March 02, 2005

On the Spice Trail

A couple of weeks ago I forayed into the world of fresh cheese making, with an Indian paneer. I now have another skill to add to my list o' reasons not to be eaten first after the civilization collapses. It was a raging success, and also a bit of a surprise, as I hadn't realized how closely related paneer is to ricotta - the classic Italian fresh cheese. It was also frightfully uncomplicated. I now understand my Literature teacher's contempt for Ben Gunn's helpless pining for cheese while living on goat's milk.

I have been creeping slowly into the world of Indian cookery over the last year, edging away from pre-mixed masalas and premade flavouring sauces in favour of learning the classic techniques. As I write this, there is a large bowl of kidney beans sitting in a bowl of water on the kitchen table for tonight's endeavour at making rajma rasedar, a classic vegetarian dish that I am assured by the recipe's owner is considered compulsory for celebratory menus in the Punjab.

Since I have had very good results with the other recipes that I've tried from this site I have no doubts that the results will be tasty.

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