September 24, 2006

Indian Redux

On friday we had pizza with Dan and Carmen, so I had to come up with something else to cook. Emily has been hinting that she wanted stuffed Naan so I decided to make one of those Southern Indian dipping sauces for it.

Tonight, I made the meat stuffed Naan, some paneer (fresh cheese) stuffed Naan, mango chutney, raita, rice, and Murgh Korma (a chicken curry). I hadn't made the cheese or the chicken dish before. Emily has declared the Korma to be her new favorite Indian dish, but that still may be second to the stuffed Naan. :)

Rasam (lentil soup)

This a nice lentil/tomato soup that can be served it's own with some cilantro and a dollop of sour cream or used as a dipping sauce for Naan.
1/4 cup tanish lentils (tuar dal)
1/4 cup red lentils (masoor dal)
4-5 medium tomatoes, chopped
1/2 tsp tamarind extract
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp hing (aka asafoetida - I left it out)
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp fennel seeds (optional)
1/2 tsp fennugreek seeds
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 bunch cilantro (for garnish)
I usually use chunks of chicken, with bone in, and skin removed, cut into chunks. (Thighs and legs hacked in half, to get some of the marrow flavor into the sauce.)

Cook the lentils in water. Roast and grind the cumin and mustard seeds. Grind the fennugreek and fennel. Add the tomatoes and spices. Simmer for a while.

If you can get it, add 1/2 tsp of hing and a handful of curry leaves.

Adjust the seasoning with salt, tamarind extract, and garam masala.

To serve as a soup, garnish with cilantro, yogurt or sour cream, and maybe a squeeze of lime juice. For a dipping sauce, optionally puree the rasam.

Paneer Cheese
1 quart milk
2 tbsp lemon juice
Simmer the milk for about 5 minutes. Add the lemon juice a little at time, while stirring, until the curds separate from the whey. Pour into a clean tea towel in a collander. Season to taste. Tie up the towel and hang it to drain for 10 min or so. Press it under a weight for an hour or so and then unwrap and refrigerate.

Murgh Korma

Adapted from Quick and Easy Indian Cooking by Madhur Jaffrey.
1.5 pounds chicken pieces (with or without bones)
1/4 cup yogurt
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 bay leaf
2 in cinnamon stick
3 cardamom pods
3 cloves
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 small tomatoes
1 in piece of ginger
5-6 cloves garlic
1 tbsp heavy cream
1 pinch saffron (optional)
garam masala
Mix the yogurt with the dry spices (corriander, ground cumin, and chili powder). Lightly whip the yogurt until it's smooth and use it to marinade the chicken. (From a half hour to 3 hours.)

Heat the cream in a microwave and add the saffron. (Be careful not to overheat or it will boil over.)

Mince the garlic and ginger and add a tablespoon of water.

Put the oil on high heat. Add the whole spices (cardamom, cloves, cumin, cinnamon, bay leaf) and fry for 15 seconds or so. Add the onions and cook until they brown a bit. Add the garlic/ginger paste and fry for 30 sec or so. Add the tomatoes and fry. Add the chicken, its marinade, and 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 15-20 minutes, turning the chicken occasionally.

Uncover, add the cream mixture, and cook on high for 8 minutes or so, while stirring, until the sauce thickens. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and garam masala.

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