Friday, March 06, 2009

Indian Night (and more recipes)

Indian night has been in the pipelines for a while.  Now that we are settled in our new place, I finally sent out the Evite
A potluck made the most sense, #1 because we are on a budget, and #2 because several of my friends like to cook as well.  The menu was delicious.  I made the main dish, Madras Chicken Curry.  (recipe below) I wish I had taken pictures of the actual food, but all I can share is the pic of me cooking it. 
As a pre-dinner activity, I broke out the Bananagrams. Im telling you, people love it! You must buy it!
We allowed English and Spanish as to not favor anyone.
There were 9 of us, and besides not having enough plates and forks for everyone, our apartment is really great for entertaining.  The kitchen is open to the living room and the little dinning area. 
Notice how full the girls plates are.  You just can't help stuff yourself with Indian food.  After dinner the plan was to watch Slumdog Millionaire, but it never happened.  We sat around laughing instead.  It didn't seem right to watch such a big movie on a small laptop screen anyway.All of the recipes to enjoy a full on Indian meal are below:  

Madras Chicken Curry (my dish)
3 tbsp oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 stick cinnamon
2 cardamom pods
4 cloves
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 inch piece root ginger, very finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp ground coriander ¾ tsp chilli powder
2 skinless chicken breasts, cubed
1 large chopped tomato 
2 large tomatoes pureed
1 tsp. plain yogurt or sour cream
a handful of cilantro leaves, chopped

Heat the oil in a large heavy pan, add the chopped onion and fry till onion is transclucent.
Turn the heat to medium low, add the cinammon, cardamom, cloves and fennel seeds, stir for 5 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic and cook for another 5 minutes stirring occasionally to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan. Then add the turmeric, ground coriander and chilli powder and fry gently for a minute. Add the tomato purée and stir in enough hot water to make a sauce. Bring to the boil and simmer, stirring occasionally for 20 minutes. Season with salt.
Heat a little oil in a large heavy frying pan and stir-fry the chicken pieces until they turn white.
Add the chicken and chopped tomato, sour cream/yogurt to the sauce and simmer gently until the meat is soft and succulent.   Sprinkle with the coriander and serve with yogurt.

Dal (lentils)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 cups chopped onions
6 garlic cloves, minced
6 cups water 
2 cups dried lentils
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3 teaspoons black mustard seeds
2 fresh hot red chile such as jalapeño chopped
3 tablespoons finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
2 teaspoon ground coriander
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Heat oil in medium skillet over medium heat. Add 1 cup onion and 1 minced garlic clove and sauté until tender and golden brown, about 10 minutes. Set aside. Combine 3 cups water, lentils, remaining  onion, 2 minced garlic cloves, turmeric, cumin, coriander, mustard seeds and ginger in heavy medium saucepan. Bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until lentils are tender, about 15 minutes. Transfer half of lentil mixture to processor; purée until smooth. Return purée to same saucepan. Mix in sautéed onion mixture. Simmer 5 minutes to blend flavors. Season to taste with salt and pepper.  

**This next recipe is from my friend Varsha.  It's the best Chenna I have ever had.  Steph made it for the potluck and it turned out wonderfully.

Chenna Masala
2 tins of ready-boiled chickpeas - rinsed in a colander
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
1 large onion chopped into long thin strips
3 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped into bite-sized chunks
garlic, ginger and green-chile
Spices: Turmeric (halidi), Garam Masala, Ground Coriander, Salt
Seeds: Onion seed and Cumin (Jeera) seeds.

In a large pot in which to pour 2 or 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil
Heat the oil in the pot until hot. Add the onion and cumin seeds and watch them pop and fizzle for around 20 seconds.  Add the chopped onions and fry until they are lightly browned.  Add the pulped ginger, garlic and chillie. Stir fry on medium heat.
Add the tin of chopped tomato and stir-fry for about 5 mins on medium-to-high heat until the oil starts to separate from the onion/tomato mixture - and then add the spices:
2 teaspoons  salt 
2 teaspoons ground coriander 
2 teaspoons  garam masala 
1.5 teaspoons of haldi (turmeric)
Stir it all thoroughly on medium flame.
Add the chunks of potato - stir until well coated in spices. Add around 3 smallish glasses of water into the pot - and put the lid on and bring to boil.  Let it simmer on a very low flame for around 20 mins with the lid on.   This will soften the potato.  Add the drained (already-boiled) chickpeas. Stir it all up - and add another small glass of water to the pot. Bring to a fierce boil and then turn the flame down to simmer for 15 mins.  Add s fresh coriander leaf and simmer  10 mins more. turn off the heat and let it it stand for 15 mins. Serve.

Kate made two scrumptious side dishes.  
Palek Paneer (spinach)  This recipe can be found here
Pumpkin Aloo Tarkari   Find this recipe here.

Maureen made the Raita is the key to any indian meal (for me anyway)  Besides being great for digestion, yogurt is so refreshing with the spiciness of Indian food. (the chicken and chenna in this case)

I hope you enjoy these recipes.  Will any of you venture to make them?  Are you interested in hearing more about what we cook?    

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