Adventures in Indian Cooking – 1/31/10

January 31, 2010 § Leave a comment

One of the things on my Christmas list was the Indian cookbook “Quick and Easy Indian Cooking” by Madhur Jaffrey. It was suggested to me by a Twitter friend, @cycling_chef.  After getting it, I was excited to get started!  Once I looked through the recipes, I realized I was going to need quite a few spices.  There is a large Indian population in northern NJ, but I just don’t have the time to take the kids all over the state to Indian markets.  Instead, I went online to to order some of the spices I didn’t have.

I was flipping through the book wondering what I should cook first. Everything looked amazing. I decided to start simple and I made the “Garlicky Mushroom Masala Omelet” for dinner one night. It was delicious!  Lots of garlic, sauteed mushrooms, toasted black mustard seeds, and fresh cilantro. 

After that, I decided to try a chicken dish. “Chicken in a Spicy Red Sauce” was next. I used boneless, skinless, organic chicken thighs.  The flavor was amazing but I substituted cauliflower for the potato chunks in the recipe and the sauce was runny because of it. That potato was really necessary to help thicken the sauce.  I’ll have to try the recipe again using potato.

Next up, a side dish, “New Potatoes with Cumin”.  This is a definite keeper. I’ve made it twice already. I leave the potatoes plain for my kids, but my husband and I love the cumin, toasted cumin seeds, garam masala, cayenne pepper, and cilantro. Spicy and flavorful. I serve it with panko breaded thin chicken cutlets and steamed broccoli. A popular dinner at my house.  I like to have the leftovers with two over easy eggs and some salt and pepper.

Next after that, a bean dish, “Red Lentils Tarka”.  This was a very simple lentil dish but called for the spice asafetida.  I need to say that when I received my spice shipment, I noticed this spice was extremely strong. I kept it in a ziploc bag in my spice cabinet but since I could still smell it, I moved it to my garage!  The recipes that call for it in the book typically say asafetida is optional, but this lentil dish called for it and it was not optional.  Trying to stay as authentic as possible, I reluctantly tried it.  It did stink for a few minutes but added so much flavor to the dish, I would totally use it again.

I hope to make some more amazing dishes and share them with you.  I will update my progress at the end of February.  In the meantime, don’t be afraid to cook out of your comfort zone.  You never know what you might like!


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