Monday, August 13, 2007

Mystery of Indian Bay Leaves

Indian cooking, especially north and eastern region, uses Tej Pata/Tej Patta to a huge extent. It is also part of the magic aromatic mixture known as Garam Masala. So I too use them here in Boston, and till now bought the Bay leaves found in the local grocery stores. And almost anytime I used it, I had a feeling that they are not quite the same as the traditional Tej Pata I am used to.

I used to have a feeling that they may not be the same thing. Until someone told me that he was surprised to know that Bay leaves are used in Indian cooking. That got me thinking and I googled my brain as well as the internet to hunt for the difference, if any. The first prominent difference I always noticed that the bay leaves did not have that strong an aroma as back home. I generally pushed that argument aside, citing quality difference. After all I do grocery at cheap neighbour stores. But now I remembered from my school bio classes - tej pata back home had several (3 ?) parallel veins unlike the single pinnate-style bay leaves I see here. A bit of internet search revealed that they are indeed different. Tej Pata ...are often erroneously labeled as "Indian bay leaves" though the bay leaf is from the Bay Laurel, a tree of Mediterranean origin in a different genus, and the appearance and aroma of the two are quite different... Indeed they are different. Next time I go to a grocery, I will know what to look for.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Kudos to Anil Kumble

A post just for the century by Anil Kumble in the 3rd Test match between
India-England (July-Aug, 2007).

He has been called as the unsung hero by many before, now he is again a hero
but for an altogether different reason. Congratulations, Anil Kumble.