Blog Flux LinkLog: Outgoing Link Logging and Tracking for Curry Elvis Cooks

Saturday, October 22, 2005 

This Blog Is Moving - Last Time :D

I've finally launched my new cooking multiblog, Curry Elvis Cooks, which is a combination of my 4 older cooking blogs, as well as several new food, drink, and gardening categories. The homepage is not up yet, and the new blog's template will be changing slowly. I hope you'll bear with me.

By the way, I will be maintaining my 4 older cooking blogs for archive purposes only: Curry Elvis Cooks, Cooking For One Or Two, Chili Monster/Hot Head, Vegetarian Fusion.


curry elvis

Wednesday, October 19, 2005 

Bitesize 16 - Restaurant Reviews With Maps at

Marc Andreesen, best known for co-creating the original Netscape web browser, recently launched his "social networking playground" and application builder, It's an amusing website and brilliant concept, with some very basic applications that you can enjoy. Though it's not the basic applications I'm impressed with, but what you can do with them.

The playground is set up so that you can clone the application, tweak it to your liking, and publish it. This isn't the blog for technical stuff - watch my website for the announcement of a multi-blog called WebGuru - so I'll just point you at an example: Restaurant Reviews With Maps (

So for the more enterprising of you foodies, if you've ever wanted to run your own Zagat's Survey/Guide ( on the Internet, complete with maps, allows you to do so - once you've got a (free) developer's license.

(c) Copyright 2005-present, Raj Kumar Dash,

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Friday, October 14, 2005 

Spicy Oktoberfest Fried Rice

Decades ago, when my mother was learning to cook non-East Indian foods, she'd often create fusion versions of the family's favourite dishes. It is in fact her cooking style that inspired my own fusion style in the first place. One of my favourite dishes of hers was something that I call Oktoberfest Fried Rice.

As with all the dishes my mother made, my versions are fine but never as tasty as hers. Her's was hearty and rib-sticking, perfect for a cool Fall or Winter night. It started as a way to use up leftover meats. She'd take the leftover roast beef (usually Thursdays), any roast ham (often on Wednesdays), then add chicken, mushrooms, Oktoberfest-style sausage chunks, and some hot peppers (usually halapenos), plus typical fried rice ingredients. She'd make enough to feed the family for 3 or 4 days. And in those days, I used to be able to eat 2 or 3 platefuls in a sitting. It was always a satisfying meal, with the hot peppers contrasting the rib-stickiness of the rice.

  • Wok is preferred but a large non-stick frying pan will do.
  • Second frying pan to make omellette.

General notes
  • The white steamed rice should be prepared the previous night, or at least cooled for a few hours. Fluff it up with a fork while it is hot, to prevent clumping when it has cooled. [If it's too clumpy when you cook the next day, break it up with a wooden spatula.]
  • The original version of this recipe is very spicy and uses halapeno peppers. This is optional, but if used, add at the same time as the onions and mushrooms.

  • 2-3 tbsp of cooking oil (canola, vegetable oil), used in two batches.
  • 1/2 - 1 oktoberfest sausage, cut into thick, bite-sized discs, then cut in half or quarters.
  • Any leftover meats (ham, roast beef, turkey, chicken, nem nuong bbq pork sausage), shredded or diced into bite-sized pieces.
  • 2 tbsp onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 mixed bell peppers, small diced (optional)
  • 1 small halapeno or other hot pepper, sliced (optional). Remove the seeds if you don't want too much heat.
  • 1/8 green peas, thawed (optional)
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • white wine to deglaze
  • 1-egg omellete, made thinly, shredded into bite-size ribbons (about 1-2 inches long).
  • Crushed red pepper flake (optional)
  • 1 cup rice, cooked. If rice is in clumps, break up with a wooden spatula, not a fork.
  • 1 stalk green onion, sliced finely on a bias.

  • Heat the wok or a very large non-stick frying pan with 1-2 tbsp of cooking oil.
  • Add the raw meats and saute for 1-2 minutes. Then add any leftover/cooked meat and saute for another 2-3 minutes.
  • Add onions and mushrooms and saute for 1 minute. If these veggies stick, add a very little bit (1 tbsp) of white wine to deglaze. Let the wine evaporate almost completely before continuing.
  • Add another tbsp of cooking oil. Swirl it around the pan and let it heat up, about 1 minute.
  • Add bell peppers, halapenos, and peas (if desired), and saute for 1 minute.
  • Add shredded omellette and toss.
  • Add salt & black pepper to taste. Add the red pepper flake, if desired.
  • Add rice and break up with a wooden spatula, if necessary. Toss to distribute all the ingredients throughout the rice. Do not leave the rice on the heat for more than 1 minute.
  • Turn off the heat. Add green onions and toss to mix.

Serve as a main course with a garnish of Asian salsa or a side of bean sprout and mushroom stir-fry.

(c) Copyright 2005-present, Raj Kumar Dash,

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Wednesday, September 28, 2005 

On Becoming And Staying A Vegetarian - Is It Possible In A Fast-Paced World?

The New Becoming Vegetarian: The Essential Guide To A Healthy Vegetarian DietAs you may know by now, I decided to not have my VegFusion vegetarian blog on its own. Rather, vegetarian-related posts will now be here, as many of my hot food recipes are actually vegetarian, or can be. I know that people who are staunchly vegetarian would not be happy with such a decision, but let me explain.

Anyone who is staunchly vegetarian is already "converted". I am not trying to convert anyone. Many many years ago, purely for health reasons, I decided that I would like to try becoming a vegetarian. Fortunately, I come from a culture in which vegetarian food figures very highly. There are many delicious, nutritious choices for indian vegetarian food, and fusion dishes derived from them. In fact, many of my punk rocker and deadhead friends of my youth were introduced to vegetarian food through various East Indian friends. Some of them even went to the Indian temples around Toronto or Montreal, Canada for the evening "prasad" (offering) given free (or for a donation, if you desired). The prasad was always vegetarian, and usually contained rice and lentil soup, and sometimes a vegetarian curry.

Over the years, I've been able to tweak many meat-inclusive recipes into vegetarian ones. And while I managed to be near-vegatarian for 8 years and vegetarian for 3 years, I found it hard to maintain. My previous lifestyle of being a consultant meant eating away from home. This meant salad and french fries for lunch or supper far too often. Sure, I could have a veg pita or a veg sub. But none of this is satisfying if you have it every day. Finding a hot vegetarian meal within your lunch break becomes a holy grail. The temptation to cheat and get a burger is overwhelming.

The rest of my immediate family has managed to become and stay vegetarians; however, all of them work primarily in the city they live in. Me, I might be in 4 or 5 different cities in the same day, or more in the same week. I didn't always have time to make myself a lunch, and I had limited time, often having to eat while driving a stick-shift car. It wasn't so easy to stay vegetarian.

But that was all 5 years ago. Nowadays, it is very easy to find a good felafel sandwich stand or even a reasonable good veggie burger at a fast food joint. You may have more success becoming vegetarian than I did. For different health reasons, I have been eating meat again for a few years. Nevertheless, I like to spend 2-3 days a week either reducing the quantity of meat in my meals, or skipping meat all together. It's a balance that's worked for me to keep my health problems in check. Which is not to say that you could not maintain a fully vegetarian diet.

(c) Copyright 2005-present, Raj Kumar Dash,

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Tuesday, September 27, 2005 

Mr Tea Pt III - Chasing the Chills Away With Warm Savoury Mushroom Tea

Now that the nights are getting cooler in the northern hemisphere, a nice hot tea helps warm up your blood. With all of the tea choices that are available, you might not thinking of using mushrooms. But there are several types of dried Chinese mushrooms and fungus that are actually used in various herbal remedies. While I'm not suggesting that drinking mushroom tea will heal you in any fashion, I will say that a nice mushroom broth will chase the chills away.

You'll have to experiment with different mushrooms, but I suggest you start with a package of dried Chinese mushrooms. Get them at an Oriental market, or you run the risk of spending 3 times what you should. Rinse 1 cup of dried mushrooms, then set them to boil in about 4-5 cups of water, depending on how strong you want the to be. Boil the mushrooms for about 5 minutes, then let steep with the stove turned off for another 3-5 minutes. (Keep the pot on the same stove element.) Discard the mushroom pieces, then strain the tea of grit with a mesh net.

Without any extra ingredients, the tea will taste similar to unsalted vegetable stock. You'll probably want to add some salt and fresh-cracked black pepper. You can replace some of the boiling water with low-sodium chicken stock, to add another layer of flavour. Experiment with steeping some cloves and even Italian seasoning (dried parsley, sage, rosemary, basil) or crushed red pepper flake. Or if you want a slightly sweeter taste, add some dried lychees (raisin-sized) to the boiling water. Finally, if you want to keep with the theme, add green tea leaves to the boiling water, and finish the drink off with some honey.

(c) Copyright 2005-present, Raj Kumar Dash,

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Rare Sliced Beef and Pho Soup Recipe

If you've tried the hearty, refreshing Vietnamese pho (fuh) soup that I've been talking about regularly in this blog (or even if you haven't) here's a quick recipe for making your own. The picture above shows pho with rare beef and beef balls.
  1. First heat up a mix of 1 part chicken stock and 2 parts water. This forms the soup broth. Keep it hot while doing the next step.
  2. Slice up a small onion in long, thin slivers.
  3. Follow the recipe for banh (bun) - Grilled Beef on Rice Vermicelli - from earlier today to prepare the vermicelli noodles. You can grill the beef if you like; however, if you want it rare, just add the pre-thawed or fresh slices (paper thin) to the soup in step 6 below. Skip the preparation of the lettuce, cucumber, and carrot strips.
  4. Place 1-2 cups of hot broth in a large soup bowl.
  5. To the bowl, add the prepared vermicelli noodles.
  6. Add the grilled or rare beef slices to the bowl and push them down into the hot broth. If you are adding rare beef, the heat of the broth will cook the slices.
  7. Top up the bowl with more hot broth, leaving enough room for adding bean sprouts.
  8. Sprinkle on the onion slivers, and dried garlic strands if you have it.
  9. Serve soup with a small side plate of bean sprouts, Thai basil leaves (small and minty), a 1/4 lime, and a serrano/bird pepper if desired. Keep sriracha or sambal oelek hot sauces on hand. [Add the bean sprouts to the soup, along with the basil leaves and a squeeze of lime. If you like your soup hot, squirt in a bit of sriracha.]
(c) Copyright 2005-present, Raj Kumar Dash,

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Banh/Bun - Vietnamese Grilled Beef on Rice Vermicelli

Royal Blossom - Chantaboon Rice Stick (3MM) 16 Oz.After showing you so many pictures of Vietnamese food and talking about it at length, I finally scoured my old electronic journal and found my own recipe for a dry vermicelli dish generically called Banh (bun). It's similar to pho (fuh) but without the soup broth. It's typically served with "salad" (shredded lettuce, julienned cucumber and carrots, and bean sprouts) and grilled meats. Because it's a dry dish, it's also served with nuoc mam (fish sauce). With you chopsticks, you dip a piece of grilled meat into the nuoc mam and then dab the meat onto the noodles to transfer moisture. The rice vermicelli noodles have a rib-sticking quality, but can be eaten in any time of year without making your stomach feel heavy (unless you overeat, of course). I find that rice noodles don't feel as heavy in my stomach as the same quantity of steamed rice. This is likely due to the fact that rice vermicelli noodles don't have as high a percentage of starch as plain rice.

A photograph of this dish is here. (Actually, the picture is taken at a Vietnamese restaurant. My recipe closely approximates the dish for grilled beef strips, not the meatballs shown in the photo.)

  • Rice stick (banh/bun) vermicelli (round, not flat) - enough for one person
  • Sliced beef (paper thin) - 5-9 slices (available at oriental supermarkets)
  • Soya sauce to marinate the beef
  • 1/2 cup of julienned carrots and cucumber
  • 1/4 cup shredded lettuce
  • 1/2 cup bean sprouts
  • Partly-crushed peanuts
  • Fish dipping sauce
  • Hoisin for dipping [optional]
  • Sriracha for dipping [optional]
  • Chopped green onion pre-soaked in a bit of fish sauce.

  • Soak the rice vermicelli in a bowl of hot water for 10 minutes.
  • In the meantime, marinate the sliced beef in soya sauce.
  • Set a large pot of salted water to boil to cook the noodles.
  • Drain and rinse the vermicelli in cold water.
  • Heat up a flat grill or frying pan on high.
  • Using a fine mesh "net" with handle, immerse the vermicelli in the boiling water for 3-4 minutes, until cooked. Note that while rice stick can easily get soggy if overcooked, it also dries out very quickly. It is better to slightly overcook the noodles.
  • In the meantime, grill the pieces of sliced beef, either in a oven pan over the grill, or on a skewer. Because the pieces are thin, they will cook very quickly (l-2 minutes, depending on method).
  • Remove the vermicelli and shake off the excess water. Place noodles in a large soup or noodle bowl.

  • Serve quickly while noodles are still warm.Arrange the vermicelli in a deep oriental-style soup bowl.
  • Place the grilled beef on one half over the noodles.
  • Sprinkle crushed peanuts over the beef. On the other half, arrange bean sprouts, julienned carrots, cucumbers, and lettuce.
  • Reserve a few pieces (3-9) of julienned carrots for the dipping sauce.
  • Make hoisin sauce as well as sriracha available, as well as a small bowl of dipping sauce. Add the reserved carrot to the sauce.

(c) Copyright 2005-present, Raj Kumar Dash,

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This Blog Will Be Absorbing Posts From My VegFusion Blog

Just a quick note for readers: This blog will be absorbing entries that originally were being posted to my recently created VegFusion vegetarian blog, as well as my HotHead/ChiliMonster blog. I decided that I couldn't maintain 4 cooking blogs and do any of them any justice. So from now on, this blog will continue with its normal posts, as well as have spicy food posts and vegetarian food posts. For the time being, I'm leaving my Cooking For One or Two blog where it is. The net result of these changes is that Curry Elvis Cooks, at least, will have more posts per day, and will have category designations in each post.

(c) Copyright 2005-present, Raj Kumar Dash,

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Monday, September 26, 2005 

Savoury Minced Beef + Spinach Crepes

A couple of years ago, before I moved back to my hometown, I used to buy my crepes from a great West Indian chef - who's name really was Elvis and was trained in England. Elvis had a booth at the local Farmers Market and made an incredibly taste crepe stuffed with chicken and a thick cream of mushroom sauce. He'd also sell his crepes individually, so every Saturday morning, I'd go visit him and buy a small stack of his savoury crepes. Depending on what other purchases I made that day at the market, I'd try to make different fillings and test them out on myself and my upstairs friends/neighbours, the Leslies. The filling that I personally liked best was a savoury minced beef curry variation of a dish my mother made often. It worked wonderfully with the Elvis' savoury crepes.

Ingredients and Preparation
Now I'm cheating in this post by building on a recipe for a spicy minced beef curry posted over in my HotHead/ ChiliMonster post. For the crepe stuffing, however, follow my other recipe but remove any hot ingredients that you don't want. Keep some of the curry powder and/or cumin, but feel free to reduce the quantity. Add 1 cup of fresh spinach leaves in the last 5 minutes of cooking time. Add a1/4 cup of water and let simmer on medium high. At the very end of the cooking time, add 1 level tbsp of corn starch diluted in 1/4 cup of water. Gently blend the starch solution into the curry. You want the dish not to be runny if you plan to stuff crepes with it. So simmer for another minute or two on medium or lower heat, until the liquid thickens. Remove from heat and fill crepes to serve immediately.

Here's a basic crepe recipe. For a bit more savoury flavour, add finely chopped chives and a sprinkle of fresh ground black pepper. For something like the minced beef stuffing, thicker crepes work better, but thin crispy ones are okay, too. What I found, however, was eating cold, thick crepes with the warm minced beef stuffing add yet another dimension of texture.

(c) Copyright 2005-present, Raj Kumar Dash,

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About me

  • I'm blogslinger
  • From Canada
  • Writer, author, former magazine editor and publisher, amateur photog, amateur composer, online writer/ blogger, online publisher, freelancer

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