put it under the broiler, but want to know if it may burst or crack or do something nasty under heat....
For more info, it's a "My Land" 20-cm pot with rounded walls, marked as good for flame, induction, coil and flat-top ranges.

Mar 21, 2010
Dracodl in Cookware

PUPUSAS!

On the east end: "El Pulgarcito" (Tom Thumb, I guess because of the owner) on Kennedy, between Lawrence and Ellesmere.
The place is family-friendly, has lots of seating space and the required big-screen TV with the soccer on...
The pupusas are excellent, as well as their other dishes: Carne asada (grilled steak with salad and rice), hearty soups, tamales, fried fish, etc.
The owners are a lovely Salvadoran couple that have made me feel at home for the past 10 years and their prices are very decent.

Scarborough Gems

Sadly, the tea room was closed around 2000 and there is no info on whether the cultural association (a block east of Progress & Markham) will put another tea room or not.

matcha green tea powder

Have you checked at "Things Japanese" at Harbord Street? I think they not only carry matcha but also tea ceremony bowls containers and whisks.
I myself like the matcha sold by Ten-Ren as "Green Tea Powder" in 1 lb. light-green boxes.

Salted, Fermented Black Beans and Tamarind

Hi, I live on the east end and fermented black beans and both salted and fresh tamarind are easily available in any Chinese/Asian supermarket. The east end is dotted with supermarkets along Lawrence Ave. and Sheppard Ave., and there's several supermarkets at the Asia Pacific Mall on Kennedy & Steeles. The T&T supermarket is an excellent source, as already mentioned. Brand-wise, I've seen black fermented beans in the the Lee Kum Kee brand, among others.

Sources for "aji dulce" in Toronto?

I found some chiles at "La Perola" that look like the real deal, but were too spicy... so no luck there. I've read that the non-spicy Capsicum chinensis is a recessive gene mutation, bred especially for non-spicyness. All I know is that there's no home-cooking joy without it!

Uses for a stiff whisk?

I recently saw a whisk that intrigued me. It was a 2.5" diameter balloon whisk with 8 wires, but the wires were very thick and rigid. It was also quite heavier than a regular whisk.
What would one use a whisk like that for?
Is it just plain bad design or does it have some obscure purpose?

Mar 02, 2010
Dracodl in Cookware

Ideas to improve kitchen set-up?

My style tends to be "cozy kitchen". I keep a skillet, frying pan and flat griddle, all frequently used cast iron, inside the oven. The bread-proofing drawer is occupied by the chicken and turkey casseroles plus camping cookware and another cast iron griddle.
I use the wok at least once a week. One full cabinet door is devoted to spices, one to tins of various teas and the rest for dishes, glasses, tea service, dried goods, etc.
The lower level cuboards hold pots & pans, three doors under the sink just for garbage, recyc. & cleaning items (unfair!) and the cuttlery drawers.
I managed to make more space by putting some hooks on the counter wall next to the fridge and hanging part of the knives there. The paring knive and cleaver are on the fridge side, on magnets.
So, all I need to do really is to paint the kitchen range wall so I can enjoy all the burners.

Feb 10, 2010
Dracodl in Cookware

Scarborough Gems

The Perfect - Blitz, you took the words right out of my mouth... I used to go to the Chinese Cultural Association's tea room for dim sum (their siu mai were the best) but The Perfect is unbeatable! I've been a loyal for over 7 years... Love their mango pudding.
Rolands - Good roti
Little Bavaria - A tad overpriced and the desserts are kinda dry and stale-ish...
Maple Yip (chinese, mostly fish dishes) hiding in the Southeast corner of Midland/Sheppard - Quite good and reasonable prices. Go early to beat the lunch crowd.

Ideas to improve kitchen set-up?

I did move the dish strainer to one of the sinks and freed lots of counter space. I'm keeping my eyes open at the harware store for materials to make a splatter-guard, and considering all suggestions.
The canister set is enamel over metal and I use it fur sugar and salt, and store rock sugar and demerara in their bags on the first and second largest canisters.
Sadly, the side wall is drywall, so the cast iron would fall, and take half the wall with it too!

Feb 04, 2010
Dracodl in Cookware

Ideas to improve kitchen set-up?

Thanks for a post chock-ful of good ideas! I'll start running on a couple of them and see what develops.

Feb 01, 2010
Dracodl in Cookware

Wanted: Mother of vinegar in Toronto

Thanks! I'll give that a try.

Wanted: Mother of vinegar in Toronto

I'm looking for a piece of the fungus (looks like the fungus used to make Kombucha) that's used to turn wine into vinegar. I've read/seen the instructional that says it can be done by the effects of time alone, but....
If anyone knows about this and is willing to share or sell me a bit, please let me know!

Sources for "aji dulce" in Toronto?

I posted a query for the sweet version of Capsicum chinense used in the Caribbean for "sofrito" (pictures attached) in the Caribbean forum, but I'd love to find this chile in Toronto. Looks like a bonnet pepper but is very mild and sweet. Excellent in rice, beans, stews and --as mentioned-- in "sofrito". It's name in Spanish is "ají dulce" (sweet chile). Has anyone seen it anywhere in Toronto?

Scientific or other names for "aji dulce"? [moved from Central America board]

Here are some photos, and I've found it's a variety of Capsicum chinense, specially bred to be sweet. It's really good in "sofrito".

Jan 30, 2010
Dracodl in General Topics

Scientific or other names for "aji dulce"? [moved from Central America board]

I'm trying to locate sources of "aji dulce" in Canadian supermarkets, but first I have to know what kind of chile it is. The name I've indicated is used in Venezuela for a chile that's shaped like a "bonnet pepper" but has a very mild taste on the hot scale... It is available green, light orange and red, and the flavour is excelent in the rice water, in stews, etc.

Jan 30, 2010
Dracodl in General Topics

Ideas to improve kitchen set-up?

I have a 1-bedroom condo with a smallish kitchen (see pictures) and an even smaller budget ($200 of "play money" a year if lucky). I'd love suggestions to hang my knives and arrange the kitchen in a more efficient way. Currently my cast iron stuff lives inside the oven and have to move the wok every time I need to cook. Also, because I hate splatters on the wall, I don't use the burners close to it... Which makes my kitchen range as useful as a portable 2-burner camping stove, darn!
My ceiling is concrete and the opposite side walls are drywall. One of them is occupied with the microwave/cooking book cart and folding table. The other could hold a metal grid to hook the gadgets on...
I live in the east end of Toronto, Canada.

Jan 30, 2010
Dracodl in Cookware

Do I need to re-season my wok?

Whenever I cook stuff that sticks to the wok, I fill it with water immediately after I'm done and let it soak until the mess softens, then I brush it with a plastic brush. I dry the wok well and reheat/reseason it in and out. In time, and depending on the wok's material and coating (if any), it may develop its own "coating".

Jan 30, 2010
Dracodl in Cookware