Category Archives: Indian Recipes

Indian Yellow Fried Rice

indian-fried-yellow-cumin-jeera-rice
My hubby requested his favorite fried rice recipe tonight for dinner.  Thankfully this is a quick side dish to throw together, as long as you have some leftover rice on hand.
Yellow Indian Fried Rice
  • Leftover, cooked Basmati rice or Brown Basmati rice {2 cups of uncooked rice = 4-6 cups of cooked rice}
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 serrano chilies, sliced in half, lengthwise
  • 1/4 cup ghee
  • 2 tsp. cumin {jeera} seeds
  • 1 tsp turmeric {haldi} powder
  • salt to taste
Start with heating the ghee in a large wok over medium-high heat, test if the ghee is hot enough by dropping in one cumin seed at a time, the seed should pop.  When the oil is ready, toss in all the seeds and stir for 20-30 seconds.  Next, add the chopped onion, and cook until onion turns translucent.  Add in the salt, chilies & turmeric.  Stir to combine.  Finally, add in the rice and mix thoroughly, until all of the rice turns yellow and the onions and seeds are well incorporated.
indian-fried-yellow-jeera-rice
This is such a yummy dish on its own, or you could serve it with your favorite curry recipe!  I hope you enjoy & tell me the best thing your better half has requested for dinner recently!

 

Easy Butter Paneer Masala Recipe

What do you do when you need to cook dinner and you have nothing fresh in the house?  This recipe came about on just such an occasion. We were having last-minute company for dinner and I had nothing… I dug around in my pantry and found a carton of Organic Roasted Red Pepper & Tomato Soup, a can of diced tomatoes, and then I found the very last onion in the house… and of course I always have Indian spices on hand.  This is the recipe that came out of that near-disaster (almost an “order pizza night”).  I give you…”Easy Butter Paneer Masala.”
Much to my surprise this tasted good (even to my Indian husband and our Indian friends)! We like the flavor that the soup base gives to the dish.  Feel free to add more of the soup (it comes in larger cartons as well) depending on how much “gravy” you like. I usually make Indian food from scratch, and stick to a tried and true recipe, but this turned out really well & I’ve made it several times since.  Of course the second time I made it, I couldn’t remember what I had done the first time I made it…
So let me know if you give it a try.  How about you, ever come up with a great recipe to get yourself out of a bind?  If so, are you able to recreate those truly inspired recipes a second time? Or do you prefer to stick to those faithful old family recipes?
Easy Butter Paneer Masala
Ingredients:
  ● 3 tbsp ghee
  ● 8-10 oz. Paneer (Indian cheese), cubed
  ● 1 tsp. onion seeds
  ● 1 tsp. jeera seeds
  ● 1 large onion, diced
  ● 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
  ● 1 stick of cinnamon
  ● 1 green chili, split in half
  ● 1/2 can diced tomatoes
  ● 16 oz of organic roasted red pepper and tomato soup
  ● salt and pepper to taste
  ● 1 tbsp flour, mixed with warm water to thicken curry
  ● 1/4 cup fresh cream
  ● 1 bunch cilantro, chopped (optional)
Directions:
Melt the ghee, add in the onion, onion seeds and jeera seeds.  Add onions and cook until onions are translucent.  Add in the diced tomatoes.  Stir in cinnamon stick & ginger garlic paste and green chili.  Add paneer – stir until paneer starts to brown.  Add in roasted red pepper and tomato soup.  Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and allow to reduce a bit.  Mix in the flour and water paste and stir until thickened.   Stir in the cream and garnish with cilantro just before serving.  Serve over rice or with naan or chapatti.

Cooking for Indian Company

We do a lot of entertaining in our house – everyone knows in Indian culture hospitality is a huge thing! (click here to see my earlier crash course on Indian hospitality) So recently we had an Indian family stay with us for a few days, and it was up to me do plan the menu. This family has just recently immigrated to North America, and they are eager to try typical “American” foods, however, from my previous experience, I’ve found that it is best not to just rush out to McDonald’s for the very first meal, instead, I like to try and ease my company into American foods a little at a time by providing home cooked meals that blend the flavors of East and West.
I like to make sure these fusion meals have some familiar aspects of Indian food, but still remain true to their Western heritage. So here are a few ideas I’ve come up with to help bridge the gap between East and West…
  • Make sure you serve rice if possible (especially if you are hosting South Indians). From my husband’s own mouth: “Sometimes I just don’t feel full unless I’ve had my rice!”
  • Try and make something with a sauce or gravy – even if it has no flavors of curry – gravy is a huge theme in many Indian dishes
  • Remember to spice it up a little! Most Indian palettes are used to flavorful cooking – so broiled chicken and steamed veggies probably won’t get you rave reviews among Indian circles!
  • Meat doesn’t have to be the star – experiment and see what you can do with veggies and starches – in most Indian households, meat is not eaten in huge quantities like it is in the West. My husband’s uncle and aunt moved to America years ago, and invited their new colleagues over for a meal. They served the meal family style, and they were horrified to find that all the meat was finished by the time it reached the third person!
  • Always have a dessert – from my experience Indians are like everyone else in the world – they love their sweets and they will be more than willing to try some of your sweets too – chocolate cake, here we come!
Here are a few “Western” meals I’ve had success serving to Indian guests:
  • Biscuits and Gravy (with hot sauce on the side)
  • Pot Roast with lots of Gravy and Rice, served with hot sauce on the side (if you are entertaining non-vegetarians, that is!)
  • Indian Style Pizzas
  • Baked Beans & Potato Salad
  • Green Bean Casserole & Corn Casserole
  • Sweadish Meatballs with extra gravy and Rice (you could make these veg as well)
  • Try going south of the border – Enchiladas and other Mexican foods are very similar to Indian – tortillas make great chapattis!
  • Did I mention chocolate cake already?
What about you? Do you stick to Indian only cooking with Indian guests or do you try and introduce them to other cuisines? I’d love to get some new ideas on fusion meals, so speak up if you have had success in this area before!

Fun Weekend

I hope you all had a fun weekend! My friend and I had a joint birthday party tonight – at the beach. It was so much fun, and we had a big crowd of friends there. We had ice cream sundays and popcorn. We found a recipe online for Indian Sweet and Spicy Popcorn (find it here), and it was fabulous! You have to try this recipe at your next event… not too sweet, not too spicy. To make things more festive, we served the popcorn in paper cones, made from 8″x 8″ scrapbook paper. I was totally addicted to the popcorn the whole night. (as were a few other friends!) What a perfect way to celebrate our birthdays!


There was a beautiful sunset to match the wonderful evening!


Happy 4th of July! Why not make Kulfi?

I hope everyone has a safe and happy 4th of July (Independence Day)! We are spending the day at a friend’s house – sort of an all day food-fest! Our town has a really neat Old Fashioned 4th of July parade as well, so that will be fun to watch. There will be lots of street venders and an antique car show. Basically your small-town America 4th of July! Then around 10:30 the city has a fireworks show over the bay. (Yes 10:30 is late for fireworks, but believe it or not it is still not completely dark!) There is something beautiful about fireworks over the water! Our friends who are hosting all of us for the day have a front row seat for the fireworks – since their house is situated right over the water. My only complaint (being a Texan girl) is that I usually have to wear a sweatshirt or jacket because it gets so cool. That is a completely foreign concept for me in the middle of summer!
My husband even gets into the festivities. He of course loves the FOOD and the fireworks. I think all Indians love fireworks – well maybe not ALL Indians. But fireworks are certainly a big part of the Diwali festival and other festivals in India. Of course, my husband likes setting off his own fireworks or “crackers” as he calls them, which we never did as kids – the best we got were sparklers!
So I’m responsible to bring some sort of dish to the party – I remember last year my Mother-in-law was here and she made this awesome Indian potato dish. Everyone loved it. I was thinking of doing something Indian as well. Then the idea struck me – 4th of July = homemade ice cream. Why not fuse East and West and make Kulfi? If you haven’t tried kulfi (an Indian ice cream with all sorts of yummy flavors like pistachios, cardamum, mango, etc…) you don’t know what you’re missing. I’ve made it once before, and it turned out great. You don’t even need an ice cream freezer (although I did use one when I made it).
So if you’re up for trying it out, here are a few recipes:
Mango Kulfi (pista chips are pistachios)
Cool Kulfi (with dried cranberries and pistachios)
I might give one of these recipes a try – the recipe that I tried earlier came from my favorite Indian cookbook. There seem to be lots of methods of making Kulfi – so the best way is to pick one and run with it! Your friends and family will thank you!
Anybody tried making Kulfi before? Success? Failure? I’d love to hear about it…


Chai


We are totally addicted to chai these days. I’ve always liked it, but in the past, I was too lazy intimidated to make it myself. My Mother-in-law makes wonderful chai for us when she visits from India. But when she wasn’t around, we just tended to go without.

My husband and I were talking a few months ago about how we’re always rushing around in the morning and never take time to connect before we start our day. So we decided to have “Chai dates” every morning before we go to work. (I’ll admit, we still don’t do

this every morning, but it is a fairly regular event now – and we both love it!)
So in order to make these “chai dates” happen, I had to…learn how to make chai. So I called up my MIL and got her recipe. After some trial and error, I think I’ve mastered it.
Here’s the recipe and a few pointers for beginners. (By the way, everyone makes chai differently – so feel free to experiment and try out new stuff!)
Ingredients:
Equal parts: Milk & Water
Fresh Ginger (grated – 1 tsp or so)
Green cardamom pods (opened – 3-4)
Cloves (4-5)
Cinnamon sticks (1-2)
Sugar (to taste)
Loose Tea Leaves (2-3 tsp.)
Directions:
I usually make chai for just the two of us, so I start out by filling one teacup full of water and one of milk (that way I know I’ll get a full 2 cups). Dump the liquids into a sauce pan and turn the heat on to medium-high.
Next, add some fresh ginger,* and all the spices. Bring to a boil.** Remove from heat. Add sugar and stir. Finally add loose tea leaves and let it brew for a minute or two until it is strong enough for your tastes. Strain out the tea leaves and spices, serve and enjoy!
*At first I added chopped up fresh ginger, but I found that you use a lot less if you grate the ginger (with a cheese grater) straight into the saucepan. Go light on the ginger until you find out how strong you like it – the first time I grated it, we had some super strong ginger-tea!
**Do not turn your back on the saucepan – the minute you do, it WILL boil over. Just ask me…
Other tips:

Cardamom pods can be tricky to open. The best method is to open it from the flatter end, not the end that is pointy. They look like a banana, but you want to open cardamom opposite than you would a banana. It is waaaay easier, let me tell you!

Use whole milk, chai will never turn out as rich as it does in India unless you use whole milk!!! (we also use non-homogenized)
Please don’t use those “chai-tea” mixes (WHY do people insist on calling it Chai-tea?? That’s like saying Tea-tea) …it is really fun and not too difficult to make chai yourself.
Other Chai resources:
A great thread in the IndianTies forums: Chai
Do you have a chai addiction? How do you get your fix? Tips – favorite recipes? We want to know!


Indian Cooking Series: Homemade Chicken Tikka Pizza Recipe



So last time in Part 1 of the Indian Cooking Series, we talked about spices. Spices are an integral part of Indian cooking. Now that you’ve got your spice cabinet stocked, why not put them to good use and make a truly intercultural meal – Chicken Tikka Pizza! It doesn’t get much better than this!

The recipe might look intimidating – but most Indian recipes call for lots of spices – which makes the ingredient list terribly long. One thing I like to do is when a recipe calls for several spices to be added at once, I measure them out ahead of time into a small bowl – that way I can just dump them in at the right time. If I can make this, you can too – and you’ll probably impress your dinner guests along the way!


Homemade Naan:
  • 2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 4 tbsp warm milk
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 4 cups of all purpose flour (I used 2 c. all purpose and 2 c. whole wheat **trying to be healthy!)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cups milk
  • 2/3 cups plain yougert, beaten
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tbsp ghee, melted (clarified butter)
  • flour for dusting
  • ghee for greasing

Directions:
Mix the yeast, warm milk and sugar and leave to become frothy. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Make a well in the center and add yeast mixture, milk, yogurt, egg and ghee. Fold in all the ingredients.
Kneed the dough well. Tightly cover the bowl and keep in warm place until the dough doubles in size. When you push your finger into the dough, it should spring back. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Roll the dough out on a floured surface. Make each naan into a pear shape, about 10 inches long. Place on greased trays/baking stone in preheated oven for 10-12 min.

**I cheated by using my bread machine to make the naan dough. It probably came out better when I made it by hand once before, but this was lots faster!

**Or you could REALLY cheat and just BUY some naan! Why didn’t I think of that??

Chicken Tikka:
  • 4 chicken breasts cut into cubes
  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp ginger pulp
  • 1 tsp garlic pulp
  • 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Directions:
Mix all ingredients together and add chicken pieces. Marinate for at least 2 hrs. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F. You can either skewer the chicken pieces or place them on a grilling rack and bake for 20-25 minutes. Keep aside.



Pizza sauce:
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 2/3 cups plain yogurt
  • 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp crushed bay leaves
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • salt to taste
  • 4 green cardamom pods (split open)
  • 1 tsp ginger pulp
  • 1 tsp garlic pulp
  • 1/2 can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 can tomato paste
  • cilantro leaves, chopped

Directions:
Fry the onions until golden brown and translucent. Add the spices and fry for 30 seconds. Add the tomato paste and crushed tomatoes, mix well and finally add the yogurt. Add more yogurt as needed. (remove whole spices before serving)


Assemble the pizzas:
Brush the hot naan with ghee, spread the sauce over the naan. Place chicken pieces on top and cover with cheese. Melt in a hot oven 4-5 minutes. Garnish with raw onions and cilantro.




Yummy Indian Dhal Recipe



On nights when I have no idea what to cook, this recipe for Indian style lentils has become my faithful standby. My Mother-in-Law taught me how to make it, and I’ll always be grateful! It’s quick and simple to make, and always turns out great – well, except for that one time when I forgot I was using red chili powder from India (instead of the kind I was used to from our grocery store) and it was so spicy we had smoke coming out of our ears! So hopefully you won’t make that mistake!


Ingredients:
  • 1 cup of lentils (yellow split peas – washed and drained)
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp sambar powder
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp. garlic paste
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp. ginger paste
  • 2 small tomatoes, chopped
  • 1-2 green chilies -split in half
  • salt to taste

Fry the following ingredients in a small amount of oil in a separate skillet & keep aside:

  • 3-4 dried red chilies
  • 1 tsp. mustard seeds
  • 1-2 curry leaves

Mix all of the above ingredients in a pressure cooker.* Cover with water. Seal pressure cooker and boil on high heat until you hear two “whistles.” (about 5-7 min). Allow the pressure cooker to cool off completely before opening it.** Add some water (to bring to desired consistency) and bring to a boil with the lid removed.


Add the fried spices to the dhal mixture and stir. Serve over rice. Tastes great with ghee and mango pickle!


*If you don’t have a pressure cooker, boil the ingredients until the lentils become soft.


**Make sure to follow the directions that came on for your specific pressure cooker.




Tandoori Turkey Success!

I just wanted to report back that the Thanksgiving Tandoori Turkey was a success! I was a bit nervous to make my first whole Turkey -and that with a recipe I’ve never tried before. The photo above was taken just before we dove in. We had a total of 8 people. Most of them were from various countries. We had 4 friends from India (including my husband), two from America (including myself), one from Holland and one from Malaysia.
We had a great time together. It was a different Thanksgiving for me and my husband – to be out on our own and not around any of our family, but I’m sure we made memories that we’ll talk about for along time. Who knows, maybe Tandoori Turkey will become our tradition! Isn’t that what an intercultural marriage is all about – taking the best of both worlds?!
By the way, I loved the Cranberry Chutney recipe also – the spices really added a special touch!


Tuesday’s Tip: What goes with Tandoori Turkey?

I got inspired by yesterday’s post about Thanksgiving dinner with an Indian twist. I began to wonder, what can I serve with the Tandoori Turkey that will stand up to the strong flavors…
After some research, here are a few ideas I’ve found to help complete Thanksgiving Indian style:
I’m definitely going to try a cranberry chutney recipe and a pumpkin curry! When I was carving pumpkins for Halloween, my MIL asked me if I was going to use any for pumpkin curry. I had never heard of such a dish, but now I think I must try it!