Sunday, September 19, 2010

Indian Feast

Our friends came over the other night and we made some delicious Indian food together. I love all the spices and flavors of Indian cooking. Our house smelled wonderful all day.

We started off with some Roti (bread) made with chappati (whole wheat flour).

We cooked the dough rounds on top of the burners. It was fun to watch them puff up. My little girl got a kick out of this.
We enjoyed bowls of Red Lentil Soup as we cooked the other dishes (I made this the morning of and had it ready when our friends arrived). This soup has a wonderful smokey flavor from the paprika and a nice kick from the serrano chile. It would be a great soup anytime.

On to the rice...
Next we toasted whole spices with chopped onion and made a fragrant basmati rice, which is delicious for soaking up all the yummy sauces.

 1st Main Dish: Green Chicken Curry
Fresh herbs, garlic and onions are blended up into a paste and sauteed in a pan to bring out the flavors. Chicken is added and then the dish is finished off with yogurt to make a creamy green curry. Yum.
2nd Main Dish: Coconut Curry
Chicken, tomatoes and whole spices are simmered in a sweet and tangy coconut sauce. A delicious combination of flavors.
Dessert: Creamy Pistachio Pops

Loose tea and cardamon are steeped in hot cream for 30 minutes and then mixed with sweetened milk and pistachios. I loved the flavor of these. This was the perfect dessert to finish off our Indian dinner.

Red Lentil Soup
1 cup red lentils, washed and soaked for 1 hour, drained
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 large tomato, diced
1 green serrano chile, split and seeded
1-inch piece ginger, peeled and minced
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Kosher salt
Honey, to taste
Chopped cilantro leaves, for garnish

In medium saucepan, over medium heat, combine the drained lentils, onion, tomato, chile, ginger, garlic and enough water to cover. Bring to boil, then lower the heat and simmer until the lentils are tender, about 30 to 45 minutes. Whisk the cooked lentils to release some of their starch and break them down further.

In small saute pan, warm the canola oil over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and cook until they are sizzling and spluttering. Stir in the turmeric and paprika. Pour the seasoned oil into the lentils (be prepared for a big sizzle). Stir to combine, add salt, to taste, and a small drizzle of honey. Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with cilantro

Indian-Style Basamati Rice
1 1/2 cups basmati rice
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 (2 inch) piece cinnamon stick
2 pods green cardamom
2 whole cloves
1 tablespoon cumin seed
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
2 1/2 cups water
1 small onion, thinly sliced

Place rice into a bowl with enough water to cover. Set aside to soak for 20 minutes.
Heat the oil in a large pot or saucepan over medium heat. Add the cinnamon stick, cardamom pods, cloves, and cumin seed. Cook and stir for about a minute, then add the onion to the pot. Saute the onion until a rich golden brown, about 10 minutes. Drain the water from the rice, and stir into the pot. Cook and stir the rice for a few minutes, until lightly toasted. Add salt and water to the pot, and bring to a boil. Cover, and reduce heat to low. Simmer for about 15 minutes, or until all of the water has been absorbed. Let stand for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork before serving.

Green Chicken Curry
2 small bunches cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped, 1 1/2 cups
1 bunch fresh mint, leaves, coarsely chopped, 1 1/2 cups
1 red onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic
1 1/2-inch piece ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup water, plus 1 1/2 cups
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, about 1 3/4 pounds, halved
1/2 teaspoon malt vinegar
1/4 cup plain whole milk yogurt, whisked until smooth
Cooked basmati rice or warm naan bread, for serving
Add the cilantro, mint, red onion, garlic, ginger, and salt, and pepper, to taste, to a food processor or blender. Puree on high until smooth. With the processor running, add about 1/4 cup water, and blend until the mixture is the consistency of a thick paste, a.k.a. "masala". Set aside.

In a large pot or deep skillet heat the olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the shallot and cook, stirring often, until golden brown.

Add the spices and cook for 30 seconds. Pour the masala mixture into skillet and cook, stirring often until it deepens in color and aroma. You'll know it's ready when it looks shiny, little droplets of oil will appear on the surface, and the masala will hold together as a cohesive mass.

Add the chicken, coating every piece in the masala and stirring often. Continue to cook for 5 minutes, so that the masala really adheres to the chicken. Add about 1 1/2 cups water, just enough to cover the chicken, and the vinegar. Bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until the chicken is tender and sauce has thickened slightly, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Remove the pan from heat and stir in the yogurt. Taste and adjust seasonings, if needed. Transfer the mixture to a serving dish and serve over rice or with warm naan bread.
Creamy Pistachio Pops

Creamy Pistachio Pops
1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
4 Earl Grey tea bags
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup heavy cream
Handful finely chopped pistachios, plus extra for garnish
In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring evaporated milk to a simmer until small bubbles form around the circumference of the pot. Meanwhile, snip the tops of the tea bags and add to the milk. Whisk in cardamom. Once the milk is simmering, turn the heat off, cover and let sit and steep for 30 minutes.

Strain the evaporated milk into a large bowl. Whisk in the condensed milk, heavy cream and pistachios. Either pour the mixture into ice pop molds, small bowls or a large bowl. Cover the bowls with a piece of plastic wrap to avoid freezer burn and the formation of a "skin". Pop them into the freezer and freeze overnight.

When you're ready to serve, run the ice pop mold under hot water to loosen it. You can do the same thing for the smaller bowls if you'd like to serve it as a little kulfi half dome. Garnish with more nuts if you like and serve.


Jennifurla said...

What a fabulous feast, I would love to be a guest for sure

Bake-A-Holic said...

Next time, you're invited. It was delicious!


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