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.
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.
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.
Econ homework and a plate of Indian food for dinner.
This kitty only speaks Hindi.