Indian


If I had to choose my favorite cuisine it would have to be Indian. Mostly because of the spices. But also because most of the dishes are fairly quick. If I had my druthers, I would probably eat curry or some other equally spicy dish just about every nite. But I don’t because if I cook Indian it is just for me. And that’s okay. I was excited when Glennis chose this dish for this week’s Eating with Ellie.

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The flattened chicken breast is marinated for about 10 minutes in a mix of yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, fresh ginger, and spices. Then popped on a grill (or in my case a grill pan.) Ellie doesn’;t call these recipes Weeknight Wonders for nothing. About 30 minutes and you have a spicy, warm, comforting meal. Ellie suggested serving it with flatbread and a salad, but this called more for a nice spicy yellow rice.

The recipe is on page 137 of Ellie’s Weeknight Wonders. And if you want to see what the other Ellie Eaters thought about this chicken just check over at Eating with Ellie where we all get together and visit.

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I used to think that I would never find ANYTHING on a Vegetarian Blog because I don’t eat a lot of veggies. I have my fave few – brocolli, cauliflower, eggplant, corn, asparagus, lentils – but there are many I don’t eat – well, yet anyway. Asparagus and lentils are new to me, eggplant almost as new. So when the word vegetarian comes up I tend to shy away.

No more! Not since I joined the Secret Recipe club and have been ‘assigned’ several over the past couple of years!! YAY Veggies!!

And April brought me another foray into delicious veggies – I still mainly stick to my faves but I am learning new ways to cook them all the time. And cooking with Nayna at Simply Foods was such fun! Nayna lives in the United Kingdom where she creates all kinds of lovely dishes – including 44 curries. Yes, FORTY-FOUR!! I was in heaven.

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I started with her Aubergine and Pidgeon Peas Curry which I adapted only slightly. I could not find Pidgeon Peas so I used frozen green peas instead. Now I want to make it with yellow lentils!!

    6 baby aubergines {I had one large so I used that.}
    120 grams frozen or fresh pidgeon green peas
    1 teaspoon tumeric
    3/4 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon chilli powder {I doubled all the spices except for the salt}
    1 teaspoon cumin powder
    1 teaspoon coriander powder
    2 medium tomatoes1 14.5 oz diced tomatoes, drained
    1 teaspoon tomato paste
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    2 teaspoon garlic paste, diced
    1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
    1 tablespoon fresh chopped coriander for garnish.


Chop the tomatoes and puree them in blender
.
Peel the eggplant and cut into large dice.
Add the oil to a large skillet and when hot, add in the mustard seeds and garlic. Sautee until garlic is tender.
Add the eggplant pieces and peas and saute until tender.
Thoroughly mix in the salt, chilli powder, cumin and coriander powder and turmeric and saute for another 2-3 minutes.
Mix 1/2 cup of water {I used the liquid from the drained canned tomatoes} with the tomato paste and add to the eggplant mixture.
Cover and cook the curry till peas and eggplants are tender and cooked and most of the water is absorbed. (approx 15 minutes)
Transfer to serving dish and garnish with fresh coriander. (Original Recipe)

Or what about Nanya’s Sweet Potato Halwa

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    1 large sweet potato
    3 tablespoons Splenda {only because we are cutting back on our sugar.}
    2 tablespoons milk
    1 tablespoon ghee butter
    Pinch saffron
    Pinch nutmeg
    Chopped Almonds

Cook the sweet potato in a microwaveable dish with until completely cooked – about 5 minutes.
Let cool slightly, peel, and process the sweet potato until smooth.
Heat the milk and add a few strands of saffron and set aside until the saffron flavor has infused the milk.
Melt the butter in a pan and add the mashed sweet potato and milk. Stir.
Add the Splenda and nutmeg and cook about 3 minutes. Keep stirring the halwa at all times.
Spoon into small bowls. Sprinkle with chopped almonds and a few strands of Saffron. Original Recipe


This is listed as a sweet treat, but it makes a nice mid-afternoon snack that is high in protein and low in calories.

Not all of Nayna’s recipes are Indian. On my list to try: Greek Baklava ROLLS (easy roll recipe), Watermelon pops this summer when we harvest ours, Greek Phyllo Triangles Mexican Quesadilla..oh, wait I had that for lunch! And the only thing I changed was to add a little spicy chicken to the mix.

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– just to name a few of the 31 recipes I have pinned. So much good food, so little time!!!

If you want to get to know Nayna just read the poem she wrote:

    Cinnamon clove and star anise
    Fragrant aromas to tantalise and please
    Cooking, baking, mixing with a whizz
    Desserts, cakes, and ice creams that you can freeze please.
    Sweet and sour with a hint of bite
    Maybe a salad for that something lite light?
    Flour, eggs, and buttermilk
    Chocolate soufflés that fall down and sink turn out like silk.
    A savoury touch with some special spice
    Something that gives a kick and goes with rice
    Eastern, Western or a European dish
    Culinary delights to earn you a kiss fulfil your every wish.
    Day and night I think dream of food
    I know for my waistline this is no good
    So instead I write my creations in a blog

      ….and then go visit her blog!! You won’t be sorry!!

And to visit the other MEMBER’s Treats and Goodies :

I have loved Indian Cuisine since I was very young, living in England. We were in London and chanced upon Veeraswamy’s Restaurant. It became a regular place to go for my parents. And for me, if I was lucky. But it wasn’t until a many many years later that I discovered the joys of a very simple and very sweet Indian treat – GULAB JAMUN.

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“You could call them fried milk balls in syrup” is how Jaffrey describes them in The Madjur Jaffrey Cookbook. And that is exactly what they are. A mix of powdered milk, whole milk with a little flour thrown in. A cross between a doughnut hole and an Æbleskiver. Kinda! After frying it is ‘syruped’ and then soaked in a cardamom syrup. Eaten warm – YUM YUM!!

    Syrup:

      2 lbs granulated sugar
      3 cardamom pods, slightly crushed
      1 3.4 pints water

Combine water, syrup and cardamom pods in a 3-qt pot. Simmer until sugar has dissolved. DO NOT STIR!! Pour 1/2 of the syrup into a serving bowl (about 2 qt). Leave remainder in the pot with the pods.

    Milk Balls:

      6 oz powdered milk
      3 oz AP flour
      4 fl oz veggie oil or ghee
      4 fl oz milk
      veggie oil for frying

Make a soft dough with the powdered milk, flour, oil and milk in a bowl. Make small, smooth 1″ balls out of the dough.

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Heat the oil in a deep frying pan (about 3″ of oil) over a LOW flame. The jamun need to be fried slowly.
Test the oil by putting one jamun in the oil. If it browns too quickly it is TOO HOT. If it fries too slowly, turn the heat up. The jamun should end up a golden brown.

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Don’t fry more than aoub 5 or 6 at a time. When they are done lift them from th oil and put them to simmer in the syrup for about 5 minutes. It takes about 5 minutes to fry a batch, so while one batch is frying, one batch is ‘syruping’. After 5 minutes or so place them in the fresh syrup in the serving bowl. Repeat until all the balls are fried, syruped and in the serving bowl. Cool, cover the bowl and refrigerate. Discard the syrup in the pot.

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These can be served cold, at room temp or slightly warmed – the way I like them. When served, only the jamun should be served, not the syrup.

I had promised myself I would make these for the last PL with Donna Hay’s 6 month run. My first batches were a little too brown. It wasn’t until the last 10 that they finally turned out just right.
The recipe makes at least 24. I made 1/2 of the recipe and ended up with 14.

This is potluck week for I Heart Cooking Club. The recipe is on page 839 of Madjur’s book.

So here we are. Potluck for I Heart Cooking Club. One more time to experiment with Jaffrey’s recipes. Something simple this week.

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I usually steam my cauliflower and serve it wit a simple cheese sauce. Or eat it raw. So this time I have a nice spiced side dish. Easy to make. Tasty.

    Large head cauliflower
    3 tablespoons vegetable oil
    Generous pinch of ground asafetida
    1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
    1/2 medium onion, peeled and cut into very fine rings
    1/2-1 fresh, hot green chili, finely chopped .
    1 teaspoon ground cumin
    1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
    1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
    I/8 – 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
    3/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
    1 1/2 cup water
    2 teaspoons lemon juice

Break the cauliflower into florets
Heat the oil in a large frying pan or wok over medium-high heat. When oil is hot put in the asafetida. followed quickly by the cumin seeds. Quickly add the onion and fry for about 2 minutes while stirring until the onion slices brown. Add in the cauliflower and green chili. Reduce heat to medium and toss. Add the remaining spices and salt. Toss for another minute. Add the water and lemon juice, toss. Bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook for 5-7 minutes or until the cauliflower is just tender.

This recipe is from Madjur Jaffrey’s Indian Cooking and on page 1465

I am anxious to see what the other members of IHCC made this week. Click on over there and find out with me.

IHCC

I live in the South. We eat a lot of rice in the south. A lot of rice. And usually a long grain type of rice. But in the past few years we have discovered other types of rice. Jasmine. Brown. Basmati. Brown Basmati. Even Black rice. THAT one I haven’t cooked yet but I have it. Basmati has become one of our favorites. I am always glad to find new ways to use it. Like this dish from Madhur Jaffrey.

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Rice, onions, mushrooms, cumin. The ingredient list is short, but The rice is very tasty.

    2 cups Basmati rice
    4 Tbl oil
    1/2 tsp cumin seeds
    1 medium onion, finely chopped
    4 medium mushrooms, finely chopped
    1 tsp salt
    2 cups water

Wash the rice several times and drain.
Heat the oil in a heavy saucepan with a tight fitting lid over medium heat. When hot, put in the cumin seeds. Stir and fry for a few seconds. Put in the onion and sauté for a few minutes until onion is soft. Add the mushrooms and sauté for another 2 or 3 minutes. Add in drained rice and salt. Saute for a 3 to 4 minutes. Add two cups of water and bring to a boil. Cover, turn heat to low and cook for 25 minutes or until rice is done.


This was a perfect simple side for any dish. When I make it again I will double the cumin. And I would use more salt. This time I made 1/2 of the recipe but used the same amount of mushrooms. Recipe from The Madhur Jaffrey Cookbook page 163

This is potluck week with I Heart Cooking Club so we can cook with Donna Hay, or current chef, or with anyone else whose dishes we have been enjoying. I chose to cook, again, with Madjur Jaffrey. So many of her dishes I still want to try. Check with the other IHCC members and see what they made for potluck.

A whole new year has begun. That means twelve more months of the Secret Recipe Club. It’s a cooking group where each month we are assigned a Secret Blog. We cook from it and then post what we cooked. It’s all secret until reveal day. Thus the name – SECRET Recipe Club. Every month we get to meet different bloggers. Expand our horizons. Make new friends. This month I added bunches of pins all because I met up with Manuela of Manu’s Menu. So many things I want to make. It’s always hard to choose from so many good things. I stuck with three. All of them a version of something I would have to cook for us to eat.

So we’ll start with Bread.

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    Whole Wheat Bread

If you need a sweetish nutty sandwich bread, this is the one.

    Ingredients: (makes two 23×12.5 cm – 9×5 inch loaves)
    235 ml – 1 cup warm water
    10 gms – 2 tsp active dry yeast
    235 ml – 1 cup milk
    90 ml – ¼ cup honey
    2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    350 gms – 2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading
    350 gms – 2 ¾ cups whole wheat flour
    1 tbsp salt

Put the warm water in a glass and dissolve the yeast into it. Set it aside for a few minutes to activate.
In the meantime, put the milk, honey, extra virgin olive oil and salt in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the hook attachment. Add the water and yeast, two cups of all-purpose flour and stir to combine the ingredients. Add the rest of the all-purpose and whole wheat flours. Stir to form a rough dough. Let this dough stand for 20 minutes so that the flour can absorb the liquid.

Now, knead the dough for 8-9 minutes. If the dough is very sticky, add extra flour little by little. The dough is ready when “it is smooth, feels slightly tacky, forms a ball without sagging, and springs back when poked”.

Form the dough into a ball, spray it with some olive oil and put it into a bowl. Cover it with cling wrap and put it in a warm place to rise until doubled in volume (this will take at least 1 hour).
Then, divide the dough in two and shape each half into a ball. Let them rest for 10 minutes.

Grease two loaf pans. Shape each ball of dough into a loaf. To do so, gently flatten the balls into rectangles. Now fold the bottom third of the dough over itself (like a letter) and then fold the top of the dough down to overlap the other layers and pinch it closed with your fingers (on all sides). Roll the loaf over so that the seam is down, then fold the 2 sides and tuck them underneath. Now gently put the loaf into the pan. The seams should be on the bottom with the tight surface facing up Let the loaves rise for another 30 minutes. Slash the top with a serrated knife so that it rises evenly in the oven.

Preheat the oven to 220°C – 425°F. Put the loaves in and turn down the heat to 190°C – 375°F. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until dark golden-brown. They will sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Let them cool completely before slicing.

This was such good bread. So much flavor. Mine didn’t rise as much as I expected. ot But that’s alright.

And we needed supper one night so I used another of Manuela’s recipes.

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    Penne with Sausage Sauce

We love any kind of of pasta add some sausage to it and it is a perfect meal. As was this dish of Manuela’s I used 1/2 Venison Sausage and 1/2 pork sausage.

    300 gms of Italian style sausage with fennel seeds (you should be able to get this at your local deli)
    2 tins (800 gms) of diced tomatoes
    3 medium carrots
    1 medium onion
    2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
    1 standard shot of Brandy/Cognac {I left this out}
    100 ml of cream
    1 cup of water
    Salt & pepper to taste (depending on the sausage you may need more or less salt)
    400 gms of penne rigate pasta
    Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano – very finely grated, to serve

Clean and finely chop the onion and carrots and cook them with the 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil on a medium fire until they are soft.
Remove the sausage from the skin and chop it coarsely.Then add it to the onion and carrots and mash it with a wooden spoon.
When the sausage has browned, add the diced tomatoes, 1 cup of water, a pinch of salt and pepper.Cover and cook on low fire for approximately 1 hour (when the sauce thickens it is ready).
Add the Brandy/Cognac and cook uncovered on a high flame for 2 minutes. Then lower the flame, add the cream, bring it back to a boil and simmer for 2 minutes. Check for salt.

In the meantime, cook the penne pasta “al dente” . Serve with the sausage sauce and some grated Parmigiano Reggiano on the top.

Definitely this is a repeat. But maybe next time I will remember to ADD THE CREAM!! I completely left it out. After we finished I found the container of cream STILL SITTING ON THE COUNTER. It was good without the cream. I can imagine how nice and thick and smooth it would be WITH the cream.

We had a cold snap (as did just about everybody else) and ran out of my Chai mix for making tea. Lucky for me Manuela had a recipe for Chai on her blog.

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    10 gms – 2 tsp pepper powder
    10 gms – 2 tsp ginger powder
    7 gms – 1.5 tsp cardamom powder
    7 gms – 1.5 tsp cinnamon powder
    0.5 gm – ¼ tsp clove powder
    0.5 gm – ¼ tsp nutmeg powder

Put all the ingredients in a small container with a lid and stir until well combined. Keep in a well closed jar.

Of course this is just the mix for the tea. To make the tea you can use her Method to make it.

I liked all of the proportions of her spices except for the pepper. I doubled everything except for the pepper. Much more to my taste.

These are only three of the many, many delicious recipes on Manu’s Menu. I only pinned about 30 of her dishes. Enough to keep us eating for a long time. You have to visit with Manuela. You have to try her recipes. You have to see for yourself.

Please visit the other SRC Group C members and see what blogs they cooked from.


A few weeks back I made a curry for a friend and me. While I was at it, I made poories/puries to scoop up the lovely sauce that was left behind. What is a poori? It is very much like a chapati, a flat bread, that is fried.

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The difference between a chapati and a poori is the addition of a little oil. If you have ever had Indian Fry Bread or Mexican Sopaipillas, then you have something like a poori.

    2 oz all-purpose flour
    2 oz whole-wheat flour
    1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    about 1/4 cup warm water
    oil for deep frying

Sift flours and salt into a medium bowl. Stir in tablespoon oil and mix in enough of the water to make a soft dough.

Knead dough 5 minutes and then lightly cover with oil and plu in a plastic bag and let rest 30 minutes. Divide dough into 12 pieces; roll into balls. Dust balls with flour and cover with a damp cloth. Roll each ball out to about a 3-inch round, keeping unrolled balls and finished rounds covered with a cloth.

Half-fill a deep pan or deep-fryer with oil and heat until very hot over medium heat. Fry one or two poori at a time, turning over once, for 30-60 seconds. Keep patting top of the poori gently with a slotted spoon as they cook in order to make them puff up.

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Serve at once.

Eaten by themselves they are rather tasteless, but used like a biscuit with a good Indian stew they are delicious.

And, while very non-Indian, they aren’t bad coated with a little powdered sugar.

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This week was Potluck with I Heart Cooking Club and while we are cooking with Donna Hay until the end of March 2014 we can use any of the past chefs for Potluck. Again I went with Madjur Jaffrey. The recipe is on page 820 of The Madjur Jaffrey Cookbook Go visit with the other members of IHCC and check out their POTLUCK dishes.

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