Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Adventures with Amchur

Friend Girija gave me a little dish of spicy vegetable mix, one of which was tendli, new to me.  I looked it up and found it's ivy gourd in English, never heard of it.  It looks like tiny cucumbers, and is cooked by being cut in strips then spiced, then various other adventures.

Next I checked on some Indian recipes using tendli, and found several of them used amchur, which I'd never heard of either.  Turns out it's dried mango powder, citrusy but good for people like your blogwriter, who can't handle citrus fruit other than lemons.

Soooooo, I checked on the price, and about fell down with shock. Next remembered that Girija had instructed me firmly not to buy any spices before checking with her, since she gets them in India, much more cheaply than here, and is happy to share.  Sure enough, she had a ton of it, though I only asked for a teaspoonful, I now own a little bag of it and a promise of more if needed.

I had given her and husband a share of soup I made recently, using a dish of red hot spicy tendli mix she'd given me, as the spice base, and it made a great soup, with pumpkin and carrots, blended at the end.  No chicken broth in this one, so I could share with them, they being very serious vegetarians, religious observance for them.

Thought I'd better make use of then amchur, then, and today I created a sort of broccoli bake with milk and egg and cheese, flavored with amchur, fresh nutmeg and fresh cinnamon.  

Broccoli Bake before baking

And after baking

And it was interesting, worked well.  The amchur gives that fresh feel that lemons would give, or oranges.   I scattered some coarse sea salt over the top, not mixed in, because I like to have a little spark of salt now and then, and ground some black pepper over, too.

Baked for about 25 minutes at 350F.  Two full meals here for me. 
The moral of the story: be sure to have Indian friends! they are so happy when someone wants to cook with Indian spices.  Either that or take out a second mortgage and buy amchur online!  Girija promises me that next time she makes a complicated dish, I'm invited over to see the procedure.

Then this afternoon, I went all historical and made a little batch of drop cakes, so as to have a dessert for Handsome Son next time he's over.  Put them in the freezer to make sure they're not gone before he gets here.  

Southern dropcakes

These are from Home on the Range, by I think the person who wrote Eat Pray Love.  Anyway, an old Southern recipe, very quick, nice, made about a dozen, and I added a few caraway seeds on top, and a few crushed walnuts.  Crisp edges, soft interior. Nice small bite with afternoon tea. 

I made this one time before, to take with me to a couple who aren't up to catering any more but make a cup of tea anyway for me.  The husband is from an ancient Virginia family, and I thought he'd like the southern touch.  However, he growled that all the southern cooking he had at home was awful.  Anyway, he did try these dropcakes and admitted they were pretty edible!

Tonight being dark and stormy, with local police warnings about severity of storm, winds, flooding, complete with note about attaching small dogs to large objects and bringing them indoors, the local copshop are a bunch of right old Chapelles, I figured I'd improve the evening and blog. Supposed to be out stitching, but sigh, not tonight, not very safe driving.

1 comment:

  1. Absolutely miserable day here too - still freezing rain tonight. The trees outside our building are so weighted down with ice that it's a wonder they are not falling down. Needless to say our meeting today was cancelled.


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