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Look, Smell, Taste, Texture In Culinary Art

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by Amulet, Apr 4, 2020.

  1. Amulet

    Amulet IL Hall of Fame

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    We already know many countries with animal images on their flags. Would any country put vegetables, cut or whole, or ensalada on their flag ?

    There are 16 spokes in that wheel. Made of red bell peppers. They are sitting on top of a layer of chopped leeks. At the center is a bunch of cut green bell peppers (capsicums).

    Not being able to go to restaurants to eat, makes one come to the realization that fine food is not going to appear, and serve me by itself. And then there are stories of people losing their sense of smell and taste when afflicted with this Sars-CoV-2 virus. Now this has been a recognized symptom of infection in those "asymptomatic" sicko's. The question "so..... what's smelling in the kitchen?" directed at me, makes me smile and feel a bit relieved.

    So I am messing about in the kitchen a bit more than usual. The above is a picture of a heavy bottomed vessel (a pressure cooker pot) that is layered with various things. I would set the pot on very low flame and let it cook for a long time. The contents themselves would provide the moisture to cook (stew) everything. It is done with a simple (glass lid that comes with cookers) lid under ambient pressure. After the pot gets cooking for a bit, a gentle smell of the aromatic spices comes up in the house.

    Here are the layers in the pot.

    Layer 1: Oil, fennel seeds, potatoes and carrots
    Sprinkle about a tablespoon of EVOO on the bottom of a heavy bottomed vessel, like a Pressure cooker vessel, for example. [Thin bottomed vessels do not work well in this recipe] Rotate the vessel to cover the bottom and about an inch of the sides of the vessel with the oil. Sprinkle a teaspoon of fennel seeds.

    Quarters or halves of large or medium sized peeled potatoes, carrots that are peeled, and cut to approximaately the same size as the potatoes. Add these to the thick bottomed vessel, shake the handle to mix the oil with these chunks of potatoes and carrots. This bottom layer would protect the other layers from coming down and sticking to the bottom.

    The Potatoes will act as a salt-sink in the overall dish. Carrots will provide a slight sweet taste.​

    Layer 2: Making surface-fried, spiced chicken thigh pieces.

    Buy skin-free, bone-free chicken thighs. Cut them into roughly 1” cube pieces, place them in a stainless steel mixing bowl. Sprinkle salt and black pepper on them, and mix. Add a mixture of EVOO, Turmeric, Sambar powder (coriander+chili), ginger-garlic paste on the chicken. Mix well.
    1 kg Chicken, 1 teaspoon each of salt, sambar powder, 1/2 teaspoon each of turmeric, pepper, 1 tablespoon each of EVOO, and ginger-garlic paste.

    Procedure: Nonstick skillet on medium flame. Add one or two teaspoons of olive oil, when it heats up, add 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds, handful of cashew halves, one or two whole dry red chilis, and a few bay leaves (or curry leaves). Fry till cashews turn a little brown. The chilis will also slightly char; make sure they are not broken. Add the chicken from previous paragraph, raise the flame to medium high to make them sizzle for a few minute to cook the surface. Turn the pieces over to sizzle the opposite surface. The moisture from the ginger-garlic paste needs to (mostly) evaporate off.

    Spread the surface fried chicken pieces over the potato and carrots in the heavy bottomed vessel. Layer 2 is done.​

    Layer 3. Fried Onions and Garam Masala.

    In the same skillet used in chicken surface frying, on the remnant oily surface add two finely chopped medium onions, some salt (to take out the moisture from the onions a wee bit faster), and put it on medium heat to fry the onions. When the onions turn transparent, add a teaspoon of garam masala and mix well for an additional minute or two. Spread this fried onion on top of the chicken in the heavy bottomed vessel.​

    Layer 4: Leeks and Capsicums are good to have for the flavor and colour they would add. This layer could have anything you want.

    Chop the leeks fine, and spread them on top of the onions. Arrange the cut bell peppers on top. If you have other vegetables in the fridge that you need to salvage (like spinach, coriander, etc.. ) they can come in this layer.

    Finally close the vessel with a glass (preferred) lid, put the flame/heater at the lowest point, and let it cook. Set your alarm/phone stopwatch for an hour of cooking.​

    The moisture from top layers (vegetables, leeks, onions chicken) will slowly ooze down, and heat back up, and down again. The steam/moisture would take care of mixing and equilibrating the spices.

    After one hour come back and look at the vegetables on top layer. If they are cooked well (green capsicum would’ve turned pale green, for example), you may remove the lid, and slip a silicone spatula down the side to test the amount of water that had been released.

    Let the stew cook at simmer-setting for an additional hour.
    Do not mix the layers at all.

    After a couple of hours, it is ready to eat. However the taste improves if you let it rest for an additional four or five hours. Serve with rice or baguettes.


    I noticed that @kveena has a collection of meatless, vetable-less recipes in another thread.

    Let us post our recipes and pictures of meaty, vegetable containing recipes in this thread.
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2020
    Thyagarajan and Amica like this.

  2. Amica

    Amica IL Hall of Fame

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    That's a lot of work but it sounds pretty awesome. Thanks for the detailed instructions. I'm bookmarking this. When the shelves are less bare, I'll give it a go.

    I love the pretty pepper spokes. One of my problems with desi cuisine is it is often um ... not beautiful. I hope you will some day start a thread on food presentation.

    Tempered glass pot lids have a vent hole. This is not ideal for cooking rice. Do you have any ideas for plugging that hole and sealing the pot?
    Thyagarajan likes this.
  3. Cheeniya

    Cheeniya Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    This fits better in Snippets. Brought it here without your permission.
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  4. Thyagarajan

    Thyagarajan IL Hall of Fame

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    :hello::hello: A detailed step by step to devour. Nice presentation.
    2. I think I must get used to this minus that non veg part.
    3. Must be painstACKING work. But then why it should take such long hours to cook may be 1 kg chicken.
    4. This recipe could have a nice brand-name.
    Thanks and Regards.

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