Tag Archives: Indian

It’s All Been Done Before

Yes, I’ve already posted a recipe for a version of Chana Masala. But, this one’s far more authentic. And, even easier than the first.

And, as if the Chana Masala wasn’t enough, the pickled onions are guaranteed to be your go-to condiment for any meal, Indian or otherwise.

Authentic Chana Masala
Courtesy of Rajni and that Indian dinner from so long ago

1 TBS butter
1 large onion, diced
1/2 seranno chili
2 tomatoes, diced with seeds
1 TBS chana masala
1 TBS salt
2 cans chickpeas, drained
1/2 cup water
3 TBS cilantro, chopped

Over a medium flame, heat the butter and saute the onions and serrano chili, along with 1/2 TBS salt, about 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent. Then, add the tomatoes, with seeds and juice into the onions. Stir and add in the rest of the salt and chana masala and cook 2 minutes. Add water and chickpeas and bring the mixture to a simmer, heating for 15 minutes. Garnish with cilantro and pickled onions (recipe follows).

Serves 6 as a main dish

Pickled Onions
2 red onions, cut into slivers
Juice of 1 lemon
3 TBS white vinegar
1 TBS salt

Combine all of the ingredients and marinate at least 30 minutes prior to serving. Serve at room temperature.

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Filed under Beans, Meatless

Important Life Lessons, These

I’ve been known to start a kitchen fire or two. It’s not my fault, really. It’s usually just that I’m over zealous in keeping my stove top clean and the combination of paper towel and open flame, well, you get the idea.

So, I think it’s only fair that this recipe comes with a warning: paneer is fairly moist and will cause the oil to splatter. Just go with it, accepting that it will be worth it in the end. You can just clean up the stove top later.

But, watch your hands.

I may still have a small burn on my hand from a dinner cooked so very long ago. All the more shameful since I wasn’t really doing the cooking. I know, I know.

And, perhaps, plan on having an extra shirt on hand, so that when you do sit down to eat, you’re not covered in oil.

Of course, as I’m writing this, it occurs to be that, perhaps, I’m a little more OCD and accident prone than most.

In other words: disregard the paragraphs above. Simply get cooking and enjoy! But, remember to keep the paper towels far away from the open flame.

That advice remains universally applicable.

Matter Paneer

1 pound paneer, cubed
Corn Oil (for frying)
2 large tomatoes, diced with seeds
1 large onion, diced
1 TBS butter
1/2 serrano chili, diced
2 TBS Chana Masala
1 TBS garam masala
1 box frozen peas, defrosted
1/2 cup water
Splash Heavy Cream
3 TBS cilantro, chopped finely

In a large fying pan, using corn oil, brown the paneer on all sides. Drain and set aside.

Melt the butter, then add the onions and saute until translucent, about 10 minutes. Add in the serrano chile, chana masala, and garam masala and heat for a minute, stirring constantly. Add the tomatoes to the pan, along with the seeds and juice and heat 5 minutes. Add water and bring to a simmer, heating about 5 minutes. Stir in the peas and heat. Then add the paneer and stir so that it is evenly distributed throughout. Finish with a splash of heavy cream to taste and garnish with cilantro.

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Making Good

I promised you more Indian recipes quite some time ago. At last, I’m making good. Better late than never, I’d say. Particularly in this case.

This recipe for Moong Dal comes courtesy of my friend Rajni. It may be one of my favorite of all of her dishes. And, that’s saying something. Seriously. By now you’ve, hopefully, already tried her raita so you know how good it is.

Stay tuned and I’ll get to the rest of her recipes in due time. I promise, they’re worth the wait.

Rajni’s Moong Dal

If you don’t have a pressure cooker, you can still make this recipe. Simply rinse the lentils and boil according to the instructions on the package (or, failing that, boil for about 20 minutes, until they’re soft).

1 cup whole green lentils
2 cups water
1 seranno chili, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 TBS butter
1 tsp ginger
2 tomatoes, chopped with seeds
3 TBS garam masala
1 TBS light brown sugar
1 TBS lemon juice
1 TBS salt
pepper to taste

Using a pressure cooker, cook the lentils, per manufacturer’s instructions. Set the cooked lentils aside.

In a large fying pan, saute onions, ginger, chili, and 1 TBS salt until the onions are translucent.

Add the tomatoes, their seeds and juice and the garam masala. Stir to combine and saute 2 minutes.

Add the lentils and stir. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.

Add 2 cups of water, stir in the brown sugar, and bring the mixture to a boil. Then, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Once the sauce has thickened, finish with the lemon juice.

Serves 4

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Filed under Beans, Meatless

Hurry Up, It’s Time

I’ll say this: it’s been a tough month. Things said and done that I wish more than anything I could take back, and pain of varying kinds. Too much dwelling, I think. Now, it’s time to let time do it’s thing. So, I’ll say no more than that.

Instead, I want to tell you about one of the bright spots. Namely, a dinner with some of the usual suspects—you’ll hear more about them in subsequent posts, I’m sure. These are the people who have gotten me through so much, and who have shared their kitchens and their lives with me. Keepers, if you will.

First, there was the day of prep with Rajni. A stroll through the farmer’s market in the mid-August heat, with stalls and stalls of Jersey tomatoes, each looking more tempting than the last. Then, back to her kitchen where I was the sous chef. And, what I mean by that is I followed her around taking photos and jotting notes as she shared the recipes her mother had taught her.


I also attempted to help where needed. Sometimes, it seems, I’m able to follow instructions quite well. Case in point: expertly grated cucumber. Fine, there was box grater involved. Nonetheless, it felt good to have the cool vegetable in my hands, focused on the mechanics of doing, knowing the effort would pay off.

She outdid herself, truly. First, there was the raita. A huge vat of it for Jared. The recipe doubled since it’s his favorite part of an Indian meal. Then there were simply pickled red onions, served atop chana masala, adding crispness and making it sing, and a dal like I’ve never had before. I’ll get to those recipes in due time.

For now, I want to share Rajni’s Raita recipe with you. Jared proclaimed it the best he’s ever eated. Justin called it Indian food like his mother used to make, although I suppose you’d have to be there to really appreciate the humor (or, just click the link).

And, me?

I just ate, happy to be surrounded by people I love.

Rajni’s Raita

1 cucumber, peeled
3 cups plain yogurt
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp corriander
1 TBS garam masala
1 tsp salt
juice of 1 lemon
1 TBS finely chopped cilantro

Shred the cucumber using a box grater. Place in a strainer and add a pinch of salt. Allow to sit at least 30 minutes, until the moisture has been drained. Set aside.

Using an electric beater, whip the yogurt until it has loosened.

Add spices, salt, lemon juice and cucumbers to the yogurt and stir.

Refrigerate 1-2 hours, allowing the flavors to meld.

Garnish with the freshly chopped cilantro before serving.

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