Re: [gardeners] OT: Recipe for the season

Liz Albrook (
Fri, 24 Jul 1998 08:17:41 +0000

penny x stamm <> wrote:

> Catherine, our local Indian fancy restaurant serves the rice with 
> crumbled bacon on top. And most of the places serve Tandoori
> chicken on a bed of fried mild onions. So I have combined the
> effect....

Fried onions are a common side dish in India -- or at least fried 
shallots are common.  As for bacon, your Indian restaurant might be 
fancy but it is anything but authentic.  There are religious 
restrictions concerning the consumption of pork by a large percentage 
of the Indian population.  The only authentic Indian dish that I know 
of that includes pork is Vendaloo, a dish developed in Goa by 
Portugese Christians.  Both Julie Sahni and Madhur Jaffery in various 
cookbooks report that even among those Indians not bound to avoid 
pork due to religious restrictions rarely consume pork because it is 
considered a very poor meat, owing to the fact that a pig will eat 

> Overall, I would never classify Indian cookery as vegetarian
> in general.

Indians do -- and not just Indian chefs or cookbook authors.  This is 
a quote from _Recipes From India_ by the Indian Women Association of 
Pullman, WA.  

"Many delicious fish, poultry and meat dishes are eaten throughout 
India.  These are what are often known in Western terms as "curries". 
 However, about fifty percent of Indians even today are vegetarians 
for religious and economic reasons.  Even those who classify 
themselves as non-vegetarians will base most of their meals on 
vegetarian cooking, deriving high quality protein from endless 
combinations of grains with a wide variety of beans and pulses 
(legumes).  Due to this very reason, most of the recipes collected 
and presented in this book are vegetarian."

 Their huge menus are overwhelmingly varied 
> beef, lamb, chicken or shrimp/fish, with a minor number of
> popular veggie dishes, very often spinach or eggplant

Sorry, but this is dead wrong.  There is an overwhelming number of 
vegetable dishes served in India.  I've got more than 50 recipes just 
for cooking okra.  In addition to numerous recipes for individual 
vegetables, there is an enormous variation in the types of vegetables 
grown and eaten in India.  The only part of the US with a long 
tradition of that sort of variety in vegetable offerings is the 
southeast (and, in recent times, southern California), and even it 
falls short of matching Indian standards.

> In a rooftop restaurant overlooking the airport at St.Louis is
> a truly excellent Indian restaurant which serves a luncheon buffet.
> So many of the dishes one might never order are there for the
> sampling, and make converts of us!  For some reason, Indian 
> food does not appear to suffer from sitting on a hot table, perhaps
> because so many of their foods have prominent sauces. The 
> choices are predominantly meat dishes.

Of course -- the customers are predominately American and it's likely 
they are ignorant Americans.  Rarely do Indian restaurants offer 
authentic Indian cuisine.  It is very, very difficult to persuade 
Indians in the restaurant business to offer authentic dishes, even by 
special request. They fear the reputation they will get -- too hot, 
weird foods, strange tastes, "it isn't anything like the food at 
the Tandoori King and we really like it", etc.  It means they will go 
out of business.  In much the same way, authentic Chinese, Thai and 
Korean foods are rarely found in American restaurants unless those 
restaurants are located in areas that are predominately Chinese, Thai 
or Korean.  Sea cucumber is not frequently listed on American menus.

BTW, Catharine's name is spelled with 2 A's in it.