Category Archives: indian cuisine

Mrs. Kaur

Jaahaan’s mom, Mrs. Kaur is visiting from Delhi for a few weeks. I don’t know why she would visit Syracuse in January with all this snow when the weather in Delhi is balmy and wonderful. I’d been hearing stories about her mom’s obsession with PNC, so I asked for a cooking lesson and Mrs. Kaur gratefully obliged. When I arrived at Jaahaan’s apartment Mrs. Kaur  already had all the spices set out, the vegetables diced, and was ready to go. It was like entering into the Indian version of Everyday Italian with Giada. Pretty much a dream come true.

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This is all Mrs. Kaur has to work with. One saucepan, one skillet and a rice cooker. And I learned that the basic ingredients in any Indian dish are tomatoes, onions, maybe some ginger garlic paste, and some spices. Really the most essential spice is a garam masala mix. Just goes to show that Indian cooking isn’t hard. All you need is a pot, some vegetables, and a spice mix and you are cooking like a true Desi lady. Most of the ingredients used can be found in the International isle at Wegmans. Some of the more obscure items, like amchoor powder, can be found at Kashmir Grocery on Erie Boulevard.

PANEER CURRY

1/4 cup onion paste* |||| 1 teaspoon garlic ginger paste |||| 3/4 cup tomato puree |||| 1 teaspoon salt |||| 1/2 teaspoon turmeric |||| 1 teaspoon garam masala |||| 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder |||| 1 teaspoon chili powder |||| 1/2 cup diced green pepper |||| 1/2 cup diced onion |||| 1 1/2 cups milk |||| 1 package fried paneer

*To make the onion paste: mix diced onions in a blender or a food processor until an onion paste forms. Then briefly saute the paste in a skillet with some oil until the paste turns light brown. The onion paste will keep in the fridge for up to a month.

1. Heat vegetable oil in the bottom of a medium-sized pot. Add the onion paste and garlic ginger paste and saute for about 2 minutes.

2. Then add the tomato puree and spices. Allow the mixture to cook for another 3-4 minutes.

3. Add the milk, green peppers, onions, paneer, and 1 /2 cup of water to the spiced tomato puree mixture.  Allow the mixture to boil until the curry thickens and the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.

POTATOES with MUSTARD SEEDS

1 teaspoon mustard seeds |||| 2 potatoes, peeled, boiled, and diced |||| 1 small onion, cut into thin strips |||| 1 teaspoon garlic ginger paste |||| 1/4 cup tomato puree |||| 1 teaspoon salt |||| 1/2 teaspoon amchoor (dried mango powder) |||| 1/2 teaspoon turmeric |||| 2 teaspoons garam masala |||| 1 teaspoon dhania powder (coriander seed) |||| 1 teaspoon chili powder

1. Heat a few teaspoons of vegetable oil in a skillet. Once the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds. Beware! The mustard seeds will pop. Stand back so you don’t shoot your eye out. Allow the seeds to cook for about 30 seconds before adding the onions.

2. Once the onions start to turn brown add the tomato puree and the spices. Allow the onions to cook with the spices for another 3-4 minutes.

3. Then add potatoes and 1 cup of water to the skillet. Allow the mixture to cook until the water is totally evaporated.

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Econ homework and a plate of Indian food for dinner.

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This kitty only speaks Hindi.

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Filed under indian cuisine, side dish, vegetarian

get smashed

MASALA SMASHED POTATOES

1/2 cup white onion, finely chopped |||| 1/2 cup green pepper, finely chopped |||| 1 can diced tomatoes |||| 2 tablespoons Shahi Paneer Masala spice mix |||| 4 red potatoes

1. Saute onion and green pepper until tender. Then add the tomatoes and spice mix to the skillet. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook until the mixture thickens.

2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the potatoes, diced into large chunks with skins still on. Boil the potatoes until they are soft and tender.

3. Combine the curry mixture into the potatoes and smash them together. Add a little bit of milk or chicken broth to make the potatoes more creamy.

 

Standin around in my kitchen, making expletives out of the letters on the fridge, everyone ate the paneer chunks out of my leftover curry. (Paneer is cheese cubes that function like tofu in many Indian dishes.) This was Indian cuisine at its finest – cold leftovers eaten straight out of the pan with Tostitos chips. I’ll call it college Indian.

Any how, now I have just the leftover tomato/onion/green pep mix. Oh, and this curry was super spicy because I had a ditsy moment and added waaaay too much of the spice mix. In order to dull the intense spiciness I was planning on adding roasted potatoes to the leftovers, but the smashed potatoes ended up being a great last minute call. The recipe posted here is sort of a guess at how to make these mashed potatoes when they aren’t leftovers.

But that’s the thing about Indian, once you get familiar with the spices, its so easy to make. And I think its kind of healthy. Although a lot of dishes contain butter or cream, most are packed with veggies. This recipe is just too easy and delicious to pass up. If you can’t make it out to the Indian store for the masala mix, just substitute with curry powder from the grocery store.

 

ROASTED GARLIC and BACON SMASHED POTATOES

1/2 head of roasted garlic |||| 4 slices of bacon, chopped |||| 5 red potatoes |||| 1/4 cup sour cream |||| 1/4 cup milk |||| 2 tablespoons butter |||| salt and pepper to taste

1. Directions for roasted garlic here.  

2. Boil potatoes.

3. Fry bacon.

4. Smash everything together.

 

Okay, so this isn’t the most creative recipe ever. But damn, these potatoes are fine.

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Filed under indian cuisine, pork, side dish

chickpea curry

2 tablespoons vegetable oil |||| 3 garlic cloves, crushed ||||  2-3 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger root |||| 2-3 tablespoons medium or hot curry powder |||| 1-2 teaspoons dried red pepper flakes |||| 1 1/2 x 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes |||| 1 teaspoon brown sugar |||| 2 x 13 ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed |||| pinch of salt |||| low-fat plain yogurt, for garnish

1. Heat oil in a large, non stick wok or frying pan and add the garlic and ginger. Stir-fry for thirty seconds and then add the curry powder and dried red pepper flakes. Cook for 1 minute before adding the diced tomatoes and sugar.

2. Bring the mixture to a boil, cover, reduce the heat, and cook over medium heat for 10-12 minutes.

3. Stir in the chickpeas and mix well. Cook over medium heat for 3-4 minutes, until chickpeas are heated through.

4. Season with salt and remove from the heat. Garnish with yogurt before serving.

COST:

This is a really cheap recipe. I had the oil, garlic, sugar, salt and curry powder in the pantry. I am new to cooking Indian, so I don’t know a lot about the spices and how they are used. For now I am cheating with a purchased curry powder mixture. Curry powder is available in the spices section of any grocery store and usually costs $3-5. Here’s the cost of the ingredients I purchased:

$0.60 – small piece of ginger root                                                                                                          

$2.40 – 2 cans of diced tomatoes                                                                 

$1.58 – 2 cans of chickpeas                                                                          

$0.97 – 6 ounce container of plain yogurt                                                  ________                                                                                                       

$5.55 TOTAL

$5.55/ 4 servings = $1.39

 

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Filed under indian cuisine, Uncategorized, vegetarian