Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Vegetable Curry

Delicious curry that's so close to India! If only I had a curry plant going, this would be pretty much the real thing. One day soon! This again is one of the recipes that Gopal made for me and my roommates when he and his family came over to show us Americans how to cook the Indian way. I still haven't perfected my chapati technique, but hopefully one day soon!

Vegetable Curry
from Gopal

2 Tbs. oil
green chilies (optional)
1/2 medium red onion
1 handful curry leaves
2 green bell peppers, diced small
1 medium russet potato, diced small
1 roma tomato, diced small
1 small handful cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup coconut paste
1 Tbs. ginger/garlic paste
1 tsp. tumeric
1/4 tsp. black pepper
salt to taste

Note: After each ingredient, stir and saute for a minute or two before adding the next.

1. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat.
2. Add green chilies (if using), onions,  cilantro, and curry leaves.
3. Add bell pepper, and potato. Cover with lid and let saute for an additional minute.
4. Add tomato, and saute for 3 minutes. Add coconut paste, ginger/garlic paste, tumeric, black pepper, stir well, and cover with lid to cook for 5 minutes.
5. Season with salt to taste, and serve with chapatis.

from Gopal
makes about 12 chapatis

3 cups whole wheat flour + more for sprinkling
1.5 cups water
1 tsp. salt
oil or butter (optional)

1. Add flour and salt to a bowl and stir to combine.
2. Make a well in the center of the flour, add water, and combine with hands. Knead 5 minutes. Add more water or flour as needed, until all flour comes off the side of the bowl but dough isn't sticky.
3. Divide into 12 balls, and press each one flat by pressing hands together tightly and twisting palms in opposite directions to make compact disks.
4. Let each ball set for 5 - 10 minutes before rolling out
5. Put some flour on the counter, cover both sides of a dough ball, and roll out to about a 5" diameter circle. To roll: roll back and forth one time on a side, flip and turn 90 degrees and repeat. 
6. Pre-heat a skillet to low heat. Add a rolled-out chapati, in crease heat to medium, cook for about 1 minute, flip, then turn head back to low and cook until dough-color has left. Flip back and forth a couple times until black splotches appear on the air bubbles.
7. If using oil or butter, drizzle or spread on chapate with the back of a spoon after the first flip.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Vegetable Biryani with Riata Sauce

This was one of my favorite dishes in India. I pretty much celebrated every time we got it for lunch (instead of our same daily-meal of rice, sambar, chapatis, and similar-tasting curry. Delicious and healthy, but the same thing every day makes a foodie cranky). Since all of our food was delivered I really didn't cook much at all, save for our Thanksgiving day feast. So, to learn how to cook Indian food, we had our amazing, kind, and gentle care taker Gopal come over with his beautiful family and teach us how to cook a few Indian dishes. Gopal pretty much made up these recipes himself, and they're amazing so I'd like to share them with the world.

I finally had the opportunity to make this dish for an Oscar party last weekend, where all the guests were assigned a dish from a country represented in the Oscars. By fortunate coincidence, I got India (from Life of Pi)

Unfortunately, it's fresh curry leaves and fresh double-beans are not stocked in the supermarkets during the winter in the mid west. SO, i substituted curry powder (so not the same thing, I know) and canned red kidney beans (or I would have, if I had realized that I don't actually own a can opener, a fact I have apparently been oblivious of since I moved into my new apartment 3 months ago x.x) Since this is an Indian recipe, you can pretty much substitute/remove/add any vegetables or seasonings you want to this. These are just the ones my dear old Gopal choose to use in his version of biryani.

Note: It's easiest to just prepare each vegetable as you go along instead of preparing all before starting.

Vegetable Biryani
from Gopal

5 Tbs. oil
1 handful fresh curry leaves
1 small red onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, cut into thin strips and then halved
3 small carrots, cut into 1/4" thick half moons
2 handfuls of green beans, chopped until 1/4" circles
1 small russet potato, diced
large handful of fresh double-beans
1 handful cilantro, chopped
2.5 Tbs. ginger/garlic paste
1/2 cup coconut paste
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
green chillies (optional)
3 cups basmati rice
1 Tbs. salt, divided

     Note: after each individual item is added to the pot, stir to incorporate new ingredients and cook for 1 minute before adding the next ingredient.

1. In a bowl, soak the rice. Dice the potato and soak in a separate bowl, same with the double-beans.
2. Heat the oil on medium heat in a stock pot
3. Add curry leaves, onion, bell pepper, carrots, green beans, potato, and double beans. Cover with lid and let cook for 5 minutes.
4. Drain rice and add fresh water to soak.
5. Add garlic/ginger paste, cover, and let cook for 2 minutes. Add coconut paste, cover, and let cook for 2 more minutes.
6. Add 2 tsp. salt and cover. Then add diced tomato and cover.
7. Add 6 cups water, turn on high heat, add remaining 1 tsp. salt and bring to a boil.
8. Drain rice, add to pot, and cook for 15 minutes, stirring every 5.
9. Set pot aside with lid on for 15 minutes.
10. Serve with raita sauce.

Riata Sauce
from Gopal

1 cucumber
1/2 medium red onion, diced small
500 mL yogurt
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup diced cilantro

1. Combine all ingredients and serve over biryani.

Moroccan Spiced Carrot Hummus

Winter has been raging on here in the Midwest. This shot was taken on top of 2 or so feet of snow. x.x To fight the snow and the cold that kept me home on this particular day, I soaked some chickpeas and whipped together this hummus during lunch time. Easy, quick, and delicious! And the spices will take you to a place far from this snowy tundra : )

I sautéed my carrots instead of boiling them and this made them more so chunks. I tend to prefer my hummus more chunky anyway, but I included directions from the original recipe for the smoother hummus lovers.

Moroccan Spiced Carrot Hummus
from Healthy. Delicious.

1.5 cups carrots, peeled and cut into coins
1.5 cups (1- 16 oz. can) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup tahini
1 lemon, juiced
4 cloves garlic, minced
6 Tbs. cold water
1 Tbs. olive oil, plus more for serving
1 Tbs. Ras El Hanout (I used this recipe)

1. Add carrots to a small sauce pan and cover with water. Boil about 10 minutes, until very soft. Drain and set aside.
2. Pour rinsed chickpeas onto a kitchen towel and cover with another towel. Rub together to loosen skins on the chick peas. Pour chickpeas into a bowl and cover with water. Remove the skins that float to the top, stir the chick peas, and remove the additional skins that float to the top. Drain chickpeas.
3. Pour drained chickpeas into a food processor, add carrots, and process together until they form a paste. While running, add tahini, lemon juice, and garlic. Continue to process until combined.
4. Continue running and add water and process for 5 minutes, or until desired consistency has been reached. Add olive oil and ras el hanout and pulse to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
5. Server with drizzled olive oil.