I am no culinary ignoramus, and certainly not one to think that Indian cuisine is limited to the curries and masalas us westerners are used to. In fact, I am both inspired and overwhelmed by the sheer breadth of the cuisine, depth of flavor, and diversity of origin of the food of the Indian subcontinent. I employ this disclaimer so as to explain my thinking heading into my first formal endeavor into the realm.
First inspired by an April 2013 Bon Appetit article detailing a complete take on Indian 'take-out' then egged on by article in May 2013 Saveur on Sindhi traditions, I decided to create my version of a few Indian staples entirely from scratch. This also happened to offer a convenient segue for this blog from BA magazine to Saveur for May.
I began this journey with only my taste buds and a few magazine suggestions as a guide, but soon found another, even better companion for my journey into this complex and mysterious world.
With an appetite like a wolverine and an adventurous palate to match, P is the perfect side-kick, no co-pilot, for this uncharted South Asian territory.
P is willing to try anything, but with a strong sense of what's good and frankly what isn't, he's quick to give valuable feedback and is always a clutch contributor along the way. I would recommend a partner like this, anytime you try something new in the kitchen.
My affinity for Indian food is fueled by my adolescent love affair with Imperial era novels, poetry and really any literature touched by Indian culture. Not that tyrannical rule and subjugation are appealing subject matter (shhh P) but instead I am drawn to the detail with which authors like LaPierre, Forster, and Kipling capture beauty, simultaneously sultry and vibrant, of the countryside, the cities, and the people despite the often dire circumstances surrounding their prose. It must be my desire to experience that beauty, in a sensory way, that draws me to the food....or maybe it's just the salty, creamy, spicy goodness...does it really matter?
Armed with a deep rooted desire, an able companion, and ‘Tyger Tyger' playing in my head, I embarked on our version of an Indian Feast, I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.
I apologize in advance that there was no story about me breaking into joyful dance as the naan sizzled or P wearing a bedazzled Sari, you'll have to use your imagination or wait for the next time we go Indian for that kind of excitement....
P & C Lamb Masala
- This is a hybrid of BA’s Chicken Tikka Masala (April ’13 page 34) and Food Network's Aarti Sequeira’s “Night Night Curry” – but our heavy handed seasoning really makes this our own
- Tip – Chicken is fine to substitute, and you can add really any vegetable like cauliflower or edamame to the dish for a little more color and flavor
- 6 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 4 teaspoons finely minced peeled ginger
- 4 teaspoons ground turmeric
- 2 teaspoons garam masala
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 ½ cups yogurt (not Greek)
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 2 pounds boneless leg of lamb (cut into 2”x2” cubes)
- 3 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter) or vegetable oil
- 1 small onion, thinly sliced
- 1 small can tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons cayenne
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ½ pound fresh or frozen peas
- Steamed basmati rice (for serving)
- Combine garlic, ginger, turmeric, garam masala, coriander, and cumin in a small bowl. Whisk yogurt, salt, and half of all spices in a medium bowl; add lamb and turn to coat. Cover and chill 4-6 hours.
- Heat ghee in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add onion and tomato paste, cook, stirring often, until tomato paste has darkened and onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add lamb, yogurt marinade, and remaining half of spice mixture and cook, stirring often, until bottom of pot begins to brown, about 4 minutes.
- Add cream, Simmer, stirring occasionally, until completely mixed, 2 mins
- Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400F. Pour lamb sauce mixture into small baking dish, cover with foil, and roast for 35 mins.
- After 35 mins lamb should be tender and slightly pink, reduce heat to 250, add peas (mixing them in thoroughly) and roast for another 30 mins uncovered allowing the sauce to brown a bit on top.
- Serve over rice.
“you should can this stuff”
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 green apple, diced into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 jalapeno pepper minced
- ½ cup dried apricots, diced
- (2-inch thumb) fresh ginger, peeled, minced.
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Heat the canola oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat. When simmering, add the fennel seeds-they should sizzle upon contact. If they don't, turn the heat up a little. Cook about 30 seconds.
- Add the onions and cook, stirring often, until the onions turn golden, about 10 minutes.
- Add the apples, ginger, jalapeno, sugar, apple cider vinegar, 2 teaspoons of salt and a generous amount of freshly ground pepper; stir and cook until the sugar melts.
- Keep cooking, stirring often, until the sugar thickens and caramelizes, and the apples soften, about 15 minutes.
- Taste for seasonings and serve.
Curry Onion Naan
- 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
- 3 tablespoons plain yogurt
- 1 table spoon mochi curry
- 1 small white onion, finely diced
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Coarse sea salt for sprinkling
- 4 tablespoons ghee + some high heat vegetable oil
- In a large glass, dissolve the dry yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar with 3/4 cup warm water (about 100 degrees F). Let it sit on your counter until it's frothy, about 10 minutes
- Meanwhile, sift the flour, salt, curry, and remaining 1 teaspoon of sugar and baking powder into a large, deep bowl.
- Once the yeast is frothy, add the yogurt, olive oil, and onion into the glass, and stir to combine.
- Pour the yogurt mixture into the dry ingredients and gently mix the ingredients together with a fork. When the dough is about to come together, use a wide rubber spoon (or your hands) to mix. It will feel gloppy, like there isn't enough flour, but keep going until it transforms into a soft, slightly sticky and pliable dough. (you will most likely need to add a bit more flour, as the onion has a high moisture content – this gets messy)
- As soon as it starts to feel like dough, stop kneading. Cover the dough with plastic wrap or a damp tea towel and let it sit in a warm, draft-free place for 2 to 4 hours.
- When you're ready to roll set out another bowl with flour in it. The dough will be extremely soft and sticky. Separate out dough, portion sizing to about that of a small onion, and lightly roll each one in the bowl of extra flour to keep them from sticking to each other.
- Shape the naan. Using a rolling pin, roll each piece of dough into a teardrop shape, narrower at the top than at the bottom. It should be 8 to 9-inches long, 4-inches wide at its widest point and about 1/4-inch thick. Once you've formed the general shape, you can also pick it up by one end and wiggle it; the dough's own weight will stretch it out a little. Repeat this method with the rest of the dough
- Warm ghee in a large cast-iron skillet over high heat until it's nearly smoking. Have extra high-heat oil on the side to add if the ghee burns off.
- Gently lay each portion of naan in the skillet and let it “fry” for about a minute until it bubbles.
- After about 1 minute, flip the naan. It should be blistered and somewhat blackened, let it continue for the same time on the other side. They should be crispy but chewy and have a nice yellow hue.
- Place on plate, sprinkle with salt, and put in the oven with the lamb to keep warm until serving
Spicy Mustard Saag
- This recipe is totally our own, we subsitute yogurt for the normal paneer cheese, and mix up the ingredients depending on our mood – really one of our healthy favorites
- Tip – Always chop your greens and remove thicker stems
- 1 pound baby kale greens, roughly chopped
- 1 pound mustard greens, roughly chopped (these are quite the find, so spicy, they taste almost like horseradish)
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 cups plain yogurt
- 2 tablespoons crushed red pepper
- 3 tablespoons ghee
- 1 teaspoon cayenne
- 1 teaspoon ground mustard
- ½ cup dijon mustard
- ½ whole grain mustard
- In a large non-stick pot (one you might use for pasta) heat ghee until melted.
- Place onions in oil and cook until transluscent
- Place greens in pot, cover, and let cook until completely wilted (a lot of water will come out, it should look soupy)
- Un-cover, add yogurt, all three types of mustard and stir.
- Cook until all ingredients are combined, water content is cooked off, greens are tender, and a creamy texture has been achieved
Cilantro Yogurt Raita
· Tip: with all the heat at play, it’s good to have a cooling accoutrement to offset the spice, we love the creaminess of Greek yogurt and it’s the perfect vehicle for this herbaceous condiment.
- 2 cups chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 cups whole-milk Greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
- 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
- 2 tablespoons (1 lemon) fresh lemon juice
- Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
- Combine onion, cilantro, yogurt, mint, coriander, and 2 tablespoons lemon juice in a medium bowl. Season sauce with salt, pepper, and more lemon juice, if desired. Throw in fridge to chill until you’re ready to serve