Friday, December 28, 2007

Indian Cuisine - Veggie Style

I think for the next couple of weeks while I get the hang of this (and I'm getting the hang of it quick--its sooo cool!! Who knew blogging could be so addictive?!), I'll be posting like a mad woman! That, or until work starts (on Jan 2)...whichever comes first I guess!!!

My parents raised me and my brother vegetarian but when I went off to boarding school, I became a (picky) meat eater. My parents have remained vegetarian. It started out a new months ago when I was 'buttering up' the 'grandparents' to dog-sit for Macy while I was away on my 10-day business trip which has now turned into a little tradition of coming over for dinner once a week (usually on the weekend). So of course that means that I fix a vegetarian meal at least once a week. They love it...less cooking for them and they get to take home the left-overs (which there is always plenty!)

This week to bring in the new year, my parents will once again be 'visiting' for dinner so I decided that I'm going to make an indian cuisine meal. They love this meal and ask for it all the time but I tell them to 'space it out' and 'try other things' (sound familiar...talking to a kid or what?!!!)

Now for those of you who don't know me, I L-O-V-E indian food and tell everyone I could eat it everyday. All these recipes are super easy and super flavorful. I must admit that I cheat and buy the vegetable samoas & Naan (or sometimes they even have Chapatis! YUM!) from Trader Joes but I do make my own cilantro chutney. ENJOY

Cilantro Chutney
1 bunch cilantro, chopped fine, stem & all
1 medium onion, chopped
1-2 jalapenos, minced
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 tsp garam masala
2 tsp salt
pinch cayenne pepper

Pulse all ingredients in a food processor or blender till almost pureed, but still somehwat chunky.

NOTE: make sure you chop the cilantro stems very finely or they will leave strings in your chutney.

Stir-fried Cauliflower (Gobhi Ki Subzi)
adapted from Cooking Smart Magazine
You can substitute potatoes, green beans or carrots for cauliflower in this recipe.

1 1/2 lbs cauliflower
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 1-inch piece fresh gingerroot, julienned
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp mild curry powder
1/2 tsp red chili powder, or to taste
1/2 tsp salt
Water, as needed

1. Break the cauliflower into small florets. Set aside
2. In a large skillet, heat the vegetable oil on high heat. Add the ginger and saute for about ten seconds. Add the cauliflower florets and saute for about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the coriander, red chili, and curry powder. Saute for 1 minute.
3. Reduce the heat to low. Add salt and 2 to 3 Tbsps of water. Cover and until the cauliflower is done, 5 to 10 minutes. Serve hot.

Spinach Beef Curry (Saag Gosht)
adapted from Cooking Smart Magazine
Substitute 16oz garbanzo beans for the beef to make this recipe vegetarian.

8oz frozen chopped spinach
4 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 bay leaves
1 1-inch cinnamon stick
4 cloves
4 black peppercorns
2 black cardamom pods
2 medium red onions, peeled and finely chopped
1 tsp minced ginger
1 tsp minced garlic
1lb boneless lean beef, chunks
2 small tomatoes, finely chopped
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp red chili powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt, whipped
1/2 cup water

1. Cook the spinach in boiling water until just wilted. Drain. Puree in a food processor. Set aside.
2. In a large skillet, heat the vegetable oil. Add the bay leaves, cinnaomon stick, cloves, black peppercorns and cardamom pods. When the spices begin to sizzle, add the onoions. Fry, stirring, until the onions are gloden brown, about 7 to 8 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic and saute for another minutes.
3. Add the beef and fry for about 10 to 15 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the tomatoes and fry, stirring constantly, for 10 minutes or until the oil starts to leave the sides of the mixture.
4. Add the curry powder, red chili powder, turmeric powder and salt. Mix well. Add the yogurt and cook for about 4 minutes.
5. Add the water and brign to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 25 minutes or until the beef is cooked through.
6. Add the spinach and cook for another 5 minutes. Serve hot.

Stir-fried Paneer with Mushrooms & Peas
adapted from India's 500 Best Recipes

6 Tbsp ghee or vegetable oil
8oz paneer, cubed (I used 8oz of extra-firm tofu fried with curry spice in a little oil)
a few fresh minute leaves, chopped
1 cup chopped cilantro
3 fresh green chillies, chopped
3 garlic cloves
1-inch fresh gingerroot, sliced
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp cili powder ((optional)
1 tsp garam masala
3 cups tiny button (white) mushrooms, washed
2 cups frozen peas, thawed
3/4 cup plain yogurt mixed with 1tsp constarch

1. Heat the ghee or oil in a large pan and fry the paneer cubes until they are golden brown on all sides. Remove and drain on kitchen paper.
2. Grind the onion, mint, cilantro, chilies, garlic and ginger in a food processor to a fairly smooth paste. Remove and mix in the turmeric, chili powder, if using, and garam masala, with salt to taste.
3. Remove the excess ghee or oil from the pan, leaving about 1 Tbsp. heat and fry the paste over a medium heat for 8-10 minutes or unil the raw onion smell disappears and the oil separates. Add the mushrooms, peas and paneer and mix well. Cool the mixture slightly and fold in the yogurt. Simmer for about 10 minutes, until the vegetables are tender and the flavours are well mixed. Garnish with fresh mint and serve.

Cashew Rice with Golden Raisins
Adapted from Sandra Lee

4 cups chicken stock
2 cups rice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 pinch cinnamon
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 cup cashew halves and pieces
3/4 cup golden raisins

Add all ingredients in rice cooker except cashews and raisins. Follow rice-cooker cooking time. Fluff rice with a fork and stir in cashews and raisins. Serve hot.

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