Indian Cheese in an Herbed Green Sauce

January 18th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

For the paneer

1 pound whole milk ricotta cheese
½ to 1 tablespoon canola oil

For the green sauce

1 pound bag fresh spinach, stemmed and washed, or 1 pound frozen spinach, unthawed
1 tablespoon ghee, butter, or canola
3 whole dried red chiles
¾ teaspoon cumin seeds
7 green cardamom pods
7 whole cloves
¾ teaspoon fennel seeds
18 teaspoon asafetida (optional)
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely chopped
½ teaspoon salt, or to taste

For the tempering oil (optional)

1 tablespoon ghee or canola oil
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
¼ teaspoon fennel seeds
1 whole dried red chile
18 teaspoon asafetida (optional)
18 teaspoon cayenne pepper

DIRECTIONS

For the paneer, preheat the oven to 450°F. Spread the ricotta evenly in a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. Bake until the cheese is lightly browned on top and firm but not dry, about 40 minutes. Let cool (the cheese will firm as it cools), then cut into 1 to 1½-inch squares. Reserve half, and refrigerate or freeze the rest for another use.

Heat ½ tablespoon of the oil in a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Add as many squares of paneer as will comfortably fit, and brown the squares on all sides. Drain the cheese on paper towels. Continue this way to brown all of the paneer, adding ½ tablespoon more oil as needed. Set the paneer aside.

Bring about 2 inches of water to a boil in a large pot. Add the spinach, cover, and cook, stirring every now and then until fresh spinach is wilted or frozen spinach is thawed, about 5 minutes. Drain, reserving the cooking water, and puree in a blender or food processor, adding a few tablespoons of the cooking water if necessary for pureeing.

Heat the ghee, butter, or oil with the red chiles, cumin, cardamom, cloves, and fennel seeds in a large wok, kadai, or frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring, until the cumin turns a golden brown color, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the asafetida, if using. Then add the ginger, and cook, stirring, 45 seconds. Add the spinach puree and the salt. Cook, uncovered, over medium heat, 5 minutes. Gently place the paneer squares on top of the greens. Cover, and cook gently 5 more minutes. Halfway through the cooking, use a large spatula to gently turn the paneer in the spinach. (Careful, the paneer will break easily). Taste the green for salt.

For the tempering oil (if using), heat the ghee or oil with the cumin, fennel seeds, and red chile in a small frying pan or kadai over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring, until the seeds, until the seeds turn a golden brown color, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the asafetida, if using, and cayenne and pour immediately into the spinach mixture. Give it a stir, and serve hot.

© Recipe Property of Suvir Saran

Corn Curry

January 18th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

For green paste

1 fresh hot green chile, stemmed and cut in half
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into large chunks
12 fresh or 16 frozen curry leaves, torn into pieces (optional)
¼ cup fresh cilantro sprigs (with tender stems only)
2 tablespoons water

For the main dish

1 cup milk
1 cup half-and-half
3 tablespoons canola oil
1½ teaspoons cumin seeds
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds (optional)
3 whole dried red chiles
¼ teaspoon turmeric
6 fresh or 10 frozen curry leaves, torn into pieces (optional)
18 teaspoon asafetida (optional)
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon salt, or to taste
4 cups fresh corn kernels (cut from about 6 ears) or frozen corn

DIRECTIONS

For the green paste, combine all of the ingredients in a small food processor, and process into a paste. Set aside. Combine the milk and the half-and-half in a 2 cup measure or small bowl. Combine the oil, cumin, and mustard seeds, if using, in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Cover if using mustard seeds (they pop and splatter), and cook until the cumin turns golden brown or you heat the mustard seeds crackle, 1 to 2 minutes.

Add the chiles, turmeric, curry leaves, and asafetida (if using) and stir. (Stand back if using curry leaves; they spit when they hit the oil.) Immediately add the green paste, and turn the heat down to low. Then cook, stirring, 1 minute.

Add the flour, and cook, stirring, 1 more minute, scraping the bottom of the pan to keep the flour from sticking. Gradually add the milk mixture, about 1 tablespoon at a time at first, to make a smooth paste. Start to add the milk more quickly, adding the final cup all at once. Stir in the salt and the corn, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, and simmer, uncovered, until the corn is tender, about 4 minutes. Taste for salt, and serve hot.

© Recipe Property of Suvir Saran

Curried Black-Eyed Peas

January 18th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Serves 4 to 6

INGREDIENTS

¼ cup canola oil
4 whole cloves
¼ teaspoon black peppercorns
6 green cardamom pods
1-inch piece cinnamon stick
3 whole dried red chiles
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
2 bay leaves
1½-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 large red onion, finely chopped
2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
2 garlic cloves, mashed in a mortar and pestle with 18 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 medium tomatoes, quartered and pureed in a food processor or blender
¼ cup plain yogurt
½ teaspoon garam masala
3 (15½-ounce) cans black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
1 cup water

DIRECTIONS

Combine the oil with the cloves, peppercorns, cardamom, cinnamon, chiles, cumin seeds, and bay leaves in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring, until the cinnamon unfurls, 1 to 2 minutes.

Add the ginger, and cook 1 minute. Add the onion and salt, and cook, stirring, until the onion turns a uniform golden brown color, about 15 minutes. Keep a measuring cup of water by the stove. As the onion begins to stick to the bottom of the pan and burn, add water, about 1 teaspoon at a time, and scrape the pan with a wooden spoon to pull up the browned bits, keeping the onion and spices from burning. Do this as often as necessary (5 or 6 times) until the onion is well browned.

When the onion is cooked, add the garlic, and cook, stirring, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the coriander, ground cumin, and turmeric, and cook until the raw smell of the spices disappears, about 30 seconds. Add the cayenne, and then immediately the pureed tomato. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer uncovered until a film of oil pools on the surface of the sauce, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a measuring cup or bowl, whisk or stir the yogurt until smooth. Stir about 2 tablespoons of the hot sauce in the yogurt to temper it. When the tomato sauce has cooked 5 minutes, stir in the tempered yogurt, the garam masala, black-eyed peas, and water. Turn the heat to medium, and heat until a bubble or two just breaks the surface, 5 to 7 minutes. (Do not allow yogurt in sauce to boil, or it will curdle.) Taste for salt, and serve hot.

© Recipe Property of Suvir Saran

Warm Lentil Salad with Coconut and Tomato

January 18th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

2½ tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon black mustard seeds (optional)
1 teaspoon yellow split peas
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 whole dried red chiles
8 fresh or 12 frozen curry leaves, torn into pieces (optional)
18 teaspoon asafetida (optional)
1 fresh hot green chile, cut corsswise into thin slices
1 red onion, sliced
1½ teaspoons salt, or to taste
2 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut (optional)
1 small tomato, chopped
1 cup split peas or lentils simmered in water to cover until tender, and drained
Juice of ½ lemon
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

DIRECTIONS

Combine the oil, the mustard seeds (if using), and yellow split peas in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan or casserole dish over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring, until the mustard seeds crackle and/or the dal begins to color, 1 to 2 minutes. (Cover the pan if using mustard seeds; they pop and splatter.)

Add the cumin and cook, stirring, until the cumin turns golden brown, about 1 minute.

Add the dried chiles, curry leaves, and asafetida (if using), and cook, stirring, about 1 minute. (Stand back when using the curry leaves; they spit when they hit the oil.)

Add the fresh chile, onion, and salt, and cook until the onion softens, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the coconut, if using, and cook, stirring, until it turns golden brown, about 2 more minutes. Add the tomato, and cook, stirring, about 1 minute. Add the cooked lentils, lemon juice, and cilantro, and stir until the lentils are warmed through. Taste for salt. Spoon the salad into a serving bowl, and serve warm or at room temperature.

© Recipe Property of Suvir Saran

“Kwalitys” Chickpeas

January 18th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Serves 4 to 6

INGREDIENTS

3 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
¼ teaspoon black peppercorns
4 whole cloves
4 green cardamom pods
3 whole dried red chiles
1½-inch piece of fresh ginger, minced
4 fresh or 6 frozen curry leaves, torn into pieces (optional)
2 red onions, finely chopped
3 fresh hot green chiles, slit the length of the chile
1½ teaspoons salt, or to taste
2 teaspoons dried mango powder (amchur), or the juice of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons pomegranate seed powder (anaardaana), or the juice of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons ground toasted cumin
½ teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon garam masala
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1½ cups water
3 (19-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed

DIRECTIONS

Combine the oil, cumin seeds, peppercorns, cloves, cardamom, and red chiles in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring, until the cumin begins to brown, 1 to 2 minutes.

Add the ginger and curry leaves, if using, and cook, stirring, about 30 seconds. (Stand back if using curry leaves; they spit when they hit the oil.) Add the onions, green chiles, and salt while cooking, stirring often, until the onions turn a uniformly dark brown color, about 20 minutes. Keep a cup of water beside the stove as the onions cook. As the onions begin to stick to the bottom of the pan, add water, about 1 teaspoon at a time, and stir and scrape the bottom of the pan, add water, about 1 teaspoon at a time, and stir and scrape the bottom of the pan with the spoon to pull up the browned bits, keeping the onions and spices from burning. Do this as often as necessary (5 or 6 times) until the onions are well browned.

When the onions are cooked, add the mango and pomegranate powders, if using, as well as the ground/toasted cumin, turmeric, and ½ teaspoon of garam masala; cook, stirring, about 30 seconds.

Stir in the cayenne and black peppers. Immediately add the water and all but about ½ cup of chickpeas. Mash the rest of the chickpeas to a puree with the back of a form, and add them to the pan along with the remaining ½ teaspoon garam masala. Bring to a simmer, stirring, and cook gently, partially covered, for 15 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice, if using. Taste for salt, and serve hot.

© Recipe Property of Suvir Saran

Tamarind Rice

January 18th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Serves 8

INGREDIENTS

1 tablespoon plus 1½ teaspoons tamarind concentrate
½ cup warm water
3 tablespoons canola oil
½ cup unsalted peanuts (preferably unroasted), roughly chopped
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
16 curry leaves, roughly torn (optional)
6 dried red chiles (optional)
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
¾ teaspoon turmeric
1 large red onion, quartered and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons Sambhaar, or 1 teaspoon curry powder
7 cups cooked basmati rice, drained, spread out on a baking sheet, and cooled to room temperature

DIRECTIONS

Place the tamarind in a small bowl, and pour the warm water over it. Whisk together until the tamarind is completely dissolved, and set aside.

Heat the oil, peanuts, and mustard seeds in a large skillet or pot over medium-high heat until the mustard seeds begin to pop, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the curry leaves, chiles, cumin, turmeric, and cook until the peanuts are golden, about 1½ minutes. Add the onion, salt, and Sambhaar, and cook until the onion is soft, 4 to 5 minutes, stirring often (if the onion begins to burn, turn the heat down). Add the tamarind water, and cook until the water is evaporated, stirring often, for about 2 minutes.

Stir in the rice, and cook until the rice is hot, about 2 minutes (if the rice was in the fridge it will take an extra 2 to 4 minutes to warm up), stirring once or twice to make sure nothing burns at the bottom of the pan. Taste for seasoning, and serve.

© Recipe Property of Suvir Saran

Not-so-dull Dal

January 18th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Serves 6

INGREDIENTS

3 tablespoons canola oil
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
3 dried red chiles
Pinch asafetida (optional)
1 medium red onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 jalapeño (cored and seeded to make more mild), finely chopped
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1½ cups washed masoor dal or yellow split peas (channa dal)
6 cups water
Juice of ½ lemon

DIRECTIONS

Heat the oil with cumin and chiles in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat for 1½ minutes. Add the asafetida (if using), and cook for 20 seconds, and then add the onion and jalapeño. Cook for 1 minute, stir in the kosher salt, and cook until the onion and jalapeño have softened, about 3 minutes, stirring often. Add the garlic and lentils, and cook until garlic becomes fragrant, 1 to 1½ minutes. Stir in ¼ cup of the water, cook until the pan is dry, and then add an additional 5¾ cups water and the lemon juice. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to a simmer. Partially cover, and stir every 10 minutes until the lentils are soft and break apart easily but are not completely broken down, 25 to 35 minutes. Taste for seasoning, and serve with rice.

© Recipe Property of Suvir Saran

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