Posts Tagged With: Polo

Biryani From Pakistan

Pakistani Entree

BIRYANI

INGREDIENTS

2 medium onions
1 pound lamb or chicken
2 green chiles
1 garlic clove
¾” ginger root
1 large tomato
3 cardamom seeds
3 cloves
1½” cinnamon stick
¾ teaspoon garam masala
3 peppercorns
1 teaspoon red chile flakes or ½ teaspoon cayenne
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon turmeric
6 tablespoons ghee or butter
1¼ cups basmati rice
2½ cups water
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon saffron or  ¾ teaspoon safflower
¼ cup warm water
½ cup fresh mint leaves

SPECIAL UTENSILS

blender or food processor
mandoline
sonic obliterator

Serves 6. Takes 1 hour 30 minutes.

PREPARATION

Slice onions ⅛” thick using mandoline or knife. Cut lamb into 2″ cubes. Seed and dice green chiles. Use food processor to turn garlic cloves and ginger root into a paste. Puree tomato in blender.

Add green chile, onion, cloves, cardamom seeds, cinnamon, garam masala, peppercorns, red chile flakes, salt, turmeric, and ghee to large pan. Sauté at medium-high heat or until onion softens and browns. Stir frequently. Add garlic/ginger paste. Sauté at medium heat for 5 minutes or until garlic/onion paste becomes fragrant. Stir frequently. Add tomato. Cook at medium heat for 3 minutes. Add lamb. Cook at medium heat for 5 minutes or until lamb starts to brown. Stir occasionally. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes. Stir enough to prevent burning.

While lamb simmers, add rice, 2½ cups water, and bay leaf to pot. Bring to boil using high heat for 15 minutes or until rice is al dente. Stir occasionally and add water as necessary to avoid burning the rice. Remove bay leaf. Drain and set aside. Add saffron and ¼ cup warm water to small mixing bowl. Stir, Add rice and saffron/water mixture. Cover and simmer at low-medium heat for 30 minutes or until rice is tender. Stir occasionally. Remove cinnamon stick.

While lamb/rice/saffron simmers, dice mint leaves. Garnish dish with mint leaves. Use sonic obliterator on any guest who crosses you in any way at anytime during preparation or serving.

TIDBITS

1) Pakistan is home to the ATM at the highest elevation in the world, 15,397.

2) The highest polo stadium on Earth is also in Pakistan. at 12,140 feet.

3) This means you can leave the stadium after a particularly exciting match and still have to climb up over a half mile to withdraw some cash. So, It really is best to come prepared with enough money for post-game activities.

4) Over half of the world’s hand-sewn soccer balls come from Pakistan. The British rulers of Pakistan, during the time of the Raj, loved to play soccer. But it took forever to ship soccer balls from Britain to Pakistan. The rest of the trip was by train. By the time, the soccer balls got to the soccer pitches, everybody would have gone home months ago. So, the British soccer officials asked the local businesses to make soccer balls. They produced fantastic leather spheres. Now, the British could play soccer whenever they wanted. The local businesses burgeoned. Now Pakistan dominates the hand-sewn market.

5) This is just one consequence of global imperialism.

6) Pakistan’s national anthem has been rated as one the best in the world. Well done, Pakistan.

7) On the other hand, two Pakistani brothers created the world’s first computer virus. Boo.

8) In 2011, Pakistani officials arrested a monkey crossing its border with India. I don’t know the charges. I’d really like to know the charges. No passport?

9) The national fruit is the mango.

9) One of the two national languages of Pakistan is Urdu. Only 7% of the population speak it. The most used non-English language is Punjabi.

10) Okay, suppose you’ve just withdrawn some rupees from the word’s highest-up ATM and you wish to buy some mangos at the local market. How would you say it? You would tell the merchant, “Iha aba kina hai?”

11) There, you have one fewer thing to worry about should you ever travel to Pakistan.

– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.

Categories: cuisine, history, international | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pork Shumai

Chinese Appetizer

PORK SHUMAI

INGREDIENTS

2 garlic cloves
1″ ginger root
2 green onions
1 pound ground pork
½ tablespoon cornstarch
¾ teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons rice wine or dry sherry
½ tablespoon sesame oil
1½ tablespoons light soy sauce or soy sauce
40 wonton or gyoza wrappers
3 or so leaves Napa cabbage (You may substitute parchment paper. Be sure to punch holes in it.)
soy sauce for dipping

SPECIAL UTENSILS

kitchen towel
steamer
x-ray goggles

Makes 40 pork shumai. Takes 1 hour.

PREPARATION

Mince garlic, ginger root, and green onion. Add garlic, ginger root, green onions, ground pork, cornstarch, salt, rice wine, sesame oil, and soy sauce to large mixing bowl. Mix with hands. Add 1 tablespoon pork mixture to middle of wonton wrapper. Wet finger with water. Run finger around edges of wrapper. Wrap sides of wrappers around pork mixture. Seal edges with together with hands, starting at the bottom. Repeat until you have enough dumplings to fill steamer’s basket. Covered completed dumplings, shumai, with damp kitchen towel until they are ready for the steamer. You will likely need to steam the shumai in batches. Make another batch while the previous batch is being steamed.

Add water to bottom part of steamer until it is 1″ from reaching the steamer basket. Bring to boil using high heat. While water comes to boil, line steamer basket with 2 Napa cabbage leaves. Place dumplings on cabbage leaves.(This keeps dumplings from sticking to basket.) Leave ½” gaps between shumai. Cover steamer and steam at high heat for 5 minutes or until done. (If you neglected to pick up x-ray vision goggles at your store, you may sample one.) Remove steamed dumplings, shumai and serve. Continue until all batches have been steamed. Dip in soy sauce as desired.

TIDBITS

1) Pork shumai comes from China.

2) Chinese spare ribs also come from China.

3) As do Chinese horoscopes.

4) And Chinese fireworks.

5) We can thus conclude someone from China invented Chinese checkers.

6) Although glass marbles have been invented and produced several times throughout history and in many different locations, their popularity is cyclical.

7) Indeed in the Middle Ages, adults generally forbade children to engage in any games, whether it was Pin the Tail on the Giraffe’s Neck (PTGN) or play marbles.

8) PTGN would have died out naturally as a recreational pursuit as no child during the Middle Ages could have pinned that high on a giraffe, even if he stood on his tippy does.

9) Playing Marbles (M) also waned in popularity. Medieval Children (MC) had to hike to the wheat fields to get away from parental supervision. Unfortunately, marbles got lost immediately in the amber waves of grain. (This image would ultimately inspire our great song “America the Beautiful.”) No more marbles for play, no more games of Marbles.

10) The game Marbles came to China with the Polo brothers in the thirteenth century.

11) The Great Khan loved the game. And since he loved the game so did all his Chinese subjects. Marbles Mania (MM) was poised to take off in the Land of the Panda.

12) But alas, the Polo brothers only brought enough marbles for one game of Chinese checkers. Then tragedy struck, a mighty wind blew away two marbles. A diligent search by the palace guard recovered one marble. Not enough for a game.

13) The Polo brothers, Marco and Ralph, tried diverting the Great Khan’s wrath by giving him three-and-twenty shirts with short sleeves, and a button-down collar. Sad to say, Khan didn’t cotton to these Polo Shirts. He even ordered the brothers’ execution. Things looked grim for the Polos. Only an IRS audit could have made things worse.

14) Then woo hoo, a divine wind blew dozens of pork shumais from the imperial kitchen onto Khan’s Chinese checkers boards. The game was saved for imperial household. The Chinese peasants could now partake as well. Laborers, at the end of a hot day, would invite neighbors over for a nice game of Chinese checkers, then dine on the pork-shumai marbles after playing was done.

15) Health restrictions in 1857 prohibited the use of pork-shumai marbles. (See Dr. Amos Keeto’s work, The Great Chinese Pork-Shumai-Marble Plague of 1856.) From that year on, Chinese checkers would be played only with glass marbles. Now you know.

– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.

Categories: history, international | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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