Tuesday, December 20, 2005

I just got the BESTEST TAG IN THE WORLD!!!!!! THE BESTEST!!!!!!!!! FOOOOOOOD TAAAAAAG!!!!! Thank you bluegreenfly.....SPLAT!

Well, I've put 10 things in this list, but I'm not done, so I'm gonna get back tomorrow sometime and get this up to 25! Update: Done! But I'm really unhappy 'cause I just realized that my list would probably go on forever. I was planning to find pictures for all of these things and add them here, but it's a lot easier to just google. Maybe I'll add links and pictures if I feel like it.

I tag i-me-moi, Saket, Jean Valjean, Vikster, and Thë Là¢ke¥. Do me proud my fellow foodies.

Also, I wrote this list from 1 to 25, which will explain some inconsistencies in references. My next post is probably going to be about stuff which I've heard a lot about, but never had a chance to eat.

25. Roomali roti (रुमाली रोटी) - Flat bread so thin and delicate, it's a wonder in itself. The best part of eating roomali roti is watching the cook make it. Tossing and swirling that dough until it's ultrathin before toasting it on an upturned wok (I'm sure it's called something else, I just call it an upturned wok.) Best served with mughlai mutton or chicken.

24. Sutarfeni (सुतरफेणी) - I'm not even going to bother with trying to describe what this is. Suffice is to say that the best sutarfeni I've had has been at Parsi Dairy at Charni Road. Don't miss it.

23. Jalebi (जलेबी or जिलेबी as we say in Marathi) - I don't know where to begin with a description. Deep-fried syrup-soaked saffron-colored spiral flour rolls, steeped in sugar syrup? How's that? Served piping hot or really cold.

22. Kokum kadi (कोकम कडी aka सोल कडी) - A tart drink made with coconut milk and kokum. Good quality kokum and coconut milk are both hard to obtain in the US. Still, if you can get by with canned coconut milk and blackmail a friend into carrying a packet of kokum from India, you're set.

21. Paneer tikka (पनीर टिक्का) - Spiced cottage cheese baked in a tandoor. I remember having these as appetizers at Copper Chimney (at Worli) once, and boy, weren't they something. Each tikka was perfectly done, with the paneer firm yet luscious. Put a piece in your mouth and it would melt with an unforgettable explosion of spice and texture. And yet, I like 20 things more than this!

20. Aamras-puri (आम्रस पुरी) - Fried flat bread served with piping hot with chilled mango puree. For best results, seat yourself in the kitchen, so that the puris are really piping hot and puffed up. Again one of those vegetarian dishes that could make me quit meat.

19. Tandoori chicken (तन्दूरी मुर्ग) - Every body seems to know what tandoori chicken is, but I haven't had authentic tandoori anywhere in the US. Most of the time, it's been some kinda spiced baked chicken with too much red food-coloring. Other times, it's been a little better but not a single place in the US has nailed the taste and texture of this delicacy. But for authentic tandoori, I guess you'll have to go to India.

18. Tallelya bhendyanchi bhaji (तळलेल्या भेन्ड्यान्ची भाजी) - Spicy fried okra. I have this at least a couple of times a week, being so easy to make and delicious and all that. (Buy cut okra from supermarket, heat oil in frying pan, add kokum, add washed okra, add chilli powder, add salt, add dhaniya-jeera powder, fry until okra is halfway blackened. Serve with rice or chapati. The "buy cut okra" step is the most important!)

17. Bhanola (भानोळं) - A sort of savory loaf made from chickpea flour. That description really sucked, but I don't really know what I can do to make it better. (Need to call mom. Need to ask her why I didn't have this during my visit.)

16. Tisrya (तिस्र्या) - Clam curry. I love this, but it's a bit of a pain to have to extract the meat from the clams. (And yeah, I have no idea why they are called tisrya.)

15. Undhiu (उँधिऊ) - Gujarati vegetable stew. I feel sorry for any vegetarian person who hasn't had undhiu yet. Back home, my mom used to make undhiu once upon a time, these days she simply gets it from any of the fantastic Gujju places in Girgaum. Over here, I'm forced to buy the ready to eat version from the Indian store. Not quite as good, but hey, beggars can't be choosers.

14. Bhakri (भाक्री) - Various types of flat bread made from either sorghum (jowar), millet (bajari) or rice. Bhakri is so much better than nans, kulchas, and parathas, it's not even funny. Best accompanied by number 8 and 9.

13. Vade (वडे) - Fried multi-grain flat bread. No, it's not what you think non-Marathi folk. This is the traditional accompaniment to number 10 - chicken. Say कोम्ब्डी वडे with me children!

12. Alu vadi (अळु वडी) - Fried batter-stuffed rolled leaves of the colocassia plant. That simple description does no justice at all to this fantastic appetizer. Again, this is the sort of thing that you will never really get in the US. (Unless you count the ready-to-eat heat and serve version.)

11. Pancharatna bhaji (aka Rishi chi bhaji) (पंचरत्न भाजी - ॠषी ची भाजी) - A springtime vegetable stew with Indian white corn, and lots and lots of different vegetables. If I ever decide to quit eating meat, this will be one of the things I'll have to learn to cook.

10. Kombdi (कोम्ब्डी) - Curried chicken. The chicken in this has to be free range chicken. (Desi folk will call this गावठी.)

9. Mutton (मटण) - Curried mutton. I guess having this for lunch every Sunday afternoon for most of my life kinda made this really grow on me. I especially love some of the more esoteric stuff that goes in this curry - spleen (तिल्ली), kidney (गुर्दा), fat (मान्द or चर्बी) and of course कपूरा!

8. Kaleji fry (कलेजी फ्राय) - Fried curried goat liver. This is my mom's signature dish when we have guests over. It's also the stuff that gets over fastest. (I kinda cheat and take a really large helping right in the beginning!)

7. Bheja fry (भेजा फ्राय) - Fried goat brains. We would get this before every major exam. My dad would say, bheja khao - bheja chalao!

6. Tallela bangda (तळलेला बान्ग्डा) - Fried mackerel. The tastiest fish around. The only reason it doesn't feature at a better rank on the list is cause I didn't know what to move out.

5. Tallela halva (तळलेला हल्वा) - Fried black pomfret. The meat is succulent yet firm and much tastier than the white pomfret.

4. Chimboryancha kalvan (चिम्बोर्यान्चे काल्वण) - Crab curry. I'm salivating a bit too much to be able to elaborate.

3. Tallelya kolambya (तळलेल्या कोलम्ब्या) - Fried prawns. Heh! Fried prawns. I eat fried prawns in my dreams. I'm not kidding. And the best part of prawns, is that unlike 1. and 2. they are much easier to find in fish-market. If aliens destroyed the earth and I was the only survivor, I would mourn fried prawns. Mom's recipe for frying of course!

2. Shevandyancha kalvan (शेवन्ड्यान्चे काल्वण) - Lobster curry (This is the Indian-style spiny lobster, not the stuff you get in the US, though that's good too.) Lobster meat has to be eaten to be believed. Mom's recipe for currying of course!

1. Talleli gaboli (तळलेली गाबोळी) - Fried roe of the bhing (भिंगं) fish. (Not surmai as I had said earlier.) This is pretty much heaven. I don't care if you're queasy. It just means more for me! Mom's recipe for frying of course!

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Yeah, I got really nothing to write home about so I guess it's time to review some comics.

Picked up a copy of All Star Superman last weekend, written by Grant Morrison and illustrated by Frank Quitely. Regular readers of my blog should know that that's the dream comic book team according to me. Do they deliver for All Star Superman? Of course!

DC's All Star series is a reimagining to their flagship characters Batman and Superman. All Star Batman is by Frank Miller and illustrated by Jim Lee and that book sucked so badly I asked my comic book guy to stop holding it for me. (To be honest the Jim Lee art was fantastic as usual but Frank Miller seems to have lost all his writing skills after Sin City.) However, the comic did give us the panel that inspired a generation!

Other stuff I'm reading is Desolation Jones by written by Warren Ellis and illustrated by J. H. Williams III. A secret community of ex-spies based in L.A. Hitler porn. And the worst looking protagonist in a recent comic book. This has got to be the best book of 2005.

I'll write some more in the next post, but now, it's time to go and buy some comic books!

Friday, December 02, 2005

Yeah, I'm back in Madison. I've already seen some snow. Somehow, it's not as bad after three and a half weeks in Mumbai. (Having bag loads of desi snacks always helps!)

Right now I'm up so late because I'm recalibrating the battery in my laptop. You basically fully charge the battery, disable all Windows battery alarms and let it shutdown. Then you plug it in and fully charge it. Mine has been stuck at 6% battery for the last half hour! Hopefully this will restore my battery life from 15 minutes to the 2 hours it is rated at.

In other news, I'll be visiting the comic shop again this Saturday after month! This has probably been the longest time I have not been to it. I've missed out on a lot of reading, and hopefully it will translate into a few reviews and rants.

In more laptop news, I also succeeded (after maybe 10 failed attempts) in upgrading the ROM BIOS on my laptop. The trick was to not jump from version 03 to 35 directly, but to flash to an intermediate version first. I also opened up my laptop today, and was disappointed to see that the second (upgradable) memory slot already contained a 256 Mb SODIMM. Now, I'll have to rethink my plans to upgrade it to 1 Gb.

Madison seems to be as boring as ever. I don't seem to have missed anything significant during my vacation. On the other hand, I've surely missed a lot of juicy Mumbai stuff, in the week or so I've been here.

An incredible thing just happened. A drop of sweat just rolled down my forehead and fell on my T-shirt. It's 13°F outside. (That's -10.56°C to you Mumbai readers.) And I'm sweating inside my apartment. Don't you just love heated homes!

It's really late now. The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson just got over. I'm gonna be so sleepy at work tomorrow. I might even have to have a coffee to wake up. Usually I have only a tea. Or better yet orange juice.

You can tell I'm really rambling now can't you? Now would probably be a good time to proof this post, but I'm probably going to do that tomorrow. If at all.