Laputan Logic
Tuesday, July 01, 2003
  BIG POST ERROR, POST ID 105702647564896991 REPORT IT

It seems that the new blogger will blow away posts that are bigger than 7,800 characters. Hmmm.


Monday, June 30, 2003
Hi*a"tus (?), n.; pl. L. Hiatus, E. Hiatuses (#). [L., fr. hiare, hiatum, to gape; akin to E. yawn. See Yawn.]

1. An opening; an aperture; a gap; a chasm; esp., a defect in a manuscript, where some part is lost or effaced; a space where something is wanting; a break.

2. (Gram.) The concurrence of two vowels in two successive words or syllables. Pope.

[Webster Dictionary, 1913]

Well, that's not exactly what I meant but it's close enough. I'm going to be taking a bit of a breather from the blog so there won't be any posts here for a couple of weeks.

Let me leave you with this delicious recipe that I discovered whilst Under the Fire Star.

I really love South Indian food, I only wish that there were some restaurants here in Melbourne that knew how to cook it1.

The cornerstone of this cuisine is undoubtedly the humble sambar.



Vegetable 1/4-1/2 kg
New tamarind - a lump the size of a small lime
Red gram dhal (toor dal) 2/3 cup
Turmeric powder 1/2 tsp
Gingelly (sesame) oil 3 tsp (my note: or use any cooking oil)
Dry red chillies 10 (Medium) or 6 (Large)
Green chillies 2
Mustard seeds 1/2 tsp
Fenugreek seeds 1/2 tsp
Asafoetida powder - a pinch or to taste
Curry leaves (Chopped) 3 tbsp
Salt 1 tsp
Rice flour 1/2 tsp
Coriander leaves (Chopped) 3 tbsp

To serve 4 persons

A variety of vegetables -- drumstick, lady's finger (okra), onion, brinjal (eggplant), pumpkin, carrot, French beans, runner beans, etc, -- can be used to prepare sambar. Select any one vegetable. Cut into medium size bits and wash. Vegetables like onion, brinjal, lady's finger, French beans, runner beans and cluster beans can also be fried a little before adding. Amaranth stems, radish, runner beans, cluster beans or pumpkin may be cooked separately with just enough salt and then added.

Soak the tamarind in 1 cup water for 20 minutes. Squeeze it out, adding water little by little to prepare 1 cup of juice.

Choose a heavy vessel, e.g., stoneware, with a very narrow mouth. Wash the dhal. Clean and remove stones, if any. (If the dhal is cleanly husked, it need not be washed.) Boil 1 to 1 1/4 cups of water. Add the dhal, turmeric powder and 1 tsp oil. Cover with a shallow lid, filled with water. (A cup of water may also be placed on the lid.) Add this water to the dhal, if needed,while the dhal is cooking. Cook till very soft. (Some dhals do not cook soon. If so, add a pinch of baking soda. If baking soda is added, do not use turmeric powder, as the colour of the dhal will be spoilt.) Remove from fire and mash the cooked dhal. Keep aside.

Heat a vessel. pour in the remaining oil. Pinch red chillies into halves. Slit green chillies. Fry the pinched red chillies, mustard, fenugreek seeds and asafoetida to a dark brown colour (without blackening it). Add green chillies. Pinch curry leaves and fry for a few moments. Add the tamarind juice to the seasonings with salt. Add the cut and washed vegetable.

When the vegetable is cooked in the tamarind juice, add the mashed dhal. Allow it to boil well. Mix the rice flour in water. Add and stir well. Bring to boil once more. Boil for a few minutes. Remove from fire. Garnish with coriander leaves and a few curry leaves.

Note: Asafoetida water may be used in the place of asafoetida powder. If using asafoetida water, add to the sambar when boiling. To prepare thicker sambar, increase the quantity of dhal. The dhal can be cooked in a pressure cooker as well.

1 - actually the reason why nobody makes it here was explained to me by a restaurant proprietor who gave me a crash course in curry economics. Sambal is a really thin sauce which goes with mountains of rice or is mopped up with roti. Customers are only willing to pay for curries with thick gravies, hence all the friggin' kormas. This law of currynomics also dictates that there will be a predominance of rendangs at Malaysian restaurants.

The only way I can think of breaking this nexus is to import a large number of South Indians to Australia. The idea is to build a large domestic market of people uninfluenced by weird Anglo prejudices against rice and roti (and for that matter complex carbohydrates in general). Expert roti makers should, as part of these reforms, have their visa applications fast-tracked.

You may have already guessed that I have a number of other cuisine-related immigration policy ideas that I'm likely to share with you one day.

2 - Pauline Hanson was a fish 'n' chip shop proprietor (actually there is no point 2 to go with this footnote).  

Fanciful. Preposterous. Absurd.

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