In winter, Gujaratis prepare certain sweets considered to have healthful heating properties. One is gundar pak (the light brown spheres in the photograph) which is made from wheat flour, sugar, ghee, ginger, ganthoda (valerian), and gundar (an edible gum made from the resin of the axle tree). Another is salam pak (the dark squares) which contains over 30 ingredients, including cloves, pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, almonds, pistachios, Indian ginseng, and a whole host of ayurvedic herbs. It has a wonderfully complex, piquant flavor. In Chicago, you can find these and other Gujarati specialties at Sukhadia’s Sweets on Devon Avenue. Owner Jayant Sukhadia comes from a family who has been in the sweetmaking business in India for 130 years. In May, the culinary Historians of Chicago held a program at the store that was broadcast on WBEZ. http://www.wbez.org/story/learn-all-about-indian-sweets-and-snacks-86862
Bitter Melon, Sweet Potential
Monday, 19 September 2011 16:23
All summer I watched the vine with its delicate leaves and lovely little yellow flowers grow up the iron banister of my stairs at the rate of several inches a day. planted the seeds in June but had given up hope of any harvest. Then, this morning, I saw them, two little pale green ribbed cucumbers with warts: baby bitter melons. This weird-looking vegetable — called karela in Hindi and Bengali, fuk wa in Cantonese, ampalaya in the Philippines, nigai uri in Japanese, and bitter melon, bitter gourd, or balsam pear in English — is highly valued in many Asian cuisines for its interesting flavor, appetite-stimulating properties, and health benefits.
Chicago’s Kerala Community Celebrates Onam with a Delicious Feast
Monday, 05 September 2011 00:00
On Saturday we enjoyed a wonderful Onam feast at a reception organized by the Illinois Malayali Association. (People from Kerala are called Malayali or Keralites). It was held at a local high school and prepared by Malabar Catering.
Onam is the national festival of Kerala, a state in southwest India, that is celebrated by all communities in this religiously diverse state. Originally a harvest festival, it honors the memory of an ancient king Mahabali whose rule was a golden age and is believed to return to Kerala every year at this time for one day.
Chapter 19 of Meals in Science and Practice: Interdisciplinary research and business applications. Ed. Herbert L. Meiselman. Woodhead Publishing Limited.
Defining and describing a typical Indian meal is a difficult project in view of the enormous physical, climatic, ethnic, and religious diversity of a country of more than 1 billion; 15 official languages and many dialects; eight major religions; and innumerable sects, castes, classes, and other social divisions. Most Indian languages do not even have a word for a meal and use circumlocutions to express the concept. For example, to invite someone to your house for a meal, you would ask them to come and ‘eat’ at a certain hour, the time indicating whether it is lunch or dinner. While an English speaker might ask ‘Have you had lunch (or dinner)?,’ a North Indian Hindi speaker would ask ‘roti khaya?’ (‘Have you eaten bread?’) and a Bengali speaker ‘bhat kheiicho?’ (‘Have you eaten rice?’).