It’s the start of another new year, it’s the midst of the cricket season (but let’s not talk about that quite yet) and I’ve had some new thoughts regarding my blog which have come from comments left about the blogs, customer feedback and yours truly thinking!
So, this year, folks, in my Wednesday blogs I want to focus on the dishes, the spices, namely all the things that go into my cooking.
“What?” I hear you say, “You mean you haven’t been doing that already?”. Well, yes and no.
Take garam masala, for instance, which I’ve written about in a previous blog here.
My son, as a very young boy, thought that garam masala was a spice. Imagine! A spice like nutmeg that you grate called garam masala!
So in my blog next week, I will focus on making six garam masalas that go with different foods (chicken, fish and so on) including nilgiri’s own garam masala. There will be photos of each recipe step together with recipes for each gram masala. For those of you familiar with my recent weekly blogs there will be lots of detail and photos and for those of you not familiar, well, come give it a try!
Now, as we’re into the new year and reflect on our last one here’s my “The Best of 2011”.
It’s interesting to see what blogs get the most attention, and what get the least.
Is there any rhyme or reason to it?
I think that’s as hard to say as trying to predict a cricket score (we didn’t know Sachin would get out so early). Is it the topic, the weather (when it’s cold people stay inside), the time it’s sent (if you’re at home or at work and want to do something different)?
Well, whatever the reason I’m not a Google Analyst and I’m not going to do that here . . . but I will tell you about the favourites.
The simple, unassuming lentil, red kidney bean and chickpea were our outright favourite! That’s right folks!
Would I have guessed this?
The simple dish was hit upon most times. I hope that you tried it. I hope that you soaked your pulses and added one ingredient after another whilst cooking. I guess not many of you have a tandoor to make this dish so I hope you followed the recipe alongside.
You didn’t see this blog? Don’t remember it? Well, here is the quintessential dal makhani blog.
I know that many mothers worry about their vegetarian teenage daughters (and their sons, but there are fewer vegetarians in this group) getting enough protein and I know that this dish is bung full of the stuff if served with rice or bread and with a side dish of palak (spinach) or paneer, well, you’re sorted! So perhaps that’s why it came in at number one?!
Spices came in at number two!
So here it is if you want to refresh your memory or see if for the first time: When should I add whole spices and when should they be ground?
I’d written about when spices should be left whole and when ground. I know that many people find this issue confusing or don’t even know that you can use whole spices and grind your own given that you can buy convenient ground spices in jars from the supermarket . . . but don’t!!! Often these things are fine when you first open them but then turn to nothing more than coloured dust with no smell whatsoever.
Dry-fry your whole spices, grind them (in an electric spice grinder which is less romantic, I know, than a pestle and mortar but boy is it more convenient for me and my staff) and you will never want to buy pre-ground stuff ever again (with the exception, as you know, of turmeric as it’s like cement when whole and no one wants to grind diamond-like substances in their own home!).
My operatic paneer came in third which sort of didn’t surprise me.
This wonderful dish that seems so complicated can be made at home. People are amazed they can make cheese at home, so easily and in such a short time. I’m often told how they never imagined they’d be able to make their own paneer at home…..they often say that during my class they didn’t imagine they’d be watching me make paneer.
Andhra chicken pulao was fourth. Yes!!!
Well, you know I’m trying to move away from Indian food being seen as nothing more than a curry in a damn’d hurry (which, for your information came in at number five!!) and this one topped that table at number four.
And last, but my no means least, the blog that got the most comments and was fifth in the list and which I’ve just mentioned above: This ain’t no damn curry in a hurry.
So, there you have it.
And as for me, I must say that my two favourite blogs would have to be the one on Vishwanath Apte, not so much for the dosai that he liked so much but for the fact that he was a true inspiration to me.
My second would be the one on chutneys. Why?
Is it because of the pickles and achars that can be served alongside my dishes? Is it because my ajoba used to make his own pickles?
Well, as for the dosai, let’s face it, it’s the person behind the dosai that made the blog so special to me as is the case for the chutneys!
So, keep reading, cooking and sending in those comments and the best of 2012 [the year of the bear] to you all!