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The Dietary Culture of Asia

Food & Recipes

by Naomichi Ishige
Professor of Anthropology at Osaka's Museum of Ethnology
Translated by Thomas A. Steele


"What bad manners you have! Don't eat with your fingers, use your chopsticks!" For many a child in China, Korea, Japan, and Vietnam, this parent's reprimand is one of the first lessons in social manners. For each of these ethnic groups, putting food in your mouth with your fingers is viewed as an ill-mannered, rather animal-like act.

Cardamom-Flavored Lamb Chops (Tabak Maaz)

Lamb Chops (Photo by <a href=Stuart Webster/flickr)" src="http://asiasociety.org/files/imagecache/small/food_cardamom_lamb_chops.jpg">
Food & Recipes

Chops make their appearance in various guises during a Kashmiri feast and this is one of several versions of this Kasmiri dish. The main flavoring is cardamom, both from the large brown pods and from cardamom powder. The chops are first cooked in a cardamom-flavoured milk and then fried and finally simmered in yogurt and spices and flavored with saffron and Kasmiri garam masala.

Ingredients

Mangoes (Moghul-Style)

(Photo by Amit Gupta/Flickr)
Food & Recipes

Serves 4-6.

Ingredients

2-3 firm ripe mangoes
125 g/4 oz/1/2 cup white sugar
125 g/4 oz/1/2 cup water
3 green cardamom pods, bruised
or few drops cardamom extract
1 tablespoon pistachio kernels


Directions

Bananas in Yogurt (Kela Raita)

Banana slices (Photo by <a href=m_a_r_c/flickr)" src="http://asiasociety.org/files/imagecache/small/bananaslices.jpg">
Food & Recipes

Serves 4.

Ingredients

1 teaspoon ghee or oil
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
250 ml/8 fl oz/1 cup natural yogurt
3 tablespoons fresh grated coconut or desiccated coconut
2 or 3 firm ripe bananas
2 tablespoons lime or lemon juice

Directions

Ginger Tea

Food & Recipes

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups water
8-10 thin slices fresh ginger
2 teaspoons tea
sugar to taste

Directions

Cumin and Tamarind Refresher (Zeera Pani)

(Photo by Alexandra Moss/Flickr)
Food & Recipes

The Indian name for this drink, zeera pani, translates as 'cumin water'.

Ingredients

125 g/4 oz/1/2 cup dried tamarind pulp
500 ml/1 pint/2 cups hot water
3 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger
3 teaspoons ground cumin
pinch chilli powder (optional)
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1 tablespoon sugar or to taste
salt to taste
iced water
crushed ice
mint sprigs
lime slices

Directions

Almond Beverage (Thandai)

Food & Recipes

Serves 4.

Ingredients

90 g/3 oz blanched almonds
10 whole peppercorns (optional)
60 g/2 oz raw sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds
1/2 teaspoon cardamom seeds or ground cardamom
750 ml/1 1/2 pints/3 cups water
500 ml/1 pint/2 cups milk
125 g/4 oz/1/2 cup sugar or to taste rose water (optional)

Directions

Shrikhand

(Photo by yuichi.sakuraba/Flickr)
Food & Recipes

Serves 4-6.

Ingredients

500 ml/1 pint/2 cups thick yogurt
3-4 tablespoons caster sugar
2 drops rose essence
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom or 4 drops cardamom extract
1/4 teaspoon saffron strands
1 tablespoon pistachio kernels

Directions

Semolina Pudding

Semolina Pudding (<a href=Umair Moshin/flickr)" src="http://asiasociety.org/files/imagecache/small/semolinapudding.jpg">
Food & Recipes

Serves 6.

Ingredients

185 g/6 oz/3/4 cup sugar
300 ml/10 fl oz water
60 ml/2 fl oz milk
1/4 teaspoon saffron strands
125 g/4 oz ghee
90 g/3 oz/1/2 cup medium semolina
2 tablespoons sultanas (golden raisins)
2 tablespoons slivered almonds
1 teaspoon ground cardamom

Directions

Gulab Jamun (Rose-Flavored Milk Balls in Syrup)

Photo by <a href=awhiffoflemongrass/flickr" src="http://asiasociety.org/files/imagecache/small/gulabjamun_0.jpg">
Food & Recipes

Makes about 20.

Ingredients

8 tablespoons full-cream milk powder
3 tablespoons self-raising flour
1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 tablespoon soft butter or ghee
approximately 3 tablespoons water
ghee or oil for frying

Syrup
2 cups white sugar
4 cups water
5 bruised cardamom pods
2 tablespoons rose water or few drops
rose essence

Directions