Indian Food versus Mid-Eastern

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redtressed
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RE: Indian Food versus Mid-Eastern 2003/10/08 18:59:11 (permalink)
This is one of those dishes that it doesn't matter. As far as the chappatti, the directions are 99 percent time on the bag or box.
#31
Richard Brooks Alba
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RE: Indian Food versus Mid-Eastern 2003/10/14 13:37:38 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by Bulldozer Rectangle

What really bugs me is how most Indian restaurants serve the same 5 sauces over 3 different kinds of meat. Sprinkle in some Tandoori and two "prawn" (shrimp) dishes, and you have the setup for 99% of all Indian restaurants.

I don't know if its because of the British model for "curry houses," or what, but truly unique Indian restaurants seem to be limited to major metro areas.

I'm not necessarily blaming Indian food for this alone; in fact, most ethnic restaurants seem to follow some sort of formula. I just think Americans in general have a very narrow idea of what Indian food is and can be.

Thoughts anyone?

I think it has little to do with the 'British model' and all to do with the [mostly] untrained American palate. It is most certainly NOT just Indian food that Americans have narrow ideas about - I can't think of a single cuisine that hasn't undergone a major 'translation' to cater to U.S. tastebuds. Whether old established cuisines[like 'Italian' - a cuisine that doesn't exist, as such, in Italy...], or more recent ones [like 'Thai' - that, again, doesn't exist as a monolithic cuisine in Thailand] that are becoming more ubiquitous, they are modified such that they are different from the status quo - but not TOO different.

I occasionally go to an Indian restaurant here in Berkeley that serves hummus in their buffet - because students kept asking for it! Bless their pointy little heads, but while trying to be good virtuous vegetarians, these Cal kids never considered that they'd mixed up their cuisines. Sure, those were garbanzos in the chhole in the middle of the steam table, but it wasn't proof of a deliberate conspiracy to keep them from their preferred garbanzo preperation - merely a more common one to find in an Indian restaurant. There is that corollary problem of dishes that get marginalized because Americans can't spell or proununce their names. I guess a number of Middle Eastern deli owners have just given up on trying to sell baba ghanouj [just one of a number of ways to spell it...], after constantly having to explain what it was. They live a life of relative calm by selling it as "eggplant dip." With one name, diners are left unconvinced, even after a full description of ingredients & preparation; with the other, the issues are forgotten, and 'dip' it is.

I eat all cuisines, pretty much - but I'm much more likely to prepare 'deli Middle Eastern' at home (or for a quick picnic), especially when I'm in a meat-free mood. With some dolmas, good olives, feta, fresh pita bread, and almost any combo of hummus/tzetziki/tabbouli/baba ghanouj - no slaving over a stove, and it's nearly a guilt-free bit of fressing....
Buen provecho,
Richard
Berkeley/SF, CA

P.S. My favorite surprise to bring to grill parties: tandoori paste-marinated skinless chicken breasts [or thighs] to grill for sandwiches. The paste is easy to find around these parts - you may have to find either an Indian market [for reasonably-priced stuff] or a gourmet market [for obscenely-priced stuff] - and I think I used about half a jar (1 cup?) straight for two pounds of chicken. I've also meant to try a variation, listed on one of the brands I've had, that suggests a 1:1 ratio of tandoori paste to yogurt. Anyway, I put this all into a big ziploc bag, roll all the air out, seal it, and let it sit in the fridge for the night. Mighty tasty with cukes & tomatoes in a pita!
#32
lynch
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RE: Indian Food versus Mid-Eastern 2003/10/22 22:34:21 (permalink)
Hi, What a great forum. I just found you by searching in Google. Some time ago I also found a great Indian cookbook Secrets of the Indian Restaurant Curry there too.
Does anyone know where I can get a domestic Tandoor? Thanks
#33
Pwingsx
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RE: Indian Food versus Mid-Eastern 2003/10/22 23:10:37 (permalink)
Maybe you guys would help a relative 'newbie' of Middle Eastern[|)] and Indian cuisine. My boyfriend is always trying to talk me into going to these places but I've always held back because 1) I hate most vegetables and, 2) I'm trying to low-carb most days.

If I had some kind of idea what I was getting into before going, is this possible at these kind of restaurants? Can you make recommendations, or should I throw in the towel (at least with the low-carbs, no way I'm eating lots of vegetables) and go with what I can find? I'd appreciate any input.

Thanks!
#34
Marsh
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RE: Indian Food versus Mid-Eastern 2003/10/25 09:39:02 (permalink)
Persian Grills are the best. The meat is charbroiled, but still juicy and served over a bed of basmati rice with some grains flavored with saffron and tumeric. The whole plate is sprinkled with sumac and served with onion, lemon wedges, broiled whole tomato, and fresh parsley which is eaten after the meal. There is several in Houston on Hillcroft, Bijan and Darband. The Chelo Kebab Koubideh is around 6 bucks, which is the ground beef, the Kebab Barg is chunks of meat. Most Persians drink hot tea. The bread is cooked fresh in a tandoor like the Indian Pakistani Naan Bread. Lebanese eat the Kafta kabab with rice, but the rice is different, with bits of pasta in it. The coffee with cardamon is popular. I like Cafe Lili or one of the Fadi's locations. The hummus with pita bread and the fatoush are good. All served a decent baklava. Indian food is totally different in terms of seasoning. But both cuisines makes sweet syrupy desserts with lots of rosewater.
#35
Jennie
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RE: Indian Food versus Mid-Eastern 2003/10/26 12:36:39 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by Lone StarI had everything but the goat curry.


Whenever I have goat curry at an Indian restaurant, it tastes great, but tends to be more bones than meat, frustratingly. My husband is from England, and had a friend in south London (Brixton) whose parents were from the West Indes. Whenever his mum made Curry Goat, he would let hubby know and he'd go over for dinner. And this wasn't just a couple of pounds of goat meat, this was a goat. Everything but the head, apparently. If she was serving Curry Goat, she started making it on Wednesday for Saturday. She marinated it for about 48 hours and then cooked it for about another 36 (simmering) before serving. It was marinated in herbs, spices, and veggies such as yam. Fabulous, he says.

quote:
Originally posted by stanpnepa

Waitress: "Well, we recommmend that you order mild, because the spices here will be different than anything you've had before. These are deep seasonings"


My husband grew up in England, and his mum used to rent out rooms to foreign students taking English language classes. Some of them were Thais, and he learned to cook from these Thai students. So naturally, he's got quite a taste for spicy food, and loves spicy Thai and Indian curries. So when we tried out a Thai restaurant (House of Siam in Springfield, Virginia), he ordered his dinner, "Thai spicy." The waiter nodded with the, "Yeah, yeah. Spicy for Americans. Gotcha." and his dinner was about the same spiciness you'd expect in a Hunan beef from Joe's Chinese Takeout. After the meal, he explained to the waiter what his background was, and that he really would like it Thai spicy. So when we went back the next time, they really kicked it up several notches, as it were. He loved it! The waiter remarked, "We get Thais in here who can't eat it that spicy." lol

Back in that day (c. 1996), we were making the Hell Commute. Starting in Baltimore and driving an hour and a half to Springfield (south of D.C.). He'd get out and I'd drive an hour back into Maryland, work for 8 hours, drive an hour back and pick him up, and he'd drive an hour and a half home. I was spending five hours a day in the car. We did this for 10 months. Our only joy was Friday nights. We'd get Thai carry out from House of Siam, and drive home with it. For an hour and a half with that fabulous aroma wafting from the floor behind the driver's seat. And they were those annoying little aluminum trays so you couldn't really pick at it in the dark without spilling the sauce. One of our favorite dishes from this place was crab fried rice. And being from Baltimore, we were big crab fans. (Okay, he a recent immigrant to Baltimore, but still.)

So one night, when we placed the order, my dear hubby made an error. An error of epic proportions. He ordered his meal first. Normally, he'd order the rice dish, the spring rolls, the noodle dish, my entree, and then his, specifying "Thai spicy." Unfortunately, this particular time his was at the top of the chit, so everything was Thai spicy. I cried. Tears down the cheeks. Seriously. Gaah! I don't know how people live like that. Must have asbestos tongues. lol

#36
NancyPeter
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RE: Indian Food versus Mid-Eastern 2003/10/29 10:29:29 (permalink)



quote:
Originally posted by Pwingsx

Maybe you guys would help a relative 'newbie' of Middle Eastern[|)] and Indian cuisine. My boyfriend is always trying to talk me into going to these places but I've always held back because 1) I hate most vegetables and, 2) I'm trying to low-carb most days.

If I had some kind of idea what I was getting into before going, is this possible at these kind of restaurants? Can you make recommendations, or should I throw in the towel (at least with the low-carbs, no way I'm eating lots of vegetables) and go with what I can find? I'd appreciate any input.


I would try Mid-Eastern, as there are many different types of meat dishes available. All of the kebobs are so flavorful, as they're usually marinated in lemon & spices. Just give the veggies over to your dinner partner & skip the rice or couscous. Even my kids love the lamb and chicken they way it's prepared at our Turkish restaurant, and neither of them really likes ethnic foods.

Nancy

#37
aimala66
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RE: Indian Food versus Mid-Eastern 2003/11/03 14:08:37 (permalink)
oh wow...it's apples and oranges.

indian is newer to me and i absolutely love it, especially peshawari (sp?)naan....raisins and coconut baked into a soft bread thats buttery and ....wow!

and then there's shwarma, ghallaba, etc.....i can't spell these things but they sure eat good!

amy
#38
Pwingsx
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RE: Indian Food versus Mid-Eastern 2003/11/03 17:21:53 (permalink)
Thanks, Nancy.

Kabobs it is. And he will happily eat the vegetables.
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NancyPeter
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RE: Indian Food versus Mid-Eastern 2003/11/08 22:11:47 (permalink)
Let me know how the kebobs work out! I don't know how you could miss with them...
#40
EliseT
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RE: Indian Food versus Mid-Eastern 2003/11/09 06:55:34 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by Pwingsx

Maybe you guys would help a relative 'newbie' of Middle Eastern[|)] and Indian cuisine. My boyfriend is always trying to talk me into going to these places but I've always held back because 1) I hate most vegetables and, 2) I'm trying to low-carb most days.

If I had some kind of idea what I was getting into before going, is this possible at these kind of restaurants? Can you make recommendations, or should I throw in the towel (at least with the low-carbs, no way I'm eating lots of vegetables) and go with what I can find? I'd appreciate any input.

Thanks!


Indian food is pretty high carb...rice, daal (lentils), chickpeas, naan (soft flatbread) etc. The only thing I could think of is tandoori chicken...sort of like BBQ chicken, coated with yogurt and spices then cooked in a special oven. There are lots of curries and masala (tandoori meat with spicy sauce). The tandoori is delicios and worth trying...but I would send someone else to get it take-out...no way could I sit there watching others feasting on naan and daal.
#41
NancyPeter
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RE: Indian Food versus Mid-Eastern 2003/11/09 21:33:35 (permalink)
Elise, so true, it would be absolute torture

Nancy
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Jennie
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RE: Indian Food versus Mid-Eastern 2003/11/09 23:14:34 (permalink)
We went to an Indian festival this weekend, and had samosas. Num num! They had a big Indian buffet from a restaurant with a good rep (India Palace in Germantown, Maryland), but we had 7 people to feed for dinner that night. So we went home and hubby made a pork curry and poppadoms. Fab!
#43
hermitt4d
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RE: Indian Food versus Mid-Eastern 2003/11/09 23:49:38 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by Richard Brooks Alba

quote:
Originally posted by Bulldozer Rectangle

What really bugs me is how most Indian restaurants serve the same 5 sauces over 3 different kinds of meat. Sprinkle in some Tandoori and two "prawn" (shrimp) dishes, and you have the setup for 99% of all Indian restaurants.

I don't know if its because of the British model for "curry houses," or what, but truly unique Indian restaurants seem to be limited to major metro areas.

I'm not necessarily blaming Indian food for this alone; in fact, most ethnic restaurants seem to follow some sort of formula. I just think Americans in general have a very narrow idea of what Indian food is and can be.

Thoughts anyone?

I think it has little to do with the 'British model' and all to do with the [mostly] untrained American palate. It is most certainly NOT just Indian food that Americans have narrow ideas about - I can't think of a single cuisine that hasn't undergone a major 'translation' to cater to U.S. tastebuds. Whether old established cuisines[like 'Italian' - a cuisine that doesn't exist, as such, in Italy...], or more recent ones [like 'Thai' - that, again, doesn't exist as a monolithic cuisine in Thailand] that are becoming more ubiquitous, they are modified such that they are different from the status quo - but not TOO different.

Buen provecho,
Richard
Berkeley/SF, CA



A quote from Felix Tijerina, who established one of the first Tex-Mex restaurants in Houston and operated a successful chain (Tex-Mex was originally presented as 'authentic' Mexican cuisine, of course):

"Promise them authenticity but give them what they want."

I suspect most proprietors of ethnic restaurants want to live the life of a successful businessman, not the life of a starving artist , so they adapt their recipes and menus for 'American' tastes, which is just as false a concept as 'Mexican' or 'Italian' or 'Thai' cuisine.
#44
Bulldozer Rectangle
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RE: Indian Food versus Mid-Eastern 2003/11/10 00:26:18 (permalink)
hermitt4d, I couldn't agree more. That quote was absolutely perfect.

Restaurant Indika, in Houston, has probably the best Indian food I've ever had in my life. I had a conversation with the chef a few weeks ago about my disappointment with all the other Indian restaurants in town, and I realized that problem is much more widespread. It's unfortunate, but I think most ethnic restaurants tend to fall into the "budget" category, with diners expecting (minus the French and Italian versions) everything to be cheap.

Nothing pains me more than to sit at a Chinese restaurant and receive "grade d" quality sesame chicken. My chinese grandfather is rolling in his grave as I write this.

Of course, authenticity may be the issue. But I don't think so. When Indika opened, everyone talked about how it was a fusion Indian/Western restaurant, because they served Foie Gras and other frou-frou fancy pants restaurant items. Over the past year or so, the place has totally morphed into just the best damn indian restaurant in the world. Then I found out she was hired for an Indian party, where brains were the star culinary attraction. Of course, you'll never find brains on the normal menu.

I guess where I'm going with this rambling is that I would like ethnic restaurants to push their diners past the same old same old. Authenticity is a tricky thing; brains and intestines are a hard sell. But I would also like Americans to push their restaurants as well. Think about it: nobody in this country says "Gee, let's have AMERICAN food today" and expects every restaurant they go to to serve the same version of American food. Seriously, wouldn't it be a shame if all non-Americans thought that TGI Friday's menu was what American food was all about?
#45
Marsh
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RE: Indian Food versus Mid-Eastern 2003/11/10 13:25:58 (permalink)
What is American food anyway? The reason roadfood exists is because of regional variations. Houston is where us Beaumont people try other cuisines. We live in the best part of this country. We have good southern food, TexMex, and Cajun. Our Italian place are good, not a numerous as I like. When in Houston I try the Cuban cuisine, Lebanese/Syrian, and the Persian. I think Indian/Pakistani could become popular with a little less seasoning, more cheese, and more importantly combo platters. Maybe a new sandwich or pizza made with that wonderful naan bread. Some chicken tikka masala on the bread with a cucumber cilantro raita and tomatoes and onion. Maybe boti kebab or seekh kebab (chicken or beef) over rice with spicy chickpeas and salad combo platter. Ease up on the cardamon, nutmeg, cloves, and coriander, but plenty of cumin and chilies, Texas loves that stuff. Something cheep to start the meal like the Texas invention of the "Mexican" chips and hot sauce or the bread dip at Italian places, both are not authentic.
#46
pimple2
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RE: Indian Food versus Mid-Eastern 2003/11/11 00:14:02 (permalink)
To the friend looking for an indian tandoor, and also for others who might be interested: egullet.com has an excellent and helpful india/indian cuisine forum; do check it out. happy thanksgiving.
#47
carlton pierre
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RE: Indian Food versus Mid-Eastern 2005/03/15 16:37:05 (permalink)
I just read thru this thread and thought I might resurrect it. I, too, love both cuisines. We have both to choose from here in Knoxville, not a lot of choices, but enough and they are good. We also have some excellent Indian and middle eastern grocery stores, too.
As I said, I like both cuisines. I spent a summer in Pakistan and Afghanistan and a little less time in Jordan so I've experienced both personally.
#48
Sundancer7
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RE: Indian Food versus Mid-Eastern 2005/03/15 17:33:58 (permalink)
Sitar in Knoxville located at the corner of Kingston Pike and Northshore is a great Indian restaurant. Lunch is a buffet and dinner is a order off the menu. Some of the items can be extremely hot but extremely tasty. I have been there three times for lunch.

Paul E. Smith
Knoxville, TN
#49
carlton pierre
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RE: Indian Food versus Mid-Eastern 2005/03/15 17:56:57 (permalink)
Yeah, but try the Kashmir as well just off campus. I used to always go there for their Sunday brunch. Few blocks away you've got Falafel Hut which is an outstanding Middle eastern roadfood place. For any obscure music buffs who might read this I saw Madeline Peyroux and her band eat here one night before I saw her in concert.
Sutherland Ave has the groceries, but occasionally teh Taj Mahal will have some samosas, jalabies, and pakoras. Just have to get lucky.
#50
zataar
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RE: Indian Food versus Mid-Eastern 2005/03/15 18:42:05 (permalink)
Choosing between Middle Eastern food and Indian would be a challenge for me. It would be like choosing coffee over wine. My two favorite beverages. I love the way I feel after having a great cup or two of really good coffee. All energized and buzzed. I love the way I feel after a glass or two of a nice wine, stimulated, but in a gentle, soft sort of way. Indian food is my coffee and middle eastern food is my wine. And cooking both types of cuisines appeals to my detail oriented personality. Lots of haunting flavors and textures. Did you enjoy the food in Afghanistan Carl? I ran an Afghani chicken and eggplant dish as a very successful special frequently at the ethnic restaurant where I was the chef some years back.
#51
SouthHillbilly
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RE: Indian Food versus Mid-Eastern 2005/03/15 19:04:33 (permalink)
Mid Eastern or Indian, Mexican or Italian, Chinese or Thia, Japanese or Korean. . .

A good tamale is as good as a nice ravioli. Sag Paneer is as good as a well done Teriyaki dish. Pick one over the other? No a chance.
#52
khan
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RE: Indian Food versus Mid-Eastern 2005/04/23 16:20:47 (permalink)
quote:


Indian food is pretty high carb...rice, daal (lentils), chickpeas, naan (soft flatbread) etc.


Daal (Lentils)are extremely high on proteins. Daal's like Arhar, Urad etc are higher on protein than meat.

quote:

http://jivdaya.org/Jiv97Vol4.htm
"........ "Beans" provide the answer to the protein question. Actually, beans provide more protein than meat."


http://www.usaemergencysupply.com/faq/legumevarieties.php

"There are few non-animal foods that contain the amount of protein to be found in dried beans, peas, and lentils. The varieties commonly available in this country have protein contents ranging from 20%-35%. As with most non-animal proteins, they are not complete in themselves for purposes of human nutrition, but become so when they are combined with the incomplete proteins found in grains. It is for this reason that grains and legumes are so often mentioned together."
#53
carlton pierre
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RE: Indian Food versus Mid-Eastern 2005/06/29 15:28:50 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by EliseT

Thanks! It looks great. I'll trade you one I came up with tonight that was really good:

Moroccan Spiced Cous Cous

1 1/4 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup couscous
2 Tablespoons butter
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup golden raisins, chopped
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1/8 tsp or pinch each: Cinnamon, cardamom, mace (or allspice)
2 Tablespoons chopped roasted red bell pepper
1 teaspoon chopped fresh mint

Bring broth to boil. Add butter and stir to melt. Add all other ingredients and stir well.

Cover and turn down heat. Simmer for 8 minutes.

Remove from heat and let sit 8 more minutes. Fluff with fork.


I was going to start a couscous thread and then re-discovered this one. Elise, I made this recipe last night with just a slight variation, I also added chopped dried apricots. Man, this was one of the best dishes I've had in some time and quite easy as well.
I understand couscous is one of the hottest dishes in Europe right now with couscous places allover the place.

Let me ask some of you experts this question. I chilled this dish in the fridge for an hour or so and ate it chilled, but it was quite good when I tested it after taking it off the stove and it was equally as good, hot. Is there,or what is the proper way to eat this? Hot or cold? or both?
#54
Nachise
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RE: Indian Food versus Mid-Eastern 2005/07/22 14:30:20 (permalink)
I think the couscous you have prepared is most commonly eaten at room temperature. That's a great recipe and would be good at any temperature.
#55
f_zadi
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RE: Indian Food versus Mid-Eastern 2005/08/13 16:26:46 (permalink)
There was some discussion upthread about whether or not Moroccan cuisine is Middle Eastern. It is not. It is North African or http://mybookofrai.typepad.com/my_weblog/maghribi_cuisine/index.html
or Magrhibi (Maghrebi)
#56
BT
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RE: Indian Food versus Mid-Eastern 2005/08/13 18:02:34 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by f_zadi

There was some discussion upthread about whether or not Moroccan cuisine is Middle Eastern. It is not. It is North African or http://mybookofrai.typepad.com/my_weblog/maghribi_cuisine/index.html
or Magrhibi (Maghrebi)


A lot of cookbooks call it all "Mediterranean" so they can include foods from the entire circumference of that body of water. They have a fair amount in common since the climate is similar so the locally available produce and other food basics are similar and also many of them have the Arab influence in their history (not just presently Muslim countries but also Spain, Sicily and even Israel). Anyway, I like the food from pretty much all of 'em from Morocco and Spain to Greece, Turkey, and Lebanon.
#57
zataar
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RE: Indian Food versus Mid-Eastern 2005/08/14 16:44:38 (permalink)
One of my favorite books is The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen by Paula Wolfert. She is a great writer. There are recipes representing Italy, Spain, Corsica, Sardinia, Tunisia, the South of France and just about everywhere else you could think of in the Mediterranean. Everything I've made or adapted from the book has intense, bright flavors. Most of the food is very healthy, as well.
#58
BT
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RE: Indian Food versus Mid-Eastern 2005/08/14 19:45:18 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by zataar

Most of the food is very healthy


It is my belief that the so-called "Mediterranean Diet" is the most healthy there is. At least it is the most healthy I personally could stick to forever. It puts an emphasis on fruits and veggies (the most common dessert is just fresh fruit), seafood, olives and olive oils and nuts, especially almonds. All these things are great for you. There are plenty of meat dishes (frequently lamb), but they tend to be "special occasion" meals--in the Christian countries where more beef and pork are used, usually Sunday meals--whereas for many meals meat is used in small quantities more as a flavoring. But it's easy to whip up a vegetarian Mediterranean style meal and I do that often.
#59
mr chips
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RE: Indian Food versus Mid-Eastern 2005/08/15 02:11:54 (permalink)
Prefer middleeastern to Indian. Have not been able to find Indian restaurants I like here in Portland. my Israeli friends here in Portland make excellent falafel.
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