21 October 2006

Book Review: Yemen, by Isabel Wets, ****

A beautiful book of black and white pictures by a Belgian photographer. Text in French but the real treasure here is the wonderful pictures...

Attitude fière et altière des Yéménites de tous âges, armés de leur djambya, poignard recourbé porté à la ceinture. Regard empreint de gravité des femmes, dissimulé ou non d'un voile. Tant de visages qu'Isabel Wets nous dévoile à travers ces images d'une grande simplicité mais aussi d'un grand talent. (...) Par cet ouvrage, Isabel Wets, passionnée de voyage et photographe d'une rare sensibilité, nous emporte, en mariant harmonieusement photographie et magnifique poésie yéménite, vers ce pays magique ayant su conserver l'authenticité de son passé dans la vie de tous les jours. Les 78 photographies originales, en noir et blanc, d'Isabel WETS sont accompagnées de 39 poésies yéménites.

More info on the author's website.

09 October 2006

Richness and variety of Indian breads, served hot right out of the oven!

There's a huge variety of different kinds of bread that is served with Indian food. Here are some of the most popular ones.

1. Chapati (unleavened Indian flatbread))
The beauty of Chapatis is that they can be eaten with anything!

2. Parathas (unleavened pan-fried Indian flatbread)
Parathas (pan-fried Indian flatbread) are for when you want to spoil yourself! Crispy and flaky, they go well with most Indian dishes be it a gravied curry or a dry stir-fry.

3. Aaloo Paratha (potato paratha)
Aaloo parathas taste delicious with fresh, thick cream or a knob of unsalted, home-made butter!

4. Poori (unleavened fried Indian flatbread)
Serve this crispy, golden bread with any dish - vegetarian or otherwise - and your favorite pickle.

5. Naan (leavened Indian flatbread)
Serve this delicious bread hot, with popular dishes like Tandoori Chicken or kebabs of different kinds.

6. Bhatura
The perfect companion for Chole (chickpeas curry), a popular North Indian dish, Bhaturas are best eaten as they are made and piping hot.

The great thing I found in India is that bread is almost universally prepared and served right away. In the West this is rare. Even expensive restaurants, that serve warm bread, at best heat up bread that has been baked earlier in the day. In India, even modest street-side eateries will bake bread on the spot and serve it straight from the over (or pan) to the table.