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  Life   Food  02 Feb 2020  Preparation yourself for super bowl party

Preparation yourself for super bowl party

THE ASIAN AGE. | LYNDA BALSLEV
Published : Feb 2, 2020, 1:50 am IST
Updated : Feb 2, 2020, 1:50 am IST

Got GUAC? tap into your inner caveman with this recipe.

Guacamole
 Guacamole

My favourite kitchen tool is my stone mortar and pestle. It sits proudly on my kitchen counter, holding its own in a caveman-esque sort of way, flaunting its primal elegance in between the stove and the espresso machine. It is smugly confident in its weight and kitchen hierarchy (deemed decorative) while my food processor and standing mixer are banished behind cabinet doors (deemed clutter).

New kitchen techniques are awe-inspiring and futuristic, yet my mortar is old and wise, with a lineage extending as far back as the Old Testament. Sous-vides, anti-griddles and smart ovens may be cutting-edge, favoured by professional chefs and gastronomy buffs, but my mortar has a stellar history as an essential tool to Native Americans, ancient Romans and Greeks, medieval pharmacists and home cooks spanning the ages from the dawn of civilization. It is the embodiment of simplicity and timelessness, pleasingly tactile and massively elemental. And it’s affordable.

 

What can you do with a mortar and pestle? You can grind, pound and smash to your heart’s content, making pestos, pastes, sauces, dips, dressings and marinades. You can grind seeds into powder. (I assure you that lightly toasting cardamom, cumin or coriander seeds, and then grinding them to a fine powder in a mortar, will yield results unparalleled by the pre-ground versions.)

The mortar is also the perfect place to smash garlic with sea salt, adding fresh-cut herbs, such as rosemary, thyme, sage, basil and mint. Crush the garlic first with the salt, then add the herbs and bruise them by giving them a few turns with the pestle to release their juices and flavour. You will be left with a powerful, aromatic paste you can smear on meats and poultry before roasting.

 

You can also create a complete dish and serve it in the mortar. Try making this guacamole, a perfect crowd-pleaser, just in time for your Super Bowl party. Serve with chips, and you have one-stop-shopping in a primitive vessel. If you don’t have a mortar, then simply combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and mash with a fork to achieve a chunky consistency.

Guacamole

Ingredients

  • Red or green jalapeno pepper, stemmed and seeded, finely chopped: 1 small piece
  • Garlic clove, chopped: 1
  • Finely chopped red onion: 1/4 cup
  • Cilantro leaves
  • Ripe Hass avocados, peeled: 4
  • Coarsely grated yellow onion with juice: 2 tsp
  • Lime Juice: 1 no    
  • Ground cumin: 2 tbsp
  • Salt: 1/2 tsp
  • Freshly ground black pepper: 1/2 tsp
  • Hot sauce, Tabasco (optional): 2 tsp

Method

 

  • Combine the jalapeno, garlic and red onion in a mortar. Press on the ingredients with your pestle, and grind them around the mortar in a circular movement, 3 to 4 times. Add the cilantro and gently bruise the leaves with the pestle.
  • Add the avocados, yellow onion and lime juice and mash to form a blended but chunky consistency. Mix in the cumin, salt, black pepper and hot sauce. Serve garnished with additional chopped cilantro.

Tips

  1. Do not wash fresh mushrooms. Clean them well with a damp cloth and then ensure the mushroom is dry. Because if you cook mushrooms that are moist, they ooze more water and when stir frying the excess water spoils the taste.
  2. Do not cook prawns for long, because they become very hard. Ideally, prawns should be put in hot water for just few seconds and then removed. Add them to the curry later, just before serving. Even for making stir fried prawns, follow this step cause prawns too tend to ooze water and the dish takes longer to cook, making the prawns hard in the process.
  3. Don’t waste money buying Greek yogurt. Instead, buy full cream milk, set the curd. Once it’s set, tie it in a muslin cloth, let the excess water drain out. The curd can now be used instead of Greek yogurt for salads and dips with a seasoning of your choice.
  4. When making cheese toast or pizza at home, instead of using only morzellera cheese, use a bit of other cheeses as well. Mix some cheddar cheese, it tastes yummy.

 

Tags: food and recipes