Pantry Update #2: Not everything works

Good thing it was just me and Fronx for dinner, and neither of us were that hungry.

After my recent successes, today I was weak. For tonight’s dinner, I wanted to use up some fresh ingredients I had, and I really wanted to finally make rava upma. Two problems: I used a poor recipe for the rava upma, and none of the dishes I made went together.

Failed dinner
Left: spiced eggplant. Top right: silken tofu and avocado. Foreground: rava upma.

Dish #6: Rava upma

I had planned all along to more or less wing it with the rava upma, but the recipe I used as a guide failed to ever suggest adding salt. When I served it, and again when I was eating it, I even said, “I find it so weird that there is no salt in this.” I finally got up and checked and sure enough salt was in the ingredient list but never mentioned in the instructions. Grrr.

However, of all the dishes, it was still my favourite. My version had mustard seed, shallots, red chili, green onions, ginger, raisins, cilantro, and cashews. I would make it again, only next time with cumin and more mustard seeds. And salt.

Dish #7: Indian-spiced eggplant

Red wine vinegar
Red wine vinegar

I had a single eggplant, and wanted to make the rava upma, so I Googled “indian eggplant” and (stupidly?) went with the first one I read, Indian-spiced Eggplant. I trusted it because it was printed in Gourmet magazine (RIP), albeit, back in 1997, but also I had all the ingredients. The recipe drew heavily on my uncatalogued spices, and helped use up the cilantro I bought yesterday.

Verdict? I think this quote from Fronx sums it up:

It’s like someone said – Oh, I really like this red wine vinegar. I just wish it had the consistency of eggplant.

Dish #8: Silken tofu snack

Okay, so I refuse to blame the Lucky Peach cookbook for this failure. I am sure this is a nice, quick dish. Where did it go wrong? For starters, I should never have tried to serve it beside Indian flavours. What was I thinking? Second, and I don’t like to admit this: I don’t much like the flavour of furikake that I have. I might toss it. It was sort of okay on Japanese rice with some shrimp dumplings, but it is over all too fishy with not enough umami.

Bonus! Dish #9: Seasoned fried cashews

Raw cashews
Raw cashews

I needed to fry cashews for the rava upma, so I fried up the whole package, and then seasoned the leftovers (which was most of them) with chili powder, salt, and pepper, using the method described in this recipe. I’m going to store them in an airtight container on the table for snacking.

Tally

Items used up: one
Items added: one (raisins)
Items partly used: five + raisins
Items used from the “Just use already” category: none

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