Tag Archives: Cooking

A Netflix episode of Chef’s Table inspires this dish

Like many of the foodies in the universe, I love watching food shows, listening to food podcasts, buying and getting cookbooks from the library….you get the gist.

A few nights ago, I started watching Episode 1 from Season 3 of Chef’s Table on Netflix.  In this episode, Jeong Kwan, a Buddhist monk from South Korea, espouses the virtues of cooking as a soulful process and how vegan food made with the simplest of ingredients can transport you to a state of bliss.  I don’t know if it was her energy, the beauty of the temple grounds, her artistic way of transcending simple ingredients or her penchant for storytelling that had me glued.  But when she narrated how her father transformed from feeling sorry for her because she gave up eating meat into a content man after tasting her shiitake mushrooms cooked with sesame oil and soy sauce, I could not rush out fast enough to grab ingredients to create this in my kitchen.

While Jeong Kwan did not necessarily share a recipe, it was simple enough to try.  I took the shiitake mushrooms and cut little indentations into the caps like she did.  I proceeded to saute the mushrooms in sesame oil and soy sauce with just one modification, the addition of thinly sliced ginger.

The result was a melt in your mouth amalgamation of flavors, one that took minutes to create but whose taste made me want to savor every bite 🙂

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Ingredients:

2 four oz packets of shiitake mushrooms

2 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsp dark sesame oil

One inch square of fresh ginger, thinly sliced

Salt – only if needed

How To:

Remove the stems from the mushrooms and cut two slits crosswise across the caps (see picture).  Gently wash and dry the mushrooms.  Heat the sesame oil and when it is warm, add the ginger and fry for a minute.  Add the mushrooms and toss gently in the oil taking care that the mushrooms don’t break.  Add the soy sauce and toss the mushrooms gently again, coating with the soy sauce and sesame oil.  Add salt only if needed.  Cook for two-three minutes and turn off the stove.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

If you’ve created a dish from an episode of Chef’s Table, we’d love to hear about your version!

PS.  I’d like to give a shout out to chef Eric Ripert, a follower of Buddhist principles, for bringing us the talent and wisdom of Jeong Kwan.

 

 

Pinch me and tell me this is for real!

If I rattle off the following words in no particular order – lucky, amazing, beautiful, incredible, unbelievable, memorable, special – does it conjure a certain visual imagery for you? For me, it is these words along with the Hindi word  “kismat” that sum up how I felt last Saturday night walking out of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (the Met) in New York City.  It was almost a “Cinderellaesque” moment, except I wanted the night to linger on as I descended the steps of the Met and got into my cab to head back home.

So what was it that led me to this happy, blissful state?  First and foremost it was clearing a wait list to take part in an event.  Not just any event, but one that brought together Madhur Jaffrey, the prolific actress, chef, and writer with Yotam Ottolenghi, the man whose recipes I’ve been creating joyfully in my kitchen since discovering him during our time in the UK.  These two stalwarts were coming together with Floyd Cardoz, yet another luminary on the Indian food scene to host a “Feast of India” at the Met.  Tickets had been sold out since April and yet through some magnificent stroke of luck, I cleared the waiting list a few days before the event.   Not only did I come beaming ear to ear, but lady luck blessed me with front row seats where I sat within arm’s length of my beloved chefs and next to their families and the curators of the event.  And that was just the kick off to a brilliant evening that had me pinching myself in disbelief at every turn.

Since the lavish evening banquet was in conjunction with the brilliant photography exhibit Modernism on the Ganges: Raghubir Singh Photographs, the event was kicked off by the talented Mia Fineman, Associate Curator in the Department of Photographs at the Met who spoke eloquently about Raghubir Singh’s talents, a topic that was deftly woven into the discussion on vibrant  food and flavors throughout the evening.

As dishes from the north, south, east and west of India were brought out family style and the audience dug in, Yotam embarked on a Q&A with Madhur, asking questions about each dish and Madhur waxing eloquence in fluid prose with a little story and factoid on each dish followed by a video that demonstrated the dish being prepared.  Periods of audience silence were followed by animated chatter where each of us tried to pick our favorites.  Over the course of two hours, Yotam and Madhur paired up playfully to take the audience on a beautiful journey through the tastes of the Indian landscape. From bhelpuri to aloo parathas, pesarattu to jhalmuri, the food straddled the line between familiar and unfamiliar tastes.

As someone who can talk, eat, dream and cook food around the clock, I was just latching on to every word that came from Yotam and Madhur and truly had my fangirl moment when I got to speak to each of them and take pictures too! Floyd Cardoz who supervised the kitchen and was the vision behind the food served talked at the end about his experience creating bolder flavors for the American palate.  He affirmed that the world of bold, bright, deep flavors is here to stay and the world has shifted to a more adventurous mood in terms of food and eating habits.

It is incredibly hard to take a country like India with its kaleidoscope of colors, emotions, people, and flavors and bottle it into a two-hour experience, but the event curators at the Met really did a beautiful job of making the most of this enriching, informative, delicious event.

I’m still basking in the glow of happiness, recreating the evening in my head and trying to source the perfect green chickpeas that as a seasoned Indian and a decent cook I had never tasted in my life till the Met opened my eyes!

!

 

 

Waffling a sweet potato? Yes for sure!

I recently read somewhere that some creative soul had tried to toast sliced sweet potatoes for breakfast and the outcome was amazing!  I chuckled about this to a friend and she goes, “I’m going to try waffling the sweet potato”….just inserting the slices into a waffle iron and letting the iron do its magic.

Well, that was just the push I needed to do this in my own kitchen.  I greased a waffle iron and waffled my sweet potatoes in there.  Unlike a regular waffle, I repeated the process a few times to get the right level of browning.  What came out simply melted in my mouth with just a little bit of butter on top.  To make it a complete breakfast, I added in a soft-boiled egg and a sliced avocado.

Take a look pre and post and do let me know if you’ve tried this!

Pre Waffle iron
The three ingredients
Post Waffle iron
The finished breakfast!