Its time to talk about another one of my favourite cookbooks. Well, its more than a cookbook, a culinary travelogue – , by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid. The book take us through the Great Indian Subcontinent – India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The greatest success of this book is, in my opinion, the authors somehow manage to magically transport us to these places. Hoppers at the Sri Lankan roadside shop, sherpas in the Everest, mela(festival) at Ladakh, rickshaws in Dhaka, glass bangles and henna designs, are few (very few, actually) mentions that comes to my mind. They also introduce us to interesting characters like the Munasinghes, Sam, Dolma, etc. Though faceless, they give a glimpse of the ‘real’ life in these parts of the world. Did I mention about the inspiring photos?
Each nation is unique in her own self, even quirky. Her lands, her people, their culture and food reflect this unique spirit. Superficially, there may be many elements, like traffic, pollution, poverty, that may appear uninviting, or downright repulsive. A real traveler should be able to look through this chaos and appreciate the real beauty and life of a country. Coming from a different background, he/she should be open to think things differently. That is the true spirit of traveling and seeing places; and I should say that I am pleased with this book in that regard. Even if cooking is not your thing, this book is a good read.
Talking about travelogues, I immensely enjoy . Her enlivening posts and photographs, unbiased accounts and perception on things generally, only add to my respect towards her.
Cashew - coconut croquettes, that I chose to showcase from this book, are delicate, but rich. The original recipe calls for lamb and eggs. I veganized by substituting tofu for lamb and corn flour for eggs.Cashew - Coconut Croquettes
(Serves 4)IngredientsCroquettesFirm tofu – 1 14 oz tub
Cashew nuts – ½ cup
Grated coconut – 1 cup
Green chillies – 3 or 4
Onion – 1, small
Fennel seeds – 1 tsp
Garlic – 1 clove
Ginger – 1 inch piece
Corn flour – 2 to 3 tbsp
Cilantro – 1 tbsp
OilTamarind sauceFennel seeds – ½ tsp
Onion – 1, finely chopped
Garlic – 1 clove, minced
Green chillies – 3, minced
Tomato – 3 cups, chopped
Cumin powder – ½ tsp
Coriander powder – 1 tsp
Turmeric – ½ tsp
Tamarind paste – 2 tbsp
Cilantro – ¼ cup, chopped
Oil – 2 tspMethod
Drain the liquid from tofu, as much as possible. In a food processor, pulse cashew nuts, until coarsely ground. Add coconut, ginger, garlic, green chillies, fennel seeds, salt and grind until fairly smooth. Finally add tofu and cilantro; and pulse until everything comes together. Transfer to a bowl and add corn flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the mixture holds together. Over medium heat, spray a skillet with oil. Take a lime sized tofu mixture, roll and flatten as shown below, and pan fry them. Repeat with the rest of the dough and make croquettes in batches. Alternately, you can also bake or broil the croquettes.
While making the croquettes, heat oil in a sauce pan. Splutter fennel seeds, sauté onion and garlic. When it turns soft, add all the ground spices and green chillies, sauté for a minute and then add chopped tomatoes, salt, tamarind and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and let the gravy simmer for 15 minutes. The tamarind should not smell raw, and the sauce should be a thick and homogenous mixture. Check for seasoning, garnish with cilantro. Serve croquettes generously spooned with tamarind sauce.
I served mine with pulao. We also had the leftovers croquettes + sauce for tea, and we liked the stand-alone version better. Next time, I am thinking of adding sweet tasting vegetables like carrots or sweet potatoes to the croquettes.
This is my entry to , the event I am hosting this month. You still have a week to send in your entries. This is also my entry to , hosted by Sig of Live To Eat. Jihva is conception.
On a separate note, I am still recovering from an awful flu. There may be delays in responding to my emails. Please bear with me while I recover.