Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Goan Fried Potatoes

It's amazing how one's culinary culture blinds one to perfectly obvious uses of perfectly common ingredients. I've had shooji (sooji, semolina) in our kitchen all my life, and never before have I thought of using it to coat deep-fried things. Astonishingly stupid, right? If I'd only thought for a minute, I'd see how shooji would absorb less oil than breadcrumbs or ground arrowroot biscuits (crackers, to you lot across the Atlantic), and make a delicious crunchy shell for the tender, moist potato within. But, like I said, having our own coating-agent at hand, I never even looked for alternatives. Even when I complained about breadcrumbs absorbing to much oil.

Actually, that's not true. I did consider corn flakes once (which also absorb too much oil, btw). But then, considering how even our mundane daily choices are influenced by our constant consumption of western cultural norms, I don't really consider considering corn flakes a broadening of my culinary horizons. I'm actually surprised I've stuck to grinding salty biscuits or crisply-toasted stale bread for this long, instead of buying vitamin-enriched oregano-flavoured breadcrumbs from the fancy supermarkets. I definitely missed the bus on being an empowered global consumer taking advantage of an expanded spectrum of choices.

Anyway, this is how you make wonderfully delicious, and beautifully textured fried potatoes, Goan-style.

First, peel and slice a few potatoes in roundels about 1/3rd a cm thick. Slicing them thicker would leave the centres hard and uncooked, or the edges charred. Then marinate them in lime juice/vinegar, salt, garlic powder if you fancy it, and red chilli powder, if you can stand it. Let it stand for ten minutes, at least. I don't know if this actually helps the flavour seep in deeper, but I stab the potato slices with a fork before marinating them.

 Then place each slice on a bed of semolina, coating each side. Shake off the extra semolina.

Slices after coating.

 It's a flower!

Now put them on a skillet, and pour a quarter teaspoon of oil around each slice. You'll need to add more when you flip sides. Sometimes, if you flip carelessly, the semolina coating will come off. To wit, potato slice in the middle. Let each side stand on a middle-low flame for about ten minutes. The potato will take time to cook, and the semolina will take time to toast.

Finally, as an award to yourself for the excruciatingly hard labour required by this complex recipe, pour the potato-marinade in the remaining semolina. Then take a few inch-thick slices of room-temp sharp cheddar (or hard cheese of your choice), coat them in the crunchy, tangy, spicy batter, and fry them on the now-well-greased skillet. Keep them on the flame for a little less than three minutes, for fear of the delicious melted cheese oozing out and drawing patterns on your skillet.

Saturday, 6 August 2011


There are breakfasts, and then there are breakfasts. This is what I had today. Hot buttered toast with sugar on it, chased with a steaming cup of tea.

Caffeine? Check.
Sugar? Check.
Carbs? Check.

Proteins will have to wait till lunch.

Humble? Sure. Modest? Certainly. Welcome burst of buttery warmth within your sleepy soul? Hell yes! Plus, easy on the purse and body.

You couldn't do better in five minutes, people. The eating takes longer than the prep. So the next time you're rushing out sans brekkers because oh, you're SO late and the doughnut shop is right next to bus stop -- stop! Home-made toast and tea, folks, that's the ticket.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Break That Fast!

This is one of the most scrumptious and elaborate breakfasts I have had in ages! That is, not counting family Sundays, breakfasts with my ex, and that one time at Flury's.

Let me rephrase that. This is absolutely, totally, no-holds-barred, one of the most scrumptious and elaborate breakfasts I have made for myself in ages. And it's easy. Break an egg here, cut a few slices off a loaf there, chop some veggies, soften a pat of butter, and you're ready to face a lunch-less hyperactive day with all guns blazing.

Try it sometime, with fruits on the side. It's a fantastic incentive for early mornings.

Sautéed red onions and capsicum (bell pepper).

Plus tomatoes.

And sausages sliced down the middle.
Plus a dash of flavoured salt and your favourite kinds of chopped herb (fine without, too).

A piping-hot dish of sautéed sausage with vegetables.
Perfect for a hotdog, really.

Fried egg, sunny-side up. Hot buttered toast.

One baked potato (two minutes in the microwave).
With butter.

The spread.

The eating.

The drinking (image filched off the internet)

Aaaand, off to work! Break that fast in style, people!