Nam Prik Wan kap Mamuang Khiew

May 3, 2007 at 10:00 AM (chiles and other capsicums, dishes by cuisine, dishes by main ingredient, mangoes, Thailand/ Issarn/ Laos)

    I have no idea if that’s really what this is called in Thai, but it works until a better name can be found. You see, I keep forgetting to ask the right people when I have a chance… That title would translate appropriately to “Sweet chile-water with green mangoes”, of which I have very fond summer memories…

    In the traditional cuisine of Thailand and Laos, there is an endless variety of chile-waters, which is a bit like a relish around which entire meals can be served, including many vegetables and fruits, grilled or fried meats and fish, and balls of rice. Each chile-water, or nam prik as they are known in Thai, has a distinct balance of flavours that demand different accompaniments. I have tried a few; but this simple one was taught to me by a dear and long-time friend of mine who is Hmong by nationality. Besides being multi-lingual, having lived in both Laos and Thailand for a number of years before coming to the U. S., and operating a very popular “Asian”  grocery store,  she has also worked as a physician’s assistant, a school-teacher, and, when she very young, she helped her parents with the chores needed to maintain a flourishing, productive fruit-orchard. She has shared quite a few recipes with me over the years, and I bring this one out to share with you now.  

    On one particular day that I took a venture to her store, May was in the back, at a small, makeshift kitchen- complete with electric rice-cookers, where she would often make things to sell. She was busily cutting up semi-ripe mangoes and tossing them into a large bowl. Out of curiosity, I asked what she was making. She replied, “This is something that goes really fast in the summer. This will all be gone in just a few hours!” She was such a tease that way. She kept right on cutting the last few mangoes and, just as I was eyeing up some grilled sausages, she said, “You just watch; you can learn a new recipe that I know you will like a lot. It is much too hot for me, but I think you would enjoy this”.

    So, I watched. She took out a large, earthenware mortar and a wooden pestle, set it on the counter, and threw in a single clove of unpeeled garlic. Using the pestle gently, she managed to crack the skin of the garlic, and then reached in and removed the paper-like shards deftly with her other hand. In the next few seconds the garlic was paste. Then, she grabbed a jar containing a dark, fragrant substance and, with a serving-spoon, removed the tiniest smidge, perhaps the size of a chickpea, and shoved it off into the mortar using the tip of another spoon. This special preparation, I already knew, was kapi [kah-PEE], and is made of small, black-eyed shrimp that are ground into a paste, salted and fermented. It is quite potent, and usually used in small quantities to add a subtle, but rich undertone to many dishes. This new addition she pounded with the garlic paste until it was smooth. Then, she did something that I must admit shocked me a bit: she reached into a large plastic bag that was clearly quite full of small, dried bird-dropping chiles, and extracting as much as her hand could hold, released the lot into the vessel waiting with the paste! “Gosh May! All of those?!” I exclaimed. I knew full well from experience how hot just one of those chiles were…

    “Oh, yes…”, she said, “That is how most people like it. Hot enough to make a tiger cry…” Indeed! I let my eyes relax from their temporary widening and continued to watch, fascinated, as she turned them into a coarse powder before my eyes and with one of the spoons in her other hand, turned the mixture now and then. She took out a small tub of white sugar and scooped out a quantity- it was just a bit more- about 1 1/2 times- the amount in volume as the crushed chiles with its two potent accessories- and let this fall into the well, as well. Again she pounded and turned until it was well-combined. I thought she was done. I was hoping that this could be judiciously sprinkled on the mangoes. I was wrong. She reached for a bottle of nam pla- a thin, amber-coloured liquid strained from salted, fermented anchovies, and started pouring it in… I was really having my doubts about her cooking skills by this time. How could this concoction be at all edible? She had set her pestle aside, thank god, and was using just the spoon now to stir. All I could see was the red of chiles and their wan seeds floating about in sluggish liquid the consistency of thinned honey. With a brave lack of hesitation, she put the spoon to her lips and tasted it, without gasping or blinking. “Very good I think….” She then turned to look at me, “You wanna try?” I took a deep breath and stepped forward. This is going to kill me I thought. I took the spoon and tasted just the tiniest “sip”. No heat at all! It was as sweet as…..

    “Oh……..dear…..” I gasped. My lips, my mouth, my throat: all apparantly on fire. The sugar had dissolved and now a definite warmth was spreading across my face, radiating from the now-searing parts I used to talk with. My head felt light. My eyes watered. My mouth salivated to flush away this gastronomic furnace of a sauce or…whatever it was! She upturned the whole thing into the bowl of cut-up mangoes, even scraping out the traces that still clung, and mixed it up.

    “Normally we dip pieces of green mangoes or other green, sour fruit into this, but I do it this way so customers can take what they want and eat it on the way somewhere. Only one container for me to deal with too!” She was so nonchalant about it, and seemingly oblivious to the fact that my hair was about to melt, and continued, “I use these semi-ripe mangoes for this before they go bad; this way I still make money from them, and the people who don’t have time to make this always buy up all that I have. You come back in four hours. This will be gone!”

    I didn’t come back later that day. I asked her to ladle some into a container for me right away and with it headed home.

nam-prik-wan.gif

    Perfectly green, fresh mangoes are hard to come by here; once in a while I can catch a few at the Asian grocery stores before they’re snatched up. Most often I just search the mango piles at the large supermarkets for firm ones and call it good. They truly aren’t anything near splendid when ripe anyway! 😀 So, in this photo you will see semi-ripe mangoes, very much like the ones that May would use for this dish; my fellow Umreeka residers will understand I think, but if you do have access to green mangoes or green guavas or anything sour- or grilled fish and grilled meats or balls of sticky rice- all of them, I assure you, transform when dipped in this…. this, nam prik. There is no English word for the mischievous pleasure that I receive when offering this to the uninitiated, with the highest of hopes that they will chew and swallow before the sugar dissolves….

    Until then, sanuk will do…

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51 Comments

  1. Asha said,

    Great write up and that sauce sounds HOT!!!!:D

    Well….not at first… it has a marvelous delay effect! 😀 Thanks for checking it out!

  2. Manisha said,

    Mangoes…maybe there are mangoes in my future!

    I don’t think I have the courage to make nam prik! Yikes! Even if I eat all the chalk in the world after that, I am sure my mouth won’t be the only part of my anatomy that will complain!

    So is this kapi is found in bottles or must it be made? Can a fish sauce be used instead?

    I love the way you cut the mango and laid it out like that on the plate! You’s really good at this presentation stuff!

    Thanks! 🙂 Kapi is best left to the professionals to make, although the process is similar to any feremented pickle. It comes in jars and it’s labeled “shrimp paste” usually…. ask the store owner which is the best/ highest quality one, as there’s a bit of difference in flavour…. nam pla/ fish water or sauce, is quite different…. there are two types of those too, the thin one which is the liquid strained off the fermented anchovies, and another one made of the anchovies themselves, made into a thin paste, and is thick, sludgy and quite potent! The thin one only is used for this dish…. Again, ask for the best… I go with “Two Crabs” brand or “Three Crabs” brand…. These are all acquired tastes… nowadays I can taste any of them in their pure state without being revolted.

    You can substitute part or all of the hot chiles with mild red ones…. even minced ripe capsicums would be fine, but I know what you mean about hot hot food… it’s the seeds really that give you a kick on their way out the door… 🙂 Eating it with rice and under-ripe melons helps…

  3. bee said,

    hey pel, i’m posting a similar dipping sauce this sunday – but without the shrimp and anchovies, it won’t taste quite as authentic. after reading your post title, all i can say is:

    hyperbola, parabola, kya bola?

    “Kya”…. does that mean “would you like a-” ? 🙂 I see that word often… but I still don’t know what it means!

    I look forward to seeing it! Shilpa also posted a similar sauce a week or two ago, so it appears that we are all on the same wavelength! I think the Thai vegetarians use miso for kapi and soy sauce for nam pla… never tried it that way.

  4. Cynthia said,

    Hello Pelicano! Thanks for stopping by my blog and helping me to discover yours. I’m bookmarking you so that I can get some of the delicious offerings here.

    I thoroughly enjoyed your post. Actually, I am going to write down the recipe for this Nam Prik. I like heat but I think that I am going to tone mine down a bit. I am salivating at the thought of it with some green mango.

    Me too! I got myself so worked up after writing this that I just returned from buying some Laotian sausages to go with the mangoes… I wish they were fully green- you’re fortunate to live where the trees grow; I am about ready to take a spoon of amchoor and a spoon of nam prik… 🙂 I hope that you don’t attempt this with some of those scotch bonnets that your part of the planet is well-known for… if you do, keep your guests well away from the rivers to avoid draining them! 😀

    You are most welcome to stop by anytime for the food and the part serious/ part ridiculous chatting that goes on here… not that I have anything to do with that [looks at the ceiling] 😀

  5. Sushma said,

    This recipe seems to be hot.. would definitely like it.

    Then I bet you would- it’s addictive.

  6. Ernie Geefay said,

    Don’t know if you’ve seen this already but if not Yu might be interested in this website.
    http://www.thaifoodtonight.com
    It’s got about 30 recipes each one with a cooking video to go along
    Good if you like to try cooking Thai food at home

    Folks, this may be quasi-spam, but I checked it out and it’s fun to watch anyway….though they leave out a few harder-to-find ingredients from some things….They are sponsored by Thai Kitchen brand foods…..which I don’t buy…

  7. Anita said,

    So I must get that shrimp paste after all. The family can eat dal-chaval. I am the only one that will go near fermented sea food in this household 🙂 and there’s plenty of sour and semi-ripe mangoes to be had – ’tis the season, baby!

    …ridiculous chatting…who said that? Is there a problem?!! Is there a problem?

    No problemo, es bueno Anitita….. The family can eat dhal-chaval? That sounds like Marie Antoinette saying, “then let them eat cake…” 🙂 …and what was it the Queen of Hearts used to say during the croquet matches?

  8. Manisha said,

    I think whoever said ridiculous chatting should be banned from this blog. 😡

    Well….you just said “ridiculous chatting”….. but I’d hate to lost the sparkle you bring here…. however, I will not allow mango-bragging!!!!! 😀

  9. bee said,

    kya = what?

    bola = what did you say?

    Uh…..I just wanted to know what “kya bola” meant…. if you don’t know that’s okay…. I’m better off learning a more useful phrase, like how to say : “me want channa jor garam please”……or even MORE useful: “Where me buy Gudang Garam Surya please”…….and then “Where is fire please”….. 😀 I’d be all set then for my India trip!

  10. Manisha said,

    Burn her! was more along the lines of what I was thinking of as a fitting punishment for those that proclaimed there was ‘ridiculous chatting’ going on here whilst admiring the ceiling.

    ROTF @ your response to bee!

    That Bee is solid confused, men! (Pel, for this one you have to visit Bandra in Bombay) It must be all the jackfruit she is looking forward to this month. Chakka chakka varatti where it is? On Bee’s blog, it is.

    Yes, I have a bump on my head.

    No…I think she was looking up at mmm-mm’s ripening…therefore, she must be made of wood, and therefore: floats! like a Peking duck! What’s Bandra…a sushi bar?

  11. Manisha said,

    Pel, who’s Yu?

    I’s me, who’s Yu?!

  12. Manisha said,

    😆

    Bandra is a suburb of Bombay. Known for a large population of (Goan) Christians. Nunes, Rodrigues, Fernandes, Gomes and so on. Every sentence ends with men! Get it, men? No, men? You have to go there, men. (One’s gender doesn’t matter)

    What, men!

    Sounds like a lovely place! I’ll add that to my shopping list… [jots down a note, with illustrations, in his pocket note-book]

  13. bee said,

    manisha,kya shendi lagata hai men?

    mehem (mahiim) is where the real goans live.

  14. Manisha said,

    What, men? Simply at all, don’t say l’hat.

    All de boys from Andrews who used to puttru all the goals, know? They all stayed in Bandra, men. Once, men, my brudder-in-law, know men, was going by bus only. Then one Robert, men, just started talking to him. Just l’hat. After a while he aksed him, “you’re Catlic or what men? Your English is almost as good as mine.”

    While you’re jotting, Pel, East Indian bottle masala can be found in Bandra. And by East Indian, I mean the real East Indians and not regular Indians from India who the Umreekans call East indians.

    Well… the term “East Indian” used here is more to differentiate from “Native American”… East/Orient/Asia…. so you mean bottle masala (masala in a bottle?) from the eastern states of India?

  15. Anita said,

    There will be Nam Prik but ‘they can eat cake’ if they want – not like Mary Antoinette at all. And Nam Prik is no bread.

    Yes, “Off with their heads!”, whosoever complains about whatsgoingonhere!

    BTW, what is going on here?! 😯 Me thinks a translator is in order!

    LOL…I was hoping that you could tell us!

  16. shilpa said,

    That plate looks too good Pel. Nice presentation. I took 10mins to read the name of the dish :(. I love Thai food, but hubby dear tasted it once and didn’t like it, so he does not agree to go to Thai restaurant. I am going to somehow take him to one good restaurant here and make him eat :).

    You, Manisha, Bee, Anita seems like having a great time here. I love to read your comments. Pel, I please never ever take up any Hindi translation job, you come up with some weird translations always :). (ex: ‘kya’, ‘maiyya yashoda’).

    LOL…. you enjoyed the funny stuff here eh? 🙂 I have tried very hard, but I find that I cannot convince some of my readers to behave… 😀

    Keep trying to help your husband enjoy Thai cuisine; in my opinion it is very interesting and delicious; as time passes I will post more recipes(not so hot as this!) that you can make at home…. 😉

  17. Som Tam (Green Papaya Salad) » jugalbandi said,

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    Is this an advertisement? Hmmmmm….. 🙂 Well….do it right! Like this!!!!! 😀 That looks like a VERY good dipping sauce

  18. Manisha said,

    Yes, I know. British East India Company = British Raj = colonial history of India and you can probably teach me more about it than I know already 😆 Unfortunately, I think America did not do its research when they chose to describe Indians from India as East Indians. Even more unfortunate, Indians in the US don’t seem to mind being called East Indian.

    There is a small ethnic group called East Indians. And yes, bottle masala is literally masala in a bottle, just that it is their masala.

    Are these your ‘Vasant Vyakhyanmala’ ? 🙂 That was very interesting reading… speaking of Portugese, do you ever listen to the members of the Gilberto family from Brazil? (Joao, Astrud, Bebel)

    Luckily, we’re getting to a point where I can say “Indian” and people ask me to clarify it…. years ago, they would assume I meant “native American” ….. oh…. that Columbus….at least we got chiles and tomatoes from the deal! 😉

  19. Manisha said,

    That’s called a trackback. 😆 And it is a way of saying, hey, I linked to you…come and check out what I am saying about you. And do return the favor sometime… 😉

    Vasant Vyakhyanmala? Is that the Kalnirnay talking or what? 😆 WTF do you get this stuff from?! I had to look it up!

    I have a Getz/Gilberto CD I cherish. I haven’t heard it for the longest time. Will go blast it now!

    So now that I have set this Indian sans East issue straight, it’s time to fix this chile business. Where’s my partner in crime…er, I mean correct etymology, speeling and usage? She’ll be awake soon and then bam! she’ll make her mark better than I ever could!

    “The name, which is spelled differently in many regions (chili, chile or chilli), comes from Nahuatl via the Spanish word chile.” (Wikipedia entry: chili pepper)

    Manisha….. don’t sweat the small stuff in life! Just calm down…..breathe…..in….out…..in….out…..on…off….on….off…..become binary code……..repeat after me: OMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM…

    OMG! you have the one with the orange and black abstract art on the cover? I have it on vinyl… 😀 E-bay… that’s Astrud’s first record…. her hubby had to talk her into it; now she’s more famous than he is! Their daughter Bebel has a great voice…

    I found it (“Vasant Vyakhyanmala”) in my assigned reading silly! LOL

    Thanks for the tip about the trackback… I just thought people were showing off! 🙂 I still really don’t “get it” though…. [sighs]

  20. Anita said,

    Okay, I’m awake but ‘the sharp wit’ eludes me this morning…it can happen after making 12 chapatis and eight paranthas first thing in the morning…and I finished all the dough! Damn! More to make later!!! This is crazy. “Let them eat rice!’ I say (rice = chaval, Pel! Dal-chaval is our equivalent for rice and beans!) This HH (planning abbreviation for household!) insists on roti at every meal. Kashmirirs (and South Indians, and East Indians too – Indians who live in the Eastern part of the country!! – there I tied in to one of the things being discussed here!) had the right idea – rice is the starch!

    So, I’ll try to remember to thank Columbus for the chillies – what would people like Pel and I do without them! Manisha would have happily settled for the Hungarian paprika! And who do I have to thank for the potato 😀 ?

    Vasant Vyakhyamala??? It’s Mon morning people, I have to work (must I?)- not look up strange phrases on Wiki which doesn’t always have the right answers, BTW.

    No, not always….but sometimes it comes in handy:
    “The potato was domesticated in southern Peru and is important to the culture of the Andes, where farmers grow many different varieties that have a remarkable diversity of colors and shapes. In pre-Colombian times they were also widely cultivated on Chiloe island, in Chile. Potatoes spread from South America to Spain and from there to the rest of the world after European colonization in the late 1400s and early 1500s and have since become an important field crop.” (Wikipedia entry for : potato; copied and pasted exclusively for the pleasure of the Potato Princess, Anitalu)

    So….dal-chaval is splits and rice….chaval…..how do- no, nevermind… 😉

    I didn’t know that Manisha was capsaicin-challenged! Manisha? [looks around for her]

    I wonder if one of those Mexican tortilla-presses would work….. hmmm, well the lime-squeezers are dandy I’ll say that much! Well, Anita, that’s what you get for falling in love with a Marathi! [ducks from Manisha] What about Vangi Bhat? Or does that need to be accompanied by roti too? …and there’s a marvelous pink variation of Vangi Bhat called- 😀

  21. Manisha said,

    Yup, orange and black on the cover. I had a huge collection of LPs. I don’t know what state they are in. I didn’t dare ask D to bring them back with him as it would have led to another cyberfight. As it is he was complaining about the little quantity of dagadphool that my aunt foisted on him.

    Corcovado…. great track! I’ve been on a Brazilian kick for the last year…and have discovered a lot of new music. I might have a dagad-phool source for you…. 😉

    Wiki is as intelligent as the person who wrote the article or as intelligent as those who wrote the original articles from which it was compiled.

    How true!

    Pel, I prefer AUM as it’s more representative of the three letters it is made up of as well as the three sounds.

    I’ll say “Aum” if you say “chile”…

    I am binary code. I only think in on or off. Sometimes it is off and on.

    Do we have a choice?

    Capsaicin challenged? Yes. Several years ago I pigged out on sambal oelek so much that I almost had to be rushed to the ER because I was in so much pain I might have been bleeding internally. But the pain went away with the meds. It helps to have docs in the family you can call at any hour. Standard procedure is to dial as I start to pass out… 😆

    Oh dear… although I certainly can’t blame you for loving the sambal oelek… that’s very good on everything.

    But it wasn’t a fun experience and I had to go off all spice for a while. And then we have Medha who can’t handle too many chillies. But she’s doing her best these days. She has two large glasses by her plate at dinner. One with juice and the other with water. She alternates between the two to help her swallow her food. Sometimes she even forgets to chew it and chokes on it when the pieces are large and cries when they have sharp edges.

    I hope things are improving for the both of you. That’s too much for such a young child, or anyone, to endure.

    Show the HH the benefits of granola, Anita. Granola, fruit preserves, nuts and yogurt. Very nutritious. And then eat a piece of achaar to get rid of the sweet taste. 😆

    Potato is not Russian? Thank God they figured out the benefits of the potato. 😀

    I met a Russian guy once who came in on one of the boats that pass through the city on the river; he didn’t speak much English, but he DID know VODKA.

    Those tortilla presses work but the resulting chapatis are too thick. The one I have in India is used mainly to make puris.

    I’ve only made banana puris so far…

    Oh god! Where do I even start with this one?! It’s payback time for me obviously….. [sighs]

    ….at the beginning of course…

  22. Anita said,

    Tortilla press will not work in the Maharashtrian HH at all! Rotis have to be feather light, just a flick on the flame to puff them up and taken off immediately or they dry out. And don’t forget, I am a Kashmiri, a people who traditionally have never dealt with any wheat in the house!

    Vangi bhat, stir fried rice, and pulao is okay! That’s what is going to be dinner for them. And that was a slight exaggeration – I have smartened up and make all the roti I need to in the morning. If there are no let overs, then rice it will be! Someone did say, “let them eat rice!” didn’t they? 😀

    I agree with you, making dosais is less work than rolling rotis. Let me go and soak the rice! Win-win situation.

    Well, yeah! If I’m not in the mood or pressed for time I just make daalitoy and dosais(is that even a word?) ….served with a little gh- …er……mono-unsaturated oil I mean.

    Vangi bhat? good stuff! Fried rice? easy, easy…. Pulao? depends on the method….hey! You could do a biryani, yes? Just put it in that big communal pot you’ve mentioned and say “go!” and let everyone get what they can! 😀

    Tortilla-press no good………hmmmm…..I still think the ringer-washer is the way to go! 😉

  23. Manisha said,

    That pink version raised its head again…where’s Vee?

    Lies….all lies!

  24. Anita said,

    chaval: chah-vul! I think I am getting better at this! 😆

    Easy for you! I’m not used to using my tongue so far ahead in my mouth….. I can’t tell you how long it took for me to say “Hyderabad” or “Maharashtra”, although that one’s still kinda “iffy”…

  25. Manisha said,

    Are you also complaining that my comments are too long? You can stop reading your own blog, you know. 👿

    Binary….binary…..ohm.

  26. bee said,

    shyte. i have that CD. that lady has a great voice, but has no nuances in her tune. she sings totally flat, like someone chanting a nursery rhyme. after listening to it twice, it went to the thrift store.

    i must qualify this by saying, i listened to her after listening to bhimsen joshi.

    she’s like a yellow bell pepper, and he’s like a scotch bonnet.

    Yes…..she is well-known for singing with a weak, flat voice that goes slightly out of tune now and then in a most unique way… very much like someone singing quietly in their bathroom…

  27. bee said,

    anita, making bread is easier than making rotis. we are addicted to wheat, and rotis are too labour intensive. do you make bread often? if they complain give them a choice – home-baked bread, or the kleenex kinda bread you get in the store.

  28. Anita said,

    Hi Bee…Pel is away 🙂 You were saying..yes, home made bread. Who doesn’t love that! When the maid is away, I bake a lot of bread 😉 And she is presently away for 2 weeks! Slicing bread is a lot easier than the labour-intensive rotis. And all that pasara (this Marathi word is so apt here) – the chakla-belan, the flour, the tava, the chimta, the roti dabba – it goes on and on. Not to mention that fine sprinkling of white all over my black cook top!

    Yeah, bread sounds so much simpler!

    Thank you for taking care of the guestesses while I was away- you’re hired! 🙂

    Oh, you may as well know that now and then I take 2 slices of western bread, toast it, and then spread yoghurt cheese on one side and oily kerela achaar on the other, and then slap ’em together! Sometimes I put vegetables/ herbs in-between: sliced radishes, carrots, greens, spring onions, cilantro… that’s my bread story and I’m stickin’ to it!

  29. Manisha said,

    polpat-latna goes even better with pasara.

    Pasara= kitchen equipment?

  30. Anita said,

    It is always a pleasure, Pel.

    Pasara= all the stuff spread out, a mess!

    Yes, yes, polpat-latna (board – rolling pin) goes better with pasara…but Marathi words escape me sometimes 🙂 English being my first language and all 😆

    Honestly I would never have known it wasn’t; you speak/ write it real goot dere hey!

  31. Anita said,

    And them achar sandwiches – make them all the time! Especially good with un-toasted bread – to soak up all the oils and masalas.

    And after my schpeel (sp.?) over excess achar, I did buy three kinds from Dilli Haat a couple of weeks ago. Andhra pickles are irresistible – all the way from Guntur. I got ginger, mirchi, and tomato! They are fiery red – not for Manisha!

    No…none for M- … what?!!! You oughtta taste this devil’s brew of a pickle recipe she posted and which is now happily brewing away near the window! It’s hardly what I would call “mild”…!

    I have the exact same problem with achaar-buying; in fact, my last purchase was an Andhra-style tomato one, but it uses vinegar, and I really prefer lime juice.

    Schpeel……could be “shpeel”….. not sure. I looked it up in my ’82 abridged and ’36 unabridged and couldn’t find it; it sounds like a more-recent assimilation from Yiddish though; if so, s-c-h-peel would be quite correct! That and “them achar sandwiches”…. where do you pick this stuff up? You sound just like the locals… [puts his hand to his forehead in exasperation]

  32. bee said,

    “when the maid is away”

    the evil capitalist class…. 😈

  33. Anita said,

    Capitalism is not all bad – that is where we went wrong all those years ago. Allow people to make lots of money – so I can be paid well, and can afford to pay my help well! I do my job, she does her. I have help at home, the rest have the supermarkets! There are people behind the scenes that do all that baking, and veggie chopping. I have a one-on-one with my help!

    Not capitalism, ‘developing world’ economy! 😀

    Oh, be somewhat thankful that you don’t have to ponder the idiocy-idioticness of pre-made jell-o, pre-made mashed potatoes, and pre-fried bacon……oh! and double-packs of breakfast-cereal and milk!!!

  34. musical said,

    Pel,

    Looking at the comments its rather obvious 😉 that i have missed out on a lot of fun 😀
    Mangoes, raw mangoes at that and this dip, transformation indeed 🙂 i am all for this sort of transformation, you know. Though i’ll make a vegetarian version, no shrimp paste etc! Achaar sandwiches, now i have good company here :). i enjoy them a lot. Back in graduate school a classmate from Andhra would bring spicy pickle (Gongura, Avakka, tomato etc etc.). And we would polish it off with buns or bread and some sev bhujia! Trust me, sev bhujia sandwiches with achaar are YUM! try them, now!!

    Hope by now (if you have read the response to your comment on square rotis) you are expert in making square rotis. You will be given a test/assignment soon 😉

    Oh boy! I’d better get practicing then! Atta, salt [raises an eyebrow], ajwain, water… a dandy filling from your archive… and pretty soon I won’t have to buy frozen paranthas. I could spend a day making them and then freeze them couldn’t I? No? Yes? Has anyone here ever done that? I’ll need to make more ghee then won’t I? 🙂 I thought so!

    Musical, don’t worry about missing anything- it’s all here for the world to see! Besides, early or late, I’m just glad you came by! You can use miso paste instead of shrimp paste/kapi, and soy sauce instead of fish sauce/nam pla….. but then, make sure you put in LOTS of hot chiles to make up for it! 😀

  35. Anita said,

    Yes, them ‘famous’ breakfast cereals of the developed world – “..sugar bombs.,” as Calvin calls them, “…taste quite bland till you load them with sugar.” But they are here, touting themselves as the rich source for Vitamins X, Y, and Z. Fortified people, not naturally! There’s Quaker Oats now at an ‘introductory low price!’ But thanks to the ‘developing world’ economy, we may not be in a hurry to give up our paranthas just yet. You don’t have to use ghee to fry them; I fry mine in peanut oil. Ghee smokes up the kitchen too much 🙂

    Psst…Manisha uses them packaged-mashed potatoes 😮 !!!!! (this definitely needs all the exclamatory marks we can get!)

    I second Musical’s suggestion of sev over sandwiches – a slice of toast, a little butter, chutney and/or ketchup, and maybe a few coriander leaves, topped with Bikaneri Bhujia – oooh, the textural complexity of it all!

    But, there is no substitute for fish sauce or shrimp paste. Vegetarians are kidding themselves when they say they are having a ‘vegetarian version’ of any Thai/Vietnamese dish. Sorry, folks. There ain’t no such thing! 🙂

    Well……I’m TOTALLY with you on the fact that the flavour of traditional Thai food is JUST NOT THE SAME without the various fermented-fish/ seafood preparations…. definitely not! But, and here I must, unfortunately and with humble condolences, disagree with you, Anitalu. 😀 According to a fairly recent book by Vatcharin Bhumichitr entitled, ‘Thai Vegetarian Cooking (1997)/ (revised) -Cookery (2003)’, there are a growing number of vegetarians in Thailand… and they are busy re-making those feline-enticing dishes into veg-anomal-ese… I made up a new word!!! [bows left and right]. So, it’s ok… substitute away! I respect that. But Anita and I and other fish-devourers will be tasting gastronomic symphonies of sophisticated and well-patina’d balance, while vegans will only be able to hear a distant echo…

    I’ve prepared those Thai veganomalies; I know.

    There is no end to the delights made of channa/ chole is there? I’ve been going through besan like mad… sev-making is just going to accelerate it furthur… I have no comment on the price-hike of besan, nor Manisha’s mashed potatoes… 😉

    Take heart in the fact that the cuisines of ‘developing nations’ (what does that mean? less bossy? less polluting of the environment? we’ll disregard Alang for the sake of argument) are increasingly attracting the attention of the health-concious of the ‘developed’ nations (they should see me wield my mortar-and-pestle on a good day) because, for instance, the vegetarian cuisines of India are, by far, more highly ‘developed’. 😀

    Sugary cereal? That’s good for one thing that, in my youthier youth, I discovered when a friend and I had been up all night partaking in a particular, hunger-increasing intoxicant: it is excellent when mixed with melted milk-chocolate, poured into a pan lined with grease-proof paper and placed into the freezer to set. Instant sugar buzz! That was my dinner; my friend just opened a can of sweetened, condensed milk and grabbed a spoon! 😉

  36. pelicano said,

  37. Anita said,

    But I am a purist – traditional – old world – old fashioned girl. I already told you what I think of re-mixes. 🙄

    Now you need to make a new entry in Wiki with that word 😆 My turn to bow!

    A purist, traditional, old world, old-fashioned girl…yes, I suppose that does define you well! There is comfort there. Stability. Potatoes. Therefore, you are humble enough; no need to bow! 🙂

  38. Manisha said,

    My eyes are hurting and my heart is pained at the extra punctuation on this page. And my head is spinning – not from the broken plate – at this drop in standards. If this had been the Victorian era, I might have had to call for my smelling salts and used the fainting couch to deal with my misery 😕

    Medha used to rave about my neighbor’s mashed potatoes. I tried and tried but nope, they were just not good enough. So I asked her. She used those packaged thingees. That’s what they eat in space, you know. What’s good up there in space is good on earth, too. We have to start preparing to travel more than 20 years to reach that new planet they found. I don’t mind the stuff. It tastes good and has little or no preservatives. But homemade mashed potatoes are way better. She did like Anita’s mashed potatoes though and I haven’t bought a packet of that dehydrated stuff again. Although it is much easier to make at 7 am when my eyes won’t open.

    OLD? OLD? 😆 One more time: OLD?

    Musical, welcome to Pel’s blog where madness runs riot.

    Oh, dear….

  39. Anita said,

    I knew she was going to pick on that!

    Old-this, old-that…younger-older…whatever. I dehydrate a lot of things, but mashed potatoes is definitely not one of them. 😀

    No, why would you do that? Taterses keeps a long time anyway. They’re just dried, grated potatoes that you mix with water, milk, butter and salt…. oops! I said too much… Yes, mashed potatoes are so easy anyway… just use a dry variety: I wash ’em good, don’t peel ’em, dice them into 3/4″ pieces, cover them with water and boil 20 minutes, drain….mash them, add butter first, then milk until the texture is right…salt and pepper. Done. When we were young kids my mother used to sprinkle paprika over the top for prettiness.

  40. Musical said,

    Hey Pel:

    Yes, freeze the paranthas by all means. Some people freeze paranthas before cooking them and some completely cook them. My advise is to find the middle grounds :-D. Just lightly cook them on griddle without oil (that would make them firm for storage, and when yu thaw them, they won’t stick to the griddle and would give you the taste almost same as fresh paranthas). and really, its so nice to know that you make your own ghee! oflate, i ahve gotten rather lazy and ended up buying Amul Ghee (which is good) but still home-made ghee is yummy!

    Yes, i will make this dip, with LOTS of chillies 🙂 i love chillies. all my posts (well, almost) have this as the mandatory ingredient ;). he he, i know i got late in joining the fun 😀 but the party is still on, so its all good, am i right 🙂

    The party didn’t start until you arrived! 😉 It’s so nice to talk to another chile-head; this dip will make you a bit light-headed Musical, so I don’t recommend eating it while driving, but anywhere else is fine! 🙂

    Home-made ghee is the best. I shouldn’t say that… I’ve never had any other ghee 😦 … 😀 I’ve been making it since I was a teen-ager because back then, the nearest Indian store was Devon St. in Chicago- 4 hours away! I mix it with peanut oil nowadays when I cook. I can’t help but hear Vee yelling in the background : “For god’s sake, use a little ghee somewhere!” 🙂

    I thank you so much for the parantha-making-and-freezing tips! You seem quite passionate about them, and I totally understand why! They are one of the most delicious foods ever created! I wonder how they’d be with this dipping sauce…. hmmm.

  41. Manisha said,

    Put a sheet of wax paper between two parathas to stop them from sticking to each other. Then you can freeze them uncooked, too. Middle road, like musical says, is great. I cook mine fully and then heat them wrapped in a damp paper towel in the microwave. They aren’t crisp but are moist and hot!

    Wow…that sounds like the ones I order out from the restaurant… all this parantha talk is making me crave chickpeas in tomato sace so badly… and I still have that bottle gourd lachha to whip up too! I’m beginning to think that Punjabi food is really not represented very well in the restaurants…

  42. musical said,

    Pel:

    Yes, Manisha is right about those wax paper sheets. Use them whatever way you freeze. Sorry, i forgot to mention that. I would love to try paranthas with this dip 🙂 and yes, Punju food is not at all well represented in the restaurants! nothing like what one eats at home. But well, thats sorta’ true for all cuisine, isn’t it 😀

    Yeah…most of the time. There’s a great Thai restaurant that opened here a few months back- we have three now- the first one serves very watered-down Thai, so I don’t go there… no Thai people go there either… but this new one is owned by a local lady with her friend and mother: they serve great, authentic food! Mercy me! 😀 Have you tried Thai iced coffee yet?

    I have a better idea than waxed paper: I saved all the plastic sheets from in-between store-bought frozen paranthes… 😀

  43. Anita said,

    “…I saved all the plastic sheets from in-between store-bought frozen paranthe…”

    I am a tellin’ ya – yu no Umreekan – yu Indian, previous life an’ this life!

    You get that passport changed this minute! Reuse. Reduce. Recycle. You are a man after my own heart. Together we will save the world!

    Making ghee since he was a teenager!! Well, okay, I have been baking since I was one. But still, we were ruled by the British for along time…[does sashtang dandavat pranam]

    [does a saashtang pranam back] What’s a dandavat? [wonders if the knees on his pants are going to wear away in India] Now, is that similar to a durian? 🙂

    I wish we could save the world, but the most I think we can do is our part and hope others follow suit! A lot of my saving habits come from my grandmothers, who lived through the Great Depression and found splendid uses for many things, and continued to do so… I have some of my great-grandmother’s jars in fact! 😉

    Baking since you were….one?! You got me beat!!! 🙂 Yeah, we were ruled by the British too for a bit I hear tell… I still think they should return a few items…

  44. Anita said,

    Hindi Lessons contd:

    parantha = 1 parantha
    more than 1 parantha= paranthe!
    🙂

    44 Comments!! My word!

    Yah! It’s all downhill from here! 😉

    one parantha, two paranthe….how do you say ‘one’? ‘Two’ I know already, I think, from ‘do piaza’… something.

  45. Anita said,

    That came out sounding more impressive than possible. …since I was a teenager myself! 🙂

    You know ‘one’ too! Remember “Ek chidiya, anek chindiyan…?” Ek (say ‘ache’!) = one! Anek (un-ache) = many! (This is a food blog?)

    Oh!!!!!! ek, do……I can count to two now!

  46. Manisha said,

    Pls note that I am abstaining from all this downhillness. In fact I wasn’t here when I typed this either.

    Where’s my next post? [begins a search]

  47. bee said,

    manisha’s talking about one wax paper sheet per paratha? the eco-friendly one from colorado? tch! tch!

  48. Manisha said,

    Cut to size. 🙄

    What’s wrong with wax paper? It’s more environment friendly than cellophane wrap. Unbleached wax paper is even better.

    That it is! I love waxed paper! I crumpled some up, then smoothed it out and duct-taped it to my windows for a private, Japanese look! (see the citrus peel post pic). I don’t buy cellophane wrap…. way too many plastic bags come through the house: produce, dhal, etc.

  49. musical said,

    Pel and Anita, that exchange is so cute 😀 You’ve been baking since one, Anita 😉 i can only say i’ve been eating sinc i was born 😆

    Pel, you are truly eco-friendly, saving all those plastic sheets from store bought paranthas, good idea. no jokes!

    and love that song : ek parantha, anek paranthe
    ek subzi, anek subziyaan (my addition)

    Enjoy singing this after you parantha-thon 🙂

    LOL…Thanks! Now I have it running through my head….. ek paratha…anek paranthe…..ek subzi….anek subziyaan….ek…ek… In your version, they all get together at the end and pluck paranthe from the tree?!

    I save way too much stuff…..it takes up a lot of room!

  50. Anita said,

    And they use their minds to pluck – what else – but the King of Fruits!! We’re back to the mango – which features at the top somewhere. 😀

    We have a winner!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Congratulations Anita, you are my first 50th commentor! And you win: a chance to order me around! Don’t waste it… 🙂 I will happily post anything you desire… within a reasonable time frame of course. After that it’s back to me me me. :-D

  51. The Mangoes are Sour « A Mad Tea Party said,

    […] with dal, with vegetables (it is the perfect foil for bittergourd), or enjoyed as a relish such as Pel’s nam prik wan kap mamuang khiew. And when you don’t want to fuss, just slice them up, dip in salt, and taste nirvana. Not as […]

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