International Blog of Food

Glorious Cuisine From Around the World

Thursday, June 28, 2007
I Knew It
(Photo compliments of

This is something we can all relate to...the donut food group. I thought there was also a pie and ice cream food group. Oh, and we can't forget about fudge.
posted by kent at 9:19 AM    2 comments
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Uniquely Indian
Here are a few things I recently enjoyed eating which are uniquely Indian. The first for those with a sweet tooth, are the jalebis. The second is an Indian thali, this one from the Mystic Masala; they only serve this during lunch. The third is the Indian kulfi, a frozen dessert with the noodley things called falooda on it, also from Mystic Masala.

The monsoons are here in Pune (and most of India), which means the scene outside my windows is prettier. The landscapes are green and the river seems wider than usual.

posted by Shantanu at 11:54 PM    3 comments
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Weird Foods
Only strong stomachs need read on....compliments of

Baby Octopus in Soju (Korea): You are given a bowl of live baby octopuses and a plate which is covered in soju (Korean alcohol). You pick one octopus up and wipe it in the soju which puts it to sleep and then eat it. More fun near the end of the meal when there is less soju on the plate or the octopus doesn't go asleep and starts to fight as you're eating it.

Dancing Shrimp (China): Large live shrimp are taken from a tank and plopped into a scalding hot clear soup broth and served with a side of red pepper paste. Shrimp prepared in this way are usually served in a large glass bowl with a lid. They need the lid because they bring them to the table quickly and the shrimp are still "kicking" and jerking. You bite right into the shells and bodies with your teeth and chew the meat out and then spit out the shells and legs and such. I couldn't bring myself to eat one since I had just seen them moving.

Cynar (Italy): Bitter liqueur made from artichokes. Have you ever left artichokes steaming so long that they go dry and burn the pan, then you soak it desperately to clean it, creating a vile-smelling brown liquid? Tastes, smells, and looks just like that.
posted by kent at 8:52 AM    2 comments
Monday, June 25, 2007
Not Something You Want to Think About on a Hot Day
"Some chiles are so hot that they literally kill taste buds. Other chiles? Not so much. But how do you know how hot a chile is (before tasting it and potentially ending up in pain)? Believe it or not, there is a scientific system for measuring and rating the "hotness" of chiles." -Cooking For Engineers

Check out the Scoville Unit for the hottest habanero pepper vs. the jalapeno. It's not in the article, but Google it.
posted by kent at 4:08 AM    0 comments
Sunday, June 24, 2007
Cooking for Engineers?
Some people would look at the title and think, "That's strange. I didn't think engineers cooked." While that statement is debated, it must be said that chemical engineers likely know a lot about what is actually happening when the food is being boiled, sauted, fried, deep-fried, etc.

That's why I bring to you a new segment on this here blog, because it seems he summer heat has made people lazy. Where are all the BBQ'ers? You're all weak. Ok, this rant is finished.

The first article I will bring to you is about Heat Transfer and Cooking.

"Having a fundamental understanding of what is going on in the kitchen can not only help you avoid disasters but also assist in making the right decision the first time you try out a recipe or wing it. Understanding how heat transfer affects your cooking is a first step in realizing why we'd choose a particular cooking implement or specific heating method (steaming vs. baking, frying vs. boiling) for one dish but not another. In this article, Burr Zimmerman describes how heat transfer works as it relates to cooking."

It's a bit long, but great if you want to know which cooking method is best. Enjoy.
posted by kent at 4:00 AM    1 comments
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Harrison's First Dish

That's some spicy Nigerian spaghetti bolognaise.
posted by kent at 2:25 PM    0 comments
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
The Mystic Masala
The Blue Diamond is one of the oldest ‘classy’ hotels in Pune. It is also home to two good restaurants, the Whispering Bamboo and the Mystic Masala. While Whispering Bamboo serves very good Chinese and Thai food, the Mystic Masala serves Indian food with a special focus on local Maharashtrian cuisine.

Yesterday, I decided to take my wife and daughter out to dinner, and we decided to try the Mystic Masala and sample some of the food items native to the city of Pune.

The soup, Murg Goli Shorba, was delicately spiced and contained dumplings of minced chicken. This was followed by Tawa Macchi, which was a fillet of a local fresh water fish shallow-fried with spices.

Our main course consisted of Komdi Kolhapuri, which consists of succulent morsels of chicken in a fiery red gravy, Alu Chi Pattal Bhaji made from leaves of colocacia cooked with lentils and peanuts which was sweet-sour and delicious.

We also had a local variety of bread called Bhakri and masala bhat, which is rice tossed with spices. All in all, a very interesting dinner. The fish was not particulary exciting, but the rest of the food was delicious and very different from the usual kind of Indian Food we eat. There are a few more pictures I took in restaurant here.

The Blue Diamond is located in the Koregaon Park area and known by all in Pune. So, locating this hotel will not be a problem if you hop into an auto-rickshaw or take a taxi.

posted by Shantanu at 9:30 PM    3 comments
Friday, June 08, 2007
If I Can't Travel I'll Fool Myself with Cooking

So I was feeling a little stir crazy a couple of weeks ago like I needed to flee the country or but instead of doing something drastic I decided I'd bring the flavor of excitement to my kitchen. On a sleepy Saturday night I whipped up Lebanese meatballs topped with garlic yogurt, Greek Salad, brown rice and my girlfriend whipped up some humus. It was an unstoppable meal and as you can see from the picture I was pretty excited about it.

The highlight had to be the meatballs. I went with beef as a meat because I find pork pretty heavy. I mixed in the standard bread crumbs, an egg, salt, pepper, some cumin, diced onion and garlic. To take them up a notch and push it all over the top I added fresh parsley and inspired by a beef filled filo pastry at a Moroccan restaurant the night before decided to add a handful of chopped cashews. I have to say that was the secret ingredient. Topped with a mixture of plain yogurt, lemon, garlic, olive oil and salt and pepper they were little balls of love.

The house was filled with the smell of a middle eastern oasis for the next couple of days and I had so many meatballs it hurt. MMmm!
posted by nicholas at 2:50 PM    2 comments
Friday, June 01, 2007
Desert Manliness

How manly is food cooked in the desert?
You pile wood onto the top of the jeep, haul it out to the middle of nowhere, light it on fire, break the coals up into little pieces, and then proceed to cook rice, potatoes, and chicken with the heat.
At one point, the desert master was cooking rice without water. I asked in whatever Arabic I could muster, "Why is there no water?" The reply (in a mix or Arabic and English), "In the desert, there is no water, so we must cook without it. We will add a little bit at the end."
Is there anything these guys can't do?
posted by kent at 2:00 AM    4 comments