Monday, January 24, 2011

Complete Indian Dinner

The Recipes
  • from a vegetarian Indian cookbook that I forgot to write down the name of (I was visiting friends and don't own the cookbook). 
  • Dinner concept: Make 3 curries, a raita to put on top to cut the spice, and put it all over basmati rice for a complete and varied dinner (or just have a bunch of one curry). Make extra curry, freeze, and after three times you can defrost and heat up a complete meal.
  • I didn't make the third curry shown in the picture, so I didn't include it here.
  • Each of these curries serves 4-6 people.
  • For basmati rice, wash using strainer or pot method, then cook. Do raita first and set in fridge to chill for meal, or make it the night before. Then set the potatoes to heat and prepare cauliflower while they cook, and make the garbanzo beans somewhere in there.

Cucumber Raita
  • Make a double batch and keep on hand for use on other curries.
1 large cucumber
2 to 3 tbsp finely chopped onions
2 c. yogurt
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
chopped fresh cilantro

Peel the cucumber, then seed it by making diagonal cuts inward with a knife on both sides of the seeds and removing this section. Coarsely grate the cucumber, then put in a metal mesh colander and press it against the mesh with your fingers to get the excess water out. Stir together the cucumber, onions, and yogurt.

Stir together the cumin, cayenne, and salt to taste in a small bowl, then stir them into the yogurt mixture along with as much chopped cilantro as you like. Serve chilled with curries or other Indian dishes.

Cauliflower Curry

1 large head cauliflower
3 small potatoes
4 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp black mustard seeds (or ground mustard powder)
1 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 clove garlic, minced or crushed (peel and then crush with garlic press)
3 small onions, slivered (cut onion in half then cut in crescent-shaped slices)
1 tsp salt
1 1/4 c. water
1 med-sized tomato, chopped
2 tbsp lemon juice

Trim and wash the cauliflower and break it up into very small flowerettes. Scrub the potatoes and boil them in salted water until they are nearly tender, but not quite done.

Heat the oil in a fairly large skillet over med-low heat and add the mustard seeds, heating until the seeds pop, just a few minutes. When the mustard seeds have finished popping, add the turmeric, cumin, coriander, cayenne, garlic and onions. Saute this mixture over med heat, stirring constantly, for 3 to 4 min.

Add the cauliflower and saute, stirring often, for 4 to 5 min, then add the salt and water and cover the pan tightly. Allow the curry to simmer, covered, for 5 min, while you cut up the parboiled potato into 1" cubes.

Add the potato, stir, cover again, and leave to simmer for 10 min. Then add the tomato and the lemon juice and stir, uncovered, over med heat, for another few min before serving.

Serve hot with rice, raita, chutneys, and other condiments.

Curried Garbanzo Beans

3 c. cooked garbanzo beans, with reserved liquid (or use cans to shorten prep time)
1 tbsp butter or oil
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground turmeric
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste
3/8 tsp ground cloves
3/8 tsp cinnamon
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 tsp ground ginger
salt to taste
2 tbsp lemon juice, and more to taste
1 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro, and more to taste
1 firm tomato, cut in 1/2" dice

Melt the butter in a saucepan. Mix spices in a little bowl, then stir into the butter over low heat, stirring often and heating for a few min. *to grind the ginger root: scrape off skin with sharp knife, then grate the root's knobs first. Next grate its sides until the fibery part of the root starts to come off.

Stir in the garbanzo beans and enough of the reserved liquid to just barely cover them. Stir well, and mash a few of the beans with a fork or potato masher.

Cook the beans over a med flame for about 20 min, or until the sauce is quite thick, stirring often. Remove from heat.

Stir in the lemon juice, the chopped cilantro, and the diced tomato. Taste, and correct the seasoning.

The Spicy Sight

My Take on the Bake
I never liked Indian before. Whenever I went to a restaurant, the food would be either way too spicy or incredibly bland. Maybe I just didn't know what to order. But now I'm converted! Curry takes boring vegetables and transforms them into full meals without any grains, definitely without any wheat or even glutenous soy sauce, and sometimes without any meat. It's so different from Western cooking that it's a good way to "spice up your life" by cooking every once in a while. And I actually appreciate these spices in a small amount with some cool cucumber raita on top. I think I'll buy an Indian cookbook and use it at least twice a month. I'm getting into so many interesting things that I might never have gotten into if I didn't have to go gluten-free!

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