Saturday, 1 March 2008

soy milk maker madness! and carrot pickle.

One fine day I was taking out the recycling, and I realized that I had about a kazillion soy milk tetra packs and that this was ridiculous. So finally, I bought a soy milk maker. I *heart* ebay. Oooooh. Look. Fancy schmancy weekend cappuccino. Yuuuuuuuuuuuum. Some people dislike the beanyness of homemade soymilk. For soymilk, I add about a tablespoon of rice to the soaking soybeans, and then a bit of agave to the finished soy milk, and it's all I can do to hold myself back from drinking the entire batch right there.

Then, much to my dismay, I realized it was going to be one of those days where I just want to cook. Sigh. Nearly everyone I know is out of town, so I only have one brave soul coming for dinner tonight. I hope she's up to the challenge. I used the okara to make an indian-inspired dessert. And finally, the novelty of making my own tofu was too much to resist, so I made some, just following the instructions, and made saag tofu. Oh, and the fun didn't stop there.... While I was in Montreal, I had the most amazing carrot pickle. Yup. As in, I spent the entire plane trip back plotting and scheming the re-creating of this carrot pickle in my kitchen, and here's what I came up with: the problem with pickle is that it needs time to pickle. The problem with me is that I am impatient. Luckily, I am also not adverse to faking it when need be. So, here is my highly dubious carrot pickle method: I filled a 2 cup measuring cup with carrot machsticks. Toast and then grind some fenugreek seeds. Add these, some turmeric, some chilli, some salt and a bit of garlic to your carrots. Go easy on the chili. You can add more later if you need to. Chop up 3 pickled lemons, fearlessly creating the hybrid pickly love child of moroccan and indian food. Throw 'em in, along with a bit of the lemon pickle water. From experience: DO NOT taste the pickle at this stage. Trust me. Then pop some mustard seeds in a pan with a bit of oil, and throw on some asafoetida for good measure. Dump this on the carrots and other spices, and then mix up the whole thing. Microwave for a few minutes. Cover and refrigerate. It worked! I suspect my methods would have traditional cooks wringing their hands, but I'm not a traditional kind of girl. Plus, I have this damn good pickle, which makes me feel rather smug about the whole situation.

As for what happened to the okara (that's the leftover soybean pulp), I noticed that it had a consistancy similar to that near-solid milk that one uses for indian desserts...and I had some moong dal on hand, and well, sometimes these things just happen. Random dessert: boil up some moong dal with piles of green cardamoms until you have a paste. While that's going on, dissolve some saffron in a tbs of soy milk, and mix the saffrony soy milk into the okara. Also, dry roast some cashews. Pick out the cardamoms from the dal paste (chopsticks work well for this). Heat up a little bit of oil in a pan, and pour in the dal paste and stir it around until it starts sticking to itself and then add brown sugar to taste. I imagine jaggery would work better, but that would have required me leaving the house. Not going to happen. Once the sugar has dissolved, add the okara mix, and keep mixing until you have a giant ball of goo. Press into a plate. I have used my "fancy" plate. Cool, slice, eat. Yum. I know that this dessert, or at least the more authentic version of it, has a name. But at my favorite indian dessert shop in Montreal (ahem. Pushaps), we always just called it "the vegan one".

obsessive cooking sing-along: those pretty, those pretty, those pretty little things.

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