Friday, July 2, 2010

This started out as a comment on Jim's blog

Rachel's comment on Jim's blog is too true.  We have to stop bitching about the lack of availability of ethnic cuisine (like most of us are used to seeing as we all came from multicultural cities) and start making it ourselves!

I've been crying and complaining inside (and out loud to my husband) for so long about the lack of Indian or Thai food here.  It hurts me how long it's been since I ate a delicious chicken tikka masala. 
The problem, however, (as most of you have already blogged about) is also in the availability of ingredients.  The ONLY indian spices I have found here (in the most giant of supermarkets) are saphron, cumin and curry.  No turmeric, the most important ingredient :(  And you can forget about garam masala. 

I did succeed in making a coconut chicken curry last night with fresh roma tomatoes, coconut milk (soooooo good here) and curry powder.  Hot damn was it good.  It was almost like the real thing.

What is awesome is that in having to improvise with the lack of ingredients, we all become much better cooks as a result because we really need to get creative with substitutions!  Did you know that instead of using baking soda (which doesn't exist in Brazil) you can x3 the baking powder for the exact same effect?  Meaning recipe calls for 1 tsp of baking soda so you just add 3 tsp of baking powder.  Voila.
Of course, some things you just can't substitute and I know you're all having enormous saudades for this one.  Cheddar Cheese.  Not neon orange imitation cheddar.  I'm taking real Canadian/American cheddar.  Or marble.  Mmmmmmmmmmmmm marble!  Cheese in general suffers a little here.  I used to live on feta and cheddar so I'm outta luck.  I'm starting to appreciate queijo minas though (tastes great when cooked)!

I'd love for us bloggy people to have a giant potluck of our favourite comfort foods.  I think it would be a really interesting spread. :)


  1. What would really be helpful for me is a place to list where to find ingredients and what the translations are for their names.

    For example, I got the pot sticker wrappers at a chinese food store at CADEG

    If it helps, my fabulously precise Visual Dictionary by SBS dictionary lists açafrão-da-índia for turmeric.

    Dictionary here:

    Let me know when the potluck is scheduled. =8^)

  2. OK LISTEN I thought it was turmeric. In fact, I SWORE UP AND DOWN it was turmeric. But ro told me saffron! It just looks too much like turmeric and is too cheap to be saffron!! Oh wait, I actually only see 'acafrao-da-terra' in the stores, not 'da-india'. Hmmm. No, but that was extremely helpful so thank you! Think I'll go get me a new dictionary!

  3. Let's actually schedule one!

  4. Hi,

    Try this for ingredients and substitutes ( Sour Cream, Buttermilk etc etc).
    I also think the author used to have an online food translator, and quite a good one at that, plus the link for it. I did not see it this time around but perhaps you can find it or ask her about it.
    Keep on cooking.


  5. Nice link gritty poet - thanks! The food translator links I found were all dead ends.

  6. Hi Jim,
    I found it here
    Another site I love is this one . It is an interactive language learning platform. I like the discussion forum best.
    Have a nice day.

  7. I like the food site, but the translation function is pretty limited. But still - better than nothing. Thanks.


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