south asian cuisine

South Asian cuisine in fantasy + coding

@octoswan asked:

Thanks to the Eurocentrism of fantasy, we tend to think of fantasy cuisines as being stuff like soup, bread, cheese, mead, mutton, etc. They’re the basic go-to staples. But if you’re writing a fantasy that’s more Asia-centric, you’d have to use foods like rice, chapati, curry, noodles, tempeh, etc. Eurocentric cuisine is up for grabs for the most part, but Asian cuisines would be problematic if done incorrectly. This I’m aware of, and I’m trying to juggle between drawing from real cuisines and making up fantasy cuisines. To be clear, the people in my fantasy universe are mostly South Asian and East Asian as well, or at least an attempted non-appropriated version of some of these cultures. I guess my question is: is it ok to use these ingredients and dishes in passing in the same way that Eurocentric fantasies use their cuisines? 

“Soup, bread, cheese, mead, mutton?” South Asian cuisine has literally all of those things.  It’s just that the soup is lentils, the bread is flat, the cheese doesn’t melt, the “mead” has marijuana in it, and the mutton is actually lamb.  Rice is a staple.  Chapati is just a flat bread roasted in a pan, “curry” is an umbrella term coined by the British that comes from a Tamil word meaning “sauce” (and please don’t tell me you can culturally appropriate the concept of sauce—specific sauces, yes, but not sauce at large), noodles and tempeh aren’t typically South Asian but are also a natural byproduct of the ingredients available in their environments—

My point is that foodstuffs often have analogues across cultures, being made with similar techniques or ingredients in different times and places.  Food crosses boundaries in a way that most other things do not.  Can you imagine Indian food without tomatoes, potatoes, or chili peppers?—not one of those things was present in India before the 16th century.  Appreciating, using, or even importing another culture’s cuisine isn’t cultural appropriation—what’s appropriation is when the affluent couple in Williamsburg starts up a “fusion” restaurant with recipes they ripped off from the “ethnic” family-run hole-in-the-wall across town, tidy it up, dumb it down, and friendlyify it for their neighbors while passing it off as their own creation “inspired by the tastes of Asia” or whatever.  It wasn’t yours to begin with, stop pretending like it is.

I would suggest not getting so hung up on the label and instead think about flavor and ingredients—the heat of ginger, the sour tang of tamarind, the unique flavor of turmeric.  Think about techniques—rolling out a flat piece of bread dough, taking care to make it round, and slapping onto an open flame until it poofs up (if you weren’t aware that that’s how chapati are made, then that’s a place to start doing some research).  People familiar with those foods will recognize the description.  Roti just means “bread.”  Dal just means “split peas.”  

These don’t have to be loaded terms to handle with kid gloves.  Foods are important cultural markers but when they’re situated within the culture that’s generally considered to have come up with them, they might just be props in the act of eating.  You know what my grandmother calls Indian food?  Food.

-mod Nikhil

Malayalam Vocabulary List 3

Food: Fruits, Vegetables, and Meats (can’t be a Malayalee and not love our beef)
Sticking with last week’s theme of food, we’ll be covering the most common and popular fruits, vegetables, and meats of Kerala. Some of these you’ll be hearing for the first time and probably never seen them either but we urge you to try them when you get a chance, they’re all delicious!

Fruit/Fruits: പഴം or പഴങ്ങൾ payam or payangal
Banana - വാഴപ്പഴം or പഴം, because banana is such a staple in Kerala and there are like 50 different kinds of them we generally refer to banana as പഴം vayapayam
Plantain ഏത്തപ്പഴം or ഏത്തക്ക or നേന്ത്രപ്പഴം (it varies depending on what region you’re from) yettapayam or yetthakka or nenthrapayam
Jackfruit (important fruit, state fruit) - ചക്ക chakka
Mango - മാങ്ങ manga (what would the world do without kerala?)
Guava - പേരയ്‌ക്ക perakka
Jambu or Bell Fruit ചാമ്പങ്ങ chambanga
Gooseberry - നെല്ലിക്ക nelikka
Dates ഈന്തപ്പഴം intha payanam
Pineapple കൈതച്ചക്ക kaithachakka
Melon മത്തങ്ങ mathanga
Papaya ഓമക്കാ omakka
Watermelon തണ്ണിമത്തന്‍ (tamil origin thus തണ്ണി and not വെള്ളം) thanimathan
Grapefruit കമ്പിളിനാരങ്ങ (lit trans: blanket citrus/lemon) kambllinarnga
Lemon നാരങ്ങ narnga
Grapes മുന്തിരി munthari
Pomegranate: മാതളനാരങ്ങ mathallanarnga

Coconut: തേങ്ങ thenga
We feel uncomfortable categorizing this lol cause it’s another one of those staples and is used in everything we make! Kerala is called the “land of coconuts” for a reason, also Kerala or as we Malayalees refer to it as Keralam കേരളം literally means that, because another word for coconut/coconut tree is കേരം

Vegetables - പച്ചക്കറി or പച്ചക്കറികൾ (lit trans greens, both are plural) pachakari/pachakarikal
Tapioca - കപ്പ kappa
Yam - ചെന്ന chena
Taro - ചേമ്പ് chembu
Ladies fingers lol or for the Americas Okra - വെണ്ടക്ക vendakka
Eggplant - വഴുതനങ്ങ vazhuthananga
Bitter Gourd - പാവയ്ക്കാ pavakka (yes extremely bitter) 
Ivy Gourd - കോവക്ക kovakka
Drumstick - മുരിങ്ങക്ക muringakka
Spinach - ചീര cheera
Tomato - തക്കാളി thakali (we do know it’s a fruit and we do call it തക്കാളിപഴം)
Potatoes - ഉരുളക്കിഴങ് uralakizhangu
Kerala cuisine basic ingredients: 
onion - ഉള്ളി ulli
Ginger - ഇഞ്ചി inji
Garlic - വെളുത്തുള്ളി (lit trans white onion) veluthulli
Chilli - മുളക് mulaku (there are many different types as well)
Beans - പയര് payar,  a general term for legumes, so below are all the types of beans (We refer to green beans as beans to lessen the confusion since it’s also a popular veggie)
Mung beans ചെറുപയര് (lit trans: small beans) cherupayar
Chickpeas - കടല kadala (there are two types so watch out)
Brown peas വന്പയര് vanpayar
Red beans പെരുമ്പയര് perumpayar


Beef - (state’s favourite meat, enough to cause riots and controversy lol) we use the term ഇറച്ചി erachi (lit trans: flesh) and beef equally
Goat - ആട് aadu (also the title of a funny movie)
Mutton - lamb or sheep (we refer to it as mutton because sheep and goat is the same family species so it’s all ആട് )
Chicken - കോഴ kozhi

Fish (general) - മീന്‍ meen Since we are a coastal state we don’t joke about our fishes either but there is too many so we’ll cover the basics
Mackerel ഐല aila
Sardine മത്തി or ചാള mathi or chaalla
Seer Fish നെയ്മീന്‍ (lit trans fatty/oily fish) neimeen
Green Chromide കരിമീന്‍ karimeen
Shrimp ചെമീൻ Chemmeen (a classic movie Malayalees enjoy)

salytierra  asked:

Hello~ So, I heard that Hungarians like to put paprika in literally everything. That's probably a great exaggeration but it made me think. So what kind of condiments or just ways to prepare food do you have over there? Something that's purely characteristic of Hungary or the region when it comes to cooking?

Hi! Thanks for the question!!

Okay, so “putting paprika in literally everything” is only a little exaggarated. :D We do use it a lot and it’s an impotant ingredient in many of our staple dishes, i.e. the famous Goulash soup (seriously, usually if foreigners associate one thing with Hungary, it’s this dish), fisherman’s soup and any stew made out of beef, pork, chicken, potatoes or mushrooms. I personally like to put it on French fries, scrambled eggs and fried eggs too. There are two kinds of paprika powder: a strong, more piquant one and a milder, “sweet” one.

Hungarian paprika is taken very seriously too! We take a lot of pride in it to the point where we don’t like using foreign paprika for cooking at all. We even have a paprika and salami museum in Szeged, which I was fortunate enough to visit on a field trip once.

And in South-East Hungary, which is like the main region of paprika harvesting, you can see houses covered in paprika that was hung up to dry like this:

There’s also a kind of paprika puree called “Erős Pista” (which translates to “Strong Steve”), it’s used for cooking with too or along side salt and pepper to flavor food during lunch/dinner:

Basically, Hungarian cuisine is pretty spicy. No as spicy as, say, South-East Asian cuisine but more so than many Western- or Northern-European ones. If there’s a food product that says “Hungarian flavoring”, it means a lot of paprika and pepper. Other than that, some commonly used green scipes are tarragon, lovage, marjoram, rosemary and parsley.

I hope that answers your question!

Chronicles of Nick Headcanons:

Yo so here’s some more CoN! headcanons cuz this book series is on my mind too much which= a headcanon dump ;)

  • Since Caleb pretended to be a human farmer when he was with Lilliana it stands to complete reason that he owned his job and made FANTASTIC recipes and food with what he and Lil grew and bartered with.
  • After she died he felt that he really lost his purpose and passion for doing human recipes and making food. But because Lil always praised his culinary skills he always has the memory of her telling him that he can make basically anything taste good. It constantly nags at him throughout the centuries.
  • So low-key he learns rich, poor, middle class dishes that he learned to make from hundreds of different cultures each in their respective time so that it’s always authentic when he makes it.
  • But he always feels that Lil would have made it better.
  • His specialties are desserts and dishes involving earthy vegetables because he was a farmer +from what his dad preciding over the Earth.
  • When Nick finds out he can cook his dinner requests never stop.
  • Xev respects Caleb’s skill level in making great food. Caleb helps make up for the way he treated his brother by taking him under his raven wing (wink wink pun pun) and Xev loves the experience and wants to learn more.
  • Xev’s has a natural cooking talent too. He leans more onto desserts and baked goods, but he’s still learning.
  • Caleb and Xev love the movie Ratatouille.
  • They both love the movie Julia and Julia and then do Julia’s cooking challenge!
  • Nick’s fav dessert from Xev is his lemon-orange? cookies.
  • Xev and Caleb LOVE tea. Any kind.
  • Nick loves it when they make Mennie’s secret hot cocoa recipe that she crafted to help a stubborn Nick fall asleep when he was little.
  • Mennie's hot cocoa recipe for Nick ingredients (so far idk): water?, a TON of cinnamon (what makes him sleepy), chocolate, candied orange slivers, and idk what else.
  • Mennie gave the recipe to Xev and Caleb…just in case.
  • Xev can frequently be seen at Caleb’s making muffins or cookies or tea or all 3.
  • Xev and Caleb have their own garden. They both make it in honor of their wives.
  • They secretly hate the garden in a way, because it’s patron god is their father. But hey he’s an earth god who fed everyone and was in charge of vegetation and fertility (says it in Infamous)…so yeah.
  • Caleb and Xev love super ancient recipes from long-ago civilizations that might seem very gross.
  • Caleb loves European and South American cuisine.
  • Xev loves Asian cuisine-especially Japanese (ESPECIALLY Japanese candy after Nashira introduced him to it), Persian cuisine, and African? cuisine.
  • Aeron also loves to cook.
  • Aeron is SUPER enthusiastic about cooking ancient and modern Celt, Scottish, Irish, Gaelic recipes.
  • He tries relentlessly to teach Nick to cook.
  • He gives up after going to Xev and Caleb for help and their advice was to give up since Nick has no interest in cooking/baking for himself ever.
  • Nick’s almost always grossed out for what Aeron has in his recipes.
  • Aeron loves lots of meat, spaghetti, carrots, and his native Celtic veggies.
  • Per Nick’s insistence Aeron tried Lucky Charms cereal.
  • He friggin hated it. Too much sugar and the brown parts were too bland and overall disappointing.
  • He wrote a hate letter to the cereal company and gave it 0 out of 5 stars for review.

Alright guys that’s all I have for now! Feel free to put asks or message me if u wanna discuss more stuff an headcanons! ;)

Herb of the Week-Ginger

Common names

African Ginger
Black Ginger
Race Ginger
Zingiber officinale, the official name of the common ginger was coined by the famous eighteenth-century Swedish botanist and general naturalist, Carl Linnaeus. While Latinizing the name, Carl Linnaeus also derived the name Zingiber for the generic term, using the Indian Sanskrit name for ginger - singabera, or shaped like a horn.

About 1,400 species of plants are placed in the family Zingiberaceae and the ginger is just another of these plants. It shares equal honors with other famous family members, the spices turmeric - which is a principal component used in curry; it is also an herbal medicine - and the spice cardamom - used extensively in South Asian cuisine. The ginger has a slender stem; ginger is a perennial plant, about 24 to 39 inches in height. Compared to the second and following stems, the first stems are lengthier and also bear beautiful and fragrant flowers. The ginger flowers are greenish yellow and streaked with purple down the sides. Dark green ginger leaves are characterized by a famous midrib that is sheathed at the growing base. The seeds of the ginger appear in the rare fruiting body.

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