Thursday, February 18
My dear friend Michelle had the opportunity to live in Hyderabad, India for a year and is, therefore, well versed in Indian cuisine. One day when we were hanging out, she was ranting and raving about curry powder. Her complaint is that Americans think that curry powder makes curry, when in fact curry powder totally isn’t Indian. Sure enough, if you look up curry powder on Wikipedia you’ll see this: “Curry powder and the contemporary English use of the word “curry” are Western inventions and do not reflect any specific South Asian food.” Michelle explained that “curry” basically means a saucy dish with tons of spices, and there are lots of different kinds of curries in India, and that none of them have curry powder.
Basically, curry powder isn’t Indian. The end.
Michelle was feeling bad, however, once she realized that there is a recipe she has from an Indian cookbook that actually does use curry powder. It’s called Curry in a Hurry and it’s her favorite non-Indian Indian food recipe. I’ve had this recipe sitting in my “to-try” pile for years and we finally made it last week! It was very good, even if it is fake curry. 😉 Nate commented that it actually tastes more like a North African dish, which is kind of true. Whatever it is, it’s delicious. All of my kids liked it, too, especially my 8-year-old Anna. (Here’s a link to the cookbook the recipe came from originally – Michelle likes this book a lot!)
As for which curry powder to use for this recipe, just use whatever you find at the store. I used McCormick’s curry powder. Michelle said that since she first shared the recipe with me, she has discovered Penzey’s curry powders and she likes them better than the standard grocery store versions. The Sweet Curry Powder is milder and Michelle says her kids really like that one, but her favorite is the Maharajah Curry Powder, which has really good flavor.
Thank you, Michelle, for giving us a way to use curry powder that doesn’t make you want to yell at us. 😉Curry in a HurryPrep timeCook timeTotal timeOriginally from "Indian Home Cooking" by Suvir Saran (I modified the measurements slightly on a few things and wrote the directions in my own words.)Author: Jane MaynardIngredients
- 1½ tablespoons oil
- ½ of a small onion, chopped
- 5 teaspoons curry powder
- ½ teaspoon garam masala
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 dried red chilies (I just used 1 so it wouldn't be too spicy for my kids)
- 1 can unsweetened coconut milk
- 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 4 chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces (original recipe was 2 chicken breasts, but I added more)
- 3-5 cups fresh spinach
- Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook until translucent.
- Add curry powder, garam masala, garlic and red chilies. Stir for one minute.
- Add coconut milk, tomatoes, tomato paste and simmer until thickens, stirring regularly.
- Add chicken; simmer until chicken is fully cooked. (Alternatively, you can add already cooked chicken if you have it, just cook until heated through.)
- Add spinach, stir and cook until spinach as wilted.
- Serve over rice.
Thursday, September 17
Today’s recipe has been a long time coming. It’s been in my head forEVER and today I finally took it out of my head and made it reality. And boy-oh-boy am I glad I did. I never say “boy-oh-boy,” so that should tell you how good this recipe is.
For quite some time I’ve been thinking that Indian food would be good filler for a burrito. After all, flour tortillas are a really excellent blank canvas for all kinds of flavors. Including Indian flavors.
I used my homemade tandoori chicken as the base for the burrito, then just piled on all kinds of other wonderful ingredients. The result was delectable. In fact, I had an Indian burrito for lunch today and then couldn’t wait to have it again for dinner.
If I wanted to start a food truck (which I don’t), this burrito is what I would serve. Since I’m never going to start a food truck, I’ll just spill all my secrets.
In case you are wondering, our kids ate their burritos, although they each had a different variation, from Owen with just tandoori chicken and rice to Anna who used about half of the ingredients to Cate who went for the whole enchilada, or burrito, actually!
I think it’s time to get right down to the recipe. Enjoy!Indian BurritosIf Mexican food is good in a burrito, why wouldn't Indian food be good, too? The answer: it is!Author: Jane MaynardIngredients
- Large flour tortillas
- Tandoori chicken (click here for recipe)
- Grilled onions
- Grilled bell peppers
- Jasmine or basmati rice, cooked in salted water
- Canned chickpeas
- Masala sauce (see recipe below)
- Raita sauce (see recipe below)
- Lentils (you can look for a recipe for "dal" online, or just buy the boxed, cooked lentils at Trader Joe's!)
- Chopped fresh cilantro
- Make sure your tandoori chicken, onions, peppers, rice, chickpeas and masala sauce are all warm/hot.
- Warm the tortilla on both side on the stove in a large, dry frying pan.
- Pile on all of the ingredients above and wrap the tortilla up burrito style!
Masala SaucePrep timeCook timeTotal timeThis chunky tomato-based masala sauce is a perfect topper for Indian burritos!Author: Jane MaynardIngredients
- 1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons chopped onion
- 1 clove fresh garlic, pressed through a garlic press
- 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes, most of the fluid drained off
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon coriander
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon cardamom
- In a small sauce pan heat the oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook until translucent.
- Add garlic, stir and cook about 1 minute.
- Add tomatoes and the rest of the ingredients. Bring sauce to a simmer over medium to medium-high heat, then reduce heat to medium low, maintaining a simmer, and cook for about 10 minutes.
- Blend about ⅔ of the mixture in a blender, then add back into the pan and stir. Serve warm.
Raita Sauce (Indian Yogurt Sauce)Prep timeTotal timeBasic recipe for raita, an Indian yogurt-based sauce with cucumber.Author: Jane MaynardIngredients
- 1 cup plain yogurt (you can use whatever kind of yogurt you want - if you use Greek, the sauce will be thicker)
- ½ cup shredded cucumber (peel and core the cucumber before shredding)
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- ¼ teaspoon lime juice
- ¼ teaspoon coriander
- ⅛ teaspoon cumin
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 2 shakes cardamom
- Mix everything together! Serve cold.
Wednesday, March 24
I am over the moon for today’s recipe murgh makhani, more commonly known as butter chicken. Our favorite Indian restaurant in Palo Alto, Darbar Indian Cuisine, has the BEST butter chicken. I can’t get enough of it. I’ve been trying to find a recipe so that I can make it at home, but all recipes have come up far too short. So, I did a lot of research, compared about 6 different recipes and have created my own. And I am here to tell you (in all humility, of course!), I nailed it. My version isn’t identical to Darbar’s, but it is darn close and they are equally as good. Success! (To add to the elation, both girls inhaled their dinner! This is a not-too-hot Indian dish, nice for kids. Increase the heat with more chilis and cayenne if you so desire!)
The key to this dish is using tandoori chicken. Almost all of the recipes I found were skillet recipes that simply add plain chicken breasts to the sauce. Using tandoori chicken makes ALL the difference. A delectable, mouthwatering difference. Not only is there more depth to the flavor, but the meat is oh so tender. Using tandoori chicken requires planning ahead, but it’s worth it.
Without further ado, I give you murgh makhani!
Note: This recipe does not have fenugreek because I did not have it on hand. Fenugreek is often used in butter chicken, along with all the other spices listed below. Feel free to add that in as well!Murgh Makhani (Indian Butter Chicken)Prep timeCook timeTotal timeMouthwatering with tons of flavor! Adapted from six different recipes!Author: Jane MaynardRecipe type: Main Dish, PoultryCuisine: IndianIngredients
- 4 cooked tandoori chicken breasts cut into chunks (see recipe below for how to cook the tandoori chicken - don't forget it needs to marinate overnight before cooking!)
- ⅓ sweet onion, chopped
- ~1 inch of ginger root, peeled and julienned
- 2 cloves of garlic chopped
- 1 green chili (membranes and seeds removed), chopped
- 6 tablespoons butter (divided – 2 T and 4 T)
- 6 medium tomatoes, cut into large pieces
- 2 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon cardamom
- ¼ teaspoon coriander
- 2 shakes cinnamon
- 3 oz tomato paste
- 1 cup chicken or veggie broth
- ½ cup cream
- When prepping the ingredients for the sauce, you only need to roughly chop the ingredients - they will all get blended together eventually.
- Sautee onion, ginger, garlic and green chili in 2 tablespoons of butter until onions are translucent.
- Add tomatoes and let simmer for ~5 minutes. Add garam masala, chili powder, salt, cumin, cardamom, coriander, and cinnamon. Simmer another 5-10 minutes or so.
- Add tomato paste and broth, stir.
- Blend everything in a blender until smooth then return to pan. Add tandoori chicken, cream and last 4 tablespoons of butter.
- Serve with basmati rice and naan bread. Yum!
Homemade Baked Tandoori ChickenPrep timeCook timeTotal timeAuthor: Jane MaynardIngredients
- ¾ C plain yogurt
- 2 T lemon juice
- 2 cloves minced garlic (I use my garlic press)
- ~1 inch ginger root, peeled and crushed (it was hard to crush, I squeezed the juice out with my garlic press and threw in some of the mangled pieces of the root)
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ teaspoon cardamom
- ¼ teaspoon cloves
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (this is the amount you’ll need for the butter chicken recipe above – you can make this recipe with bone-in, skinless, dark & white meat chicken cut into pieces – my personal preference are boneless, skinless chicken breasts and they worked great)
- 1-2 T canola oil
- The night before, mix all the ingredients above except the chicken and canola oil in a bowl.
- Stab the chicken breasts all over with a fork then make some gashes with a shapr knife. Marinate the mutilated chicken in the yogurt mixture overnight, covered, until you are ready to cook it the next day.
- To cook the chicken, pat off some of the marinade, brush with oil and place in an oven-safe dish or pan (I used my 9X13 metal pan).
- Roast in a 450º F oven for about 20 minutes, or until juices run clear and internal temperature of chicken reaches 160º F.
- If using for butter chicken, let cool a bit then cut into chunks.