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Posted at 7:00 AM ET, 01/ 5/2011

Chat Leftovers: Pasanda

By Jane Touzalin

I'm not one for new year's resolutions, but as the holiday season ended, even I found myself vowing to go easy on the rich food for a while. Here at the newspaper, it's not so easy: The Food section is, of course, a food magnet, and something's always being tested or tasted. So I can appreciate the resolve of the six chefs we feature in the paper today. Constantly surrounded by temptation and seeing their weight creep up, up, up, they set out to lose the extra pounds. For some, it's still a work in progress, but the before-and-after photos are inspiring.

Also today, you'll read about a passionate organic farmer in Southern Maryland who suffered a setback in a fire last month. And Stephanie Witt Sedgwick shares great tips for incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your family's diet. She shares recipes, too.

Those stories and more will be up for discussion at today's Free Range chat, your chance to ask us whatever culinary question is on your mind. We'll try to give you an answer. If we can't, check this space next week, when I'll be serving up a leftover question. Like this one, from last week's chat:

One of my most favorite dishes in my travels was a Pakistani dish called pasanda. My problem: trying to find a decent recipe for it in the United States. Do you know of a good Pakistani food recipe book or resource?

For those who haven't tried it, pasanda generally consists of pieces of flattened meat, usually lamb, that are marinated in yogurt and spices and then cooked in a fairly mild sauce. It's not exclusive to Pakistan; it's also common in northern India, so I asked local cookbook author (and sometime Food section contributor) Monica Bhide if she knew where to find a good recipe.

As it happened, she did. Monica is a big fan of Sanjeev Kapoor, probably India's most familiar and popular chef, who hosts an award-winning cooking show, writes cookbooks and does restaurant consulting. She pointed me toward his recipe for pasanda, which you'll find at the other end of that last link. It looks fairly typical -- ingredients include lamb (well, mutton, but you'll use lamb), yogurt. ginger paste, cardamom pods, etc. -- but you'll have to convert grams to ounces in one case.

I'd do two things if I were you. First, I'd put in some Internet recipe research and make not just Kapoor's recipe but a couple of others that look good. Maybe it's just me, but I get a kick out of making several versions of one dish and then trying to come up with the very best rendition. Second, I'd seek out restaurants here where pasanda is on the menu (I've found it at places in Clarendon and Fairfax, for example), go sample them and find one you really like. Maybe they'll even give you the recipe, maybe not, but it's nice to know where to find a favorite food on nights when you don't feel like cooking.

Google, eat, cook, eat, visit restaurants, eat: Resolution or no resolution, that's the kind of new year's project for me.

By Jane Touzalin  | January 5, 2011; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Chat Leftovers  | Tags:  Chat Leftovers, Free Range, Jane Touzalin  
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