Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Trying Indian

We love Indian food.  But it's expensive to eat out at the really good Indian places here (Bombay House, yum!), and I've never tried to make it myself, until now.

A while ago we got this "India's 500 Best Recipes" book from the bookstore at school (super clearance section, yeah!).  I decided to try a few of our flagged recipes when my parents came to town.  My mom is always complaining that I never cook for her (probably because she lives 12 hours away), so this was my chance to show off.

I think next time I won't try three new recipes on the day I'm making dinner for visitors, because it got to be a bit too stressful.  The food turned out really well though, and I'll probably be making some of this again.

A note about some of these spices: you will probably need to get the garam masala, ground turmeric, and tamarind pulp at an Asian food store.  The one we went to was across Center street from the Target in Orem.  There are a couple more in Provo but they were closed when we went looking (also, probably don't wait until a few hours beforehand to go searching).  Also, not only could we not find the tamarind pulp at the store, but the lady didn't even know what it was.  I looked up a few replacements, but replacing it with lemon juice really didn't have the flavor it should have (but it was still good).  So just plan ahead I guess.


Chicken in Cashew Nut Sauce
from India's 500 Best Recipes

2 medium onions (we were all in tears-- even the cat-- during meal prep this time)

2 Tbsp tomato puree or paste

2 oz or 1 1/2 cup cashew nuts (fyi, these were kind of pricey, maybe I just don't know where to look)

1 1/2 tsp garam masala

1 tsp crushed garlic

1 tsp chili powder (I omitted this because my mom is sensitive to spicy stuff)

1 Tbsp lemon juice

1/4 ground turmeric

1 tsp salt

1 Tbsp plain yogurt

2 Tbsp oil

2 Tbsp chopped fresh coriander/cilantro

1 Tbsp golden raisins (I omitted these too because raisins are gross)

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cubed

2 1/2 cups button mushrooms (it doesn't say to cut them, but I did, into quarters-ish)

1 1/4 cups water

1. Cut onions into quarters and place in food processor or blender and process for about a minute.

2. Add tomato puree, cashews, garam masala garlic, chili powder, lemon juice, turmeric, salt, and yogurt.  Process the mixture for another minute or more.

3. In a heavy pan, heat the oil, lower the heat to medium and pour in the spice mixture from the food processor.  Fry the mixture for 2 minutes, lowering the heat a little more if necessary.

4. When the spice mixture is lightly cooked, add half the chopped fresh cilantro, the raisins, and the chicken cubes.  Continue to stir-fry for another minute.

5. Add the mushrooms, pour in the water, and simmer.  Cover the pan and cook over a low heat for about 10 minutes.

6. After this time, check that the chicken is cooked through and the sauce is thick.  Cook for a little longer if necessary, then spoon into a serving bowl (or just on the plates).  Garnish with the rest of the cilantro.  Serve with rice.

Doesn't look like much, but it sure is tasty.

Cauliflower and Coconut Milk Curry
from India's 500 Best Recipes

1 cauliflower (this turned out to be a ton, so we didn't use every floret)

2 medium tomatoes, skinned if you like (I didn't)

1 onion, chopped (again with the tears)

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 fresh green chili, seeded (I omitted this for previously mentioned reasons)

1/2 tsp ground turmeric

2 Tbsp sunflower (or other) oil

14 fl oz can coconut milk

1 cup water

1 tsp granulated sugar

1 tsp tamaring pulp, soaked in 3 tbsp water (again, we replaced this with lemon juice, there are a variety of other things to replace it with if you search)

1. Trim the stalk from the cauliflower and divide into tiny florets.  Chop tomatoes into 1-in pieces and set aside.

2. Grind the onion, garlic, green chili, and ground turmeric into a paste in the food processor.

3.  Heat the oil in a heavy pan, wok, large frying pan, karahi, whatever.  Fry the spice paste to bring out the aromas but do not allow it to brown.

4. Add the cauliflower florets, toss to coat well in spices.  Stir in coconut milk, water, sugar, and salt to taste.  Simmer for 5 minutes.  Strain the tamarind and reserve the juices.

5. Add tamarind juice and chopped tomatoes to the pan then cook for 2-3 minutes only.  Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary, then serve.

Cauliflower num

from India's 500 Best Recipes

2 cups unbleached white bread flour

1/2 tsp salt

15g fresh yeast

4 Tbsp lukewarm milk

1 Tbsp vegetable oil

2 Tbsp plain yogurt

1 egg

butter, for brushing

1. Sift flour and salt together in a large bowl and set aside.  In a smaller bowl, cream the yeast with the milk.  Set aside for 15 minutes.

2.  Add yeast and milk mixture, oil, yogurt, and egg to the flour.

3.  Combine the mixture using your hands until it forms a soft dough.  Add a little more of the lukewarm water if the dough is too dry.

4.  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth (about 10 minutes).  Return dough to the bowl and let it rise until doubled in size, or for one hour.

5. Preheat oven to highest setting.  It shouldn't be any lower than 450 degrees.

6. Turn out dough onto floured surface and knead for 2 more minutes.  Divide into equal pieces, shape into balls and roll out into teardrop shapes (we made five large pieces).

7. Throw naan onto preheated cookie sheets and bake until puffed and browned, 3-4 minutes.  Place under broiler (if you have one separate) for a few seconds until browned.  Brush with butter and serve.


LP said...

This was all really tasty -- even the leftovers were delicious -- and I thank you for not including chili powder. I'd like to try it again sometime when there's tamarind pulp to be had.

Anonymous said...

Yum! And I've found cashews to be expensive also. Them's the breaks, I guess.