Aarti Party with Aarti Sequeira
Show Three gets off to a better start than last week's. Aarti says she met her husband when they were only 18 and they’ve been together ever since. Oh, wait, this may be no better. Aarti calls her menu “Summer lovin”, but, frankly, it sounds more like a barbecue to me.
Plus the names of her dishes are annoying and inane. (Sorry.)
Aarti starts with pulled pork sandwiches with a mango barbecue sauce, which I LOVE. She sweats onions, jalapeño and ginger together. She says she’s adding Indian flavor to a familiar recipe by adding fennel and cumin seeds. She’s playing off the pani puri spice mix which she says also has mustard seed and fenugreek. (Actually there are as many different spice blends for pani puri as there are cooks. Puri is the heavenly deep fried dough that’s stuffed with pani (water) mixed with all kinds of goodies.)
Aarti starts her mango barbecue sauce.
Aarti’s recipe has mango purée, which probably has sugar in it. I prefer to add that myself. I usually use fresh mango, but I can see that the purée is a good substitute for the usual ketchup in a barbecue sauce. Aarti says to use cooked down mango juice if you can’t find the purée. Fresh mango, hello? She adds lime juice and apple cider vinegar with molasses and Worcestershire sauce. That simmers for 5 minutes.
Aarti uses pork shoulder which she says is also called
“Come here, puddin’ pie.” At least, I think she said that. I may have dreamed it in a haze of poor recipe titles.
Aarti starts the crust with chocolate wafers - 15 of them - and 15 ginger snaps. I love that combination. I’ve used ginger snaps in place of or in addition to graham crackers, but THIS takes it to a new level. I don’t think I’ve ever seen this before and it’s so obvious a combo. Sorry, Em, if you do that all the time. She adds ¾ stick of a butter.
Aarti uses most of the crumbs to line a Pyrex pie dish, saving a few for garnish. I’ve never done that before either. I like that idea. She bakes the crust for 10 minutes in a 350°F oven.
She separates 3 eggs, cracking them on the counter. NO! And what’s happening to the whites? She adds the yolks to a saucepan.
Aarti adds 2 cups of milk, a “touch” of vanilla (not before she’s cooking the mixture, I hope). DON’T ever do that. Cooking the vanilla extract boils off the alcohol and the flavor. You spent a lot for your vanilla, don’t dissipate the taste before you’ve even finished the recipe.
Aarti adds ½ cup sugar and ¼ cup of cornstarch to eggs and milk and whisks it all together. This is a very strange way she’s going about this recipe. How about making a slurry? You mix the cornstarch with a bit of the liquid so you don’t have lumps. And listen to this, she just throws in the chocolate in big pieces. I have NEVER seen such a haphazard method.
What would I do? There are two ways to proceed. The first is to put the cornstarch and sugar in the bottom of the saucepan. Whisk together the eggs and milk and slowly whisk that into the dry ingredients, so lumps don’t form. OR you could whisk together the milk, sugar and eggs in the saucepan and then make a slurry with the cornstarch and some of the milk. Stir that in.
Cook, stirring all the time, until the mixture just begins to thicken. The foam will start to disappear and the mixture will coat the back of the spoon. Simmer it for one minute, no longer, stirring all the time, getting the inside edges of the saucepan with your wooden spoon or plastic spatula. (Cornstarch lesson - never boil longer than one minute or the cornstarch won’t thicken the pudding. It will thin it out.)
One second before the pot leaves the burner, stir in the FINELY CHOPPED CHOCOLATE (you want it to melt in a hurry) and take it off the stove. Stir (not for very long) until the mixture is smooth. Let cool for a minute. Stir in the vanilla.
We go to a commercial with Aarti saying to stir the pudding over heat and don’t leave it alone for minute. I should say not!
We come back to Aarti chopping her crystallized ginger. But she’s walked away form the pudding. Oh, I guess it’s done. She adds the crystallized ginger to the chocolate pudding, which looks absolutely luscious despite her rather slipshod method.
Aarti pours the pudding mixture into that wonderful crust. She gives us another “Wrap your arms around you” expression that she was so fond of last week. She says to refrigerate the pie for 3 hours with plastic wrap right on the top so no skin forms.
She says this will be so cool and refreshing after their pulled pork sandwiches. Really? It sure looks good, but chocolate pudding in a pie isn’t usually where I turn to be refreshed.
For cole slaw, Aarti chops green cabbage into shreds and cuts a Granny Smith apples into matchsticks. She’s doing everything by hand. I like that. Into a separate bowl, she squeezes limes and adds a little honey (from a bear, ick) and ground cumin, garam masala, salt and pepper. She also adds a big pinch of salt to the bowl of cabbage to help it break down.
To finish the dressing, Aarti adds oil to the lime juice. She says she uses 1 part acid to 2 parts oil. (That’s quite zesty. The classic is 3 to 1.) She dresses the cole slaw and lets it sit.
Aarti takes a look at the pork which has been cooking for 3 hours. The bright orange of the mango barbecue sauce has turned dark brown. She says she’s been degreasing it over the past 3 hours. She removes the pork and shreds the pork with two forks.
She whips some cream and puts it aside. She takes buns out of the oven and adds some shredded pork to one with a little bread and butter pickle. I hate those - I’m a new kosher dill pickle gal. She sprinkles toasted peanuts of the slaw. She tastes the pork and the slaw. No sign of hubby. Eh, who needs him anyway?
And just like last week, Aarti doesn’t wait for him to cut a full sized piece of pie. She says it’s just a “sampling” piece. Really? Where’s your accountability group when you need them?
Aarti sprinkles a little bit of the saved crumbs over the whipped cream which garnishes the pie. I really like that idea. Aarti doesn’t seem to mind that Brendan isn’t there. Her “Summer Lovin’” meal looks a little lonely to me.
This shtick of her cooking for different folks and having them not show up is really weird. It’s strange to have her cook for special people and then she chows down before they arrive. Besides, Aarti doesn’t need strange trysts with invisible people or all these cutesy named recipes. Just cook, girl, and leave the artifice at the door.