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Monday, August 16, 2010

Indian Night at Home

Once in a while, my family will develop a craving for a good dose of Indian food, for which, I am always more then happy to appease. With only a few basic recipes, anyone can put together the basic flavors of India and bring them straight to their table. Here's what I put together tonight and few ingredients that made it all possible.



CHICKPEA RED PEPPER (RED) CURRY
- Heat vegetable oil in large pot and fry; whole cumin seeds, garam masala, turmeric, and a few tablespoons of red curry paste. Frying the spices first will release all their flavors into the oil and intensify the taste.
- Add chopped celery, red peppers, onions and garlic, cook over medium high heat, then add 2 cans of chickpeas. At this point, if the bottom of the pot starts to stick, add a cup of water, and this will also help with the cooking of the dish. Cover and let simmer.





CHICKEN VEGETABLE COCONUT CURRY

- Same as above, heat vegetable oil in large pot and fry; whole cumin seeds, garam masala, turmeric, and a few tablespoons of curry. Frying the spices first will release all their flavors into the oil and intensify the taste.
- Add; chopped carrots, chopped onions, cauliflower and toss together in the hot curried spices. When the vegetables have a tine golden color to them, add a can of coconut milk and stir together. Throw in a couple leaves of dried lime leaves and let simmer.
- If you wish to add chicken to the dish, as I did, simply fry up the chicken in small cubes in a skillet, then add to the curry to simmer. Towards the end of the cooking, add some fresh baby spinach.
-Serve over jasmine rice.


ROTI (INDIAN FLAT BREAD)

-The recipe which I normally follow for my roti is 2 1/2 cups chappati flour (atta) which I find at my local Asian Superstore, to which I mix 1 cup warm water.
Prepare the desired amount of dough from the Basic Dough recipe. After resting for 2-2 1/2 hours, knead well. Divide the dough into peach-size balls. On a lightly floured surface, flatten one ball of dough with your hand. Using a rolling-pin, roll out the dough into a thin,round patty, about 5 inches in diameter. Roll from the center, turning patty several times to prevent sticking. Try to make the edges slightly thinner than the center. As you cook the chappati/roti, one could be rolling out the next, rather than shaping all of the chapatis at one time.
-Preheat a cast-iron pan over medium heat. Place the rolled dough on the palm of one hand and flip it over on to the pan. When the color changes on the top and bubbles appear, turn it over. When both sides are done, use kitchen tongs to remove the chapati from the skillet. To complete the cooking, place on griddle which is place on top of the element (as shown below), till the roti blows up with the hot air. Flip to prevent burning and remove when done. 



-To keep the chapatis (roti) warm as they are cooked, place them in a towel-lined bowl and fold over the sides of the towel. Serve hot, either completely dry or topped with a small amount of ghee (clarified butter) or butter. 



As if this wasn't enough, I also made a very delicious MINT CHUTNEY, using mint from my garden. I will include a recipe for mint chutney in a future blog posting. For now, enjoy experimenting with basic Indian flavors!

Eat well, sleep well, and till next time!

Astérix