Cooking Coordinates

cooking coordinates:

Just one week to go for my annual cookery class in Australia’s capital Canberra. If you live in or near this spacious, airy city and haven’t been to a class of mine before, here’s your chance. There’s a few vacancies left. But hurry – this class always fills. Here’s the details.

Cooking Co-ordinates Cookery School,

Belconnen, Canberra ACT,

Morning Workshop, Saturday 24 October,

Bookings call 02 6253 5133.

The Manoj Chronicles

Pumpkin Man:

My Dad is unwell so I’m keeping a close watch on him from my office that adjoins his bedroom. In the meantime I’m blogging away merrily.

I did a search for something and fell upon some articles written by Manoj, a friend and facilitator of my classes on La Trobe University Campus earlier this year. It’s nice to read a report written by someone else for a change. I especially liked part 4 and part 5.

By the way, just in case you’ll ask, that’s not my Dad, nor is it Manoj cutting the pumpkins.


pooris completed!:

Melissa from Australia wrote:

“Hello, I would love to make a chickpea curry and I would like to
serve it up with Poori but don’t have a recipe. I would love it if you could give me a recipe for Poori. By the way your recipes are by far the best i’ve come across on the internet. Thanks a bunch. Warm regards Melissa.”

North Indian Puffed Fried Breads (Poories)

Popular over all of India, pooris are ideal to cook for small dinners, parties or even festivals with hundreds of guests. On a number of occasions, I’ve cooked 500 or more pooris in a few hours for big feasts. Once you get the rhythm down, it’s effortless and rewarding. Pooris are traditionally made with straight wholemeal flour, but you can vary the ingredients. One-half chapati flour or atta, and one-half unbleached plain flour makes lighter breads.

If you’re expert at rolling, try using just plain flour for translucent, gossamer-thin pooris. You can add yeast to your pooris for light, bread-like results, or add spices to your dough; you can sprinkle sugar on top of pooris for a sweet snack, or you can stuff them with various sweet and savoury fillings. Pooris are traditionally eaten hot, straight out of the ghee or oil, and are even great served at room temperature for picnics or snacks when travelling. Makes about 16 pooris.

2 cups sifted atta flour or half atta and half-unbleached plain flour,

½ teaspoon salt,

2 tablespoons melted butter or ghee,

2/3 cup warm water, or as needed,

ghee or oil for deep-frying.

Combine the flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Rub in the butter or ghee until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add up to 2/3 cup of water, slowly pouring in just enough to form a medium-soft kneadable dough. Turn the dough onto a clean working surface and knead for 5 – 8 minutes or until silky smooth. Cover with an overturned bowl and leave for ½ – 3 hours.

Knead the dough again for 1 minute. Divide the dough into 16 portions, roll them into smooth balls, and cover them with a damp cloth.

poories ahoy!:

Preheat the ghee or oil in a wok or deep pan over low heat. Roll all the balls of dough into smooth disks about 11½ – 12½ cm wide with a rolling pin. Increase the ghee or oil temperature until it reaches about 185°C/365°F.

rollin, rollin, rollin:

Lift up a rolled poori and slip it into the hot oil, making sure it doesn’t fold over. It will sink to the bottom then immediately rise to the surface. Hold it under the surface with a slotted spoon until it puffs up into a balloon. After a few seconds, when it is browned to a light-golden colour, turn it over and cook the other side to an even golden colour. Lift out the poori with the slotted spoon and carefully drain it in a large colander.


Repeat for all the pooris. Serve immediately, if possible, or leave in a preheated, slightly warm oven for up to 2 hours.

Moron Cutting Boards

what a nice cutting board:

Mario from St Andrews, NSW, wrote more on cutting boards:

“I read with great interest you opinion on wooden cutting boards in “Backblog # 1
Wooden Versus Plastic Cutting Boards

I can still remember the debate in butcher shops because they were forced to throw away the old wooden chopping blocks and buy new plastic ones. As it happenned, chemicals had to be used extensively to sterilize these new blocks. Not long after the decision had to be reversed because it was found that wood, even years after being cut from the tree, still retained its natural ability to neutralize bacteria.

A useful experiment, although a bit wasteful, is to place a piece of home made paneer on a wooden board and one on a plastic board. Put them out of reach of children and leave them for a week. Interesting results:

The panir on the plastic board becomes quite slimey and unpleasant looking and smelling while the second piece on the wooden board starts to harden with a small amount of growth which resembles normal cheese production.”

A Bit of a Bhagar

I’m winding up my culinary pastimes in Roxby Downs. Photo report coming soon.
In the meantime, some daily mail:

masala dabba:

Mrs. Dominic from Bharuch, Gujarat writes:

“Sir, Please tell me the English & Tamil name for bhagar and its usage”.

My reply: Dear Mrs.Dominic,

This refers to a specific cooking technique. The terms ‘tadka’, ‘chaunk’ (sometimes mispronounced as ‘chaunce’) ‘bhagar’ or ‘phodani’ all mean the same thing. It is a method of adding spices to a cooked or uncooked dal or curry in Indian cooking. It is sometimes referred to in English as ‘tempering’.

A small frying pan, small saucepan or a small ladle can be used. In some Indian kitchens, a long handled crucible made out of either iron, copper or brass alloy (see photo below) is set aside for this specific spicing technique.

a chaunk pan:

A small amount of cooking oil or ghee is placed in the crucible and heated over a flame. Spices such as mustard seeds, cumin, chilies, curry leaves and asafetida (hing) are added to hot oil and heated some more.

temper temper:

The process releases volatile oils from the spices. While still hot, the whole contents of the pan are quickly dumped into the curry or dal to successfully disperse aroma and flavour throughout the dish being made.

Let Them Eat Yellowcake

I’m off to the desert for the weekend. Can you pick this spot?

Roxby at Dawn:

Didn’t think so. This is ‘outback Australia’, about 550 kilometres north of Adelaide, near the small mining town of Roxby Downs.

Roxby Downs is best known for Olympic Dam, Australia’s largest uranium mine. Not surprisingly, it’s a rather controversial town, especially as the Australian government plans to expand its uranium mining program. A few months ago, BHP Biliton announced it intends to make Olympic Dam the world’s “pre-eminent supplier of uranium”.

the middle of nowhere:

So, what brings me to such an isolated spot? To teach of course! I will be flying to Adelaide, then north to Olympic Dam, and presenting a couple of cookery classes in the Home Economics classrooms of the local Roxby Downs high school.

Stay tuned for a radioactive report!

The Holy Month of Kartik


Devotees of Krishna greatly relish the sacred month of Kartik, which commenced a few days ago on the full moon day, and runs until the full moon of early November.

This is the first verse of a group of eight (astakam) chanted daily in temples throughout the world, and in my humble home here in Sydney, accompanied by an offering of a lamp, or in my case a votive candle, which I leave burning in a safe place in front of a picture of Krishna.

One can derive immense spiritual benefits from performing even this simple act during Kartik, wherein the results of acts of devotion are greatly magnified.

namamisvaram sac-cid-ananda-rupam

lasat-kundalam gokule bhrajamanam


paramrstam atyam tato drutya gopya

“To the Supreme Lord
Whose form is composed of eternity, knowledge and bliss,
Whose earrings swing and play upon His cheeks,
Who is splendrously manifest in Gokula,
Who is very fearful of mother Yasoda,
and jumping down from the wooden grinding mortar quickly runs away,
Who is chased by Yasoda running very quickly after Him
and is ultimately caught from behind,
I offer my respectful obeisances.”