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A mock carbonara

9:17 AM

a mock spaghetti alla carbonara, easy to make in India without pork


One to the dishes you won't be able to recreate at a decent price at home, is what is considered a nice comfort food dish in the west: Spaghetti Alla carbonara.
The reason being that a true carbonara calls for pork bacon. Pork is mostly eaten by Christian in India and you won't find it easily in store, and when you do find bacon, it is generally frozen, and at a premium price, imported or not. I not only don't feel like buying something that pricey for a comfort fuss free dish, but I also can't bring myself to trust that the pork has been kept at an adequate temperature along the supply chain for it to still be fit for consumption.

For years, that was the pasta dish I would only really order in quality restaurants as an indulgence...no more. I found a way to make a sauce that comes close to the real deal, without the pork bacon, or even the Parmesan cheese (another pricey ingredients).
A year ago or so, I found a chicken rasher bacon made by the brand Prabhat (found commonly in Mumbai, can't vouch for the rest of the country). This chicken bacon has a rich smokey flavour that makes it come as close as you can get to the taste of pork bacon without it being pork. The only downside is that it lacks the little fat bits that lend flavour to a dish, but this is as good as it's gonna get.

With that little discovery, I came up with that carbonara like sauce very quickly. It is ridiculously easy to pull, and the whole dish, pasta cooking including will not keep you busy more than 20 minutes in the kitchen.

You'll need:

- Half a pack of Prabhat rasher bacon (or more if you like it meaty)
- 2 small packs of Amul fresh cream (total 500ml cream)
- 1 or 2 egg yolks
- a little mild cheddar, grated
- salt and pepper to taste
- Your choice of pasta

What to do :

1) Bring water to a boil with salt and olive oil added to it. Add the pasta to the water once it is boiling, and cook according to packet instructions, or until al dente if you are familiar with pasta cooking.

2) While the water boils and pasta cook, quickly cut your bacon into little strips, heat oil in another pan and sauté for about 2-3 minutes, add salt and stir. Add the cream and bring to a boil, as soon as it does boil, switch off the flame, the sauce is cooked, add the grated cheddar to taste. Wait for the pasta to finish cooking at this point.

3) Once the pasta is cooked and drained, take your egg yolks and add them to the creamy sauce and stir, one egg will make it a bit more liquid than if you use two. Plate your pasta and pour the sauce on top, garnish with crushed pepper and serve.

This recipe serves 4, and you can serve rocket leaves salad on the side, it pairs great with the rich creamy sauce.

4 comments

  1. Many of the different Nepali ethnicities have fatty pork dishes for special occasions, they also like pig, goat & chicken skin seared with the fat on to what we would call cracklings.
    You'll also find many of the Nepali ethnicities smoke & dry meats, fish, cheeses & even vegetables for storage- this is called 'su-ku-tay'. An example would be something like smoked, dried fish would be 'maacha sukutay'.
    Sometime in the 70's a 2 German hippies by the names of Nina & Hagen started a delicatessen in Kathmandu featuring sausages, speck, salami etc. Well I guess Nina & Hagen moved on from Kathmandu in the 80's but the company lives on. So in Nepal you can still buy decent speck, & they make really good smoked chicken breasts & pepperoni now too, but their sausages & salamis are a bit dodgy in my opinion.
    Anyway, the Radisson Hotel in Kathmandu has an Italian restaurant that makes an excellent Pasta Carbonara using Nina & Hagen speck & what I suspect is hard grated yak cheese. Rather a nice wine selection too.
    Funny that the Kashmiris whom are voracious mutton eaters never developed any dried meats but do dry vegetables & fruits. The Kashmiri also used to keep what we would call 'root cellars' under their houses with barrels of turnips, carrots, squash, apples & such packed in straw.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Interesting that Kashmiri don't smoke or dry meat products, because this something that people in harsh climate areas usually do to stock up on food supplies to survive the long Winters.
      There are days I really miss things like a artisanal smoked salami sausage or dry meat slices over here. We used to have that kind of thing almost everyday for dinner along with cheese and bread growing up. The typical high protein Swiss dinner :-)

      Delete
  2. Anonymous7:56 PM

    I heard there is a store in Mumbai where you get all kinds of cut meat. I remember bombayjules doing a post regarding that. So I guess you can have access to even ground beef!! Yum.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There are many stores that do all kind of meat, but bacon and beef are coming at a very high price, I am not willing to pay that much a premium on meat. Especially not for a dish that is essentially comfort food.

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