Food with Mark Bittman: The Glorious, Victorious Asma Khan

June 28, 2022 00:38:26
Food with Mark Bittman: The Glorious, Victorious Asma Khan
Fruit Love Letters
Food with Mark Bittman: The Glorious, Victorious Asma Khan

Show Notes

Mark talks to the groundbreaking chef, Asma Khan, about the importance of the Anglo-Indian influence, how food and cooking are undervalued, and the beauty of interfamily lessons across generations.
Follow Mark on Twitter at @bittman, and on Facebook and Instagram at @markbittman. Subscribe to Mark's newsletter The Bittman Project at
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Episode Transcript

Speaker 1 00:00:01 Hi everyone. Jess star, the host of Wetstone radio collectives, fruit love letters. I'd love to share an episode from food with mark. Bitman called the glorious victorious asthma con. In this episode, mark talks to the groundbreaking chef omic con about the importance of the Anglo Indian influence, how food and cooking are undervalued and the beauty of inner family lessons across generations. Take a listen. Speaker 2 00:00:38 Hi, it's mark. Bitman welcome to food. Thanks for joining us today. We have a terrific guest omic con and we'll get to her shortly. I just wanted to remind you, in the meantime, you can reach out to [email protected] We'll periodically answer questions on the air and gearing up to do that now. And, uh, we're always happy to hear from you about anything. Please subscribe to the podcast, review us, et cetera, et cetera. And while you're at it, subscribe to our near daily newsletter. The Bitman [email protected] Speaker 2 00:01:27 Our guest today, as I said, is OSMA con and this may speak more of me than it does of her, but I wasn't aware of this great chef until I saw her new cookbook AMU that's a M M U I was intrigued con has appeared on the much loved Netflix series chef's table, which catapulted her into stardom Paul Rud and Daniel Levy and Nigel Lawson have sung her praises and delighted in her incredible and incredible looking food. Her London restaurant daring express is totally women run an AMU, a term used mostly in south Asian Muslim homes for their mothers and which con calls her mother is a beautiful ode with fantastic recipes, for sure, but also an abundance of memories, both food based and not. I have to admit that I was a little nervous to talk to con at first she's such a forceful person. Speaker 2 00:02:26 And so obviously a wonderful person, but our conversation is really one of my favorites so far. I hope you find that too. Here she is. And here we go. Can you start just a one or two minute summary of your story? Because it, it is fascinating. You weren't an immigrant speaking of world situations, but you're also an immigrant who didn't know how to cook. And, and to me, that's, you're 20 years old or whatever, 18 or 22, somewhere in there. And in England, a foreigner, an immigrant sounds like you were kind of lost. Yes. And you didn't even know how to boil an egg, as you say. Speaker 3 00:03:05 My story is not that unusual. I think this happened to a lot of women of my generation from south Asia, because usually girls from certain kinds of family didn't cook necessarily because there were always had mothers and grandmothers. When you're in your twenties, you're not gonna really be cooking a family meal. I mean, there's no way, no one's gonna trust you to, to cook a family meal. Uh, imagine leaving, you know, uh, your young teenage kid to cook for the family. No one, it doesn't, it doesn't work in any culture. So really the fact that I couldn't cook wasn't that I was particularly bad or lazy. That was quite common. But what was unusual is that I had never imagined I would move abroad. I would leave this kind of a life of constantly being fed and nourished by others, constantly being in a room full of people, never eating a single meal on my own, never sleeping in a room on my own. Speaker 3 00:04:02 In fact, I had to wake up and find random relatives. Who'd missed their flights sleeping on the floor. So when I moved to England, it was very tough. I found it very isolating. It was a huge sense of uprooting. It was also 30 years ago, no internet, very expensive to travel, very expensive to call. And that sense of isolation really was made harder by the fact that I had arranged marriage with someone who I didn't know, a very good man, a very liberal man who told me, I don't believe in gender roles. You don't how to have cook. I'll cook for you, but he's a very bad cook. He didn't tell me that <laugh> and, and then because of the crazy Oxford system, he ate all his meals in college. He said that was part of his duty as admissions tutor that year, uh, and leaving me to eat the same food for a week, very bad food. Speaker 3 00:04:54 I found that very hard and I realized that I didn't have the option to go back. This is just cultural. I couldn't just leave. And what would I tell my mother is? Cause I was hungry. It just didn't make sense. And I realized that my one way of surviving or finding my way home was to cook. And that is how the whole story began. I learned to cook and I realized that in this way I was healing myself. But the greatest pleasure was watching someone else eat. That is what I've dedicated the rest of my life to serve, to serve others food in some ways to heal them and to nourish them. That is really my story. Speaker 2 00:05:33 That's beautiful. You tie the book, which I should say is called amou. And we'll talk about your mother a little bit. You tie the book, not only to family, but to jewelry, um, embroidery, the weather to loneliness and home sickness. As you've said to the power of cooking, the power of women, it's a book that's organized in an unusual fashion. It's not really organized by dish or by ingredient as many are, but sort of whimsically. It is a beautifully put together book. And I personally love the way the food is shot naturally, because so much isn't, and it looks like food that people cook and eat, which is, you know, it doesn't look like the kind of food you have to go to a restaurant to have, which is what I like. But talk a little bit about how you decided what to put in the book, how to organize it. Speaker 3 00:06:24 It was great that this book was written over the pandemic, that stage in the pandemic, which we've also forgotten before the vaccine, when there was closure. And we didn't know when we would open, you know, I, my restaurant was closed. I lost a huge amount of money, but then most debilitating, I knew I couldn't go home to see my family travel had stopped. India had closed borders restrictions of going back. And then the news that you invariably, you know, the fear as I lost relatives, friends lost their parents. I even lost my school friend to COVID and I realized that this is the time I always had this book in me. I wanted to write this book in a Mo's lifetime. I didn't want to write this as a memoir. I wanted her to know because just like she never told me how much she loved me, but she fed me. Speaker 3 00:07:21 I wanted to turn things around. I wanted to write it down, like a love letter, like an overfed letter. This is why it's so whimsical. And I'm so glad you picked that up. I wrote this in many sleepless nights in one goal. I didn't write this as chapter one on chapter two, I wrote this like a letter. I wrote this as if I was writing a novel. I was writing a story about who I was. And then I wrote down, I scribbled on the side that I would put this recipe in and I put that recipe in. Let me try and find this picture. But I first wrote the pros. I, I wrote the story first. I think that's quite obvious. I mean, thank you for picking it up. Not everybody would pick it up. It wasn't written like how recipe books are written, where you know, let's go for the look and what is the kind of image and what am I trying to predict on this? Speaker 3 00:08:16 What am I trying to show people? I'm trying to show nothing. I just cut my heart open. And I wrote a letter to my mother about what she meant to me, what food meant to me and how while I was writing this, actually it was really unusual. I realized how much I am like her till then. I hadn't realized. So I write about how she changed the world around her. You know, stayed rooted in her culture, took on the patriarchy, took on things that she found uncomfortable yet. No one could throw stones at her because she managed to hold that balance of holding on and letting go, which is so hard. So hard. When you come from a different culture, when you are expected to follow the norms, being the only food entrepreneur. In fact, being the only entrepreneur in her family of that generation where no one went to college, they were married off when they were in school. And this is the incredible thing that she achieved that and it put into perspective everything that I had done, unconsciously unknowingly, I was following her very big footsteps. And I was trying to be a, in those ways, Speaker 2 00:09:29 There's something about this thing, about a broken heart being an open heart. And it, it really sounds like you've connected to that. And, and you've really opened yourself up, but however, <laugh> beautiful as it is meaningful, as it is, I'm finding the recipes. Many of them really intriguing. And it, it may be that I'm jonesing for a conversation about cooking because I haven't had one in a while, but we haven't done the podcast for a little bit. And I don't know for whatever reason, but I would like to talk about some of these recipes that maybe we start with your background because your parents came from different places. You have a lot of different influences. You learned how to cook at a, you weren't taught how to cook at your mother's knee per se. So there's sort of a lot, you, I had this experience too. You learned how to cook as an adult and, but the influences were coming from everywhere. And obviously you grew up eating a bunch of different things. Maybe talk about that a little bit. Speaker 3 00:10:29 Yes. I mean, I didn't know how to cook and I'm sure, you know, when you cooked as an adult, it's in your DNA, it's what you carry inside. You it's part of your soul. And when you start cooking, you remember, you know, snatches of conversation in a kitchen between your aunt and your mother or between your grandmother, reprimanding someone because something had been burned or wasn't perfect. So be unconsciously, our senses are immersed in what is happening in food. In so many cultures, you know, use food is the kind of focus of life. The age that we are, there was no television to distract us. No mobile phones, no tablets. You sat down. And your source of information was your uncle who would tell you something that he'd read. And there would be this big debate where conversations happened around food. And invariably the conversation moved to food, you know, not what are we going to eat tomorrow? Speaker 3 00:11:28 I remember my family. That was always the case, but very interestingly, how is the leftover going to be served for breakfast? Are we going to eat this? Or is, are we going to reheat this and how we gonna add eggs to something and make it, this was always how any meal ended, how, what was gonna be used out of that meal and what we were going to eat the next time. And I think that that kind of, it is almost an immersive experience without us realizing it, that generation of people who grew up where food was the star of the show, not what you were watching on television, but the drama was happening in your own house. And you know, I have never ever get so emotional. If I ever watch something on screen food competition or food TV, as well as it is made, there is something so personal when you've been listening to the noise, the cling of the spoons, the aroma of the spices, you know, and then you can hear it being plated and you wait and then your turn comes and you get to eat it. And that is any education. It is a way of learning without us realizing it. Speaker 2 00:12:45 So you say, I'm just gonna read this little thing. The most precious ingredient you are putting into a dish is your time. You can buy all the ingredients again, but that moment you spend cooking is a precious gift to those who will share that meal with you. AMA would always tell me that the greatest attributes of a good cook are generosity and patience. I just love that. That's like so perfect. That's so spot on. Speaker 3 00:13:08 It applies to all of us. I, when I was writing this, I was thinking, you know how true it is, but because especially when you grew up and you're fortunate to grow up in a household where someone is cooking for you, you almost take it for granted. This patience, this love. And I was so stunned the first time my, my older son sat down on the table and identified on the table. Every dish I had made, every dish my mother had made. And those that <inaudible> my family cook had made. And he was only like six or seven years old. And I wet because I realized he picked up my touch. He knew his grandmother's touch. He recognized how Jesus touch. And he is so personal. I had to have a seven year old. Tell me this on the table, that Amma, you made this and NA Nannie's grandmother, you made this. Speaker 3 00:14:09 And it was deeply moving. And I realized that I don't think we value ourselves enough for those who cook. We are the givers. We are the healers. We are the change makers. Those who cook for others, hold your head up high. Because I think that food has been undervalued to a side show nowadays, because so much else is happening around. And I think we need to actually bring back that patience. Not every time you don't have that much time. There are times I'm I make toast and jam. And you know, I, I eat boiled eggs. I don't have time to cook. Of course, you know, there are times when you don't have time to cook, but when you have time to cook, I think step back and see this. As you are healing yourself, you are all powerful. And it's a gift that you're making for someone else. I think that we need to do this. This is part of what we need to a service to ourselves. You know, are too many of us burn ourselves to keep others warm. And I think that there's a time when you step back and think that, yes, I love to cook. Yes, I'm a giver. Yes. I want to serve you. But I also want to heal within myself and I cook to heal. Speaker 2 00:15:26 Right? But that sounding too corny. It's a mindfulness practice. It's a, it's a time often a time to be alone and just be involved in only what you're doing. And so wonderful in that way. Are your sons cooking? Speaker 3 00:15:41 My younger one is like, his dad is gonna grow up to be a bad cook <laugh> and is completely he's his destiny. He's exactly like his dad. He's Arun and old professor. Very introverted. Now we know the word for it. It's called social distancing. Uh, I didn't know what to Speaker 2 00:15:59 Say before I call it social dread. When I refer to myself, actually the inability to mix particularly well with other people. Speaker 3 00:16:09 Yes. And so he, he is that and, and because my husband is exactly that, uh, I can see, uh, you know, he's just a Chanal version of that. <laugh> um, and my oldest son, uh, loves to cook. I think he's going to be a far better cook than his grandmother and me. He has a huge, you know, love for watching. He silently watches. And it's almost like, you know, he doesn't take his eyes off what I'm doing. And I know that, like, there was a crisis once and I had to cook an extra bottle of B, I was struggling and he just said, I can cook that pot. And I turned around and said, no, you've never paid B. He said, I can, I didn't let him do it. But I still carry that with me, that he said it, and this is a year ago. He said he could, he could start making the second that second pot, because we numbers had just become too rich. And I was like, oh my God, I'm gonna run out. I need another one. And any case I'm paranoid. I always cook double on what I Speaker 2 00:17:06 Need me too. But Speaker 3 00:17:08 It just, it's just interesting. So I think he is going to cook. He loves to serve people. And he's the only, I mean, he reminds me of myself because when my mother would come back late from her G I would get up and make her a cup of tea. I come back at one o'clock in the morning. If he's asleep, he wakes up, makes me toast with puts a lot of butter on it. Oh. And makes me tea. And then he goes back to sleep, no conversation. And I don't know, he's never seen this. He never saw me doing it. We never talk about it. I didn't even write about it in my book. I just, while talking to you, I just remembered this memory is just something that it's so LA it just comes true. And so I see now that I'm talking about him, he, I see myself in him the same way amou saw herself in me. So the story will go on. Speaker 2 00:18:02 I have that paranoia too. There's always not quite always. I think maybe I've made some adjustments, but there's usually twice as much food as there needs to be. And I'm still, maybe I should make another dish. Maybe I need more of this. Should I make another pot of rice? Whatever. And then it's ridiculous. It's just begging people to take food home with them, or, oh, yes. Speaker 3 00:18:25 I mean, in my restaurant, you, uh, after my Burla people take boxes of food home, uh, and I know it, I know it's enough, but yes, there's no, there's no explanation of us. There are, it's a cultural thing. It goes across the universe. This is what binds us together. We are the feeders, you know, the feeders are, it's hard to control them. And there's, there's no hope for we're remain like this, the Speaker 2 00:18:55 I've for a time. And it's okay. It's not the worst in the I'm gonna ask. If you think that there's a, a recipe that's sort of at the soul of the book, something really representative or just one or two favorites that you have. Speaker 3 00:19:18 I think that chicken Bani my mother's chicken Bani because Bani is traditionally made in large numbers for big gatherings, Speaker 2 00:19:26 Big parts. Speaker 3 00:19:27 Yeah. Big parts. You know, when there's a lot of people, this was her very silent signal to whichever child had messed up or failed or lost a match. She would make the small part of Bani, which is unusual because people normally don't mix small pots of PII, unless there's an occasion. And it's always then, you know, for 5,200 people. So this is quite special because I remember, and I've made this from not getting any instructions from her, but I have written this recipe from my memories of aroma, which I haven't said that in the book, but I recreated this recipe. It works. It tastes just like I more made and that I'm quite proud of. And it is quite emotional for me that I can recreate this. The other thing is I have a very simple recipe for chapati, which is, you know, eaten in every Indian home. Speaker 3 00:20:22 I was writing this and I realized that the feudalism, the patriarchy permeates our food system in India, in the subcontinent. The idea that Hotbread is made unlike so many cultures where a big law for bread is put on the table and everyone cuts it in our culture. The bread is made in single pieces and is served because we don't have an oven. We don't have a culture of ovens and served women eat last, girls, eat, least men are always serve first, the burden of a patriarch society. And I remember as a child in different locations being given a chap that was burned and always, oh, I'm unlucky. My chap is not perfect. And I saw the more preferred people, the boys, the adults, but the boys never got burned roti. I only realized this when I was writing the recipe. And this is the thing that, so I, I I've actually written in the book, which is a very unusual thing. Speaker 3 00:21:21 I've suggested to people at please make the chap, get a warm, get a cloth and wrap it up, make them all, take them to the table, eat as a family together that never happened. And it's, I, I, I can question, you know, my, my culture and what is making me uncomfortable. This does make me uncomfortable. And that is so it's not always about celebration. It's also about facing up to difficult things in your own culture and having the strength to say, this makes me feel, this is not right. I have the recipe that I've told you how to do it in an inclusive way. Speaker 2 00:22:01 I mean, culture evolves. It's up to you. It's up to us to see what's take what's best and worst of our heritage and, and try to make it better. That's our role. I'm gonna try your, this chicken BI cuz it looks, looks like a beautiful recipe. I wanna tell you what I mean. I just wanna tell you what recipes I found most interesting in going through. You can comment on them or not, but there are two recipes with, um, with lots of onions there's, uh, shrimp with, uh, anion paste and then cooked onions and fish with doubled onions. And those to me are, those are super appealing to me. I, the thing that I think one of the first things I learned about some Indian cooking, not all obviously is that so much flavor comes from Browning onions. Absolutely so much the, the dark caramelized onions that they're at the base of so many dishes and that you have to have again, you have to have the patience to start a dish by working for a half an hour, to get those onions to the right place. You can't rush it. They've gotta get soft. They've gotta get brown. And then that's the beef stock or whatever of a lot of, a lot of dishes from India. Speaker 3 00:23:12 Absolutely. And the thing is that if you don't invest in your dish, that is the minimum that, you know, after that everything will work. And if that, if that onion is not perfect, the base of your gravy will always be bitter. It'll have flabby thick pieces of onions that didn't get you caramelized and crisp and they can't break down. Is that breaking down of the caramelized onions when you add the liquid, that is the magic and you are absolutely right. If the caramelized onions, onions are so crucial to our food and you gotta treat it with respect, you know, it's not just an ingredient that is your first step. Like get the onions cut, then move on, cut them, cut them all the same width so that they all caramelize at the same time. If you cut them all different bits, they will some become black and burn and some will not cook. So it doesn't, you don't have to do them super thin, just replicate the best you can and make them all the same. And then you're fine. Speaker 2 00:24:14 Yeah. But then you have to take your time. You really have to take your time. But I, those recipes, I don't know. They, they grabbed me. I, I wanted you to just spend a second, if you would talking about what you call Anglo Indian dishes. And um, I think you used the term more than once, but you certainly used it with the skewered beef. Speaker 3 00:24:34 Yes. Speaker 2 00:24:35 I haven't heard that term. I mean, obviously I know, I know that obviously I know that India was a colony and the British must have, but all you hear about is the British sort of taking, you know, <laugh> taking and taking and bastardizing things and so on. You don't think about, oh, well, some dishes were actually maybe not elevated, but changed in a way forever. By the, by the presence of the Brits. Speaker 3 00:25:01 These are the things that make me uncomfortable. I'm a student of history. My first degree was in history before I studied law, you may like or dislike the presence of someone on your land, but to disregard their contribution is arrogance and the most kind of traditional Indian dish ABI, which is cauliflower with potatoes and PE we it's a British dish because they got the potatoes to back Speaker 2 00:25:26 The potatoes. Yeah. The Speaker 3 00:25:27 Portuguese, the, the Portuguese got potatoes to, to Bombay, but they also bought cauliflower in the nineteens. This is so new. So recent mm-hmm <affirmative> and you know, and people's memories are that, oh, this is like, you know, let's not talk about it. I talked about in my first book, in my second book, I also talk about the Indian influence. And it is very, very important to do what we say, Salam to those whose footprints are still on your soil. They have left the aromas of their food and gone, and you can, you can make it your own. Like the samosa it's Lebanese. It came in from the middle east. Samosa is Indian, but there is a Chronicle in the, you know, there's actually written down. They caught some Lebanese sailors, got them to the court of the SOAN of Delhi. They presented him with samosa and that's how the samosa came in. Speaker 3 00:26:21 It doesn't hurt to say that we are grateful for all these influences. It doesn't take away anything from who you are. This is why I put in the Anglo Indian recipe. And in my first book I had actually did two or three to try have it's, you know, make people stand up and say, oh yes, this is the Ango influence. We have huge varieties of chops, like Croke potatoes with Beru. This is the Portuguese influence mm-hmm <affirmative> cheese. You know, the cheese that we make is the Portuguese influence. We don't have any other cheese, but pane that is made in PJA. Why is that cheese in Bengal? Why, why do we make sweets with cheese? Who taught us how to make cheese? Who taught us how to make bread? We call bread P the same as the Portuguese, it's called P Ruti roti is Indian word for bread. So we use the Portuguese word together within Indian bread. It's called Pru. Food is fascinating. And if only we could actually celebrate the influences of others, be brave to say it. This is the legacy of the Persians who are on our land. At some point, this is the, this is the British influence on our cuisine. How does it diminish who you are? It doesn't hurt to acknowledge the contribution of others. I don't know when we have become so small minded in petty, when it comes to food, Speaker 2 00:27:50 Is there something approaching a national cuisine in India? I mean, I never would've said yes, but no, you make it sound as if there almost is, but no, Speaker 3 00:27:59 No, there isn't because regionality is very, very distinct. You know, we have wheat growing areas like my father wheat growing area, my mother from a rice growing area, completely different styles of gravy. What they have, how they eat it, what they eat, uh, seasons were a big thing because for us, we only got carrots and carrots and peas CFL in winter, they don't grow because of the weather. So all of these have an impact on regions where different things grow Speaker 2 00:28:28 And regional cuisine is still dominant. Yeah. Speaker 3 00:28:30 Until transportation was improved, we didn't get spices of all the regions, the oil you used. So if you were in Kerala, you used coconut oil, Bengali are too lazy to climb up the trees to bring the coconuts down. I can say, this is a Bengali. We are very lazy. So we use something easier, which is mustard oil. It grows, grows easy to get. So we use mustard, but it's, we, even the oil that is used is different in different regions. So there isn't an Indian, uh, cuisine, but you are right to ask this question, because if you go to traditional Indian restaurants, they seem to be presenting almost a generic Indian cuisine, which is very heavily influenced by a lot of use of cream and tomatoes. Tomatoes is very regional. You don't get tomatoes everywhere in Calgary. You don't get them at all, uh, till winter. So it's, it's this where the cuisine that is easiest to mask cook and freeze is the one that you will find in restaurants. Speaker 2 00:29:29 Right? Well, restaurant, I wasn't talking about restaurants. I was just wondering if the sort of regional differences were starting to soften. I wanna mention one more dish, cuz I found it quite exotic, which was the chocolate Kaba. And I found it exotic for the use of marrow and the combination of meats and spices. It's you look at the picture and you're like, oh yeah, it's a Kaba, but it's not an ordinary Kaba. Speaker 3 00:29:54 No it's not. And in this entire region, the Afghans have always been discussed for all the wrong reasons that cuisine is exquisite. And the Afghans would come down through Bengal, to trade with SP with, with dried fruits, which they would bring and fresh fruits from Herra and the Hunza valley, they would bring it to trade to where the British were. So Calta has a very big of gone influence. You still go to the streets, you find people in traditional Han clothes with their turbines, having tea, very, very creamy tea with Barta today in Calta. I went to see them. I went to meet them. And when I just recently been there it is. And chocolate kava is something that is so uniquely of gone. Speaker 2 00:30:42 It is Afghan, isn't it? Yeah. Speaker 3 00:30:44 Yes. And it has moved to Pakistan and it is very famous in Pakistan, but the Afghans bought to where my family is and we had Afghan cooks as well and Afghan gods with, well, and I've gone guards because you couldn't beat AF Afghani and horseback. They were brilliant. So they were the ones who were in charge of my family, stable for centuries. They looked after the horses because they really knew how to look after horses and chap. Kava is something we've always made in our family. Weddings made by the Afghans as always a tribute, uh, to the child or the house getting married. I remember the guns in the household, making the pic art. This recipe is, uh, very emotional. And I checked with a friend of mine as well about the bone marrow and the bone marrow makes a huge difference. And if you can, people should try and make that recipe. It's Speaker 2 00:31:33 Great. Yeah. I'm gonna make that recipe. I think it's harder for me to get pomegranate seeds than it is for me to get bone marrow, but <laugh>, I will, I will get them all in one place. Um, I wanted to give you an opportunity to, to talk about DJI express. Obviously you're passionate about it. It's it's an exceptional business. Um, you have a couple of good stories about it, so feel free go. Speaker 3 00:31:56 So we are the only, uh, all female kitchen cooking Indian food at this level, in the world, in every Indian subcontinent, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, uh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, you will go, you will find a woman cooking or in charge in every restaurant, which is whether it's mid-level or high end in this part of the world or in the west they're men cooking. And we are uncelebrated. Our food is taken for granted in this kind of feudal patriarchal structure where the Chi are made behind closed walls by women. They don't even know what is going in the food. They don't even know if there's enough food left for the women to eat after they have eaten and left their dirty plates and got up at the table. This is the culture. And it was for me, extremely important to somehow find a way to succeed so that I maybe got a chance to tell my story. Speaker 3 00:32:57 And I'm so grateful. My kiss month allowed me to tell the story. I am the face of every woman whose food was taken for granted. I am the face of every south Asian woman, even those in their grapes who loved to cook, whose pleasure was watching someone else eat, who never got rewarded and went to their grave, thinking they were unskilled. We were never seen as skilled. There was never a discussion on the table of how technically perfect the score Mar was never ever. And the whole thing was it was taken for granted that it would be perfect. And God forbid, if it was not great, I've heard stories about, you know, my grandmother never being berated, that there was something not perfect in there. You have to be perfect. Every time I carry the wounds of all those women who will never get a chance to speak and will never get a chance to talk to someone like you and through you to your audience. So this is why it is so important that DNY express succeeded. And I'm very grateful that we have. So everyone who walks through our doors understands this is a different, there's a feminine energy. Shut the, as we call it the female energy in that space. And we are replicating those kitchens that no one ever saw. The UN celebrated the one in the darkness, the dismissed and undervalued. I am that unloved, unwanted female. Second daughter. We are all second daughters. And we are now victorious. The world knows who we are. Speaker 2 00:34:39 I think you can tell how much I enjoyed that. We talked for half an hour more than this, but you have the highlights and, uh, hope you enjoyed that. I have made the wonderful dish of eggs and spicy tomato sauce that you find through much of south Asia, many times. And I was completely taken by it the first time I had it, but I have not had eggs and tamarins gravy, which is a recipe. And OSMA con's new book. I am gonna go through it pretty quickly here. I encourage you to check this book out, but you'll be able to make this recipe after listening to this. If you jot down what I'm about to say, so let's do this in a sort of old fashioned way. I'm gonna list ingredients first because there are a few, six to eight, large hard boiled eggs. Let's already cooked eggs. Speaker 2 00:35:26 Six tablespoons of oil, two onions cut in half and thinly sliced a large garlic clove crushed a three quarter of an inch long piece of fresh ginger graded, three quarters of a teaspoon ground turmeric, a half a teaspoon chili powder, three tablespoons of tamarin extract. It's not tamarin paste, tamarin extract, easy enough to find one and a half cups of water, salt, a half, a bunch of fresh cilantro, a half, a bunch of fresh cilantro chopped plus a little bit to garnish. And if the sauce needs it a little pinch of sugar. So here are your cooking instructions, shell, the hard boiled eggs and make three shallow slits on the surface of each one. This will help the eggs, absorb the sauce, set them aside, heat the oil in a deep pan, over medium high heat, add the onions and stir until they start to lightly caramelize. Speaker 2 00:36:26 Add the garlic and ginger, and then the turmeric and chili powder and continue to cook stirring frequently for four or five minutes or until the raw smell of the garlic. And ginger has gone add the tamarin extract water, a pinch of salt, and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Add the chopped cilantro and simmer again until the liquid has reduced by about half. Add the hard boiled eggs and cook uncovered over low heat for 10 minutes. If you'd like the dish to have a sweet and sour taste, you can add a pinch of sugar at this point, personally, this is mark speaking. I don't recommend it garnish with some extra cilantro and serve warm. That's it. I want to thank the fantastic OSMA con for joining me on today's show. You can follow her on Instagram at OSMA con London. That's a S M a K H a N London on Twitter at OSMA underscore con LDN AU Indian home cooking to nourish your soul is out this month. And it's a fantastic book. Please remember to subscribe to food with mark Bitman and also to the Bitman [email protected] as usual. I'd like to thank Kate Bitman Catherine Lowe Davis Lloyd for you next to it's Lloyd. See you next week. Thanks for listening.

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