Monday, August 31, 2009

Dal with Coconut Milk

So, I didn't take a picture, but to be honest, this isn't that great looking of a dish. It is another basic dal, but this one has coconut milk in the sauce. I made a very large sub, because I did not have curry leaves. There is really no subsitute for these, but I went ahead and subbed a tsp of penzey's hot curry powder. This ended up being a very nice, albeit more Thai than Indian, comforting dish. I served it with the cucumber raita again and I really enjoyed my meal!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Columbo Chicken Curry p 243


I hate to push down the last two posts which were well reviewed for this one, which was an "eh". My first pass through the book when I marked recipes to make, I realized that although I was excited to make these recipes, I hadn't marked any curries, which make me a fan of of Indian food in the first place. I took a second pass and decided to try this one. As I said before, eh.

To be perfectly honest, I left out the fenugreek and the caradamon because I didn't have any, and the cinnamon because I am idiot and just forgot. But still, there was NO SAUCE. I was looking forward to a tasty curry with a wonderful sauce, but again, a little runny broth, but NO SAUCE. I think part of my problem is that the recipe decribes a rub. I don't really think this is a rub, I think this is more like a crust. It didn't taste bad, it just wasn't anything special.

I made the cucumber raita on pg 67. I did do the draining etc as describe and really enjoyed this little salad.


Cumin-Coriander Beef Patties p268 & Katchhi Village Potato Curry p150

Wow, these two recipes are fantastic. One of the best parts is that it does not require a special trip to an Indian market, assuming you have the spices on hand. The potatoes were excellent and so flavorful. The beef patties are mouth watering. I made half the patties with mint and the other half with cilantro. Honestly, it was a toss up between the two. It was just that good.

Simmered Spiced Soybeans p.143

I made this Simmered Spiced Soybeans recipe to go along with the Potato Curry and the Cumin-Coriander Beef Patties. I think this recipe has wonderful flavor, but I messed it up by adding way too many soybeans. I probably used 4 cups, instead of 2. Oddly enough, the dish tasted 75% better with a spoon than a fork, because the juice is yummy. We would absolutely make this again, but I will measure out my soybeans next time.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Tikka Kebabs (pg. 256)

I decided to pick something that didn't require me to buy a ton of things I don't normally use. This one was great, because the only out of the ordinary thing I bought was ground coriander.

My husband and I both like lamb and this seemed interesting without sounding too weird. It was great! The marinade had a wonderful flavor without overpowering the lamb which was really tender. I'll definitely use the marinade again.

Here is our meal.

Since I've never used coriander before, do any of you have any suggestions of other ways I can use it? Thanks!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Easy Karnataka Chana Pg 196

In the same meal that we had the marinated beef, we also had this Dal. I was surprised how much my husband liked it. He would dip his steak in it...that's a good sign. I was worried that it wasn't going to turn out right because it wasn't thick enough. I threw in a few more garbanzo beans to see if that would just made it lumpy :) I only used 3 chilies instead of 4. Also, I couldn't find asafoetida powder, but read on the Internet to just used onion powder and garlic powder as substitutes. YUM!!

The book said to serve with a salad or vegetables, so we grilled some squash and zucchini with the steak!!

Grilled Marinated Beef Pg 272

This was delicious. My husband and I really enjoyed it. He also cooked the meat very well, which helped. I just got some Top Sirloin that was on sale. Let me tell you, Coriander seed is amazing. I was grinding it with my mortar and pestle, and it smelled soooo delicious!!! This was a quick and easy recipe. I would make it again!!!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Goan Pork Vindaloo p280


Ok, maybe that isn't the best picture, but this was a pretty good dinner! I know vindaloo has the reputation of being super super spicy, but I backed waaaay off the spice. Instead of 5 dried chiles, I used 2. That gave it a pleasent spice, but not overpowering. With the heat level and the ease that this came together and it was a great weeknight meal.


I served it with cachoomar (p57). This is definately the hit recipe of the summer...I love these tomato-cucumber salads, they are just like a little salsa...yum! Here is the whole meal:


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Chicken Biryani p101

We love chicken biryani. It's one of our favorite dishes when we go out to eat Indian food, so I was horribly disappointed when I saw this recipe with a complicated cooking style and 3/4 cup oil. Well, I made some changes and here we are:
This dish turned out great and we would definitely make it again. It's different from restaurants, where we often crunched on coriander seeds and had a hot/spicy battle to fight, but it was still good.
Here is what I did to make it "makeable" for me:
1. No oil. None. Okay, so I used 2 tsp (or maybe 1 Tb) when I cooked all the onions in the pot.
2. No skillet-to-oven-make-weird-dough-to-seal method. Nope, I cooked the onions and used a crockpot to assemble everything, one that has a latchable lid. I layered exactly as stated and then cooked on high for 1.5 hours. That was more than enough.
3. Cooked the rice a little more because I was scared it wouldn't cook in the crockpot, but I didn't do the multiple rinse thing it mentioned. Just once and threw it in the pan.
4. Added more than 2 Tb of water to final product since I had no oil. More like 1/4-1/3 cup water.
So there you have it. A nice healthy chicken biryani, served with mint-cucumber raita. Mmm. Next time I would change the rice/chicken ratio. A little too light on the chicken (like by another 1-1.5 pounds) for all the rice it made.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


I actually made this wonderful Indian dinner LAST SATURDAY, but I am only posting it now. We are painting our office and our computer is dissasembled. I had to find another way to load pictures.

So this meal isn't really what comes to mind when I think an Indian meal, but it was still pretty good. The main dish was Yogurt Marinated Chicken Kababs (p 239). The recipes does clearly stated to use full or low fat yogurt, which is pretty hard to find. I used non-fat because that is what I had on hand. The flavor was great, but they really stuck to the grill, maybe because of the non-fat.


The other dish I made was Parsi Potatoes and Snow Peas (p153).


However, instead of snow peas, I used "yard long beans". What are yard long beans? Well, I got them in my CSA share.


Sometimes, when you pick up your share, you are like, what the heck is that?!??! I mean, I knew it was some type of green bean, but then what. Well, flipping through this book, they are featured on pg 229. Aaaaaahhh haaaaaaa! They were a perfect addition to this dish. This was another good one, really more of a stir fry, but very tasty. I used a bit too much salt, but delicious!


Monday, August 10, 2009

Quick Asparagus Stir-Fry Pg 158

Ehhh. This was okay. I like how most of the ingredients were the same as the soy bean recipe, but they just didn't do anything for me... I prefer to broil the asparagus in the oven with garlic, salt, pepper, lemon, and olive oil:) to these steamed/boiled asparagus.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Stir-Fried Rice and Dal p96-97

This is post 3 of my Indian feast this weekend. I used the leftover dal from yesterday to prepare this dish and it was super easy to fix. I give it two thumbs up. I thought it tasted great and it was nice to have yet another vegetarian meal in our stomachs.
Again, I didn't have the chile but I used 1/4 tsp cayenne. With that small addition, I tasted absolutely zero heat whatsoever. I would probably increase next time.

Potato-Stuffed Parathas p130 & Cucumber Raita p67

These parathas are incredible, and I might add that I think they "might" be fun to make with your kiddos. Remember, I am blissfully naive. I read the instructions and could not figure out how to fold/roll/press them, so I went to youtube and found this which helped A TON:

Once I saw it in action, I was ready. Now, I didn't use the oil/ghee as instructed but stuck with the spray instead.

The potato filling is excellent by itself. I made half with parsley and half with mint. I really liked them both, but I'm not sure how good it would have tasted to use those coriander leaves/cilantro. I did use 1 jalapeno.

The dough was tough to make. For me, the water/flour ratio was WAY off, but I used the wrong setting on the food processor. I had to use a ton of extra flour, just to salvage it and another ton to roll out the sticky mess. This would be a good time to reiterate that it was worth it. I did use the atta flour as instructed. Helpful hint: If you can't find it at the Indian market, it's because it's on the "bulk foods aisle" because it generally starts at 10 lbs and up. I was fortunate to get 2.5 lbs.

Follow the instructions on the video, use a hot pan, use spray or oil, and wow your loved ones and guests. No wait, don't invite guests because they will eat your food and you won't have as much :)

We served it with cucumber raita which was also excellent. I bought plain jane yogurt and just mixed everything together, minus the water. I didn't go through the draining process. Once again, we used mint instead of the cilantro, and honestly, I think mint is the better choice for raita, hands down. I would not use the cilantro in the raita, but that's just me.

Here is a pic of the parathas:

Mountain Dal p182 & Cachoombar p57

I made an Indian feast last night and it was great. It started out with a trip to the Indian market to get half this stuff I never heard of before. Since I'm apparently the only person in the entire world that did not know that coriander leaves were just cilantro, I subbed out parsley and mint instead. Yes, wish I had googled that much ealier....

Mountain Dal - I made this as instructed, except no red chiles. Also, I used a little cardamom, but not the pods - couldn't find those. I like my soup thick, so I used the minimum water, but honestly it was about a pasty texture at the end. I would have been wise to add another 1/2 cup of water or more to that. This soup had a lot of complex flavors, and although we liked it, we weren't jumping up and down about it. All said, we might make it again, but not sure until we try out the other dals.

Cachoombar - This is just a side salad of veggies. It was easy to make and tasted great. It definitely had a unique flavor compared to other similar type salads. Again, no green chile but we did use the cayenne. Another thing is that I did not toast the cumin seeds, and instead of using "coriander leaves", I used a combination of mint and parsley. Excellent, would definitely make again.

All in all, these two recipes were good and I am using the mountain dal tonight to make another recipe. The next post, the one you'll see above this, is to die for. Wow!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Simmered Spiced Soybeans Pg 143

I love edamame, so when I saw this recipe I knew I wanted to try it. The final result was okay, but the dish was not as flavorful as I wanted. I definitely added more salt and wished it was spicier. That may have been due to the fact that I did not have ALL the ingredients. I could not find mustard oil, a red cayenne chile, or coriander leaves. Although it is possible my local grocer had these items and I could not find them with the 3 children I was trying to entertain while I perused the spice and oil isles... I would make this again.

I was especially excited to use my mortar and pestle that a good friend of mine had given me. Up until now it had just sat around lookin' pretty.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Dinner Disaster

Ever just have one of those days where you just shouldn't have bothered making dinner at all?


Really, our table looks like that every night, but I guess tonight it was particularly bad.

For my first recipes from this challenge, I just picked two easy ones for a weeknight: Andhra Spiced Eggplant (p49)and Bangla Dal With a Hint of Lime (p178). I did the eggplant one because I had a couple of eggplants from my CSA. I took a picture just before I roasted them because I thought they were pretty.


It was pretty good. Nothing really spectacular, but I would make it again if I was having people over and had some eggplant to get rid of. The only thing, it was pretty spicy. I might back off the amount of cayenne from any other recipes I will try. I ate it with some naan I bought at the store.


The dal was less interesting...just your basic beans and rice. I have tried other forms of dal that I have liked more, but to be honest, I forgot to add the lime which from the title, you might think is a key ingredient. The directions say to use red lentils and cook them in 5 cups of water. This really breaks them down so it really becomes sort of a mushy sauce to serve over rice.

I was worried about the heat, so I added a dolup of greek yogurt to help balance it out. The heat wasn't to bad for me, but needed more salt.


It is kind of funny. Both of these recipes are pretty much the same with the same ingredients, but they did turn out tasting pretty different.