Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Aloo Anarkali

Aloo Anarkali

Potato Cups:
500g potatoes, peeled and cut into little potato cups, then boiled in turmeric water

250 g mashed potatoes, inluding the holes of the potato cups
125 g chaana dal, soaked overnight, boiled until al dente
2 Tablespoons shai jeera (royal or black cumin seeds)
1 Tablespoon mustard seeds
150g fresh pomegranate seeds
50 ml lemon juice
2 teaspoons chaat masala
2 green chillis, finely chopped
salt to taste
1/2 bunch fresh mint
1/2 bunch fresh coriander (cilantro)
50 g dried candied cherries, chopped fine

Toast cumin seeds and mustard seeds. Combine all filling ingredients and stuff into potato cups. Roast until hot and enjoy as a snack with tamarind chutney, or finish with a red chile gravy and yogurt to serve as a side dish.

Anarkali means pomegranate blossom. The emperor Jehangir, son of Akbar, had a love affair with a slave when he was the Prince (Salim). She was called Anarkali because of her striking beauty.
A play was written by imtiaz Ali Taj in 1923 called Anarkali

Here is a translation of one of the great scenes of the play which was origionally in Urdu. In the movie Mughal-e-Azam (1960), also based on the story of Anarkali and Prince Salim, this scene was filmed in color in the Hall of Mirrors (the Shish Mahal of the Lahore Fort). The rest of the film was shot mostly in black and white so this scene is even more dramatic. It is a classic Bollywood song and dance number where Anarkali (the voice is actually 24 year old Lata Mangeshkar) sings and dances for the king. But in real life the Shish Mahal had not been built durring the king's lifetime. His grandson built the hall of mirrors in 1631. Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan sang a few songs in Mughal-e-Azam. He was one of the most renowned classical singers of his time. He charged 25,000 rupees per song when famous bollywood singers like Lata were earning less than 500 rupees per song.
Download the soundtrack to Mughal-E-Azam here.

The film Loves of a Mughal Prince (1928) was also based on the same tale

Tune: Yeh Zindagi Usiki Hai from the film Anarkali (1953) sung by Lata Mangeshkar

Tune: Aaja Ab To Aaja also from Anarkali.
Louis Armstrong claimed to be born the same year as Imtiaz Ali Taj, 1900. But Satchmo was actually born one year later in 1901. Louis also died one year after Imtiaz Ali Taj was shot dead in 1970. Being from New Orleans, Satchmo played some festive funeral music.

Tune: Garden of Four Trees (1970) by Explosions feat. Juanita Brooks

Tune: Handa Wanda (1970) by Bo Dollis & The Wild Magnolias

Tune: Question (1971) by Bobby Powell

Tune: Baby (1971) by Os Mutantes

Tune: Purity Brigade (1900) by Edna May from the theatrical play The Belle of New York
Hear more of Little Edna May’s turn of the century recordings here.

Tune: Rocking Chair by Louis Armstrong

In the end, legend has it, Anarkali was burried alive in the walls of the palace.

Tune: Qeej Nqug Rooj (Lao Funeral Music) from The Music of the Hmong People of Laos.

Friday, October 27, 2006


When I bought a guava from this guy he sliced it up and squeezed lime over it and sprinkled it with chili powder. It was too good.
Tune: The Pessimist Valley of the Guava is a mash up of M.I.A.'s "URAQT" vs Bob Marley's "Guava Jelly" vs Mylo's "Valley of the Dolls" mixed by The Pessimisr

Saved by the Bhel

Bhel puri wrapped in a recycled paper cone from a street vender in Bombay.

Tune: Disco Belle Inna Computer Style Mix from computerstyle.org starts out with Eek a Mouse's classic tune Anarexol and then moves into Junior Gong, Bounty Killa, and present day Eek a Mouse tearing up the tune Khaki Suit. The mix continues on for more than half an hour of vintage and modern dancehall classics.

Tune: Ponton La Belle by Kékélé, a Congolese rumba band.

Tune: Belle by Al Green

Tune: Tikela Nga Mobali by Orchestre Bella Bella Pick up one of there CD's here.

I discovered two of these tunes by way of Benn Loxo Du Taccu check out the site to discover more classic and new African hits and obscurities.

Kids enjoying a packaged snack in the Bombay sun. There are so many plastic packaged snacks sold on the streets of Bombay. Lots of small tiny packages of little treats. Chai used to be served in biodegradable clay cups. Now most chai on the street is served in little plastic cups. There is plastic everywhere on the street and in the sea along the coasts.

Tune: Plastic Reggae Dancehall Mix by Black Plastic Magic with tunes by Fantan Mojah, Tall T & The Touchers, IniKamoze, Ken Boothe, Sizzla, Anthony B, Lee Perry, Bob Marley, Cedric Brooks, and Peter Tosh

Greenpeace India

Thursday, October 26, 2006


A young pastry chef in Bombay offers up a taste of some fresh badam halwa for Diwali.
After a night of non-stop, ear shattering diwali firecrackers, these Bombayites take it easy

Tune: Sweet Thang by Shuggie Otis, son of Johnny Otis from the LP Inspiration Information is a nice song to take it easy to.

Tune: Take it Easy by The Fugees

Long Dosa

Paper Sada Dosa at Legends of Bombay in Panjim, Goa the night before our trip to Bombay.

Tune: How Long Blues by Count Basie and Leroy Carr from the box set Tibute to Black Entertainers

Tune: So Long by Little Miss Cornshucks (Mildred Cummings)

Tune: Long Live The Kane by Big Daddy Kane

Tune: Long Time by Sergent Garcia

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


We bought some kadhu at the Panjim Market.
Toast toor dal and mustard seeds with ginger, garlic and curry leaves in a little oil. Add green chilies, toasted cashews and boiled kadhu. Finish with fresh coriander (cilantro) and lime juice.

Tune: Fresh Vegetable by Tony Rebel from the Beatwalla Burnt Curry compilation

Tune: Cookin'? might be the title of this song. I bought the record a long time ago in Berkeley and featured the tune on the Beatwalla Burnt Curry Comp I forget who the artist is and the name of the song. The lyrics are great. Some housewife who can't cook and burns up the curry in the kitchen. All this over a Mary J Blidge beat.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Gulab Jamun

Chena (a form of Indian cottage cheese before curd is pressed into paneer) hanging in cheese clothe to drain out the whey. Chena is used for making many Indian sweets like Ras Malai, Rasgulla, and Gulab Jamun.

To make chena, milk is boiled and an acid is added to curdle the milk. Most home cooks use vinegar or lemon juice. some professional chefs use citric acid.

The curds are strained and hung in cheesecloth to make chena. Then the chena is kneaded by hand and mixed with koya (milk reduced to a thick paste) and a tiny little bit of flour to form a dough that can be rolled into little balls and ...........

.....deep fried. The fried "jamun" balls are then soaked in a thick chini pani(sugar syrup) that is flavored with cardamom and rose.

In Hindi Gulab means Rose and Jamun is a round brown fruit.

Tune: Rose Room by Django Reinhardt with the Quintette du Hot Club de France with Stéphane Grappelli

Tune: Rose Cordial from the Cambodian Cassette Archive

Tune: Ramblin' Rose by Jerry Lee Lewis

Monday, October 09, 2006

Staff Meal

Kingfish curry, fried kingfish, rajma masala, basmati rice.

Tune: Sofa King by Danger Doom from The Mouse and the Mask album.

Tune: Anti-Matter [feat. MF Doom & Mr Fantastik] by King Geedorah

Tune: Get Out of My Life Woman by Albert King from the New Orleans Heat album. New orleans is probably one of the few places in the US that can compete with Goa's heat and humidity.

Tune: Slow and Low is a Run DMC demo for the King of Rock album

Tune: El Tren by The King Elio Boom from Champeta Criolla Vol 2:Visionary Black Music From Underground Columbiafrica

Tune: Old Yazoo by the Washboard Rythm Kings. "If you don't like beans and rice, try some rice and beans" In Belize rice and beans and beans and rice are actually two different dishes. I've never been to Old Yazoo, but I like to think that I'm on my way>

Tune: Tennesee Waltz by Pee Wee King and his Golden West Cowboys is the oldest versions of this song that I have heard.

Tune: Feeling by King Floyd from his album called Think About It

Saturday, October 07, 2006


For xacuti masala, heat a kadai over high heat and dry roast whole mace, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, and black pepper until they become brittle and the aromas permeate the kitchen. Remove the spices from the kadai and add coriander, fennel, and cumin seeds. Roast over high heat until nicely toasted and remove from pan and add to the other toasted spices. Roast white poppy seeds just as the other spices. Also, roast some fresh grated coconut until it is golden brown. Next, it's time to roast the ginger and garlic. In many of the dishes prepared throughout the day the last final touch is a few handfuls of fresh coriander (cilantro) and julienned ginger. To julienne cut ginger there is a lot of scraps and skin left behind. This ginger scraps is used to make the masala for xcuti. Roast whole garlic cloves, unpeeled, with the ginger scraps until they begin to char. Remove the chared ginger and garlic and roast lots of whole dried red chiles. When the chiles re nicely toasted add some oil and fry the chiles for a few minutes. Remove the chiles and lower the heat to medium low and caramelize some sliced onions in the oil that has remainded in the kadai after removing the chiles. Add tamarind pulp to the roasted spices, onion, coconut and chiles and grind to a paste with a little water.
Chef Michael specializes in Goan cuisine. He and chef Arjun have been in the Cidade de Goa kitchen since 1982, before Michael jackson released his Thriller album, but after the release of Off The Wall.

Tune: Human Nature by Michael Jackson from Thriller

Tune: Billy Jean by Shinehead

Tune: Smooth Beats Run DMC meets MJ

Tune: Michael feels like Green Onions is a Mash up of Booker T and the MG's Green Onions with MJ's The Way You make Me Feel, probably done by DJ BC

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Elephant Foot Yam

Suran, sometimes known as Elephant Foot Yam is a versatile ingredient in Goa. It is like a very firm and starchy sweet potato. This yam was cubed and deep fried in a kadai before it was added to a simmering pot of vegetarian stew called khatkhatem. I enjoyed working with the Goan chefs. The two head Goan chefs Arjun and Michael have been working in the kitchens of Cidade de Goa since 1982. Soulcocina will definetly feature Arjun and Michael in future posts. The picture below is a young chef, Santosh, from nepal who has been awarded the honorable title of Employee of the Quarter Check out some interesting tubers from Central America at El Amor Por La Cocina

Last year, on the Kerala backwaters, we enjoyed a sweet and tangy suran achar as part of a South Indian thali of fried king fish and many different veg items (beets, cabbage, some kind of squash) along with dal and plain boiled rice that is served on a banana leaf. The thali is served with a little salt. The suran achar was spectacular.

Tune: Yamala by Yunasi from Kenya

Tune: Elephant Dragon from Cambodia cassette Archives

Tune: Rah Rah by Elephant Man

Tune: Scrappy Elephant is a Nuffwish bootleg remix of a Missy Elliot tune that samples Ann Peebles Can't stand the Rain with Elephant Man up in the mix.

Tune: The Elephant and the Fly (1918) by Weyert A. Moor and Benjamin Kohon from an Edison phonograph cylinder