Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Making Indian Food with Sandi

My friend Sandi, who works with me, came over so that we could cook together. She liked in India for a year and a half. We had a grand time making a big meal. We made:
Cashew Vegatable Korma
Red Lentils Hyderabadi (modified)
Rice, white with butter and cinnamon
Onion Bhaji
She has been cooking these recipes for a very long time, but she brought over Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian cookbook as a reference for me.
Sandi also enjoys finding recipes on the Post Punk Blog and The Simple Veganista.
Cashew Vegetable Korma
via: The Post Punk Kitchen

For the cream:
2 cups raw cashew pieces (plus water for soaking)
2 cups vegetable broth

Veggies to boil:
2.5 pounds yukon gold potatoes (1 1/2 inch chunks)
2 lbs cauliflower in large florettes (don’t cut em too small or they will fall apart)
2 lbs carrots, sliced on a bias 1/2 inch thick

2 medium sized yellow onions
2 inch nub of ginger
8 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes-*98/
72 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon tamarind concentrate (see note)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
4 cups vegetable broth
1 can coconut milk
2 cups frozen peas
1 large caramelized red onion

Chopped cilantro for garnish (optional)

First, soak the cashews. This will get them really soft and make them easier to blend really smooth. Place them in a bowl and submerge in water. Set aside for at least an hour. In the meantime prep everything.

Boil the veggies. Place them in a big pot (8 quart is ideal), and cover them in cold water. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower heat to a simmer (so you don’t overcook the veggies), for about 15 minutes. Potatoes should be fork tender. Drain and set aside.

Next, puree the onion, ginger and garlic. It shouldn’t be completely smooth, some texture is good. No need to wash the processor bowl just yet, you’re going to puree the cashews in a bit.

Preheat another big pot over medium heat. Cook the puree (add in 1 tea. black mustard seeds (whole) cook on medium until the mustard seeds pop and then add in the onion.) in the peanut oil with a sprinkle of salt for about 15 to 20 minutes, until it’s nice and browned.

This is a good time to puree the cashews. Drain them and place them in the food processor along with 2 cups vegetable broth. Puree until smooth. This can take up to 5 minutes to get it as smooth as possible.

Back to the puree. Once it’s browned, add the coriander seed and the red pepper flakes and saute for about 3 minutes. Add curry powder, garam masala, several dashes fresh black pepper and salt and saute for another minute.

Add tamarind, tomato paste and vegetable broth and bring to a simmer. Now add the coconut milk and the cashew cream. Let cook uncovered for about 15 minutes, it should thicken a little and be really creamy.

In the meantime, saute the red onion in a little peanut oil in a separate pan with a pinch of salt for about 15 minutes, it should be browned and slightly caramelized. This adds a really nice sweetness and some added texture to the finished dish.

You’re pretty much done. You can shut the heat off then mix in the peas. Now fold in the boiled veggies, put the lid on the pot and let it heat through. Taste for salt and seasoning and serve garnished with cilantro if you like.

Red Lentils Hyderabadi
via: Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian

1 cup Red Masoor lentil (We used 1/2 red lentils and 1/2 green lentils to add a variety of textures.)
3 TBL. Canola Oil
1-2 dried Red Kashmiri Chiles (dried hot red chiles - we did not have this, so we used 1/2 tea. Cayanne Pepper)
3 garlic cloves, peeled and whole
1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds “Rai”
8-10 curry leaves-”kadhi Patha” (or 1 tea. coriander)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric “Haldi”
salt to taste
juice of 1/2 a lemon or lime
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped – for garnish (We omitted this.)

Wash, and clean the lentils. Soak for 30 minutes. Add 2 1/2 cups water, oil, turmeric and salt to taste and boil until cooked. This should take 25 minutes. Gently mash it with a “Mandira” or spoon.(Do not use a pressure cooker as it will get mushy). Keep aside.

In a small pan, heat the oil. Add the mustard seeds, chiles (or Cayenne pepper) and curry leaves (coriander, ground). Then add the garlic and swirl the pan around. The garlic should get slightly brown from all sides. Be careful not to burn it.

Add this to the cooked lentil and cook on low heat for 5 to 10 minutes. Squeeze lemon juice and mix. Check for salt.

A Bit About Lentils -

In India there are tons of different kinds of lentils. Here in America we usually only have red lentils, green lentils and yellow split peas. Chickpeas are technically lentils as well. Beans are part of the lentil family.

- If you add salt while they lentils (or beans) are cooking, the lentils will become hard. Add salt at the very end.

- Red lentils and green lentils do not need soaking, but they should be rinsed. Other lentils should be soaked over night.

- Red lentils become mushy when cooked. They are great for thicken soups.

White Rice

1 cup Basmati Rice, rinsed once
2 cups Water, Cold
1 Tbl Butter
1 Cinnamon Stick (about 3" long, or so)

Place the rinsed rice in a pan. Add the cold water, butter and cinnamon stick.

Bring the water to a boil, put a lid on the pan and turn the fire down to low. Let cook until the water is absorbed, about 20-30 minutes.

via:Garnish and Glaze Blog

1½ cups milk
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
3½- 4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter, melted
garlic salt (optional)

Heat milk in the microwave until warm. Mix yeast and sugar in with milk and allow it to sit for 5 minutes until foamy. Mix in salt and then add flour, a little at a time, to form a soft dough. Empty dough onto floured counter and knead about 30 times until smooth and elastic, adding flour as needed.

Place dough in a large greased bowl and allow to rise for 1 hour.

Preheat griddle to or skillet to medium-high heat (about 375 degrees F).

Divide dough into 12 equal pieces and then roll out to be a little thinner than a pancake.

Place 2-3 pieces on griddle and flip after 1-2 minutes (or until dough bubbles and underside is browned). Brush the cooked side with butter while the other side cooks for 1 more minute. Remove from griddle and brush with butter (sprinkle with garlic salt if desired). Repeat with the rest of the dough.

Onion Bhaji
via: Richard C. Morias Blog
Chef Cardoz’s recipe for onion bhajis (or bhajais) mentioned in The Hundred-Foot Journey.(modified by Sandi and I.)

3 Red Onions, Julienne cut
1.5 cups of Gram flour (besan, or chickpea flour)
1 Green Chili Pepper, finely diced
(Ten stalks of cilantro, the hard stalk ends removed and the rest diced - I omitted this)
Pinch of crushed awajain seeds (substitute: thyme)
1/2 teaspoon Turmeric (1 tea. Turmeric)
(1 tea. Cumin, ground)
(1 tea. Coriander, ground)

Canola oil

Julienne the red onions vertically, producing a pile of crescent-shaped onion slivers.
Place the onions into a mixing bowl, and add the finely diced chili and cilantro, plus crushed awajain seeds (or thyme), turmeric, and salt.
Mix onions and spices with your hands.

In a separate small bowl, add the chickpea flour and a bit of water, little at a time, constantly kneading the mixture with your fingers until you have created a thick paste. (The onions provide more liquid, so do not make it too watery.) Add the thickened paste to the bowl of onions, and toss with your hands, until the onions are well coated in batter.

Heat a pot of canola oil to 350 degrees on the stove. Test the hot oil, by using your right hand to pinch together a clump of onions and lowering it just above the oil before the final drop (so it doesn’t splash.) Oil is the right temperature if the battered onion clump immediately bobs to the surface. Cook for a few minutes, until the bhajis are golden brown, then lift and drain on paper towels.

They should look a bit like Medusa heads; the outside should be crunchy, the inside soft and gooey and fresh-tasting. If you want to make the bhajis before guests arrive, then cook the bhajis only until lightly golden before setting them aside and draining them on paper. When the guests arrive, quickly cook the bhajis in hot oil again for a couple of minutes, until golden-brown. Drain, blot, and serve. Serve bhajis with a sweet-tart tamarind chutney or garlic chutney found in any Asian food store. Recipe makes 12-15 bhajis.

This recipe is featured in the following novel, which I thought was wonderful. The movie is due in the theaters in early August.

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