Monday, April 16, 2018

Channa Masala - Tomato Stewed Chickpeas



1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
3 cloves
2 cardamom
1 bay leaf (Indian)
1 cinnamon stick piece (1/4" to 1/2")
2 medium onion, diced
4 tomatoes, diced
1 green chile, slit lengthwise
1 inch ginger, peeled and minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 to 1 teaspoon red chili powder
1 tablespoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon chana masala mix (optional)
3 cups chickpeas, cooked until soft
1 cup water
1 tablespoon lemon juice OR 1 teaspoon amchur (dried, powdered mango) powder
salt, to taste
1/4 cup chopped cilantro (coriander leaves)


Heat vegetable oil in a saucepan. Add cumin seeds, cloves, cardmom, bay leaf and cinnamon stick. After 45-60 seconds, add the onion and saute until translucent and edges just start to brown (about 10 minutes).  Add the garlic, ginger and green chili and saute for about 1 minute then add the tomato.  Saute until tomato is softened (about 10 minutes). Add turmeric, garam masala, chili, coriander and cumin powders, and saute until the spices are well cooked, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat and cool, then blend until it becomes a smooth paste.  Then return to the pot.  (Blending is optional - you can skip this step.) Add chickpeas and salt and add water until you reach desired consistency. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until flavors are well combined.  Last add lemon juice or amchur powder (for tangy flavor).  If using amchur powder, rub it between the palms of your hands as you add to the pot to avoid it lumping up.   Simmer for 3-5 minutes, and then stir in chopped cilantro.

Note(s): 1) To thicken the gravy you can remove some of the channa (chickpeas), puree then return to the pot and continue to simmer. 2) Those without the Indian pantry - a substitute for garam masala, try a little ground clove, cinnamon, and curry powder. Substitute cayenne pepper for red chili powder

Pepper Chicken

3 tablespoons oil
4 cloves
3 cardamom pods
1 bay leaf (Indian)
1/4" piece of cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
10 curry leaves
2 onions, diced
2-4 green chiles, slit lengthwise
1 tomato, diced
2 tablespoons ginger garlic paste
2 tablespoons coriander powder
1 teaspoon red chili powder
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon fennel powder
2 lbs chicken thighs, cut into 1/2" to 1" pieces
1.5 teaspoons salt
2-3 teaspoons finely ground black pepper (or to taste)
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Heat oil in a pan.  Add cloves, cardamom, bay leaf, cinnamon and fennel seeds. Saute for about 45-60 seconds, until fragrant, then stir in curry leaves.  Add the onion and green chilies, and saute for at least 10 minutes - or until the onions are translucent and just start to brown on the edges.  Stir in the ginger garlic paste and saute for about a minute, and add the tomatoes. Saute until tomatoes are softened, another 7-10 minutes.  Add the coriander, chili, turmeric and fennel powders and saute, stirring constantly, until thoroughly combined. Mix in chicken, cover and cook for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionaly.  Take lid off, add salt and black pepper to taste, and cook over medium-high heat until desired consistency is reached (another 3-5 minutes should be sufficient).  Stir in fresh cilantro.

Serve with rice, chapati, naan, parotta, etc

Note: we do not add water.  It is cooked in the water that naturally comes from the chicken.

Meen Puttu (Flaked Fish Stir Fry)

1 lb fish (I usually use salmon, but have also used tilapia and flounder)
1 tablespoon oil (coconut oil)
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
6 curry leaves
1 onion, finely chopped
2-4 green chilies, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons fresh or frozen shredded coconut, unsweetened (optional)
coriander leaves (to garnish)

Cook the salmon according to your preferred method.  Remove skin and bones, and using a fork (or your fingers!) crumble the cooked fish until it is in tiny pieces.  (Note: I usually bake it in the oven while I complete the remaining steps of the recipe.)

Heat the oil in a frying pan, and add the cumin seeds, mustard seeds and curry leaves.  Heat until the mustard seeds pop then add the onion and green chiles.  Saute for 6-8 minutes, until onions JUST start to turn translucent.  Stir in chili powder, turmeric and salt and saute for another 5 minutes or until spices are well cooked.  You will need to stir constantly to prevent burning.  Stir in the crumbled/flaked fish, combine well and add salt to taste.  Last, switch off heat, stir in coconut and coriander leaves.

Serve as a side dish to steamed white rice, sambar or rasam and any vegetable poriyal (South Indian vegetable stir fry).

Mango Peach Mousse

2 boxes of peach Jell-O (3 oz each) - you can also substitute lemon or orange Jell-O
1 cup boiling water
1 can of mango puree (30 oz, sweetened)
3 fresh mangoes, peeled, deseeded and pureed
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar

Add the peach Jell-O to the boiling water and stir until dissolved.  Bring to room temperature then stir in the canned mango puree and the fresh mango puree.  Set aside.

Whisk or beat the heavy cream with the powdered sugar until stiff peaks form.  Gently fold into the cooled mango puree/gelatin mixture.  Pour into a serving dish and refrigerate until set, preferably overnight.

Serve with fresh slices of mango or fresh slices of peach.

Paneer Butter Masala

2 tablespoons oil
3 cloves
2 cardamom
1 (Indian) bay leaf
1 small piece of cinnamon stick, 1/4"-1/2"
1 large onion, diced
1-2 green chiles, slit lengthwise
4 tomatoes, diced
1 tablespoon of ginger-garlic paste
10 cashews (soak in hot water)
1 tablespoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon (kashmiri, preferably) red chili powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 - 1 cup water
10 oz paneer, cut into 1/2" cubes
1 tablespoon kasuri methi (dried, whole)
2-3 tablespoons heavy cream (optional)
2-3 tablespoons butter (optional)

In a pot, heat the oil over medium heat. When it's hot, add the cloves, cardamom, bay leaf and cinnamon stick.  Wait for 45-60 seconds, until the spices become toasted and fragrant, then add onion.  Saute for about 10 minutes, or until onion turns translucent and just starts browning on the edges.  Add the ginger-garlic paste.  Saute for about 60 seconds, then add the tomatoes.  Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the tomatoes are softened, about another 10 minutes, then add in cashews, coriander powder, chili powder, garam masala, turmeric and salt. Stirring frequently, cook for about 5 additional minutes.  Remove from heat and cool until lukewarm, then blend in a blender until smooth.  (Alternately, you may use an immersion blender.)  Return to the pot.  I usually add 1/2-1 cup water to the blender and slosh it around to get every last bit of sauce off the blender, then pour that into the pot.  Heat the sauce over medium low heat, and simmer, covered, until you reach desired consistency (7-10 minutes).  You may add water if you wish to get a thinner consistency.

Meanwhile,  heat  1tablespoon of oil in a pan.  Add your paneer cubes and flipping the cubes every 20-30 seconds, lightly brown the paneer cubes.  Remove the paneer cubes from the pan.

When the sauce is done simmering, taste and adjust salt.  Rub the kasuri methi between the palms of your hands to powder it, and add it to the sauce along with heavy cream and butter.  Simmer, coverred,  until butter is melted and then fold in the paneer cubes.  Simmer for 5-7 minutes.

Paneer butter masala is ready to serve. 

Enjoy with naan, vegetable pulao (pilaf), steamed basmati rice, or vegetable biryani.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Coconut Blossoms

1/3 cup butter, softened
3 oz cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar

1 egg yolk
2 t almond extract
2 t orange juice
1 1/2 cup flour

2 t baking powder
1/4 t salt

3 cups plus 2 cups shredded coconut, sweetend
hershey kisses - 1 package, milk chocolate or almond

Combine butter, cream cheese and sugar in a bowl and mix thoroughly.  Beat it egg yolk, almond extract and orange juice.  In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt and gradually stir in to the butter mixture.  Last, stir in 3 cus of coconut.  Refrigerate for 30-45 minutes.  Heat oven to 350.  Take about a tablespoon of dough and roll into ball, repeat until dough is used up.  Last, roll into remaining 2 cups of coonut.  Place on ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake 10-12 minutes until lightly browned.  Remove from oven, and press unwrapped chocolate kiss into the center of each cookie.  Cool. (Makes 3-4 dozen depending on the size of your balls.)

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Gina's Chicken Curry

My friend's recipe for delicious chicken curry!

1 lb of bone-in chicken thighs
1 large or 2 medium onions, finely chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1 tablespoon ginge-garlic paste
2 green chiles, slitted
1 sprig of cury leaves
10 stems of cilantro, finely chopped
4 sprigs of mint leaves, leaves only, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1.5 teaspoons red chile powder
2 teaspoons coriander powder
1 teaspoon chicken masala powder
salt (to taste)
2 teaspoons lemon juice (or to taste)

To temper:
1 tablespoon oil
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1" piece of cinnamon
3 cloves

To grind:
1/2 cup shredded coconut or cashew nuts
2 teaspoons dahlia
1/2 teaspoon white poppy seeds
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds


Cut chicken into pieces and wash.  Sprinkle turmeric powder over the chicken, cover and set aside

Heat oil in a pot, add the ingredients under "to temper".  Saute for 10 seconds then add the green chiles, curry leaves and onions and saute for 2 minutes.

When the onions turn translucent, add ginger-garlic paste and saute until the raw smell leaves.  (Keep stirring or the ginger garlic paste will stick to the pan!)

Add the tomatoes and cook until they turn soft and mushy.

Add all the dry powders (chile, coriandr, chicken masala and turmeric).  Saute for a few seconds and then add the chicken.  Give a quick mix and add the "to grind" mixture.  Mix gently, add 2 cups of water, salt, cilantro and mint, mix well and close the lid and cook on medium heat for about 20 minutes (2-3 whistles if using a pressure cooker).

(If using a pressure cooker, allow pressure to come down, then open the cooker.)  Open the lid and check consistency.  If it is watery, cook uncovered on medium flame until desired consistency is achieved.  If it is too thick, add hot water to dilute the curry.

Garnish with lemon juice and chopped cilantro leaves.  Optional, garnish with whole cashews