Kachori is a deep-fried snack food made throughout India. A soft dough made from all-purpose flour and a little baking powder is filled with coarsely chopped green beans or lentils typically, then deep fried.
Those pictured were filled with urad dal soaked in water and pounded into a coarse paste, then mixed with spices and pan fried until dry. This particular version is from Uttar Pradesh, so the kachori are flattened disks (one shown in the photo was shaped into a small ball by my son as is done in Gujarat). In Uttar Pradesh, kachori are usually served with a thin potato curry, seasoned only with spices, that is, without onion or garlic. We used fresh coriander leaves, ginger, chopped fresh green chili, red chili powder, asafetida, cumin seeds, turmeric, garam masala, and amchur (powdered dried green mango, added for sourness). The filling was seasoned with many of the same spices as listed above, but to which was added crushed fennel seeds.
The thin curry and kachori go well together, a filling, healthy snack.
Before the birth of our son, my husband and I moved to Nagano Prefecture: a homecoming for me; a new experience for him.
He had spent much of his life in or near large cities. In the Japanese countryside surrounding Nagano things were different. All the usual signposts by which one knows where one is and what is happening around one in the city were lost to him. Adjustment was required, and it proved slow in coming.
While he had been able to sleep with the sound of city street traffic, he found it impossible to sleep well in summer with the din made by rice paddy frogs in the thousands just outside our bedroom window. While he knew well which way a certain street was oriented in relation to his house or apartment, he had no idea wherethe north side of our house was, and living where we do we give direction by compass point. In our garden, he could not tell a soybean plant from a potato, and other common plants and flowers were beyond him his experience as well. Even recognizing ambient sounds was a challenge to him. In the city, he would never mistake the sound of a cooing pigeon for a hammer banging, but here he once asked me if my father was using an electric grinder, when the noise he had heard had come from a large frog.
It took some time, and not a little effort, to learn as much as he has now, but learn he did. Now, he can tell without the aid of a clock or seeing daylight from outside, that it is time to get out of bed and start a fire each morning. He does this, he said, because he noticed that at this time of year crows begin to caw around 5:30am, so still a little early to stir, but that by just before 6:00am other, smaller birds begin to chirp, and a fire must be made, so that by the time my son and I wake up it will be warm in our main room and kitchen.
There are so many clues in Nature all around us that told our ancestors when to plant, when to harvest, when it was going to rain, whether the coming winter would be severe or mild, . . .so much information hidden from city dwellers by walls within which they live and work. I sometimes wonder whether the trade offs made necessary by living in more “convenient” cities are worth it. What do you think?
My husband remembered eating these prickles put up by a neighbor and shared with his family when he was a boy. Calabria (the toe of the Italian boot) is the home of this condiment according to Waverly Root in his classic “The Food of Italy.” My husband found many recipes online, or more accurate to write, he found many mentions of the exact same recipe. It seems to be a common practice to copy and paste recipes word for word from one site to another site or food blog without crediting the source.
Eggplant is cut into cubes or strips or disks, then boiled for a few minutes in water and white wine vinegar. After drying, the eggplant is placed in a jar along with dried red chili, sliced garlic, and bay leaves, over all of which olive oil (we use extra virgin) is poured. (The recipe in Root’s book mentions garlic, pimento, and basil.) The result is a light, tasty condiment for summer. My husband also made some eggplant chutney with we can eat after 12-14 days. My father has provided us with too many eggplants to eat all at once this month, as all the plants ripen around the same time.
Back in Nagano after a beautiful weekend in Matsumoto at that city’s annual “Crafts Fair.”
It seemed there were fewer visitors in 2015 compared with past years. One reason may be that a new crafts fair in Chiba-ken was held on the same weekend. It will be interesting to see the final attendance figures for both venues when they are released.
Upon our arrival, we visited the Matsumoto Folk Craft Museum easily accessible by local bus leaving Matsumoto JR station. The museum is housed in an old refurbished traditional Japanese storehouse to which have been added newer wings which serve as a visitors’ entrance and additional display space. The surrounding grounds are quiet and well maintained.
Next up, my online shop which we begin Monday, June 8th, at 9pm Japan Standard Time.