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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Chicken Malai Curry

My family loves our chicken curry dishes. 

This is a recipe from Thanksgiving dinner, which my uncle prepared. It's similar to chicken makhani but the preparation and some ingredients are different. It's not too spicy, although you can add chilies if you want.

Chicken Malai Curry
serves 6, Prep: 25 min., Cook: 35 min.

  • 2 pounds of chicken breast cuts in cubes
  • 2 cans of tomato paste
  • 2 cups of plain yogurt
  • 3 table spoon of ginger root paste
  • 5 gloves of garlic cloves
  • 3 tablespoon of turmeric powder
  • 3 tablespoon of cumin powder
  • 3 tablespoon of coriander powder
  • 2 tablespoon of anisette seeds
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 4/5 green cardamoms finely crushed in blender with shells and seeds.
  • ¼ gallon of light cream
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • 2 Cups of Cashew nuts
  • Cooking oil

  1. In a large container, place the chicken cubes, add yogurt, little salt and turmeric powder. Mix them well and marinate overnight or 6 to 8 hours.
  2. Soak the cashew nuts in water for 3 to 4 hours.
  3. Heat oil in a large heavy based saucepan on high heat first. Add marinated chicken to the heated oil and start stirring.  Turn down the heat, cover the pan and let it simmer for a while for about 25 to 35 minutes stirring occasionally.
  4. In a blender, blend rest of the ingredients, except sugar, cream, bay leaves and cardamoms powder. Add the blended mixture to the chicken in the saucepan and stir thoroughly. After a while add the cream and bay leaves and mixes all the ingredients together by stirring.  Cook on slow heat for a while until the chicken pieces get tender. Add salt and sugar as required and add half of blended cardamoms powder. Place the cooked chicken in a serving dish and sprinkle rest of the blended cardamoms powder for garnishing.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Thai Spaghetti Squash with Yellow Coconut Curry Sauce

So this isn't really an Indian dish, but Thai cuisine is popular among Indians because it fuses Chinese cuisine with Indian curries.

This fall I've had an obsession with spaghetti squash - because it's a no calorie version of pasta - and when you mix it with a bolognese or with other sauces used with pastas, you can't tell the difference.

So although this recipe can be made with regular pasta - I'm trying it with spaghetti sauce.

Thai Noodles with Yellow Curry Sauce
serves 4 to 5, Prep: 30 min, Cook: 30 min.


  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • 2 tsp. of curry paste
  • 1 inch. of ginger root, grated
  • 2 cloves of garlic, grated
  • 1 small can of water chestnuts, drained
  • 1 can of chinese vegetables, drained (look for baby corn, bamboo shoots, etc.)
  • 1 medium onion, sliced thinly into half moons.
  • 2 tsp of oil
  • green onions for garnish
  • lemongrass is optional.


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Split the spaghetti squash in half with a sharp knife and remove seeds. Brush with oil on the inside halves and place the halves squash side down on a sheet tray. Bake for 30 minutes or until tender in the oven.
    While squash is cooking, place a large saucepan or pot over medium low heat. Once it is heated, add the oil, ginger, garlic and onions. Saute until translucent.
  2. Add the coconut milk. (If you want the lemongrass flavor, add a few pieces into the coconut milk. and let it steep for five minutes. Then remove it.) Let it thicken a bit. 
  3. Add the curry paste and mix thoroughly.
  4. Then add vegetables. Set the pot aside, while squash finishes roasting.
  5. When the squash is finished, let it cool. Once cooled, use a fork and remove the "strings" of squash. 
  6. Add squash to curry.
  7. Heat through and serve. Garnish with green scallions.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

A real Indian Thanksgiving

So Thanksgiving like most holidays in my family are fusion feasts. Well, fusion may not be the correct term - but we serve both Indian and American cuisines. It makes sense for us, because almost all the children in my family are American born and some of our family has married into other cultures. So some people only eat Indian food, some eat both types, and some only American. (when I mean American, I mean not Indian or spicy, but Italian, etc. counts)

So anyway each year, we end up at my uncle and aunt's in New Jersey for Thanksgiving, where on top of the regular Thanksgiving feast, we have fried rice, and Indian dishes and desserts.

This year my uncle made Chicken Malai Curry and Paneer Kabliwala, which is a mixture of veggies, cheese and curries.

Paneer Kabilwala
serves 6, Prep: 30 min, Cook: 35 min.
*created by my uncle, Dibyendu.


  • 2 lbs. of paneer, cut in small cube
  • 2 8 oz. cans of chick peas, drained
  • 1.5 tbsp Fresh Ginger, crushed
  • 1.5 tbsp Fresh garlic cloves, crushed,
  • 2 medium white/yellow onions, chopped
  • 3 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 10 to 12 button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 2 tsp. cumin powder
  • 1.5 tsp. coriander powder
  • 1 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 to 2 tsp. Vindaloo paste (it's spicy so, make sure you add it in small amounts and taste)
  • 1 tsp. salt (to taste)
  • 2 tbsp. cooking oil (olive oil will be good)

  1. In a container place the paneer cubes and sprinkle some 1/2 of turmeric powder and 1/4 of salt salt and mix.
  2. Place a frying on stove top on medium heat and add 1 tbsp. oil. Start frying the paneer cubes few at a time till they lightly brown. Place all the fried paneer cubes in separate container.
  3. Place a fairly large pot on stove top on medium heat and add 1 tbsp. oil. (coat bottom of pot, add more if necessary)
  4. Add onions, crushed ginger and garlic and start stirring. 
  5. Once the onion gets tender, add mushrooms, tomatoes, red peppers and green peppers. Lower the heat.
  6. Add cumin powder, coriander powder and the rest of the turmeric powder as to your taste. Continue stirring. 
  7. When the vegetable start getting tender, add drained chick peas and continue stirring for ten minutes. 
  8. Add paneer cubes and stir.
  9. Once all the ingredients are all thoroughly mixed, add Vindaloo paste and salt to your taste. After stirring occasionally for 10 minutes on low heat the dish will be ready for serving.

NOTE: This dish can be served with plain rice, Nan bread or chapattis.

Chicken recipe to follow in upcoming post.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Aloo Gobi (Spiced potatoes and cauliflower)

Aloo Gobi was one of those dishes my family made often as a side dish or something we'd have even when guests came over because it is a classic dish.

But since I grew up eating it often - I wanted to put a twist on it when I made it this time - so I decided to add shrimp and skimp back a little on the potatoes because - it's better on my waist anyway.

So the dish is pretty simple. There's no need to blanch or parboil the veggies because they cook down in the pot as the spices are added.

Depending on the type of shrimp you buy (pre-cooked or fresh) you should prepare it separately and add it in towards the end - so they don't overcook.

Aloo Gobi
serves 4, Prep: 20 min, Cook: 30 min.

  • 2 tbsp of oil
  • 1 head of cauliflower, rough chop (leave some pieces in tact)
  • 1 large potato, peeled and cubed
  • 1/2 pound of shrimp
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 1 tsp of ginger, grated
  • 1 tsp of tumeric
  • 1 tsp of cumin
  • 1/2 tsp of garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp of paprika
  • salt to taste

  1. Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Stir in onions,garlic and ginger. Cook about 1 minute until garlic is lightly browned. Add the potatoes. Season with turmeric, paprika, cumin, garam masala, and salt. Cover and continue cooking 5 to 7 minutes stirring occasionally.
  2. Mix the cauliflower into the saucepan. Reduce heat to low and cover. Stirring occasionally, continue cooking 10 minutes, or until potatoes and cauliflower are tender. 
  3. Add cooked shrimp (prepare earlier) and peas. Heat through until peas are defrosted.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Rajma (Red Kidney Bean Curry)

This week I was craving a bit of protein - but not meat. And I was craving chili.

So the best Indian-version of chili is rajma, a red kidney bean curry, with spices and ingredients similar to an American chili.

It's so simple to make, literally takes 15 minutes to cook, once you have the ingredients prepped and super delicious.

And it's one of those dishes you could whip up after work on a cold day and feel satisfied with the result.

When I made this - I oversalted by accident so although I'll give you my exact ingredients and directions, please double check and make sure some products your using aren't pre-salted. Also, if you use sea salt (which I did), use less. Kosher salt is the best kind to use in any cooking in my opinion. Sea salt is great on seafoods and fries - it's tastes saltier so use less.

serves 4, Prep: 15 min., Cook: 30 min.


  • 1 tbsp of oil
  • 1 small yellow/white onion, diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, smashed or grated
  • 1 tbsp of fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 can of red kidney beans, drained but not rinsed.
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes (I used smoked, makes it spicier and gives it a deeper flavor.)
  • 1 green chili chopped, no seeds.
  • 1 tsp of tumeric
  • 1 tsp of garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp of corriander
  • 1/2 tsp of cumin
  • salt to taste
  • cilantro for garnish

  1. In a medium pot, sweat onions with oil over medium heat.
  2. Add garlic and ginger, and saute for 1 min.
  3. Add kidney beans and saute for 2 min. Some of the liquid from the can will go in now and thicken the sauce later.
  4. Add tomatoes, green chili and spices and allow curry to reach low simmer. simmer on low for 10 mins.

Check seasoning. Add salt to taste and cilantro as a garnish. Yum!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Southern Indian Lamb Curry

I'm a big Food Network fiend and so I was intrigued the other day when I saw Tyler Florence make an "Ultimate Indian Dinner" on his show.

He made Lamb Curry, raita and samosas. Haven't made this recipe yet - but I'm gonna try it this weekend. As for the samosas... I'm on a mission to find one authentic recipe, and one that is easy - so that I can compare them in a later blog.

Southern Indian Lamb Curry
serves 8, Prep: 35 min., Cook 40 min.

Recipe courtesy Tyler Florence and Food Network


  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cloves
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon cumin seed
  • 11/2 tablespoon fennel seed
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon coriander seed
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons turmeric
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 10 fresh curry leaves
  • 3 pounds boned shoulder lamb, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 fresh red chili
  • 2 medium onions, roughly chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 large fresh tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup plain unsweetened natural yogurt
  • 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1 scallion, cut into strips
  • 6 cups steamed basmati rice


  1. Begin by setting a large, heavy-based pot over medium heat. Grind the cloves, fennel, cumin, coriander, and turmeric in a spice grinder. Add oil to the hot pot and pour in the spices. Throw in cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, curry leaves, and chilli. Toast for 2-3 minutes until golden and aromatic - be careful, the leaves will splatter a little. While they are toasting, add onion, garlic and ginger to the food processor and pulse until finely chopped.
  2. Season cubed lamb with salt and pepper then add to the pot of oil and spices. Brown all over, about 5-7 minutes.Add onion puree and sweat a little to remove some of the moisture - about 8 minutes. Stir with a wooden spoon as you go. Now add fresh tomatoes and cover slightly with lid. Reduce heat and simmer for 40 minutes until the lamb is tender. Remove the lid and skim fat off the surface. Fold in the yogurt and simmer for a further 5 minutes. Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro and scallions serve with steamed basmati rice and raita.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Saag Paneer (Spinach with cheese)

So one of the most popular dishes at Indian restaurants across the country is saag panner, a curry-creamed spinach dish with cheese.

It's one of my family's favorites as well, and although my family has made this meal over the years, I find it turns out different based on the types of ingredients used each time. Frozen spinach makes it more watery versus fresh, while if the fresh spinach is blended it's creamier versus when the spinach is cooked down and cream is added.

I recently made saag paneer and apparently I did a good job, because my mom tried it and said so.

Saag Paneer
serves 6, Prep: 35 min., Cook: 35 min.


  • 2 tbsp of oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp. of crushed fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp. of fresh chopped garlic
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 1 tsp. of salt
  • 1/2 tsp of pepper
  • 2 tsp. of curry powder **
  • 1 pkg. of paneer, Indian cheese, cubed
  • 2 pkgs. of fresh baby spinach, chopped
  • 1/2 cup of half and half

** Indian curry powder is not made from curry leaves. It actually is a blend of spices. Here's a basic recipe. You can save the extra in a small tupperware container for 6 months.

Curry Powder:
  • 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 tablespoon cardamom seeds
  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  • 2 dried red chiles, broken in pieces, seeds discarded
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric

blend the ingredients in a small coffee grinder.


  1. Heat a medium pot over medium heat. When warm add 1 tbsp of oil to pot.
  2. When oil is heated, but before smoking, add onions and saute until translucent.
  3. Add garlic and ginger and saute for 1 minute.
  4. Add tomatoes, salt and pepper and saute until tomatoes slightly melt.
  5. Add spinach to the pot and cook until wilted. Add curry mixture.
  6. In a separate saucepan, heat the remaining oil over medium heat.
  7. Add cubes of paneer and try to brown on each side over medium heat.
  8. Once the spinach mixture is cooked, take half of the mixture and puree in blender with half and half.
  9. Add puree mixture back into the original spinach mixture.
  10. Once paneer is browned add that to the spinach mixture and fold into dish.
  11. Check for seasoning and add salt if necessary. If you want it spicier you can break up a green chili and add it to the dish, or add crushed red peppers.

Serve with naan.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

My Mom's Famous Coconut Curry Shrimp

I'm going to preface this recipe with a little story about my mom, just because she cracks me up in the kitchen.

My mom swears she's an awful cook, yet the woman has fed her children for years and we've eaten it. I'll admit her culinary skills when it comes to meat preparation are funny, she is scared that it'll be raw so she overcooks meat until it's rubbery, but I can't blame her - she's vegetarian.

Anyway, her skills as an Indian cook are fine, though and actually good. I mean growing up my dad cooked a lot at home and there are some recipes he made that's no one has been able to replicate, however between my mom and my grandmother (her mother) I get a fair share of good indian cooking.

This shrimp dish was my vegetarian mom's creation and I honestly don't know what made her decide to mix these ingredients but this recipe is simple and delicious. Seriously, it's requested by my friends, her friends and family, alike. Furthermore, the best thing about this recipe is you can substitute anything for the shrimp and it would be just as good, we've used chicken before as well as an assortment of veggies like cauliflower, broccoli, eggplant, carrots and etc.

My friend tried to order it once at an Indian restaurant and they had no idea what he was talking about, but that's because it's very Thai-influenced and it's a family recipe. So cherish this one!

Milu's Coconut Curry Shrimp
serves 6, Prep: 5 min., Cook: 25 min.

  • 1 can of coconut milk (usually in Mexican aisle)
  • 1 tsp. of Patak's Curry Paste (stick with mild)
  • 1 pound of shrimp
  • 1 carton of cherry tomatoes
  • salt to taste
  • cilantro

    1. Clean the shrimp, if fresh, disgarding veins and tails. Add shrimp to boiling water for approximetely 5 to 7 mins. Remove shrimp or drain water. Set aside.
    2. In a pot add coconut milk and bring to simmer over low to medium heat depending on your stove. Add 1 heaping teaspoon of the curry paste and blend into coconut milk. Taste the sauce and decide if you should add more curry. This recipe takes some trial and error. If you want a stronger curry flavor add another 1/2 tsp. of the curry paste and taste again. Remember as the sauce thickens and continues to cook, it'll take on a stronger flavor.
    3. Add cooked shrimp and fold in with sauce. If you want more spice, you could add a small green chili or 1/4 tsp of red pepper flakes.
    4. Add cherry tomatoes and let simmer until tomatoes look a little wrinkly.

    Serve over rice with a garnish of cilantro.

    Wednesday, September 30, 2009

    Chana Masala (Indian Chick Peas)

    Spiced chick peas are eaten in India as both a side entree during a meal or as an appetizer.
    Most people serve them with various vegetables for people to add to their own bowl, sort of like toppings for chili.
    In my family, like most however, chick peas are eaten when we need a vegetarian dish for a meal.

    Chana Masala
    serves 6 to 8, Prep: 20 min, Cook: 35 min.
    • 2 cans of chick peas (garbanzo beans), drained
    • 1 medium tomato, chopped
    • 1 onion, chopped
    • 2 tsp. of garam masala (it's a blend of spices you can buy in the ethnic food aisle.)
    • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
    • 1 tsp of fresh grated ginger
    • 1 tsp of tumeric
    • 1 tsp. of corriander
    • 1/4 cup of water or vegetable stock.
    • 2 tsp of oil
    • salt to taste
    • 1 tsp of sugar

    1. In a large skillet or pot, saute onions, garlic, ginger and tomatoes with oil over medium heat.
    2. Once the onions are translucent and the tomatoes are almost melted add the chick peas and saute.
    3. Add salt to taste, sugar, tumeric, corriander and garam masala and the 1/4 cup of stock or water. Let it come to a boil.
    4. Let the stew simmer... until it is the how you want it. Some people like it a little soupy while others want it thicker.

    Serve with some garnishes of chopped onions, cilantro and garam masala. Can be eaten by itself or with naan or rice.

    Tuesday, September 29, 2009

    Indian Restaurant Guide

    Hesitant to try a new type of cuisine? Let me help you the best I can, by sharing a recent experience I had with my family at the Indian Cook House (in Elkton, Md.), combined with my many years of growing up in a home where Indian food is almost as common as peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches in a kindergarten classroom.

    The Basics

    From a distance, Indian food may seem crazy different from any other cuisine, but it actually has many qualities similar to foods found in any town.

    Many people have the misconception that all Indian cuisine is spicy. But, like any cuisine, meats are combined with sauces to create specific flavors, and the spiciness of the food can be adjusted.

    Although most Indians do not eat beef (the cow is considered sacred, because a Hindu god named Krishna was a cow herder), they do eat other types of meat including chicken and lamb. Seafood is also quite common, while other dishes are made with only a blend of vegetables, like cauliflower, potatoes, lentils and spinach. Paneer, a signature Indian cheese (somewhat like cottage cheese) is also commonly found in Indian dishes.

    The sauces in which these meats are cooked usually combine spices and herbs like ginger, garlic, onion, turmeric, coriander, cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg. Depending on the type of sauce, some will have nuts, chilies or curry powder. (Note: the term curry does not always mean it contains curry powder or curry leaves. When the British ruled India, they mistook the word curry to mean sauce — and it stuck.)

    Meats are also cooked on the grill in familiar dishes like kebabs and Tandoori chicken, marinated in spices and cooked in a Tandoor, or special clay oven.

    Then as in many other cultures, like Spanish and Chinese, rice is a staple of the diet. Some rice meals are plain, while others, known as Biryanis, are tossed with veggies or meat (like Chinese fried rice).

    Another Indian staple is bread, sometimes stuffed with onions and vegetables (known as Kulcha,) while others it is just topped with spices. The crispier textured Naan is soft on the inside and cooked in the Tandoor.

    Indian cuisine is usually served “family style,” so when going to a restaurant, although there’s a menu and everything comes with rice, a family of four can usually order three dishes and some bread to share.

    Although one dish could be ordered per person, it’s more fun to try a variety of food with different sauces and preparations.

    For the first-timer

    Start off the meal with an appetizer of some pakoras, fried vegetable poppers, or samosas, crispy turnovers filled with spiced potatoes and peas.

    To start, most Indian restaurants will give you some complimentary papadum (let’s call it an Indian nacho chip), and some chutneys like coriander, onion and tamarind (an Indian date).

    For the main course, order chicken makhni and saag paneer (spinach with cheese), along with some naan.

    Try a special drink that will help cool your mouth if needed known as a lassi, a smoothie with yogurt and rosewater, that can be blended with fruit like mangos or banana.

    Finally, for dessert, try something traditional like Gulab Jamun, a cheese pastry dipped in milk and honey.

    The level of spice can be adjusted, so try mild first, and if you want more spice, ask for some achar, or spiced Indian pickles. If the food is too hot, pair it with a raita, a mix of yogurt, cucumber, and carrots (like the tzatziki sauce used in Greek foods).

    Although some people like drinking soda with meals, when eating spicy foods, sodas just aggravate the tongue, so try a juice, lassi or stick with water.

    If your food is extremely spicy, there is one more trick: eat some plain bread and the Capsaicin, the substance that makes peppers spicy, will be soaked up by the carbohydrates.

    Which sauce is right for you?
    Indian cuisine is cooked in a variety of sauces, the spiciness of which can be adjusted to suit your tolerance.

    Most of them have ginger, garlic, coriander, turmeric, onion, cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg as a base, with other components added to define the flavor. Here are some common sauces, listed from mild to spiciest:


    A spiced sauce blended with cream and cashews. The base can also be coconut milk or yogurt.


    A spiced sauce with blended with tomatoes and cream. Often butter-based.


    Spiced curry sauce can have curry powder in it, and sometimes contains mustard and poppy seeds.


    A sauce with onions, tomatoes, bell peppers and spices including cinnamon, roasted cumin, caraway seeds, cloves, nutmeg, green cardamom seed or black cardamom pods. Commercial spice mixtures sometimes also include dried red chili peppers, dried garlic, ginger powder, sesame, mustard seeds, turmeric, coriander, bay leaves, star anise and fennel.


    A thick spiced sauce, blended with oil.


    A thick and very spicy curry sauce.

    Friday, September 25, 2009

    Dal (Lentils) with Vegetables

    So lentils are a very basic part of Indian cuisine, not only because they are healthy but because versatile.
    Most lentil dishes stay vegetarian, but I'm sure you could add meat- it would be something new.
    I stick with tradition, but created my own version.

    So this is a real homemade version of Moosor Dal (or Red Lentils) w/ Veggies:
    serves 6, Prep: 20 min., Cook: 30 min.

    • 1 cup of red lentils
    • 1 cup of water
    • 1/2 cup of vegetable stock
    • 1 yellow onion (chopped)
    • 1 tomato (chopped)
    • 1 cup of spinach (chopped)
    • 1 cup of frozen peas
    • 1 tsp. fennel seeds
    • 1 tsp. of salt
    • 1 tsp. of tumeric powder
    • 2 tbsp. of oil

    1. Take the cup of lentils and rinse them.
    2. Place the cup of lentils with a cup of water in a pot over medium heat. Boil. (the red lentils will turn yellow and get pretty thick.) Add 1/2 cup of veggie stock and simmer on low. Add tumeric powder and salt.
    3. In a separate skillet, add a tbsp. of oil. Add fennel seeds and allow to start slightly cooking over medium heat. Add onions and tomatoes. Saute until translucent.
    4. Add sauted vegetables to lentils. Then add peas and spinach. Add tbsp of oil and stir until peas and spinach cook through.
    5. Serve with rice or paratha (Indian whole-wheat unleavened bread; the dough is rolled and brushed repeatedly with melted butter before cooking on a buttered griddle. Frequently stuffed with spiced potato or other vegetables.)

    Friday, September 18, 2009

    Chicken Makhani (Butter Chicken)

    My roommate and I started International Wednesdays - which means we're going to try and make an international cuisine each week.

    The first week - I decided to make some Indian food - cause hey, I'm learning right - and practice makes perfect. But really I had a craving for Chicken Makhani, which is also known as Butter Chicken or Chicken Makhanwala (if you go to Indian restaurants). It's a similar texture and look to Chicken Tikha Masala, but in this dish the chicken used is not marinated in Tandoori seasoning.
    Indian term for food cooked in a clay oven (tandoor). The meat is marinated with aromatic herbs and spices before cooking. (source:

    Instead the chicken in chicken makhani is marinated in yogurt and light spices so that it's super tender and buttery.
    Then a tomato and cream based sauce is added to the cooked chicken with spices such as cumin, corriander and onions and garlic.

    This time - I was being a bit lazy and decided to buy the sauce ready made, but marinated the chicken myself and added tomatoes and onions for better texture. I also marinated the chicken in yogurt, oil, salt, pepper and yes tandoori seasoning, cause i wanted to have a bit more flavor.

    So here's my recipe for Semi-Homemade Chicken Makhani;
    serves 4, Prep: 20 min, Cook: 25 min.
    • 2 or 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (If large stick with two)
    • 2 tsp. salt
    • 2 tsp. pepper
    • 2 tsp. of tandoori seasoning (you can find this in most grocery stores, buy powder if possible, but paste will do (just use less)
    • 1 small yellow onion
    • 1 regular tomato
    • 1 cup of plain yogurt
    • 3 tbsp. of oil
    • 1 jar of Patak's Butter Chicken Cooking Sauce
    •  cilantro for taste
    •   sliced almonds

    1. Marinate chicken: cut raw chicken into 1/2 inch cubes and throw in a Ziploc freezer bag. Add salt, pepper, tandoori seasoning, 2 tbsp.oil and yogurt. Close bag. Using hands mix marinade on all pieces of chicken.
    2. Try to marinate overnight or atleast 1 hour.
    3. Dice tomatoes and onions. Add to a pot with 1 tbsp. of oil. Saute until onions are translucent over medium heat. Add chicken and all of the marinade into the pot and cook until chicken gets brown over medium heat.
    4. Add the jar of Patak's Butter Chicken Cooking Sauce and get the liquid to start boiling. Place temp. on low and cover. Allow to simmer for 20 to 30 minutes until chicken is tender.
    5. When finished place in a bowl and garnish with almond slices and cilantro.
    Serve with Basmati rice or Naan (A flat, leavened bread of northwest India, made of white flour and baked in a tandoor.)

    Serves 4 to 6.

    Wednesday, September 9, 2009


    As a 24-year-old, I recently started learning how to cook Indian food. 

    I never wanted to learn before because I was able to just ask my mom or grandmother to cook my favorite meals when I had cravings.

    Now I'm living on my own in New York City and while I'm up here to study - I still have my Indian food cravings.

    I've always known a lot about my Indian heritage. Although I was born in America, my parents came here in their twenties to start a new life and so I was always aware of Indian culture, food, ethics and history.

    I've always been a good cook, something apparently I inherited from my father's side of the family - but after attempting to make Indian food once, and failing, I never tried again. 
    It was a shrimp dish, that tasted really gross when I was done with it.

    So now that I'm here - in a city where ingredients are fresh and ethnic produce and spices are easy to find - I'm learning how to make my favorite dishes. Although most times I call my mom or grandmother for advice on how to make something, I'm adding my own touches.

    I also want to explore which pre-made Indian food is good and which isn't - because between Trader Joe's and Whole Foods, Indian food is so accessible and easy to make - but is it good? Is it authentic?

    So hopefully you'll come along with me on my journey... This blog will list recipes - so please try them and let me know what you liked and didn't - since I'm learning too and am still working on them.