Which foodie doesn’t love going through cookbooks? I have my share of them and I regularly run my eyes through the lovely text and lovelier images. There’s a cookbook in my shelf that I bought purely because it had wonderful images! Its got some rustic vessels and although the pics are all top shots, they create a wonderful effect simply because the food has been presented in a wonderful manner, the compositions are great, the containers and the tiles used in the background go so well with the north-Indian food theme and the entire thing comes together well.
It is this book that I showed to the photographer of our book before the shoots began. He has successfully recreated the traditional feel of Tamil Brahmin food with his compositions. But that’s another story.
Yesterday, at a meeting with someone who runs a publishing house, I came across a huge 400-page book – Chefs’ Favourites from the TAJ (2010). I kept eyeing the book from the corner of my eye, so as not to let her know my attention was more on the book than the conversation we were having. Just as we were wrapping up the meeting, I tactically asked her if I could take a look at the book. She was gracious and I put it to good use by requesting her to lend it to me for a week.
And that’s how I spent the whole of yesterday evening pouring over the book even though it was a non-vegetarian special and had only a sprinkling of vegetarian dishes! The book is divided into 24 sections, each featuring the favourite recipes of chefs from 24 of Taj’s hotels worldwide.
There were quite a few recipes in the book that I have marked for taking down. From the book, I prepared ‘Amti’ today – a dal fromMaharashtra. Anything from Maharashtrian and Sindhi cuisines always manages to catch my eye because I had very loving neighbours from these two regions who always sent over their specialties when I was a kid. Also, my mum was born and brought up in Bombayand she prepares quite a few snacks the Maharashtrian way.
This particular dal that I prepared today depends on tamarind instead of the usual tomato for sourness and is spiced by red and green chillies alone. The addition of fresh grated coconut too adds to its unique taste. Do try it!
AMTI – Maharashtrian Dal/Lentil Curry
Toor dal (split pigeon peas) – ½ cup
Turmeric powder – a big pinch
Asafoetida – a pinch
Oil – 2 tsp
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Curry leaves – a few
Green chilli – 1 (chopped fine)
Red chilli – 2 (halved)
Tamarind paste – 2 tsp (or extract of a small lemon sized ball of fresh tamarind)
Coriander leaves – 1 tbsp (chopped fine)
Fresh grated coconut – 1 tbsp
Jaggery/sugar – ½ tsp
Cook dal/pigeon peas with turmeric and asafoetida
Heat oil and splutter mustard seeds
Add red and green chilli and curry leaves
Add cooked dal, tamarind paste and two cups of water and bring to a rolling boil
Add salt and let boil for another couple of mins
Take off heat, garnish with coriander leaves and coconut and serve
Off this goes to Blgging Marathon #12 hosted by Srivalli