luckyfatima's Profile

Title Last Reply

freezing curry leaves

My poor curry plant died this year. I have killed it before and it always come back. But not this time. A friend of mine has a giant curry tree that she keeps outdoors during the summer and then culls and takes inside for the winter. She gave me two giant bags of curry leaves and I froze most of them.

Right now there is a curry leaf shortage at the local markets, so I am glad to have a frozen supply. But the scent and flavor is definitely affected by freezing.

Mar 07, 2015
luckyfatima in General Topics

India chicken

This thread might interest you.

Feb 24, 2015
luckyfatima in General Topics

Mando Rayo's top 10 picks for classic ATX Tex-Mex

I've only been to Amaya's from this list. I really should get down south more often.

Feb 19, 2015
luckyfatima in Austin

And God Made Nihari

I guess donkey meat is just a meat like any other, yet I can't help but find that disturbing. Ironically, in most cases a nihari restaurant's reputation would be ruined by the confirmation of an accusation that donkey meat had been served there.

Feb 09, 2015
luckyfatima in General Topics

Carmelizing Onions in the Oven for Indian recipes

The video linked here is for Euro style caramelized onions. Method is similar to what was done in the link you posted, but the specific differences in the method yield completely distinct results.

If you used this Euro style caramelized onion in the regional Pakistani-Indian recipes which call for fried onion, the food will taste like candy.

Carmelizing Onions in the Oven for Indian recipes

European style caramelized onions are not what is used in Indian cooking. The food won't have the target taste if you use the wet flaccid onions used for French onion soup.

For Indian cooking they are not soft, brown, and wet. Instead they are fried somewhere in a range of golden to reddish brown, and are very crispy. They look slightly soft in the oil, but when you take them out and allow them to cool on a paper towel, they turn completely crunchy. They are really fried onions, not caramelized as the term is usually used to describe "caramelized onions" in European cooking. Although frying them Indian style technically involves a caramelization process that brings out the sugar in the onion, it also cooks off all of the moisture in the onion.

Is it okay to bring Kimchi to work/school yet?

I'd say go for it.

Jan 27, 2015
luckyfatima in General Topics

Are crispy eggs a culinary no no?

If crispy eggs are wrong, I don't want to be right.

Arepas, papusas, gorditas, sopes, huraches, panuchos....

Arepas are not actually made with masa harina. The cornmeal used for them is not nixtamalized.

I've made bakes sopes before. I imagine you could do the same thing for a huarache.

Jan 15, 2015
luckyfatima in Home Cooking

Indian and Pakistani Cuisine: What Are the Salient Differences?

I'd say that food coloring laden Indian restaurant cooking represents a restaurant genre of Indian food (really Punjabi and Mughlai food) that is not typically prepared in Indian homes. So one can't really judge Indian cuisine based on that.

Indian cuisines are so diverse. I'd hardly say that the cuisine of Malabari Muslims is very similar to U.P. Muslims. But generally, yes, many of the iconic Pakistani dishes are brought by Muslims who migrated from India. Both the cuisines of Urdu speaking communities in Karachi, and Punjabis of Lahore end up representing iconic Pakistani cuisine. One sees far fewer dishes promoted as national iconic dishes from other communities due to cultural dominance of those communities. For Pashtoons, it would be chappli kabab and their style of karhai chicken. For Sindhis, maybe Sindhi biryani. Is there any other famous Sindhi dish popular on a national level? One will find Sindhi iconic dishes like seyel bhaji or pallu fish seyel or their style of karhi made without yoghurt pretty much made only in Sindhi homes---these are still Pakistani foods although Pakistanis who are not Sindhi may have never even heard of these dishes.

In the post above I said that Hindu and Muslim cuisines are more similar if they are from the same region. That is generally true. However, I would add some caveats to that. For example, take Hindu cooking UP in homes that don't use onions. Their food will have a heavier use of hing and none of the fried onion flavor characteristic or Muslim cuisine in the same region. Their food is very different from their Muslim neighbors. However, there are many Hindus who use onions, and some communities whose cuisines are very much like Muslim cuisine in the same region. (Kayasths in Awadh, for example.) I own some Madhur Jaffrey books and when she gives recipes based on what her Delhi-Hindu family ate in her childhood, these are pretty much exactly the same foods prepared in exactly the same way as what I know in the Pakistani homes of my husband's relatives.

Another example: Have a chicken curry made in a tomato-onion type masala gravy in a Punjabi Sikh home and it will be the same as a chicken saalan in a Punjabi Muslim home. Same tomato, same onion, same ginger, same garlic, same garam masala flavors, same green chile, same cilantro. However, paneer ki bhurji is another common dish in Sikh homes and as far as I have observed it and other paneer dishes do not command the same popularity in Punjabi Muslim homes. Not to say paneer is never used at all, though.

Only about 25% of Indian Hindus are vegetarians. Most Hindus eat meat. Indian and Pakistani Muslims also cook lots of vegetable and lentil dishes for daily meals. Although Pakistani iconic dishes and home favorites like nihari or haleem or bhunna gosht or aloo gosht are meaty, people still make daal and vegetables daily. Take any random veg dish: karela and potatos, bottle gourd cooked in lentils, eggplant in tomato gravy, okra with potatos, cauliflower with potato and peas, radish cooked in its own leaves, taro root in tomato gravy, I could go on and on, all very normal things to have on a Pakistani table. All dishes which are just as Pakistani as nihari. And I would say that average people across Pakistan eat a more vegetable and lentil based diet on a daily basis than one would think based on the stereotype of the Pakistani meat eater.

If you think of the northwest of the subcontinent as a region where people of all religions have connected histories, related languages, and share many aspects of their regional cultures, you understand why the cuisines are similar. They belong to the same general region. If you go beyond the northwest of the subcontinent, that's where Indian food can start to be very, very different from Pakistani food. For example, Maharashtrian use of peanut powder, or Keralite use of black tamarind, or heavy use of ground coconut or coconut milk just does not happen in any Pakistani regional cuisine.

Beef shank center cut with bone for soup?

When I make soup using bone in shank, I use several of them, plus marrow bones, plus boneless shank. I cook this for about 8 hours or overnight. A single shank isn't going to lend enough flavor to a pot of soup.

Los Agaves in Ashburn

I wanted to give any CHers in this area of NoVa a heads up about this new Mexican Restaurant. I went there a few weeks ago with my family who were visiting from Texas. It's pretty decent.

The menu has some Tex-Mex favorites as well as Mex-Mex options.

I had chicken enfrijoladas, which were pretty good. My husband had tacos de carne asada and the meat was nicely done and smokey.

Sister had sopa de mariscos which was loaded with seafood and most importantly, had a good, rich broth.

My only complaint is that we ordered elotes and the menu described them as they should be served but they came to the table as steamed or boiled frozen corn on the cob halves, not grilled/roasted. And it appeared that they used crumbled queso fresco on them instead of cotija as it said on the menu. Being from Texas where we have eloteros in our grocery store parking lots, this was disappointing to my family.

I'd like to explore their menu further before I make any more pronouncements about the place. I'd recommend it based on my family's meal there, though. For one thing, there are no Mex-Mex options for at least an hour away towards Maryland, DC, or Manassas, so it'll be awesome to have a place to grab a bowl of menudo or have some sopes just a few minutes away whenever I fancy. (Though they need to improve those elotes!)

Is There a Gypsy (Roma) Cuisine?

Thanks for the insight and also for referring us to youtube. After having a perusal, it seems there are loads of English language Roma food videos. Some for traditional foods like sarme, and others for stuff like banana waffles and cannolis. How fun.

I once randomly came across a Romanichal woman's cooking videos from the UK, but I can't find them again. I'll have to keep searching.

One thing I remember from Dr. Hancock's class is that he said many Roma dishes were the same as their Eastern European gadje counterparts except the Roma like more heat in their food and add red chile flakes and hot peppers. Any thoughts on this?

Jan 08, 2015
luckyfatima in General Topics

Buzzfeed: If American Food Was Described Like Ethnic Food

Lulz, I'm guilty of saying a couple of lines like these. They forgot a popular one, though:

"I don't think this Iowan food is very authentic because I got a peek into the kitchen and I saw the chefs were Latino and not Iowan!"

What to serve with panes con pavo (El Salvadorian turkey sandwich)

I put this question to a friend and here is what she says:

"Good question, amiga! We always eat just that without any sides since it’s a complete meal in one. You’ve got your protein (pavo or pollo), the sandwich bread, then you pile on salsa and a bunch of veggies. When we have this no one wants to waste their appetite on anything else jajajaja

I’m not sure what other Salvadoran families do. If I had to take a wild guess some possibilities would be frijoles molidos, platanos fritos, arroz, yuca frita, escabeche, ensalada rusa – those are all common Salvadoran sides."

Dec 10, 2014
luckyfatima in Home Cooking

Chuy's Fairfax Tex Mex

I had a large bowl of tortilla soup at Chuy's Fairfax today. It was enjoyable. The chicken broth wasn't especially rich, but it wasn't totally flat either. I squeezed some lime juice and a drop of Tabasco sauce into it and it was good to go.

I shared a bowl of queso compuesto (a cheese dip) and it was very tasty. The tortilla chips were nice and thin, but very slightly greasy.

My friend had the chicka chicka boom boom enchiladas...chicken enchiladas smothered in a green chile-cheese sauce. It comes with rice and refried beans. (No lard in the beans.) I had a bite of this and it was very rich tasting.

We went at 3 pm to avoid any lunch or dinner crowd. It was still busy but we got a table straight away.

Good Fortune Supermarket at Eden Center

Oooh, thanks for letting us know it has opened.

Beginner Recipes Using Garam Masala

My mother in-law will be thrilled when I tell her you like her recipe.

Oct 30, 2014
luckyfatima in Home Cooking

Chuy's Fairfax Tex Mex

I haven't been to the Fairfax location, so I can't say.

Indian Curry Powder - Which brands are best?

Hmmm, now I want to try this.

Oct 29, 2014
luckyfatima in General Topics

Chuy's Fairfax Tex Mex

Chuy's is from my hometown. It is well loved, classic Austin Tex-Mex. I actually don't think the food there is notably good, but if I say that at home, people will probably try to hurt me. I'm not really partial to Tex-Mex anyway, but Chuy's is much better than a lot of places where all you can taste is cheese and grease. So definitely check it out if you enjoy Tex-Mex.

It is a fun place to go as a group. It's the type of resto you would want to go for a group birthday dinner out where they will sing you "Happy Birthday," (making you wear a sombrero) and the food is much better than Olive Garden or whatever other chain restaurant where that sort of birthday ritual takes place. Also fun for families. The inside is kitschy and loud. And yes, even in Austin with multiple Chuy's in such a comparatively small town, there is a very, very long wait on weekends. Lunch hour tends to be packed during the week back home, too.

Build a marshmallow snowman party favors

Oh, that's a great idea. I didn't even know such a thing as edible marker existed.

Oct 25, 2014
luckyfatima in Home Cooking

Build a marshmallow snowman party favors

I want to pass out "build a snowman" party favors at my child's birthday.

I was planning to use possibly give mini chocolate chips for eyes and either an orange tic tac or a candy corn for the nose, but I fear these won't stick on well.

If eye give the construction materials away in a gift baggy, what should I use for the eyes/nose that can be stabbed into the marshmallow for the face so that an icing adhesive wouldn't be needed?

The body will be three marshmallows and a plastic coffee stirrer to skewer them in a stack.

The arms will be pretzel sticks.

I'm seeking suggestions for facial parts that can be stabbed in. I was thinking of giving out sticker back googlie eyes, though I would prefer that all parts besides the coffee stirrer be edible.

(I do not want to lead a build-a-snow-man activity using ready made cake icing as an adhesive. I'd prefer to send the kids home to do this activity.)

Oct 25, 2014
luckyfatima in Home Cooking

Good Chinese in NoVa

Go to Golden King in Sterling. Excellent Cantonese food. They have an extensive menu. Their roast duck is always fresh and delicious. My two favorite dishes there are lotus root seafood stir fry (I think on the chef's special part of the menu---it has a pinch of shredded conpoy in it which sets it over the top in goodness) and beancurd with two kinds of mushroom (in the veg section, they also put more than two kinds of mushroom, actually 3-4 depending on whose cooking, I guess). You can also order fresh dim sum there. Basically all Cantonese resto classics are there, so you have your pick.

Does anybody else miss chicken skin?

Caroline, if you are in Plano as your profile says, you need to get to El Regio stat.

This is gorgeous, flavorful rotisserie chix in a Monterrey, MX style marinade. You can get 1/4, 1/2, or full chix as a meal that comes with charro beans, corn tortillas, and rice, 1/2 a lime, a charred onion, plus the most delicious jalapeño salsa ever in the whole universe. Their salsa roja is also good. You may want to ask on your Dallas-Ft. Worth board about which El Regio (or El Pollo Loco, a competitor who split from El Regio) in your locale is the best, because they can sometimes vary slightly in taste (good to outrageously good, never bad). I recommend this so know the back of a rotisserie thigh covered in charred bits and a medley of spices, fat, and skin with a little meat...I eat the soft bones along with that, it's soooo good.

Googling tells me that Peruvian rotisserie chicken (pollo a la brasa) has also made its way to the north Dalllas metro area. Personally, I prefer El Regio with the Mexican flavor, but this somewhat similar and is also delicious. It is very popular on the East Coast where I live.

I also like HEB's mesquite flavor rotisserie chicken. Grocery store rotisserie chix is pretty much gross where I live now, so I appreciate the HEB one. The most tolerable one here is CostCo, but that doesn't come close to the tender, juicy HEB skin on chicken.

Also, try a Hong Kong style Chinese BBQ place...also many in your area. The kind with the duck and pig hanging around also have chicken.

About tandoori chicken...most US Indian restaurants are not specialists in tandoori cooking, it's just a menu staple and they put stuff on the menu that all comes out dreadful and dry. Well-made tandoori chix in a place that specializes in tandoori cooking is hard to find in the US but is gorgeous...tender from the marinade, and cooked with proper temperature and timing leaving it juicy and flavorful all the way down to the bone. You can achieve something similar grilling or even baking at home, but so many restaurants do tandoori chicken (and tandoori meats in general) very badly, leaving you with red food coloring saturated, overly charred, tough and dry results. To me, faux tandoori grilled or baked chicken done at home comes out wayyy better than most restaurants with their dry fare, so I recommend finding a very simple recipe and giving it a try at home...skinless bone-in thigh-leg works well, but you can do boneless chunks of thigh if that suits you.

Oct 17, 2014
luckyfatima in General Topics

ISO Fluffy Moussaka Topping

That's interesting. Bechamel is used in Egyptian dishes and some Levantine dishes (including moussa'a which is moussaka in Arabic), and Knorr makes a Bechamel mix package for the Arab market. I have no problem with short cuts and prepackaged mixes, but I feel bechamel is so simple that I've never bothered.

What order is best for moussaka layers?

I used to make moussaka a lot a few years ago and it always came out well, but I haven't made it in a while and I can't remember exactly how I did it.

I know there is no hard rule here, but how do you prefer to arrange your moussaka layers, and what is the pragmatic benefit of your method?

Eggplant-meat sauce-potato-meat sauce-eggplant-bechamel?

Will the meat sauce show through the bechamel and make an ugly top if it is last? Or maybe the eggplant will show through? Would servings hold together better with a firm potato base? Should I put potatoes first?

Oct 15, 2014
luckyfatima in Home Cooking

ISO Fluffy Moussaka Topping

I plan on making moussaka on Friday. I used to make it a lot several years ago and I can remember how I made all of the other components, but I've had to google to get the ingredient proportions right for making the bechamel.

I found this recipe, which basically calls for (paraphrasing)

5T flour
4T butter
2 cups milk

and then it says as 1-3 egg yolks. To me 1 vs 3 is a huge difference when it comes to recipe measurements...should I use one or three (or two?!?!) and would would the resulting be based on the quantity of yolk?

Oct 15, 2014
luckyfatima in Home Cooking

Taxila, Pakistan - Chapli Kabab & Freshwater "Rohu" Carp from Shahzada Khan


Ground turkey for tacos and chili? Is it any good?

Brown the turkey very well for flavor. You should see golden color on it. Then proceed with the seasoning. Otherwise it just tastes like boiled rubbery lumps.

Oct 04, 2014
luckyfatima in Home Cooking