Wednesday, December 20, 2006

I'll have MAC Fries with that ...

MAC = Mustard, Asafoetida and Chilies. Not what you find under the twin arches.

... These are actually "brown-fried potatoes". In Indian cooking circles "brown frying" potatoes is a basic skill, but writing courses tell you that "brown" is not a sexy word. I shall come back to the politics of brown later.

Brown-frying replaces the starchy, bland boiled potato taste with a deep nutty flavour. It isn't french-frying, or home-frying, it's brown-frying. I thank an anonymous male friend in Texas for getting me started with MAC fries a la Southern India. He told me thusly:

"Heat 2 tablespoons of mustard oil in a deep-sided large skillet, over medium heat. Fry 4 medium potatoes (cut into 1 inch cubes) until they turn medium brown (5 to 10 minutes), turning often. Remove with a slotted spoon.

Add 1 more tablespoon of mustard oil to the skillet and heat over medium-low heat. Fry one red chili until it turns dark, now sprinkle 1/4 tsp of asafoetida powder over it. Add 1/3 teaspoon of black mustard seeds, and when they start to snap, crackle, pop stir in 1/2 tsp turmeric and about 2 teaspoons of chopped fresh green jalapeno chillies.

Add about 1/2 cup water. As soon the mixture simmers, add the potatoes, and continue to simmer, covered, until the potatoes are tender (15 to 20 minutes). Stir occasionally to prevent sticking, adding a tablespoon of water as needed.

Remove from heat. Let it stand covered for a few minutes to help integrate the tastes and serve hot."

This is a good base to start with. To this base you may add the proteins, animal and plant based, but each of them must be dressed in "their" best MAC complementary clothing before bringing to the party. This means that green peas must be dipped in some form of sour milk product, corn must be treated with lime, etc. to balance the tastewheel for health.

Taste Values:

Level 1:
Level 2:
Level 3:

Note: I am especially tired of chowhounders and food network twits ripping off the US copyrighted Tastewheel (patent pending). Cease and desist.


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