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50 Women Game-Changers (in Food): #7 Madhur Jaffrey - Tapioca Pearl Kheer

In May '11, Gourmet posted a list of 50 Women Game-Changers (in Food) that runs the gamut from food writers to cookbook authors to television personalities to restauranteurs to chefs to food bloggers.  Some are a given.  Some are controversial.  Speaking the names of some brings fond childhood memories.  Speaking the names of others will make some readers cringe.  And of course, some of our favorites were not even included.  We food-lovers are a passionate bunch of people and whether we agree or disagree, every woman on this list has earned her place for a reason.  Being a woman who is passionate about food (cooking, eating, talking about, writing about, photographing), when I caught wind of Mary from One Perfect Bite's idea of cooking/blogging her way through each of these 50 per week...I knew I wanted to join her.  Many of these women paved the way for us in culinary school, in the kitchen, in cookbooks, in food writing, and on television and I think it is a fabulous way to pay tribute to their efforts.  Some of the women on the list have been tops with me for years.  Some I have heard of (perhaps even seen, read, or cooked from) before.  And there are even a handful that I am not familiar with at all.  I excited to educate myself on each of these women game-changers and hope you look forward to reading along.  We are going in order from 1 to 50.
the "Gourmet" prompt...
7. Madhur Jaffrey - As Marcella is to Italy, so is Madhur to the Indian subcontinent. She also is a great spokesperson for vegetarian, and assorted other Asian cuisines. And she is beautiful. And can act.
I was so excited to see Madhur Jaffrey's name on this list.  From the moment I started reading the eloquent words of her memoir, Climbing the Mango Trees, last year...I was lost in a world of Indian food, culture, and delight.  Jaffrey has a way with words (read my review here).  Inspired and excited by this world of spice and color, I held a Taste of India party that included Jaffrey recipes such as Murgh Korma (Chicken cooked in a Yogurt-Almond sauce), Kaddu (Indian-spiced Pumpkin), Cheese Vali Gobi (Cauliflower w/ Cheese), Phirni (Light Rice Pudding), and Neebu ka Sharbat (limeade).  Many of these dishes have become favorites in our house...and honestly I can't pull out a Jaffrey cookbook without making at least three dishes at a time.  You may also recognize her for her roles in television shows (such as East Enders, Law & Order, Psych) or movies (Chutney Popcorn, Flawless, Partition, Today's Special).  There is so much more to Madhur Jaffrey and I hope you'll check out some of my recommended links (especially her memoir) and get to know her further.

worth further exploration:  (memoir) Climbing the Mango Trees: A Memoir of a Childhood in India, (cookbooks) At Home with Madhur Jaffrey, Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian, Madhur Jaffrey's Quick & Easy Indian Cooking, An Invitation to Indian Cooking, (movie for foodies) Today's Special, (article) Saveur no.140- Making It Work: Sometimes the kitchen you  want isn't the kitchen you get by Madhur Jaffrey
Tapioca Pearl Kheer
slightly adapted from At Home with Madhur Jaffrey
serves ~4

½ c. tapioca pearls
5 c. whole milk
8 cardamom pods
4½ Tbs. sugar, or to taste

Soak the pearls overnight in water that covers them generously.  Drain well the next day and leave in the strainer.

Bring the milk to a boil in a very heavy, medium pan over medium heat.  Add pearls and cardamom and stir them in.  Adjust the heat so the milk is at a good simmer, but does not threaten to boil over, ~medium-low.  Cook for ~50 minutes, stirring the bottom every 5 minutes or so (the milk should not catch at the bottom).  Add sugar and stir in.  Cook another 5 minutes.

Remove pudding from heat and allow to cool, stirring every now and then to prevent a skin from forming.  Remove cardamom seeds and place in large or individual serving dishes.  Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface (again with stopping a skin from forming).  Refrigerate.  It will thicken as it cools.
Madhur Jaffrey (August 13, 1933-present)
" was a faraway smell, almost as if we were imagining it.  Soon the entire sky was dark with black clouds. Thunder boomed from all sides, accompanied by zigzags of lightning.  The earth seemed hotter than ever.  First one or two fat drops of rain fell, then more and more, until there was a deluge.  Suddenly the heat broke, as if some shell encasing us had been cracked open.  We all....held our faces up to the sky, and allowed ourselves to get thoroughly soaked.  The monsoon season had finally arrived.  We could now feast on monsoon sweets, the squiggly pretzel-shaped jalebis, dunking them in glasses of cold milk as we gazed dreamily at the downpour." of my favorite, enchanting memories from Jaffrey's memoir, Climbing the Mango Trees
Who is cooking along with these 50 Women Game-Changers?
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