Archives for category: Indian Food

At end of the day, I have never tried Aloo and Palak before.  I still decided to try cooking this dish which sounds really good.  It’s usually easier to have a basis of what it supposed to taste, smell, and look like.  So be fearless in the kitchen and explore by trying dishes you have never had, selecting different cuisines, and use new spices.  This will enhance your cooking skills and expand your taste buds.  With this experience of cooking Aloo and Palak it reminds me to gather multiple recipes to make sure I understand the necessary steps to cook the dish and figure out the ingredients that can vary and which ones are main stays.

Aloo and Palak – Indian Cuisine adventure

Here are the results of the Aloo and Palak.  It tasted great but it looks completely different than the example picture from the link below.

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Recipe: http://www.supersana.com/2012/05/01/trader-joe-loves-and-aloo-palak-recipe/

Aloo and Palak translates to potatoes and spinach.  I have found most Indian dishes describe the main ingredients in the dish such as this one.  Overall the taste had a sweeter tomato flavor with its caramelized tomato paste and onions, tender crisp potatoes, and spinach which added an earthy flavor offsetting some of the sweet.   Since you’re already thinking this I’ll say it.. why is brown rice and green beans being served with an Indian dish?  Well, I know it’s not traditional but you work with what you got in the fridge to complete a meal.

So if you compare my pic to the pic from the link; mine is red and theirs is green with white potatoes.  Now that is a head scratch-er.  Too bad when I was cooking I forgot what it was supposed to look like.  Where did the follies start?  So, when I added tomato paste to the potatoes and sautéed onions for the step of cooking the potatoes; the tomato paste seemed like it was starting to burn.  Yikes, what to do next?  Dah da da Daah…I kept on adding water which diluted the tomato paste and made everything red and slightly saucy.   A friend who is an Indian cook said she traditionally pre-cooks the potatoes in a microwave to soften them up to reduce the cooking time.   Good to know for next time.  Once everything was cooked I wanted to add a little more taste by adding a little bit of garam masala which turned out tasting good.  Looking back know it’s traditional to add cumin and coriander which is why I probably wanted to add some seasoning.  Point for me for trusting my instincts.   I have recently noticed that other recipes do not add tomato paste at all to this dish.  But, I can see how adding the paste will substitute flavor if you don’t add as many seasonings such as cumin or coriander.  None the less, this dish transformed into something tasty.   Go ahead and try the way I cooked it or peruse all the different variations out there.  Remember don’t worry about making a dish look the same but roll with the punches and develop a new tasty dish!

Side adventure!

Ginger-Garlic paste is an easy condiment to make and stores well in the fridge.  Why buy it when you can make it yourself (adapted from Show me the curry)?

Recipe:

Ingredients:

1 C garlic
1 C ginger
1 t salt
1/3 C olive oil
Or Equal parts garlic and ginger, pinch a salt, and enough oil till it emulsifies (When oil and particles combine in a smooth uniform mixture such as a paste).

Instructions:

In food processor chop garlic, ginger, and salt.  Then slowly add olive oil by pouring it in slowly.   Once it emulsifies it is done.

Please note this paste adds some kick.  Good stuff!!  Trying it has the bite similar t0 horseradish sauce.   Since making this I have used it in place when recipes called for garlic such as Spinach artichoke dip.  So it’s very transitional item.  If you’re not a fan of ginger, remember ginger can be off-putting when there is too much of it because it will over power all of the other flavors.  So make sure to add it at the right amounts to ensure to have a great tasting dish.

Note: I’m not a professional, don’t take any of my advice,  and don’t try this at home.

I’m on a culinary journey of trying out different cuisines with the month of July exploring Indian recipes.  What is great about Indian recipes there are many websites that have tons of great recipes and have videos showing how to make them.  To get started, I recalled some dishes I have tried and wanted to try from all of the visits to the local Indian restaurants.  With a little research on the internet, I finally have list of recipes that I want to make and noticed most of the recipes have a long ingredient list.  This very fact was very intimidating but then again I have made other dishes like Chicken Tika Masla and they have all turned out well.   So, come along my culinary journey to learn more about different cuisines, cooking follies, and fun.

Great sites for recipes:

http://www.vahrehvah.com/

http://showmethecurry.com/

http://www.manjulaskitchen.com/

2nd dish – Indian Cusine: Chicken Biryani

I’ll start out by showing out the finished Chicken Biryani.

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Here the meal is served!  The dish tasted great!  It wasn’t perfect but for the first try it exceeded expectations.

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This dish tasted amazing.  I have never had it before but will definitely make this again.  The aroma for this dish was amazing too; although it did linger to the next day.  Good thing we had leftovers.

To recap how it’s cooked; throw chicken, marinade, spices and some (I accidentally put all of the fried onions…opps) of the fried onion into a large bowl and let sit covered a few hours in the fridge.   Get the basmati rice soaking and then get it partially cooked.  Then comes a mysterious step of “Dum” cooking everything.  Hugh, what did I say….  well, “Dum” cooking is using a heavy bottom pan to cook the chicken and let the aromatic flavor help cook the rice.  It’s key to keep the top of this pan covered to allow the great aromatics in the pan flavor the rice.  I used a kitchen towel but things like dough can be used as well.  I do hope the aromatics come out of the towel I used after laundry is done.

Overall, the dish was a little challenging not knowing about “Dum” cooking but it’s such a great tasting dish.  Dum cooking is a lot like baking where you throw everything together and hope for the best.  My chicken did turn out a little over cooked.  I dum cooked it 40 minutes and probably had the heat too high as well.  So, with all of the follies, I will know what to do next time 🙂  Also, I’ll use more whole spices since I used mainly powder spices.   I didn’t know the conversion so I gosh and by gollied the amounts.   Whole spices can be tempered which enhance the flavor too.   What is “Tempered”?  It is taking whole spices and heating them up in a frying pan.  So, if you don’t use whole spice, find a recipe that uses powder spices to get an accurate quantity.  At the Indian grocery you can buy a lot of spices for very little money comparatively to most groceries.  I omitted Saffron because it is so expensive and haven’t found a good alternative.  Most say there isn’t one.  It’s the most expensive spice by ounce in the world.  Well, now that you have vicariously experienced how to cook chicken biryani, try it out it’s an amazing dish.

 

Note: I’m not a professional, don’t take any of my advice,  and don’t try this at home.