luckyfatima's Profile

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Karaikudi?

Karaikudi is a Tamil name.

Bawarchi is from Urdu/Hindi (etymologically Persian with a Turkic -chi suffix, to be precise). So I am presuming the resto has gone from having a unique (for Northern VA) Tamil-Chettinad menu to having a generic N. Indian faux Mughlai/Punjabi menu. Totally un-unique name (nothing to do with the film at all) and there are gazillions of Bawarchi restaurants around the world.

I had heard that Karaikudi had gone downhill in the past months. I guess the business wasn't going well despite being busy due to financial issues, or that the owners may be those sort of people who open restaurants to get them off of the ground, and then sell them to new owners for a profit. Or something else. Who knows?

2 days ago
luckyfatima in Washington DC & Baltimore

Packaged Mixes, Sauces, Spices & Boxed Items You Use

I do make a lot of chile based sauces at home. Also, it's common in desi Chinese recipes to have to first soak dried red chiles and grind them, but I just use Huy Fong chile-garlic sauce instead even though it has a sour vinegar under taste. It saves time.

Apr 13, 2014
luckyfatima in General Topics

Packaged Mixes, Sauces, Spices & Boxed Items You Use

I don't know what most people have. I use the Tapatío and chile-garlic as repurposed seasonings in random stuff, so that was what made me think of it. Like putting a dash of Tapatío in cauliflower mashed potatoes.

Sedimental: I just call it pizza masala for fun but it is just that Paul Prudhomme Pizza Pasta Magic spice medley. I just sprinkle it on pizza, in tomato soup, etc., or like this week I had zucchini spiral noodles in red tomato sauce and sprinkled some on top. It's like a blast of commercial faux-Italian pizza-esque savoriness.

Apr 13, 2014
luckyfatima in General Topics

Packaged Mixes, Sauces, Spices & Boxed Items You Use

Better Than Bouillon, MSG laden chicken stock powder, Swanson Chicken Broth in a can, tomato paste in a tube, canned roasted tomatoes, Tapatío sauce, Huy Fong Chile-Garlic sauce, Shan Masalas, Tony Chachere, Paul Prudhomme Pizza Masala are some items that I typically have on hand for various dishes.

Apr 12, 2014
luckyfatima in General Topics

Much ado about Carne Asada

This is such a beautiful thread. Nothing blah about it.

Apr 08, 2014
luckyfatima in General Topics

Foodie gifts for friends in India like Sriracha? [Moved from Manhattan board]

India is a huge place. Where are your friends? What is their background? In India's metros you can get almost everything, though some things may be pricey. In smaller towns it can even be hard to find melting cheese. Depending where they are, good pastries might be welcome. Other places have European style bakeries where they pastries are better than US pastries...need more info to advise here. While US and UK favorites can be acquired, things like real Mexican or Vietnamese cooking items aren't there. There are Thai cooking products available in major Indian cities, though.

Apr 08, 2014
luckyfatima in General Topics

Fresh Chickpeas in DC area

I see them all the time at Lottes.

Apr 07, 2014
luckyfatima in Washington DC & Baltimore

Manassas MX: El Garage

Awesome. Well, I know where I'll eat during my next trip to Manassas.

Besides the other couple of places mentioned in the post above, are there any other MX places you would recommend in Manassas?

Apr 05, 2014
luckyfatima in Washington DC & Baltimore

Any Baklava Makers Out there?

Nice!

Apr 05, 2014
luckyfatima in Home Cooking

Manassas MX: El Garage

Can you link their website? I cannot find it.

"Jarocho" is a nickname for people from Veracruz, so I presumed "La Jarochita" was a reference to that. Usually restos named something "jarocho" have owners from Veracruz. Veracruz isn't a small state, so they could be from anywhere there, and often you find "Jarocho" seafood restaurants, but not in this case...anyway, I dunno, just presuming.

EDIT: OK, I found it. Yes, they are from Veracruz. Menu looks awesome:
http://lajarochitarestaurant.com/en-menu.html

Also on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/La-Jar...

Apr 05, 2014
luckyfatima in Washington DC & Baltimore

Any Baklava Makers Out there?

Are both of the first two vowels long?

Apr 05, 2014
luckyfatima in Home Cooking

Any Baklava Makers Out there?

It depends on what language you say it in. In Arabic, it will be ba'LAAH-wah or baq-LAAH-wah depending on the dialect because some dialects use a glottal stop for the letter qaaf. For Levantine dialects in particular, Levantine dialects also tend to say that final -ah syllable as an -eh. Plus the long -aah in the middle sounds like an elongated a as in at, cat, mat, but longer (like a lengthened æ: if you know that symbol) so maybe I should represent it something like ba'-LAY-weh. Note the -w- and no -v-. There is no -v- in Arabic, anyway. The stress is on the second syllable because the first long vowel in a word like that gets the stress. Here it is in Arabic, I am copy pasting, lazy to open my Arabic font keyboard, so this actually says al baqlaawah: البقلاوة

The word is Turkish in origin and we have our own way of saying it in American English. I have no idea how to say it in Greek, Farsi, Armenian, or other languages from cultures which traditionally make baklava.

EDIT (again) I found a Lebanese chef saying ba'lay-wah on youtube, just in case anyone is reallly curious how it is said in Lebanese Arabic. He says it around the 10th second: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Slc_r...

Apr 05, 2014
luckyfatima in Home Cooking

Manassas MX: El Garage

Wondering is anyone has been a few shops down from El Garage to La Jarochita bakery-carnicería-restaurant. I'm presuming the owners are from Veracruz, so one could go from DF to Veracruz in one shopping center! (I wonder what style of barbacoa they have!)

Apr 05, 2014
luckyfatima in Washington DC & Baltimore

Manassas MX: El Garage

Three beautiful words: fresh handmade tortillas!

There are places nearby in Manassas that have the delicious feather light and thin machine made fresh tortillas, which are great. But the tortillas at El Garage are hand made (flattened with a tortilla press) and deliciously soft, like homemade. Each one is round but very slightly different from the other because of being handmade. No contest between these and the machine made ones.

Our table had tacos made with these gorgeous tortillas, and I had a huarache, so soft and fresh. As one would imagine, since they make great fresh handmade tortillas, the huaraches are also excellent.

More beautiful words: Lamb barbacoa, Mexico City style! This stuff is really seasoned just right, tender and unctuous from slow cooking, and is very slightly saucy from the red chile infused juices of the meat (not especially chile-hot, just perfect), and ready to be heated up with a salsa if you like. I tried it as the meat for my huarache.

I also had the beef tongue (in a taco), which was cooked to a great tender texture.

Anti-buffet people (typically me, but not in this case) will be put off by the meats in a buffet server at the front of the place. The thing is that these dishes (tinga, barbacoa, various guisos, etc.) are slow cooked for like 4-8 hours depending on the dish, and then served from the back of the kitchen like this in way in other restaurants, and you are only seeing it in front like this because they sell these meats by the pound and are displaying the meats for the customers. (Scale is right there, too.) This is typical in places that specialize in slow cooked meats by the pound, and you can see this frequently all over Mexico and in the states just to the north, both with both indoor and outdoor vendors. By the pound it comes with fresh tortillas and salsas. I think the display is good, too because with different regional styles of MX food that sometimes has the same name but is prepared completely differently based on where the restaurateurs are from, you can check out what you are getting visually before you order.

A co-diner had a carne asada taco. The meat was well browned on the flat grill. It was also tender.

My other co-diner had a quesadilla de queso: Corn masa cooked with the cheese folded inside so the cheese came out melting and oozing, and then covered with toppings. You can get these with any filling you desire. Highly recommended.

The salsas were good. One was chile de árbol, and the other was a type of salsa verde which tasted like it was just made of fresh green chiles and not the typical tomate verde/tomatillo one...not sure about that, though.

FYI if you are vegetarian or have a friend/partner who is and you want to try this place out together, they do not use lard in their beans and they have options like mushroom or nopales so you could eat plenty of stuff here without eating meat.

They also have tortas, chilaquiles, sopes, tostadas, and more. Awesome place. Unfortunately, they don't have any desserts. (There is a MX bakery in the same shopping center if you are dying for something sweet after, though.) The menu is pretty extensive, actually. Lots more to explore. I'd like to try the tinga de pollo next time. Since they specialize in slow cooked, soupy fare, I can only imagine the menudo would be good and I'd go back to check that out, too.

For three people, our meal came out to $17 total. They don't have a menu online, but you can see a kind of blurry menu on yelp if you zoom in.

Manassas seems to have loads of good MX places and I wish I could get there more often to do some more exploring. I also love Tortillería El Molino (awesome beef cheek barbacoa like we have in TX) and Taquería Tres Reyes (yet another style of barbacoa, this one of saucy goat). Like, one could go barbacoa hopping in Manassas!

Apr 05, 2014
luckyfatima in Washington DC & Baltimore

Bengali Food [split from LA]

My MIL has told me more about the Kayasths of Awadh because that is a community she grew up with.

Who is responsible for the disappearance of agricultural diversity? I have (very superficially) followed Vandana Shiva and the campaigns against GM foods and the death of biodiversity in India. Are the phenomena you speak of connected to that issue?

Just last night I attended a Chowhound dinner at a Nepalese-Indian restaurant. The menu had a small Nepalese selection and a large generic 'Punjabi hotel' selection. One of the diners at our table was inquiring and the owner insisted that ALL of the foods on the menu were Nepali. My co-diner asked which ones were specifically Nepali and the owner said "Butter chicken, tandoori chicken, all are eaten in Nepal." I just sat quietly. I have no doubt that butter chicken and tandoori chicken have become popular in Nepal with some people, especially in major tourist centers like Kathmandu and Pokhara. I suppose one could say they have become Nepali in the sense that this pan-Indian food based on 'Punjabi hotel' cuisine is found in metropolitan areas in PK, BD, widely across India, and even in Nepal (and perhaps Bhutan!?!) and made by local people so it belongs there even though it is very modern and not indigenous. But I do agree that this culinary shift makes traditional food suffer since it can supplant it.

"To give just one example, a common saying in Bangala, for "the same old same old" is " the same banana flower stalk, dal vadis, and Moringa greens, and Moringa greens, dal vadis, and banana flower stalk" implying repetiveness. " eTa kaemon bola hobe? How would one say that phrase?

Mar 30, 2014
luckyfatima in General Topics

Lime shortage, who knew?

I heard Gustavo Arellano on NPR this week saying that in the part of Mexico from where the US imports most of our limes, the drug cartels have taken over the lime industry.

I saw limes were 79 cents each today at the international hypermarket where I do my weekly vegetable shopping. Lemons were 5 for a dollar. I have two bags of US produced key limes on hand.

Arellano was saying that the price hike will have a big impact on MX restaurants, who will feel the pinch much more than individual consumers simply because they go through tons and tons of limes in their food preparation.

I tend to use limes (prefer key limes or Persian limes) in my daily cooking and I am less of a fan of lemons, so I will have to concede to paying the higher price.

Mar 29, 2014
luckyfatima in General Topics

CH Meetup Report on Momo's Nepalese in Springfield

This evening seven chowhounds met for a meal at Momo's.

They have a standard generic North Indian restaurant (Punjabi) type menu, plus a small offering of Nepalese dishes, including three varieties of momos. We tried all of the Nepalese dishes, plus a goat curry from the Indian menu.

The goat curry was quite good. It had a dark onion-tomato gravy.

From the Nepalese selection we had:

Lamb choila, which was small lamb cubes cooked in a dry tomato onion preparation. It was pretty good.

Taash: dry masala lamb cubes. This was really delicious as the cubes were very tender and had a lot of flavor.

Both of these dishes were served with a portion of beaten rice (chiura) and a fried spiced soy nut preparation (bhatmaas ko achaar). The soy nuts were very hard, but were seasoned well. This is meant to be a side accompaniment to the food. The chiura is just plain beaten rice flakes and I think it was a bit too exotic for everyone to have this with our food, as we were used to chiura prepared in other ways or used to these sorts of dishes served with flat bread or steamed rice. This is not a photo of our meal, but I found this on Instagram to show what the fried soy nuts and chiura/beaten rice look like: http://statigr.am/p/57558371855705488...

Momos: dumplings. We ordered steamed chicken, steamed vegetable, and fried chicken momos. Each order contained quite a lot of momos. (I forgot to count, but maybe 10 pieces?), plus a chile-tomato achaar and a sesame achaar (dipping sauces). The momos were really, really good. If you are a momo fan, you will like this place. The wrappers are made onsite, and the momos are steamed fresh to order. Nothing beats a piping hot freshly steamed momo. I liked the steamed chicken momo the best out of the three types we tried. It comes filled with tender, juicy chicken stuffing...if they aren't fresh then the wrapper absorbs the juices so you lose out. These were everything that a momo should be.

We also tried the chicken fried rice and chowmein. These are popular dishes in Nepal, and were made in that style. The noodles were pretty decent, especially if you like Indian-Chinese style chowmein, but there was nothing interesting about the fried rice.

I would go back just for the momos if ever I were in the mood. Again, cheers to Steve for arranging the meetup.

Mar 29, 2014
luckyfatima in Washington DC & Baltimore

Bengali Food [split from LA]

Ok, ami abaar try korbo!

I am familiar with the background of kayasths and their relationship with the Muslim elite. I think I might have a UP cookbook which features some kayasth recipes, actually.

Mar 29, 2014
luckyfatima in General Topics

Bengali Food [split from LA]

So I made kosha mangsho today using a sort of amalgamation of all of your recommendations, particularly from the the kayasth style recipe, and with inspiration from Alpana Habib.

I marinated the bone-in goat botees in a paste of ground ginger, turmeric, a few soaked rehydrated dried red chiles, and some coriander seeds. In mustard oil fried some onion until just turning golden, and sprinkled powdered gur on that just as it started to turned color/after the moisture from the onions was gone. As I had used a khule-haath quantity of oil, there was no need to fry the gur separately and I could tell it got caramelized. The gur immediately made the onion color change, though. I suspect that I real Bengali would use a bit more sugar, but as you said above, my husband would not appreciate that and say it was too sweet.

When the onions were still light but golden, I added in some garlic and the whole garam masalas (tezpatta, cassia, elaichi, and laung), and when the garlic appeared to be colored, I added some chopped tomato and stirred that for a moment. Then in when they meat-marinade, which I stirred continuously until all of the onions were broken down and everything had become a golden paste. I then added some water, a little at a time, as you instructed, and then covered the pot and let the meat cook for some time. While the meat was cooking, I peeled some potatoes and added potato wedges in the pot so that their cooking time would end exactly when the meat finished. The kids like potatoes, so I had to include them. I know you recommended frying the potatoes, but I just added them that way.

The kosha gravy was very delicious. Aside from the mustard oil and pinch of gur, all of the rest of the ingredients are those which I use regularly. But somehow the pale golden onions (as opposed to brown-red, or 'just going golden' which are two color indicators I reach before adding wet ingredients), plus the sprinkle of gur, and marinated meat with ginger/turmeric/chile (as opposed to fried ginger, and adding powdered spices directly to oil) yielded a very different gravy than the saalans I usually make. I also usually add the dried whole garam masala to the oil before I add onions, but adding with the garlic was a difference.

It's hard to say that I achieved exactly what you had in mind, but it was a hit with the family and I liked it as well!

Thanks for taking the time to share. It's much appreciated.

Mar 29, 2014
luckyfatima in General Topics

Bengali Food [split from LA]

Oh yes! Where is my mind? How could I have forgotten about dried whole turmeric which is pounded into powder! I will make do with the store bought powder I have, in that case.

I do like Bajia and have made this qormah recipe before, and it came out well. She says in the video "safai nisf imaan hai," (cleanliness is half of faith) which is a sunnat of the Prophet Muhammad pbuh. Indeed she has a very tidy kitchen.

Mar 28, 2014
luckyfatima in General Topics

Bengali Food [split from LA]

Fascinating info on ashikkhito versus nirokkhor.

I can understand these videos, at least the recipe parts, I get lost in the chit chat with Alpana Habib, although I enjoy watching anyway. She has a very clear accent. I speak/understand some Bangla but I am very far from the point of enjoying Tagore in the original form.

I am going to try your recipe this weekend. We do get fresh turmeric and the international hypermarket. I have seen it used in pickles or taken for health benefits, but it never occurred to me to just grind it and use it in cooking as one would dried turmeric, so I am excited to try that out. Fresh ground turmeric is what you meant by turmeric paste? Or did you just mean to mix dry holud with water like Alpana did with the shukno morich, so as to prevent a burned effect? Is that part of the 'lighter' bhunno as opposed to adding dry moshla which would yield a more roasted effect?

Mar 28, 2014
luckyfatima in General Topics

Bengali Food [split from LA]

I will print this out and try one of your meat preparation descriptions. Onek dhonnobaad. Red pepper paste here means ground rehydrated dried red chiles? Or ground fresh red chiles? The man in the linked video also used red pepper paste.

I have one halal butcher in the area who knows his meat well and I will ask him for a good mix of goat. The others just kind of hack at things and don't have any training, I do know what you mean. I can't discern what kind of goat it is, only that it is mild with no "heek" or unpleasant goat smell that mutton bears in some other locales.

An aside, I noticed the man in the video kept saying degchi as dechgi...

Mar 25, 2014
luckyfatima in General Topics

Bengali Food [split from LA]

You should really write a book, GTM. I checked out your Rarh gentry thread.

Amar ekta proshno ache :D

What is the difference between kosha and bhunno?

Mar 25, 2014
luckyfatima in General Topics
1

Gumbo "tricks"

Oooh, I like the idea of a dash of fish sauce in gumbo and also crawfish etouffee. I'd probably still add salt.

Not really a trick, but a requirement that I often see go unfulfilled: get the roux nice and dark before proceeding. Too many pale rouxs out there in this world.

Mar 22, 2014
luckyfatima in Home Cooking
1

Timur aka Nepal Pepper?

I took a picture of it for you. It cost me $2.99 for 3.5 oz, which is looks like it's about a cup and a half.

It is very strong smelling so it is good stuff. Perhaps anyone interested could contact Gurudev imports at the number on the bag, or ask your local Indian grocer to source it for you. If there are a lot of Nepalese in your area, an Indian grocery might have it as well as other Nepali products. (I think only in major cities which have a huge Nepalese population would you actually find a Nepalese grocery. My area has a huge Nepali population but no Nepalese grocery.)

http://www.gurudevimports.com/

Mar 16, 2014
luckyfatima in General Topics

Timur aka Nepal Pepper?

I got some Nepalese timur at an Indian grocery store in the Northern Virginia area a couple of months ago. I use it to make spicy tomato-red chile chutney, although I haven't made momos to go with the chutney since I made the purchase.

The place is Indian owned, but the cashier is Nepalese. I remarked to her that this was the first time I had seen timur in the US, and typically I only find Chinese Sichuan peppercorn. She said that when they have it, she uses the Nepali one, when they don't she uses the Sichuanese one from a Chinese grocery.

I didn't have any Sichuanese peppercorn on hand to compare it with the Nepali timur to see how similar or different they really are.

Mar 16, 2014
luckyfatima in General Topics

Tacos versus fajitas - is there really any difference?

Just to be thorough, I checked in my copy of El Diccionario Enciclopédico de la Gastronomía Mexicana and there is no entry for fajitas. I checked under that term, under arrachera (skirt), falda (flank, and yes, I know falda means skirt in English but it refers to barriga or flank in Spanish), under tacos al carbón, and under beef. Not there. I hold the conviction that fajitas (as grilled skirt steak cut into strips as the "fajitas" and served in tortillas to make tacos de fajita) are originally norteñas and tejanas and moved into Tex-Mex cuisine and then greater US food culture from there, and in other regions called carne arrachera. Now we have shrimp fajitas, mushroom fajitas, etc., coming on a sizzler plate, all fine. But fajita meaning just the specific meat is the original meaning.

As far as tacos, I strongly dismiss any assertion that a food item made with a filling put into a small flour tortilla is not called a taco. Flour tortillas are very common in regional norteño and tejano cuisines. You can get into larger tortillas de agua and tortillas for burritos, but the smaller sized wheat flour tortillas definitely make tacos.

El Diccionario Enciclopédico de la Gastronomía Mexicana has under the entry for taco: "An antojito (hard to translate that, but like a small meal/snack) which is prepared with a tortilla of corn or wheat flour and stuffed with some food, and folded or rolled. It can be eaten alone or accompanied by any salsa. Generally, the name (of the taco) is connected to the filling, the taco's texture, or the way it is prepared or presented for sale." (Translation mine.) After the entry for "taco," there are entries for 38 different types of common regional or nationally prepared tacos.

Mar 05, 2014
luckyfatima in General Topics
3

Indian tiffin service ( baltimore)

You could check Sulekha.com or go to an Indian market in the neighborhood you mentioned and see if any flyers are posted there to advertise that service.

Mar 05, 2014
luckyfatima in Washington DC & Baltimore

Tacos versus fajitas - is there really any difference?

You put the fajita meat (specifically beef skirt that has been seasoned and grilled and then cut against the grain into strips) into the tortilla and then you have a fajita taco or in Spanish, a taco de fajita.

Mar 05, 2014
luckyfatima in General Topics

How do you make skirt steaks tender?

Just marinade for fajitas (pineapple juice, garlic, plus whatever powdered seasoning you like) and cook on high heat for just a few minutes till well browned with a little char on the outside but pink on the inside. Sooo tender. Cutting against the grain is essential. Skirt for fajitas is a favorite meal of mine that we have as a family when I go home to Texas.

Mar 02, 2014
luckyfatima in Home Cooking