Tag Archives: Indian

Indian Stir-Fried Black-Eyed Peas with Mushroom Croquettes, & Farewell to Crappy Pictures

3 Aug

I just borrowed two Indian cookbooks from the library– India’s Vegetarian Cooking: A Regional Guide by Monisha Bharadwaj, and Pure & Simple: Homemade Indian Vegetarian Cuisine by Vidhu Mittal– and so far, I’m impressed with both! As I browsed through the pages of each cookbook, I was in awe of the vibrant pictures and helpful descriptions of the process. I bookmarked several recipes to try out. I have a feeling I will be renewing these books several times 🙂

The other night I tried one recipe from each book to make Stir-Fried Black-Eyed Peas (“Bhuna Lobhia”), and Mushroom Croquettes (“Khumb ke Cutlet”). What attracted me to these recipes was that they called for easy-to-find ingredients. In fact, for the main dish, I only needed to buy tomatoes and peas…I had everything else on hand or was buying the ingredients anyway for other dishes I was making that week. Love that!


Both dishes were amazingly flavorful. The mushroom croquettes had a crunchy exterior, then a nice thick layer of soft potato, and and finally some tasty stir-fried mushrooms and peppers in the center. I imagine it being like a tater tot for grown-ups (but obviously way better!) 🙂 I thought the croquettes tasted wonderful on their own, but next time I make them I might also include some sort of chutney to add some brightness.


The black-eyed peas were also wonderful. The ginger, garlic, cilantro, cumin seeds, and other Indian spices were a fantastic combination, and one I’ve yet to encounter in Indian restaurants. I will definitely be making this dish again and again!

Will you miss crappy pictures like this one? I won't!

In other news, the pictures you see in this post are [hopefully] the last crappy pictures you’ll see from me! I am excited to report that my husband and I just bought ourselves a Sony Cybershot DSC-HX100V as an early Christmas present! We were certainly due for a new camera; I bought my last one in 2003 and it is a measly 5 megapixels! So practically a stone age camera.

Oh and my husband just got a new job (hooray!) so he had to take advantage of his employee discount of H.H. Gregg while he still could 🙂 I am hoping my food photography improves markedly, but I know I need to still learn more about proper lighting and composition; a new camera won’t solve all my problems. Feel free to leave me some tips!

Stir-Fried Black-Eyed Peas/Bhuna Lobhia

(adapted from recipe by Monisha Bharadwaj, India’s Vegetarian Cooking: A Regional Guide)

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp canola or sunflower oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 medium onion, finely sliced
  • 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste (equal parts ginger and garlic, combined in mini food processor)
  • 1 can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp tumeric
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • Salt, to taste
  • Chopped cilantro leaves for garnish

Preparation:

  • Heat the oil over medium heat in a heavy saucepan. Add the cumin seeds, fry until dark, and then add the onion and stir-fry until golden. Stir in the ginger-garlic paste and mix well.
  • Add the black-eyed peas, sprinkle in the chili powder and tumeric, and fry for 1 minute. Then add tomatoes, garam masala, sugar, and salt. Stir, add about 1/2 cup water, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until thickened, about 15 mins. The beans should retain their shape. To further thicken the sauce, mash a few of the black-eyed peas.
  • Garnish with cilantro and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

Mushroom Croquettes/Khumb ke Cutlet

(adapted from recipe by Vidhu Mittal, Pure & Simple: Homemade Indian Vegetarian Cuisine)

Ingredients:

  • 1 large potato, boiled for about 20 mins, and grated
  • 2 bread slices (I used whole wheat)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp grated mozzarella or other melting cheese
  • 1/4 tsp salt, plus more, to taste
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 tbsp bell pepper, chopped

Preparation:

  • Dip the bread slices in about 2/3 cup of water and immediately squeeze out the water. Mix bread with  potato, cheese, and salt. Set aside.
  • For the filling, heat 2 tsp oil in a pan, add mushrooms, and salt and pepper, to taste. Cook for about 30 seconds and remove.
  • Divide the potato dough into 15 equal-sized balls. Stuff each ball with 1/4 tsp filling, and fold to seal the filling inside. Reshape.
  • Heat a deep fryer to 360 degrees (or fry on stovetop). Fry until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Drain on paper towels, then serve.

Makes 15 croquettes.

Indian Food that Tastes Like Indian Food: Aloo Gobi w/ Naan

20 Mar

As I previously mentioned, I am on an Indian food kick lately. In fact, I think I’ve eaten Indian food three times this week, which is certainly a lot for me! I’m constantly discovering new recipes by Aarti Sequeria, and have yet to be disappointed. I just hope that she comes out with a recipe for Nav Rattan curry, my absolute favorite Indian dish. I pleaded her to do so on Twitter; I hope she responds 🙂

My latest discovery was Aloo Gobi, which simply means potato and cauliflower….two of my favorite foods! (Side note: I was going to say “two of my favorite vegetables” but I’m not sure if potatoes can be considered vegetables or starches. It seems like I should know this, but I don’t).

With colors like these, how could it NOT taste fresh and flavorful?

It was so simple to make. It’s just a one-pot meal because the cauliflower and potato cook in the sauce. I suppose the only challenging part was making the ginger-garlic paste because I don’t have a mini food-processor, and in using a regular sized food processor, I had to keep pushing the ginger and garlic back down near the blade. But now I’ve made enough of the paste to use for making this recipe again next week 🙂 Also, I think I just need to buy a mini food processor because making pesto is also annoying.

The dish was extremely flavorful. My husband actually said that it tasted as good as India Garden, our favorite Indian restaurant, located in Indianapolis. India Garden is divine, so this was a real compliment.

I also tried my hand again at naan. My last attempt was decent, but did not taste quite like the real thing. However, this time was far better! I used chapati flour (found at an Indian grocery store) and rolled out the dough very thin.  Both of these small changes made a world of difference! It did taste just like what you could get at an Indian restaurant!

Only one thing puzzles me: when I watch the  naan baking in the oven, these wonderful bubbles pop up, as would be expected of naan. However, when I take them out of the oven, the bubbles deflate, so the naan looks flatter than it should. It doesn’t impact the flavor of course, but I would still prefer for the bubbles to remain. Any suggestions?

Aloo Gobi (recipe by Aarti Sequeria)

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons Ginger-Garlic Paste, recipe follows, or 2 teaspoons grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 cup water, divided
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 1 large serrano pepper, split down the middle leaving halves attached (note: remove seeds if desired; the more seeds you leave in, the spicier it will be)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 small head cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 1 russet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (similar size to cauliflower)
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons freshly minced cilantro leaves, to garnish

Preparation:

  • Mix the Ginger-Garlic Paste, coriander, turmeric, and 1/2 cup water in a small bowl. This is a simple wet masala (spice mix). Set aside.
  • In a large pot, warm the oil over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking. Add the serrano pepper, wait 30 seconds, and then add the cumin seeds and wait until they’re done spluttering.
  • Add the wet masala (careful, it will also splutter). Cook until the paste thickens, deepens in color slightly, and oil oozes out of the perimeter of the masala, about 2 minutes.
  • Add the cauliflower and potatoes, stirring to coat the vegetables with the masala. Season with salt and add 1/2 cup water. Cover and cook over medium heat 10 to 15 minutes. Then, remove the lid, stir, and cook until the cauliflower and potatoes are cooked through, about 5 minutes. Garnish with cilantro and serve.

Makes 2-4 servings.

Ginger-Garlic Paste (recipe by Aarti Sequeria)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup cloves garlic, whole
  • 1/2 cup fresh ginger, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1/4 cup canola oil

Preparation:

  • Throw the garlic, ginger, and canola oil in a mini-food processor and let it go until it forms a semi-smooth paste. There will still be tiny little pieces in there, but overall, it should resemble a paste.
  • Save what you don’t use in a small glass jar. It should last in the fridge for 2 to 3 weeks. It’s a delicious addition to marinades, pasta sauces, stir fry sauces, slow-cooker recipes, gravy etc.

Naan (adapted from recipe by Alex Guarnaschelli)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups chapati or bread or whole-wheat or all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading and rolling
  • 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter, slightly cooled, plus 3 teaspoons
  • 3/4 cup whole milk yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon warm water
  • Canola oil, as needed

Preparation:

  • Put the chapati flour into a large bowl and add the salt and the yeast. Use your fingers to mix and blend the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of the melted butter, the yogurt, and warm water. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the hook attachment or, alternatively, with your hands, combine all of the ingredients. Knead the dough with the mixer on low speed until it becomes smooth, 8 to 10 minutes. Again, alternatively, knead the dough on a lightly floured flat surface.
  • Pour 2 teaspoons of melted butter into a bowl large enough to hold the dough. Coat the sides and bottom of the bowl with the butter and put the dough in the center. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and keep it in a warm place. Allow the dough to rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
  • Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.
  • Using a pastry brush, lightly grease 2 baking sheets with some canola oil. Slide the baking sheets into the center of the oven for a few minutes. (Chef’s Note: Be careful to not leave the baking sheets in the oven for too long, otherwise you’ll risk the oil getting too hot and smoky.)
  • Gently roll the dough into a 9-inch circle on a lightly floured surface so it is about 1/4 to 1/2-inch thick. Cut the disk into quarters. Roll each quarter to 1/8-inch in thickness and still be able to fit 2 on a baking sheet.
  • When all the ovals are rolled, brush off any excess flour. Remove the baking sheets from the oven and arrange the naan in a single layer, 2 pieces per pan. Bake until they are light brown and puffy, about 5 minutes. During the last minute of baking time, brush butter on the top of the naan (about 1 tsp), if desired.
  • Remove the baking sheets from the oven and transfer the naan to a serving platter lined with kitchen towels to keep them warm.

Makes 4-8 servings.

Vegetarian Tikka Masala

14 Mar

I am so excited about Indian food lately! I have been trying a lot of new Indian recipes, thanks to Aarti Sequeria from the Food Network. She makes Indian food so much more accessible. I’m totally rooting for Sudhir on America’s Next Great Restaurant because it would be so cool to have fast casual Indian restaurants around the country! 🙂

The recipe I am sharing today is for Vegetarian Tikka Masala. You may be wondering how tikka masala can be vegetarian, as it usually includes chicken. Really, the recipe is just Aarti’s Chicken Tikka Masala, but with potatoes and cauliflower instead of chicken. I have also made it with tofu, using the marinade that would have been for the chicken. It was yummy, but I found the marinade didn’t add much flavor.

You could really add whatever protein or veggies you want and it would taste delicious because the creamy tomato curry is freaking awesome. And, the ingredients are not hard to find. Once you have the garam masala, you’re set!

When I made this dish the other night, I also made naan as a side. This was my first time making it.  It was pretty close, but didn’t quiet taste like the real thing. However, I think it was more of my fault than anything else. I was in a hurry and didn’t roll out the naan thin enough, so it didn’t get as brown and puffy as it could have. I am going to be trying another Indian recipe (aloo gobi) later this week and will try making the naan again. I ventured to the Indian grocery store today to get stocked up on some chapati flour, which may make the naan taste more authentic. Hopefully I’ll get better results and can share it with you!

But for now, try this amazing, flavorful, vegetarian tikka masala…


Vegetarian Tikka Masala (adapted from “Chicken Tikka Masala” by Aarti Sequeria)

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 6 cloves garlic and 2-inch thumb ginger minced
  • 2 serrano peppers, minced (seeds removed if you don’t want it spicy)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 8 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 to 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • Extra virgin olive oil, for roasting
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Minced fresh cilantro, for garnish
  • Cooked rice, naan, or crusty piece of bread, for serving

Preparation:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place potatoes and cauliflower onto two separate baking sheets. Drizzle both with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake the potatoes for approximately 20-25 minutes, and the cauliflower for 15-20 minutes, or until both are tender. Flip them halfway through cooking time.
  • Meanwhile, place a large skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil and butter. When the butter has melted, add the garlic, ginger, and serrano peppers. Saute until lightly browned around the edges. Add the tomato paste and cook until the tomato has darkened in color, about 3 minutes. Add the garam masala and the paprika and saute for about 1 minute to draw out their flavors.
  • Add the tomatoes, salt, and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer, and cook until thickened, about 20 minutes. You may need more water depending on how much liquid the tomatoes give off.
  • Pour the sauce into a blender or food processor, or use an immersion blender, and process until smooth. Pour back into the skillet and bring back up to a boil. Add the potatoes and cauliflower. Take the heat down to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes. Add the cream and stir through.
  • Garnish with minced fresh cilantro, and serve over rice, with naan, or a crusty piece of bread!

Makes 3-5 servings.

Indian Roasted Vegetable Jumble & Polenta

23 Jan

I’ve been trying to experiment with cooking more ethnic food. Thus, I was so excited that Aarti won Next Food Network Star (although, I also liked Tom…he’s hilarious). Last night was my first time trying one of her recipes. I decided to try this one out because, surprisingly, I had all the spices on hand. All you really need is cumin and coriander, which we always use in making Mexican food. But as Aarti pointed out, it’s the proportion of each spice that makes it Indian– usually about twice as much coriander as cumin.

The only thing I changed about her “jumble” (which, by the way, is just a mixture of vegetables), was to substitute cauliflower for fennel. I really do not like fennel or anything licorice-flavored. Aarti contended that fennel, when roasted, becomes more mild– but I wasn’t willing to risk it.

I served the jumble with polenta. Again, this was my first time trying it. I’m not sure if the texture was right because I had some issues with timing and it ended up sitting too long before the jumble was done…but nevertheless, it did taste really good. It seemed like the perfect vessel upon which to serve the flavorful, healthy jumble.

Indian Roasted Vegetable Jumble (adapted from “Roasted Root Jumble” by Aarti Sequeira)

Ingredients:

* 2 tsp gruond cumin
* 1 1/2 tbsp ground coriander
* 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
* Salt & pepper, to taste
* One head cauliflower, cut into florets
* 1 large red onion, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
* 1 large lemon, cut into 1/2-inch slices
* 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch rounds
* 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
* Minced fresh cilantro or parsley, to garnish

Preparation:

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the ground cumin, ground coriander, and olive oil. Add 1/2 tsp salt and a generous grinding of black pepper.
  • Lay the cauliflower, red onions, lemons, and carrots in a baking dish. Pour the spiced oil over the vegetables and toss to coat.
  • Bake for 30 minutes. Sprinkle feta cheese over the top and bake until the vegetables are caramelized and soft, another 15 minutes.

Makes 4 servings.

Savory Polenta (adapted from recipe by Alton Brown)

Ingredients:

* 2 tbsp olive oil
* 3/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion
* 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
* 1 quart vegetable broth
* 1 cup coarse ground cornmeal
* 3 tbsp unsalted butter
* 1 1/2 tsp salt
* 1/4 tsp pepper
* 2 oz Parmesan, grated

Preparation:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • In  a large, oven-safe saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and salt, and sweat until the onions begin to turn translucent, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, add the garlic, and saute for 1 to 2 minutes, making sure the garlic does not burn.
  • Turn the heat up to high, add the vegetable broth, and bring to a boil. Gradually add the cornmeal while continually whisking. Once you have added all of the cornmeal, cover the pot and place in the oven. Cook for 35 to 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes to prevent lumps
  • One the mixture is creamy, remove from the oven and add the butter, salt, and pepper. Once they are incorporated, gradually add the Parmesan.

Makes 4 servings.

Simple Indian dish w/ complex flavors

I was very happy with this dish. It’s amazing how much the flavors change and intensify when you roast the veggies, lemon, and feta. Next on my Indian to-do list: samosas, pakoras, and naan.