Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >

nafrate's Profile

Title Last Reply

What is your biggest recipe pet peeve?

I agree. In authentic Indian food you don't usually encounter recipes that call for curry powder unless it is "inspired" or fusion food. They'll call for every ingredient of a curry powder added separately (which can often mean ten different spices or more). I'm Indian and when I finally decided to learn how to cook my family's food my spice cabinet began to overflow.

Jul 10, 2012
nafrate in Home Cooking

in phoenix on x-country food trip - BEST MEAL NEEDED

Try Gallo Blanco. Delicious tacos and lots of locally sourced food!

Jun 27, 2012
nafrate in Phoenix

Light desserts that are assembled rather than cooked and are pretty :) ?

Strawberries with sweetened whipped cream. You can add whatever flavoring you think would be good!

Or, strawberries dusted with dark brown sugar, topped with heavy cream.

Mar 25, 2012
nafrate in Home Cooking

What is the appeal of Cake Pops?

They now have a cake pop machine so you can do just this but very easily. I saw it on one of those infomercials on TV. -__-

But most cake pops I have encountered are balls of cake and frosting smooshed together and then rolled into a ball, then dipped into candy coating, melted chocolate, frosting, etc. The cake pop machine would have balls of just the cake so perhaps the interior texture and flavor would be different.

Apr 27, 2011
nafrate in General Topics

Which recipes (and ingredients) are, in your opinion, over hyped?

Certain dishes, maybe, are overhyped, especially if your only experience with the food has been at lousy restaurants or buffets and all you know of Indian food is butter chicken, kormas drowning in oil and menus with a zillion types of beef curry that all taste basically the same.

It seems kind of, you know, ridiculous to designate a whole type of cuisine as overhyped though if you haven't had much experience with it or cooked it yourself from a decent guide.

Apr 24, 2011
nafrate in General Topics

Which recipes (and ingredients) are, in your opinion, over hyped?

I never got the cilantro hate until I grew it myself in my garden. The cilantro I get from the grocery store has a fresh, awesome herbal bright flavor. The stuff from my garden tastes dirty, metallic and weird! I wonder what the difference is between the two.

Apr 24, 2011
nafrate in General Topics

Cardamom - Acquired taste? Or is a spice that is either loved or hated?

The green variety can be very perfumey to my palate. I grew up with it as we are Indian and it is in many of our dishes - curries, rice dishes, desserts, drinks, etc.

The black variety actually tastes very different (kind of funky/smoky) and is basically never used in desserts, only savory applications.

Either way, it took me a LONG time to appreciate its flavor. Cardamom can be incredibly overpowering and as kids we always dreaded accidentally chomping down on the one whole cardamom pod floating around hidden in the rice, as it fills your whole mouth with its flavor and can linger in your mouth for so long. I like it now but as a kid, it was too much.

Apr 17, 2011
nafrate in General Topics

Have you ever OD'd on a food? And if you did, did you ever recover?

Manicotti with tomato sauce. My mom got a bag of them, frozen, from Costco. I ate them all because I had never encountered them before and was in love.

She took this as a sign that I liked them a lot, so she came home with more. And more, and more. I must've eaten manicotti for months, I was utterly obsessed with them. Now I can't stand the sight of them. The experience actually put me off ricotta cheese too.

My husband had a similar experience with gulab jamun, a type of Indian dessert made of balls of fried dough soaked in syrup. They're incredibly sweet and rich, and even as an adult I can only eat 1-2 at a time. But my husband, at age 7-8, helped himself to an entire tray all at once. Probably, idk, 16 pieces. This was nearly 15 years ago and he still can't eat them.

Apr 13, 2011
nafrate in General Topics

Yellow Curry Powder smell?

Fenugreek is a tricky thing. The fresh leaves, dried leaves, and seeds taste very different and the flavor can be quite strong and overwhelming if you're not used to it. However, it is a very unique spice and one that is a crucial part of many Indian dishes.

If you are interested in using curry powders, I would recommend making your own! They taste much better than anything store bought and you can customize the proportions of certain spices so you can get a blend that fits your tastes. Keep in mind that most authentic Indian dishes do not use premixed spice blends though...a recipe will usually call for all those spices separately, in very tiny amounts. You wouldn't think that skipping one or two would make a difference but it often does.

Apr 11, 2011
nafrate in General Topics

Friend that is preggers and on house arrest

You guys are awesome friends!

When I was pregnant and on bedrest I was having intense heartburn, probably exacerbated by the laying down position I was stuck in. Yogurt or milk based smoothies were one of the only things that helped and they had a hearty dose of protein and antioxidants from fruits too. You could try bringing her those.

In general pregnant women need lots of protein to help keep them going and provide energy for the baby. When I was on bedrest I had huge issues with eating meat and just couldn't stomach it, so alternative sources of protein like lentils/legumes, soy, etc. would have helped.

Soups are also wonderful because they are easy to eat and can pack a lot of nutrients. One thing I would try is regardless of what you bring your friend, don't necessarily bring a whole lot of one specific dish because a pregnant woman's tastes can change frequently. She might be craving avocados one day and not be able to stand the sight, smell or taste of them the next, and it would suck to make something she can't eat anymore.

I would avoid anything too acidic, spicy, etc. that could make heartburn worse.

Apr 07, 2011
nafrate in Home Cooking

No Eggs in The Great Cuisines of India?

My mom always just called it "dimer bhaji" which is a bit of a misnomer as it is not an American style fried egg, but the eggs are technically fried since they're omelettes, lol. They have onion, cilantro and chopped green chili pepper, sometimes a bit of tomato.

Apr 03, 2011
nafrate in General Topics

No Eggs in The Great Cuisines of India?

From what I've seen, khageena is slightly different. My family from Bangladesh makes ekuri style eggs all the time but khageena's got a few extra ingredients and tastes different. My husband's family is from Hyderabad in India where there are a ton of Urdu speaking Indian Muslims, so they eat khageena often.

Apr 01, 2011
nafrate in General Topics

foods you ate as a kid (or young adult) that you wouldn't eat now?

Anything Chef Boyardee
Bitter melon
Shake and Bake
All the Hamburger Helper type products

Interestingly enough, I still love the fake cheez type products - mac and cheese in a can, spray cheese, fake processed cheese food, etc.

Mar 31, 2011
nafrate in General Topics

Are there things you eat/avoid every day to be healthy?

I avoid eating stuff full of too many preservatives or weird ingredients I don't recognize. I try my best to avoid trans fats and excess sodium as well.

Other than that, I eat pretty much everything, just in moderation. Butter, red meat, and so on are all delicious and have their place, as do fresh berries, leafy greens, nuts, etc.

Mar 29, 2011
nafrate in General Topics

Dream kitchen - cookware, gadgets, knives?

I'll have what you're having.

Mar 27, 2011
nafrate in Cookware

Weird stringy, chewy thing in brownies?

It sounds like the chalaza to me - it's happened to my brownies too!

I just remove the chalaza before mixing in the eggs.

Mar 26, 2011
nafrate in Home Cooking

Brand Failures

That honestly sounds like something I would enjoy, hahaha.

Mar 20, 2011
nafrate in General Topics

What exactly is a pigeon pea?

I've used them primarily in Indian cooking. From what I know, the differences are just aesthetic and the two varieties can be used interchangeably.

Mar 20, 2011
nafrate in General Topics

What exactly is a pigeon pea?

The skinned version is toor daal, whereas the whole pigeon pea is a different color because it retains its skin.

For this same reason, black daal (urad) is black in its whole form and cream colored when skinned and split.

Mar 20, 2011
nafrate in General Topics

What exactly is a pigeon pea?

It depend on whether they're whole or split, and if they are skinned.

Whole pigeon peas look like the black eyed pea type usually. The split skinned variety look like split mung beans kind of. Here's a picture comparing whole vs split:

Also, there are 2 different varieties of the same species of pigeon peas, which is why there are different looking whole pigeon peas.

Mar 20, 2011
nafrate in General Topics