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Indian Food Friday!

About a week ago I mentioned I was going over to my parents’ house, and we were going to cook an Indian dinner because Mom got an Indian cookbook and wanted to try out some of the recipes. Monkeys made S2AK’s naan (it was Nantastic!!!) the night before as part of our contribution. When we arrived at my parents’ house, Mom was in the middle of about five dishes at once, so I got to help out with the rice, the chicken tikka masala, and the cauliflower dishes. She had already premeasured out all the ingredients, so all I had to do was keep stirring and add things at the right time. It was both easy and complicated, as there was a lot of “cook the cumin for 30 seconds, add spackle and cook for one minute, add ball bearings and cook for 2 minutes and 17 seconds, then add rice and stir constantly.” My style of cooking has always been to add everything at once, stir if you think about it, cover, and let God sort it out.

The food was AMAZING. For vegetable dishes she made green beans in garlic butter, potatoes with poppy seeds, and cauliflower with cashews. Apparently Indian vegetable dishes have a passion for alliteration. She also made a fantastic mushroom pilau rice dish, plus we had Sarah’s naan. Mom made some kind of wheat flour crackle bread thing that she was very unhappy with, but it made an excellent scoop for trying the sauces. She attempted three meat dishes. From scratch she made a chicken tikka masala and a beef pasanda curry. Matt, feel free to call it Panda Curry. Mom also made some other chicken dish based on a mango chutney or some such she got at World Market. For desert she intended to make a vermicelli dish and a bread pudding, but we ran out of time. Thank goodness, because I gained six pounds over this meal!!! Well, that is, I gained six pounds and a large part of that could be linked to that meal and leftovers. It was totally worth it! I’ve managed to lose three of the six pounds – argh, that self-control thing is hard.

Anyway, as the food was beyond fantastic I wanted to share the recipes. I was able to find the exact same pasanda curry recipe on this website: http://www.indiasnacks.com/

She wrote out the rest of the recipes except the wheat flour crackle for me. I’m posting them in order of how much I loved them. If I were to attempt this on my own, I would probably just do the green beans, rice, and chicken tikka as a sanity measure and small attempt at weight control. However, if anyone wanted to go in with me, I would repeat this entire meal and add some of the other recipes as well! Darn it, we need lentils!! Dal me, baby!

I need to pause in editing this, but i'm making the beans right now and they are beeping...

Green Beans in Garlic Butter

2 TBSP unsalted butter
½ tsp cumin seeds
3-4 cloves garlic, peeled & crushed/finely chopped
¼ to ½ tsp chili powder
3 cups whole green beans
½ tsp salt or to taste

1. Melt butter over low heat and fry cumin seeds for 30 seconds.
2. Add garlic and fry for 1 minute
3. Add chili powder and immediately follow with beans, Stir and fry for 1-2 minutes.
4. Add salt and mix thoroughly. Cover pan and simmer beans in their own juice until tender (10-12 minutes) stirring occasionally.
5. Remove from heat.

Mushroom Pilau

1 ¼ cup basmati rice
2 tbsp ghee or unsalted butter
1 tsp caraway seeds
1 large onion, finely sliced
2 cinnamon sticks (each 2 inches long) broken up
2 cups button mushrooms, thickly sliced
½ tsp ground turmeric
1 ¼ tsp salt or to taste
2 ¼ cups water
6 green cardamoms, split open on the top
6 whole cloves
2 bay leaves, crumbled

1. Wash and soak rice in cold water for 30 minutes, drain and set aside.
2. Melt ghee/butter over medium heat and fry caraway seeds for 30 seconds.
3. Add onions and cinnamon sticks, stir and fry until onions are golden brown (about 6-8 minutes)
4. Add rice and fry, stirring constantly, for 3-4 minutes. Add mushrooms, turmeric and salt, stir and fry for a further 2-3 minutes over low heat.
5. Add water, cardamoms, cloves, and bay leaves; bring to boil, cover the pan and simmer for 12-15 minutes. DO NOT LIFT THE LID or stir rice during cooking.
6. Remove from heat, uncover and allow steam to escape for 1-2 minutes. Cover the pan and keep aside for 10-15 minutes before serving.

Potatoes with Poppy Seeds

5 TBSP cooking oil
½ tsp Kalonji (onion seeds) optional
1 tsp cumin seeds
4-6 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
½ tsp ground turmeric
4 potatoes, peeled and diced
1 fresh green chili pepper, finely chopped
6 TBSP white or black poppy seeds
1 tsp salt or to taste

1. Heat oil in nonstick or cast iron skillet until smoking. Remove from heat and add kalonji (if used) and cumin seeds.
2. As soon as seeds start cracking, add garlic and place pan over medium heat.
3. Add ground black pepper and turmeric, stir briskly and add the potatoes and chili pepper. Fry the potatoes 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly.
4. Reduce heat to low, cover pan and cook until potatoes are tender (10 minutes), stirring occasionally.
5. Meanwhile, grind the poppy seed in a coffee or spice grinder until a coarse mixture. Add to potatoes, adjust heat to medium and fry potato and poppy seed mixture for 5-6 minutes, stirring frequently.
6. Stir in salt and remove from heat.

Cauliflower with Cashews

1 tsp ground coriander
½ tsp garam masala
¼ tsp ground turmeric
½ to 1 tsp chili powder or cayenne pepper
2/3 cup milk
¾ cup raw cashews, split into halves
1 large cauliflower cut into ½ inch flowerettes
¾ tsp salt or to taste
¼ cup ground almonds
1 TBSP chopped coriander leaves for garnish

1. Put coriander, garam masala, turmeric, and chili powder in small glass bowl and heat in microwave on 100% power (high) for 1 ½ minutes. Sir and stand aside for five minutes.
2. Put milk, cashews, and heated spices into a 3-pint casserole, cover with lit or pierced plastic wrap and cook on 100% power for 3 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking time.
3. Add cauliflower and salt, recover and cook on 100% power for 6 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes.
4. Stir in ground almonds and cook, uncovered, on 100% power for 3 minutes, stirring every minute.
5. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves.

Chicken Tikka
to use with the Chicken Tikka Masala

1 lb boneless, skinned chicken breasts
1 tsp salt
Juice of ½ lemon
½ tsp tandoori color or a few drops of red food coloring mixed with 1 TBSP tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
½-inch cube of root ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 tsp ground coriander
½ tsp ground allspice or garam masala
¼ of a whole nutmeg, finely grated
½ tsp ground turmeric
2/3 cup thick set plain yogurt
4 TBSP corn or vegetable oil
½ tsp chili powder

1. Cut chicken into 1-inch cubes. Sprinkle with ½ tsp salt from the specified amount, and the lemon juice – mix thoroughly, cover and set aside for 30 minutes.
2. Put rest of ingredients into a food processor or blender and blend until smooth.
3. Put marinade into a strainer and hold strainer over chicken pieces. Press marinade through with back of metal spoon until only a very coarse mixture is left.
4. Coat chicken thoroughly with the strained marinade, cover the container and leave to marinate for 6 to 8 hours or overnight in refrigerator.
5. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F
6. Line roasting pan with aluminum foil (to help maintain high level of temperature required to cook the chicken quickly w/o drying it out).
7. Threat chicken onto skewers, leaving ¼ inch gap between each piece (so heat reaches all sides of chicken).
8. Place skewers in prepared roasting pan and brush with some of remaining marinade.
9. Cook in center of oven for 6 to 8 minutes.
10. Take pan out of oven, turn skewers over and brush pieces of chicken with remaining marinade.
11. Return pan to oven and cook for a further 6 to 8 minutes.
12. Shake off any excess liquid from the chicken. (Strain excess liquid and set aside to make Chicken Tikka Masala)
13. Place skewers on serving dish. You make take tikka off skewer if you wish, but allow meat to cool slightly before removing from skewers.

Chicken Tikka Masala

1 lb Chicken Tikka (see other recipe)
½ inch cube root ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 tsp salt or to taste
4 TBSP unsalted butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
¼ tsp ground turmeric
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground coriander
½ tsp garam masala
¼ to ½ tsp chili powder
½ cup liquid made up of the reserved juices of the precooked Chicken Tikka and warm water
1 ¾ cups double cream
2 heaped TBSP ground almonds

1. Mix together ginger, garlic, salt 1/2 tsp salt from the specified amount and crush to a pulp. Keep remaining salt aside for later use.
2. Melt butter gently and fry and fry the onions for 2-3 minutes.
3. Add ginger/garlic paste and cook for 1 minute.
4. Stir in turmeric and then the then the cumin, coriander, garam masala, and chili powder. Stir and cook for 2 minutes.
5. Add liquid and stir gently.
6. Gradually add the cream and stir.
7. Add the remaining salt and simmer for five minutes and then add the chicken. Adjust heat to low, cover and cook for 10 minutes.
8. Stir in ground almonds and simmer for 5-6 minutes.
9. Remove from heat.

Pasanda Badam Curry
(Or Panda Badam Curry)

2 lb boned leg of lamb (we used beef)
1 inch cube of root ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
4-6 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 fresh green chili peppers, seeded and coarsely chopped
4 TBSP plain yogurt
4 TBSP ghee or unsalted butter
3 medium-sized onions, finely sliced
½ tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
½ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ to ½ tsp chili powder
1 cup warm water
1 1/3 tsp salt or to taste
2/3 cup cream
½ cup ground almonds
1 tsp garam masala or ground mixed spice
2 TBSP rosewater (optional)
½ tsp paprika

1. Beat meat with mallet to flatten it to ¼ inch thickness, cut into thin slices (about 1 ½ in long and ½ in wide)
2. Put ginger, garlic, green chili peppers, and yogurt into blender or food processer and blend until smooth.
3. Melt butter over medium heat and fry onions until they are browned (6-8 minutes)
4 Add turmeric, cumin, coriander, nutmeg, and chili powder; adjust heat to low, stir and fry for 2-3 minutes.
5. Add meat and fry over high heat for 3-4 minutes or until it changes color.
6. Add about 2 TBSP blended ingredients and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently. Repeat this process until all the yogurt mixture is used up.
7. Fry meat over medium heat, 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently. When the fat begins to seep through the thick spices and floats on the surface, add water and bring to a boil. Cover pan and simmer until meat is tender (about 60 minutes), stirring occasionally.
8. Add salt, cream, and ground almonds, and let simmer w/o lid for five minutes.
9 Stir in garam masala and rosewater (if using), and remove from heat.
10. Put the pasanda into a service dish and sprinkle the paprika on top, if desired.

Pasanda Badam Curry

We did not get to try these out, but we were going to make one of these Vermicelli desserts and she had a bread pudding recipe she’d earmarked, as well. We are hoping to do this in the future. Maybe have a deserts night.

Vermicelli Kheer

2 TBSP ghee or unsalted butter
1 oz plain vermicelli
2 TBSP raisins
¼ cup almonds, blanched and slivered
2 ½ cups whole milk
¼ cup sugar
1 TBSP ground almonds
½ tsp ground cardamom
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 TBSP rose water or 5-6 drops other flavorings such as vanilla or almond

1. Melt butter over low heat and add the vermicelli, raisons, and slivered almonds. Stir and fry until vermicelli is golden brown (2-3 minutes).
2. Add milk, sugar, and ground almond. Bring to a boil and simmer gently for 20 minutes, stirring frequently.
3. Stir in ground cardamom and cinnamon and remove pan from heat.
4. Allow kheer to cool slightly and stir in rose water or other flavoring.

Sweet Vermicelli

4 oz plain vermicelli
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup raw cashew nuts, split or coarsely chopped
¼ cup blanched almonds, split whole, coarsely chopped, or sliced
2 tbsp raisins
4 cardamoms, split open on the top
½ tsp ground cardamom
½ tsp ground nutmeg
1 ¼ cups water
4 TBSP ghee or unsalted butter

1. Break vermicelli into small portions.
2. Melt 1 TBSP butter over low heat and fry raisins until they swell up. Remove pan from heat and transfer raisins to another plate with slotted spoon.
3. Place pan back on heat, add all nuts and stir and fry until nuts turn slightly brown. Transfer them with slotted spoon to another dish.
4. Return pot to heat, add remaining butter and adjust temperature to medium. Add whole cardamom and fry for 30 seconds.
5. Add vermicelli and fry until it turns a rich golden color (about 5 minutes) stirring constantly.
6. Remove pan from heat, add the raisins, half the fried nuts, ground cardamom and ground nutmeg and stir rapidly.
7. Return pan to heat and add the water and sugar. Bring to a boil, cover the pan and simmer for 5 minutes.
8. Take lid off, adjust heat to medium and cook vermicelli for 2-3 minutes or until liquid dries up, stirring constantly.
9. Remove from heat and serve hot or cold.
10. if serving cold, using a fork, separate the vermicelli strands as they will stick together when cold.
11. Garnish with remaining fried nuts.



( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Oct. 21st, 2008 12:20 pm (UTC)
email the recipes
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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