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Tag Archives: indian recipes

[Cool Sh*t] The Mother of All Hot Sauces–aka How to Get an Anal Ring of Fire & Love it

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IMG_0006In my ever expanding quest to find the best and greatest hot sauces, I have sampled many a generic department store hot sauce – everything ranging from Frank’s Hot Sauce to Colon Cleanser – only to face constant disappointment. Most hot sauces found at Co-op, Safeway, or Superstore are usually either a) not hot enough, or b) are just too bland – they simply don’t pack the emotional punch. The only hot sauce to date that I can respect (and that can own my ass) is that Sri Racha hot sauce that gets commonly served at the pizza-by-the-slice places. But even then, my body’s gotten so used to it that I no longer experience the coveted anal ring of fire.

On my way back from ‘boarding at Lake Louise last week, I had the sudden brain flash to stop off at the Grizzly Paw to stock up on some delicious local, hand-crafted sodas and beers. As I walked into the store, I got momentarily distracted with all the cool Grizzly Paw merchandise. Turns out it was a serendipitous distraction as my eyes immediately gravitated to the “hot sauce” corner. “What’s this?” you say. Since when did The Paw start selling hot sauces? I don’t know, but did I really care? With awesome titles like “Acid Rain” and “Grumpy Bear”, I couldn’t resist taking a look…

To be honest, I was pretty sceptical: after years of disappointment, I roll my eyes at warnings like “This hot sauce is extremely hot. Use at your own risk.” Really? I bathe in this shit, biaaatch, I am pretty sure it’s not that fucking hot. Nevertheless, I turned over the hilariously titled hot sauce called “Alberta Crude” to examine the ingredients: tomato paste, jalapeno peppers, habanero peppers, peri-peri peppers…wait what? Habanero peppers? Surely, you jest? My eyes deceive me…

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But, no, it turns out my eyes hadn’t deceived me. The ingredient list indeed contained habanero peppers, one of THE highest ranked chilli peppers on the Scoville Heat Index. The HI on these babies range anywhere from 325-570,000…and I finally found a hot sauce made out of them.

I was pretty excited at this point, to say the least. I took a look at the other offerings and settled on “Mother of all Hot Sauces” as my second choice. This one had even more AWESOME warnings like “Not for people with heart or respiratory problems” and “Give yourself a natural high…without working out or pumping iron!!”

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YES.

I sped home and eagerly opened up the bottles. My initial instinct was to dump a whole bunch of Mother of All Hot Sauces (MoAHS) on my samosas, but common sense prevailed. You respect the habanero, no matter how much heat you think you can handle. So, I dropped a dash of MoAHS on a spoon and gave it a taste…

SH*T! THIS FUCKING SH*T IS HOT! My mouth and throat started burning instantly. I could feel sweat pangs forming on my forehead. My eyes started watering slightly and I felt the onset of a small headache. And this wasn’t the kind of heat that goes away after an instance. It stays with you, burning a hole in your throat and stomach. You don’t drink water to quench heat like this – you have to go straight for milk or yogurt!

Unfortunately, MoAHS is so hot that your taste buds can’t really process any other flavours – your brain just gets overwhelmed by the sheer intensity of the heat. This isn’t necessarily a pleasant sensation (as you might have figured out by now), but it is worth the $5 I spent on the bottle. I suspect that as my taste buds eventually get used to the heat, I will start tasting the other inherent flavours present in this potent creation.

Next up was Alberta Crude. The warning signs on the label were slightly less frightening: instead of being “extremely hot”, this one was only “very hot”. Haha. I tried this one by itself as well and was actually rather pleased by its mellow (er) heat index. My taste buds could detect hints of other flavours – the overall effect was that of a smoky, sweet BBQ sauce with more kick to it than a regular BBQ sauce. It went really well with the samosas I had at home, especially as the tangy notes in AC were reminiscent of tamarind chutney that samosas get traditionally served with.

Overwhelmed by how awesome these hot sauces were, I sat down at the computer to do some research on the interwebs. I knew that The Paw didn’t make the Hatari brand of hot sauces; their selection was limited to the beer-infused Grumpy Bear brand that they made in-house. Turns out there is an entire website dedicated to these hot sauces. This isn’t some mom & pop operation, it’s actually an entire line of hot sauces, bbq sauces, and dried spices that you can buy online or at retailers. BUT best of all….

IT’S ACTUALLY MADE IN CALGARY! What the what…?!IMG_0030

Turns out “Sam”, the owner of the Hatari Bros. brand, was born in Africa, but eventually settled in good ol’ Calgary, Canada for some reason and has been pumping out his potent creations throughout Canada and US. Even the name “hatari” is a Swahili reference to a chilli pepper discovered in South Central Africa…though I wasn’t able to find any references to this particular hot pepper in my quick 1 min. Google search. Also, Acid Rain, which is one of the milder hot sauces, was actually an award winner at the Fiery Food Challenge, 2000. Damn, Hatari Bros. hot sauces have been around since then? #fail.

The next morning, as I was peeing, I felt a tinge of burning sensation at the tip of my penis. All was good in the world again. Order and balance had been restored. Although slightly peeved that I didn’t know about such an epic creation right in my own city, I am nonetheless proud that some of the hottest hot sauces known to man are made in Calgary!

Good eatin’!

-Kiran

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[LEARN TO COOK INDIAN] Simple South Indian Daal

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A lot of folks are interested in learning how to cook Indian food, but are intimated by the “exotic” ingredients or the perceived complicated nature of the cuisine. While both are true to a certain extent, I offer two counter-arguments: 1) It isn’t difficult to go a store and buy the required spices, and 2) Not all Indian dishes are super complicated. One such dish is the South Indian daal dish from the state of Andhra known as pappu pulsu.

Pappu pulsu is essentially a yellow lentil broth that is great for a cloudy, cold winter day. Don’t be intimated by the list of ingredients – you can get most of them at Super Store. The total cooking time is around an hour, but that takes into account the cooking time for the lentils. If you pre-cook the lentils, then this dish takes like 5 min. to make.

Ingredients

– 1 tbsp. vegetable oil

– 2 Thai or Indian green chillies (not jalapenos)

– 6-8 garlic whole garlic cloves

– 1 tsp mustard seeds

– 1 tsp cumin powder (or seeds)

– 1 tsp fresh ginger paste

– 6-10 dried curry leaves

– 1/4 tsp tamarind concentrate

– 1 cup split toor daal (pigeon peas)

– 3-4 cups water per cup of toor daal

– salt to taste

Preparation

Boil the toor daal covered over medium heat for 30-40 min. until lentils are fully cooked. Using a spoon or ladle, mash lentils to a paste.

– Alternatively, soak the toor daal in water the day before or cook in a pressure cooker if you have access to one.

Heat the tbsp. of vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the green chillies, garlic, mustard seeds, ginger paste, and curry leaves. Fry until mustard seeds pop and/or garlic starts slightly browning.

– Add the toor daal broth to the above. Careful, as mixing hot oil and water is always an interesting endeavour.

– Turn the heat to low. Add 1/4 tsp of tamarind concentrate and the cumin power to the broth. Add salt to taste. Mix well.

– Serve with rice or chapatti (aka roti)

Viola! You have now cooked your first Indian dish.

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In addition to being a relatively simple dish to cook, daal is also a great source of protein. A lot of people ask where I get my protein upon hearing that I am a vegetarian. This is it. Another great source of protein for aspiring vegetarians is chickpeas.

So, the next time you are looking for healthy, winter food, try this dish out. You will be surprised at how easy Indian cooking can be.

Happy eating!