Sunday, February 6, 2011

Friday Night, February 4,2011, Indian Night

Remind me not to do that again! Well at least not all in one day. I really didn't think it would take all day, but it did! From the Tamarind Chutney to the Indian style ice cream and everything in between. I came across this Indian cook book on Wednesday while I was straitening up my pantry shelves and thought..."I haven't done any Indian cooking lately, maybe I'll do it for Friday Night. Everything I made is from this one cookbook that I bought at work one day because it was like $4.00 and I had to get it. When I think of Indian cooking I think of someone I used to work with in hairdressing, her name is Shobha. I had been to her house a few times and she'd invite me for lunch. Every time it was just the two of us and she made about 20 different things. I figure Indian food is served with many things, so I couldn't just make an app, a main and dessert. There would have to be many layers...

Let me first start by showing you pictures of the Tamarind Chutney I made from tamarind "pods", they look like a big pea pods. I happened to have these tamarind "pods" in my pantry, I bought them one day figuring..."these are interesting, I will figure out something???" And this was the day. I first peeled them, then separated the pulp from the seeds. I cooked the pulp in water and added a fresh Serrano chili, chopped and then some brown sugar and salt, it cooks for about 40 minutes in all. The time consuming part was peeling and getting the pulp from the seeds. By the way this was a recipe in the book, I didn't just figure that out. We loved this, the taste was, as if I had added a bunch of freshly squeezed lemon juice, but I didn't.

Ghee is something new for me. I had never used it but I liked it. It's a little expensive (about $6.00) for a small jar, maybe 4-6 oz? I liked it because it has the flavor of butter but it won't burn easily like butter would. It's made by cooking it like clarified butter but then taken a step further and browned slightly to give a more caramelized flavor.

When cooking Indian food you must have Garam Masala (Homemade of course). I made the recipe in the book and it includes bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods, cumin seeds, black peppercorns, whole cloves and ground cloves. You toast these spices in a dry skillet then grind them to a fine powder. It turns out I only needed a couple teaspoons in the main dish but It had to be made. It also will last a long time so I do plan to use it in the months to come.

Vegetable Samosas with Tamarind Chutney

This is similar to a pot sticker or spring roll, in the way that it is a flavorful filling inside of a dough and fried. This filling has lots of vegetables and a potato finely diced and lots of spices. You make the dough with flour, Ghee, lemon juice and water. This dough is kneaded for 10 minutes. You roll out the dough and divide it to 7 circles then divide them in half and put some filling in, then seal into a cone shape. Fry and serve with fresh cilantro and the tamarind chutney. We loved this as an appetizer.

Pork and Vegetable Curry

This recipe is made with ground pork, which was easy. All the usual suspects are in this, the Ghee, the onion, more spices along with the Garam Masala, diced potato, tomatoes, carrot, cilantro and water. It's cooked for only a half an hour or so. I spooned this over the rice (below) and it worked great together.

Coconut Rice

I can't have a curry without rice. I followed a recipe that was in the book for this. It's made by first rinsing any starch off of basmati rice then toasting it a bit in oil, just so its coated really. Then you add some heated water and the "cream" from the coconut milk (when you open the can of coconut milk, there is always about an inch or so of coconut "cream" that has separated from the milk, you use that). Once they are combined you cover the pan and simmer gently for only about 8-10 minutes. Remove the cover and loosen the grains with a fork and off the heat cover the pan for 5 minutes. I had toasted some coconut flakes I had just for a garnish.

Mango Chutney

This was in the book and the description said it's much different than what you get in a jar at the grocery store. So that made me want to make it. It was different, it's got whole mustard seeds in it, lots of spices, lime juice, white wine vinegar, brown sugar, shallots and of course the mango. It says you must leave it in the refrigerator for 3 days before you eat it, but I have to say it was good after one day (I made this the night before).


This is served at every meal as a soothing component, in Indian cooking. If anything is too hot and spicy you eat some Raita and it soothes your pallet. It's made with grated cucumber and after removing all excess liquid you mix it into some plain yogurt, salt, cumin, sugar and fresh mint. Tony loves his cucumber so I had to make this.


How can I make an Indian meal without making Naans? This is the staple they have for bread at the dinner table. I make a lot of doughs and breads and pastries and this was similar to a pizza dough but with the additions of an egg, baking powder and Ghee instead of oil. It's a very stiff dough and I have to say my hands are still hurting today. It takes about 2 hours in total, between kneading and resting and incorporating the Ghee and letting it rest again, then baking (baking only takes about 5-6 minutes).

Saffron and Almond Ice Cream (Indian Style)

This is where I saved myself from gaining any extra pounds. You know why??? Because I only had a couple bites and the rest went to waste. It was made like a granita, by not using an ice cream machine, and just periodically scraping it with the tines of a fork for the beginning then removing it to individual dishes for the rest of the freezing. I didn't like it, and I have to say Tony left his too. It's made by infusing Saffron into milk for an half hour, then ground rice and ground almonds are are combined with the saffron milk. Evaporated milk, heavy cream and sugar are mixed in and that's it. I couldn't imagine ice cream made without any egg yolks, and now I need egg yokes and you need an ice cream maker!!!!!!

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