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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.