Month: May 2014

Lets Get Chatty…Chatti Pathiri that is (Daring Kitchen)

Here is something you don’t know about me.  

Chatti Pathiri
Chatti Pathiri

You know how some people step up and excel under pressure?  I’m not one of them.  I warp.  I buckle.  I crumple and fold.  When the going gets tough you can usually find me sobbing in a corner.  And one of the things that really fazes me is cooking for other people – not so much for dinners but a bake sale?  Guaranteed disaster.  Last time?  Yes, that was me running into the 7-11 well after midnight, (after the first four attempts at cupcakes had failed) wild eyed, smeared with flour and frosting and slightly twitchy.  “Where’s your cake mix?  I need a box of cake mix.  And I need it now!!!!”  I was like a demented Betty Crocker junkie desperate for my fix…..

Chatting Pathiri


The April Daring Cooks Challenge was brought to us by Joanne from What’s On The List. She taught us all about Pathiri and challenged us to create our own version of this inspirational Indian dish! 

Challenge was right, I felt the first stirrings of panic rising even as I read the recipe….

Chatting Pathiri 2

So, let’s take a step back before I start hyperventilating (again) and look at this dish called Chatti Pathiri.  For those of you, who, like me had never heard of Chatti Pathiri, the best way to explain is that it’s kinda, sorta like an Indian Lasagne where crepes step in for the pasta sheet and, in my case a spicy chicken and chickpea curry acts as the filling.

Chatti Pathiri 3

Yeah, you heard it….yummy, yummy crepes and delicious chicken and chickpea curry.  And after you layer these two bits of deliciosuness, you slather them in coconut milk and bake it all together. And mark my words….It’s all good. 

So why the fear?  Why the cold hand of dread on my spine I hear you ask?  Not because of the recipe, that was awesome!!!  But because I kind of know Joanne.  She reads this.  She comments.  She’s a lovely, friendly delightful person.  And she has entrusted me (and yes,  ok thousands of other people on the Daring Kitchen) with a recipe that is obviously very special to her.  

And what if I took her delicious recipe and totally screwed it up? 


The pressure….

(I know.  Such a Drama Queen.  Feel free to roll your eyes.  I would be.)

Luckily for me, Joanne’s recipe proved to be idiot proof!!!  And super delicious!!!! You can find it here.

I added a little bit more chilli and a can of chickpeas into the chicken mix but apart from that I used Joanne’s recipe as is.  

Chatti Pathiri
Chatti Pathiri

I served my version of Chatti Pathiri with a coconut and coriander sambol and some cherry tomatoes drizzled with a little bit of pomegranate molasses.

Coriander and Coconut Sambol
Serves 4
A spicy and refreshing side dish, perfect for eating with your Chatti Pathiri or any other indian dish
Write a review
Prep Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
  1. 3 tbsp coriander leaves
  2. 75g coconut (freshly grated is best, I used dessicated)
  3. 3 green chillies, deseeded
  4. 1 clove of garlic
  5. 2.5 cm piece of ginger
  6. 2 tsp mint leaves
  7. 1 tsp sugar
  8. Salt and freshly squeezed lime juice to taste
  1. Place all ingredients, except lime and salt in a food processor and process until finely chopped.
  2. Add salt and lime juice to taste.
  3. Serve as an accompaniment to curries
Retro Food For Modern Times
 The sambol will last in the fridge for about a week if you seal it up.  Which is perfect because the Chatti Pathiri is also pretty good reheated on the second day!!!

Joanne, if you’re reading this,  thank you very much for the recipe.  I loved making it and I loved eating it even more.  I hope I have done your recipe and you proud!!!

If this has piqued your interest in Pathiri and /or you would like to see how other Daring Kitchen members interpreted the challenge, you can see some of the completed dishes on Joanne’s blog here.

Or just head over and have a read, you won’t be disappointed!

And speaking of reading, I joined the Goodreads Food and Fiction book.  And here’s another thing you may not know about me – my first venture into blogging was trying to match food to the books I was reading.  It’s an idea I return to every now and again and I may start adding in one or two of those in the not too distant.  In the meantime, if, like me you love food and you love fiction…the Goodreads group may be something for you! You can find a link over on the right.

Have a great week!!!!

And if you want to get chatty, leave a comment!!!!

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Dressing For Success: 1971 vs 2013

For March’s Daring Cooks’ Challenge, (yes, I know I’m a little behind the times) Ruth, Shelley and Sawsan asked us to totally veg out! We made salads and dressings, letting the sky be the limit as we created new flavors and combinations that reflect our own unique tastes.

My own unique tastes huh? Oh boy. Who smells trouble? With a capital T.

Vanilla Horseradish Dressing with Roast Beef Salad
Vanilla Horseradish Dressing with Roast Beef Salad

 The salad dressing challenge actually came at a good time as I had just started on “Salads For All Seasons” and the 1971 recipe comes directly from that. 

Remember a few posts ago when I mentioned that the word “Surprise” when contained in a vintage recipe generally denotes something dubious? Well here’s another instalment of words to strike fear into the heart of any retro cooker.  Beware words denoting parsimony of any description – Pennywise, Frugal, Thrifty.  Even more than the “Surprise” these should best be avoided.

And for a double whammy, check out Erica’s great post on Retro Recipes for “Thrifty Drumstick Surprise”.

Yeah…See what I mean?

Then brace yourselves, because today we are taste-testing Rosemary Mayne-Wilson’s recipe for….


On page 23 of  Salads For All Seasons“, Rosemary Mayne-Wilson describes mayo as

“A process of forcing egg yolks to absorb oil and to hold them in an emulsion, thick and creamy”

And ok, not the most romantic of descriptions but technically correct. 

I can only assume that somewhere between writing page 23 and page 24 she was possessed by the devil.  It’s the only way to explain the eggless, oilless monstrosity that is the economical mayonnaise.

Economical Mayonnaise Recipe

 A lot of the time, if I think something is going to be awful, I don’t make it because I hate to see food wasted.  However, by its own definition this is economical.  So I thought I would give it a try.  So, I made it.  And it was…

Drumroll please….

 Absolutely fucking horrible.

Economical Mayonnnaise

The best thing you could say about it was that it looked like mayonnaise. And that it tasted like condensed milk mixed with vinegar.

Yeah, I know normally that wouldn’t be a plus.  Believe me, I’m scrambling for positives here.

The worst was….

Have you ever bought berry scented nail polish remover? This tasted like how that smells – there was an initial sickly sweetness followed by a throat catching, eye watering sharpness…it was really bad. And not one iota like lovely, gorgeous, creamy, delicious mayonnaise.

However, I wanted to be fair to the recipe and it’s not every day you eat mayo straight off the spoon – which is what provoked the above reaction.  And here at Retro Foods For Modern Times we are nothing if not scientific – so I had the idea to do a blind taste testing of the Economical Mayo vs a normal mayo. And what better item to test this on but what is fast becoming this blog’s favourite ingredient, the humble egg.

 The Egg Experiment

The Egg Experiment

I wanted to keep this very plain so the flavours of the mayo would be “pure” so I found a very simple recipe for Stuffed Eggs – pretty much just egg yolk and mayo. The idea was to make up two identical mixes, one with a bought mayo and one with the Economical, then mix up the egg halves so it was impossible to tell the difference between them – and blind taste test them. If I couldn’t tell them apart…then any snarkiness on my part was utterly due to my own prejudices and not fact.

That didn’t work. 

Primarily because the two versions looked completely different to each other. It was utterly impossible not to tell them apart:

Stuffed Eggs
Stuffed Eggs

 Even though the recipe was too heavy on the mayo, the bought mayonnaise behaved as it should when mixed with egg yolk and formed a rounded dome. Mixing the boiled egg yolks with the economical mayonnaise just made a yellow runny “mayonnaise”. It was so runny that when I bit into it, the mixture ran out of the egg all over my hand which was gross. The egg did temper some of the sharpness of the vinegar but in this instance – Epic Fail for 1971!!!

 So, after the disaster of the Economical Mayo, I was a little apprehensive about trying the modern recipe for salad dressing which also mixed a sweet ingredient with something quite pungent.  

The following is based on a recipe for Vanilla Horseradish dressing which I found in “500 Paleo Recipes” by Dana Carpender. 

I would have through cavemen would have been too busy trying to survive to be pfaffing about with vanilla beans.  Then again, my entire knowledge of the paleolithic era is based on B grade movies where scantily clad cavewomen and dinosaurs co-exist. So what do I know?


Vanilla Horseradish Dressing
Vanilla and Horseradish liven up a Vinaigrette!
Write a review
Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
5 min
  1. ¼ cup vinegar – I used white wine, the original recipe calls for white balsamic
  2. 1/8 tsp vanilla extract
  3. ¼ tsp white pepper
  4. ¼ tsp salt
  5. ¾ cup (175 ml) olive oil
  6. ¼ tsp mustard powder
  7. 2 tbsp horseradish
  1. Put all of the ingredients into a blender and mix together until it looks creamy – around 30 seconds.
  1. If you can lay your hands on fresh horseradish, it would be good to finely grate your own. I used bought horseradish sauce from the supermarket
Adapted from 500 Paleo Recipes by Dana Carpender
Adapted from 500 Paleo Recipes by Dana Carpender
Retro Food For Modern Times
This was awesome!!! Really, really good. I had this on a salad I made with some left over roast beef which was rather dry. By the time I came to eat this at lunch time, the beef was gorgeously, melt in your mouth tender – I suspect this was some action of the horseradish or maybe the vanilla.  Either way, it was delicious!!!

Vanilla Horseradish Dressin
Vanilla Horseradish Dressing

The vanilla is quite subtle, initially providing more of an aroma and only the teeniest undercurrent of flavour. You know, it’s of those times where, if you didn’t know what it was, you wouldn’t know what it was. But it would drive you mad trying to pinpoint what exactly it was.  

I also had this on a few other salads and it was good every time!

I would caution against adding more vanilla into the mix as I found that the longer I kept this in the fridge, and I had it in there for close to a week, the stronger the taste of vanilla became.  My vivid imagination? Possibly. 

I  would love to know what other people think of this recipe and if they noticed the same thing. Please let me know if you make it!!!

 Oh, and just in case you thought I meant a different kind of dressing for success, lets take a peek at what the cool kids were wearing in 1971.

For the ladies, it was definitely the year of the hotpant…


 Whereas for the gentlemen, it ranged from the high necked and tightly belted straightlaced work attire….

Men's Fashion

  To the “manly gown”   which was both smart and comfy for lazing in.

Toupé and soap on a rope optional extras. Sold separately.

Men's Fashion3

And then there was the downright bizarre….hang on…isn’t this the same guy from the first photo? Is this what he’s wearing under that tightly belted turtleneck? 

Men's Fashion 1971 4Eww…I’m going to go before this gets creepy…or should that be any creepier?

Have a fabulous week!

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