The Singing Chef and Others

Singing Chef Harpal Singh

Although I still have a shelf of cookbooks, it is unlikely that I will add to it. For my own ventures into cooking, I am increasingly turning to YouTube where I can see the dish being made and what it looks like when it is completed.

As I grow older, I am becoming more interested in vegetarian cuisine. And which is the greatest vegetarian cuisine, but the foods of India. If I am cooking for myself these days, I am more than likely to go for a good curry recipe like one of the following:

Chef Harpal Singh’s Mumbai Mast Tomato Pullao

Chef Harpal Singh is a charming presence who likes to entertain you by singing (or is it singhing?). I have not made this dish yet because Martine prefers me to cook dishes with meat. So I have to wait until she has an episode of irritable bowel syndrome before trying it. (Those episodes last for about a week.)

A Tasty Eggplant and Potato Curry from HowToCookGreatFood.Com

The chef here does not introduce himself by name, but he is a wizard. I have prepared this dish twice and love it. My friend Mona, who is a health nut, thinks I am crazy for liking a dish whose primary ingredients are both members of the deadly nightshade family. Happily, I have not yet succumbed to any sort of nightshade poisoning.

There are other sources, which I may introduce at some later date, such as Chef Odon Hankusz from Budapest. Unfortunately, his instructions are all in Hungarian, but his Gulyás Leves is a dish for the gods!

A Hungarian Peasant Dish

Hungarian Káposztas Tészta, or Cabbage Noodles

Hungarian Káposztas Tészta, or Cabbage Noodles

One of my favorite dishes as a child was Hungarian Káposztas Tészta, or Cabbage Noodles, which was both cheap and good. The recipe below is taken from 2009 posting to Blog.Com describing the way I prepared it for a Hungarian Meet-Up Group potluck:

Take one head of cabbage, grate it as finely as possible. Deposit it into a large mixing bowl and salt liberally. Then cover it with a clean dish towel and come back a half hour later. You will find that the salt draws the water out of the cabbage. Pick up handfuls of the cabbage, squeeze the salt water out of it over the sink, and place in a colander. Then squeeze it hard again.

Now it’s time to get a large saucepan and melt some unsalted butter in it and add an equal amount of olive oil. (The old Hungarians used bacon fat, but butter and vegetable oil is just as good and better for you.) Sauté the cabbage and keep stirring for upwards of an hour, until the cabbage starts to get a little brown around the edges. Don’t leave the cabbage to burn: You have to attend to it fairly closely.

Around this time, start boiling water for egg noodles. My mother used to make her own, cutting them into three-quarter-inch squares that were perfect. But prepackaged noodles are almost as good. Drain the cooked noodles and add to the cabbage. I used my Chinese iron wok to mix the two together. While turning the mix around, I added salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

Simple and good.