Wednesday, September 22

ethnic recipes--Indian (Pitta)

Authentic South Indian Biryani

2 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 pod cardamom
 1 clove
 1 cinnamon stick
  4 medium onions, chopped
  3 tablespoons chopped fresh garlic
 1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger
  1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into cubes
  chili powder to taste
  1 1/2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  16 ounces plain yogurt
  3 tablespoons water
  lemon juice, to taste
  3 cups white rice
  1 teaspoon butter
  salt to taste
  1 bunch fresh mint, chopped
  1 bunch chopped cilantro

 1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
 2. Heat oil in a large oven-proof pot over medium heat. Add cardamom, clove, and cinnamon stick. Stir in chopped onions, and fry until golden brown. Stir in garlic and ginger. Stir in chicken pieces, and fry about 3 minutes. Stir in chili powder, and cook several minutes. Stir in tomatoes, and cook about 5 minutes. Mix yogurt with 3 tablespoons water and lemon juice; stir into sauce.
3. Cover pot, and bake in a preheated oven until the sauce is somewhat thickened and concentrated, about 15 minutes.
 4. Meanwhile, cook rice in enough salted water to cover. Bring to a boil, and cook until it is half cooked, about 7 minutes. Drain rice, and stir into chicken and sauce. Stir in butter, season to taste with salt, cover pot, and bake 1 hour. Stir in mint and cilantro immediately before serving.

The deep flavors and piquant aromas of southern Indian cooking come to life in this recipe.
Chicken simmers in a yogurt and tomato sauce rich with herbs and spices.

This recipe calls for chicken, but you can use whatever meat you prefer.
It can be a vegetarian dish, too. Just add vegetables instead of meat.

Aloo Palak
    * 2 tablespoons peanut oil
    * 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
    * 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
    * 2 dried red chile peppers, cut in half
    * 6 fresh curry leaves
    * 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
    * 1 pinch asafoetida powder
    * 2 cups cubed potatoes
    * salt to taste
    * 2 tablespoons water 
    * 1 tablespoon peanut oil
    * 6 cups chopped fresh spinach
    * salt to taste
    * 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
    * 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1. Heat 2 tablespoons peanut oil in a skillet; fry the cumin seeds, mustard seeds, and red chile peppers in the hot oil until the seeds begin to splutter, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the curry leaves, turmeric, and asafoetida powder; fry another 30 seconds. Stir the potatoes into the mixture to coat; cook until they begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Season with salt. Sprinkle the water over the potatoes; cover the skillet with a lid and cook until the potatoes are cooked, but still firm, about 10 minutes.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon peanut oil in a separate skillet; cook the spinach in the hot oil until wilted. Sprinkle with salt; continue cooking until all the excess moisture evaporates, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir into the potato mixture. Season with the ground red pepper and cumin; stir. Cook until the spices integrate, 5 to 10 minutes.
Serve hot.  6 SERVINGS

Alicia's Aloo Gobi
    * 1/4 cup olive oil
    * 1 medium onion, chopped
    * 1 tablespoon minced garlic
    * 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
    * 1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes
    * 1 (15 ounce) can coconut milk
    * 2 tablespoons ground coriander
    * 1 tablespoon salt
    * 1 tablespoon ground turmeric
    * 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
    * 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    * 1 teaspoon ground ginger
    * 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
    * 3 large Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cubed
    * 1 medium head cauliflower, chopped into bite size pieces
    * 1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained
    * 2 tablespoons garam masala

   1. Heat oil in a large pot on medium-high heat and add onion. Cook until softened, about 4 minutes, then stir in garlic and cumin. Continue to cook until onion begins to brown.
   2. Stir in tomatoes and coconut and the coriander, salt, turmeric, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, ginger, and cardamom. Stir until mixture begins to boil, then put in the potatoes, cauliflower, and garbanzo beans. Blend well. Reduce heat to low and cover.
   3. Simmer until the potatoes are tender, 45 minutes to an hour (this will depend on the size of the potato chunks). Sprinkle in the garam masala, stir, and cook for an additional 5 minutes.

 The coconut milk adds the extra sauciness.  Serve with basmati rice or, better, with breads such as roti, naan, or pita.

    * 1 3/4 cups plain yogurt
    * 6 cubes ice, crushed
    * 1 1/2 cups ice water
    * 2 teaspoons white sugar
    * 1 pinch salt

In a blender, blend the yogurt, ice, water, sugar and salt until mixture becomes frothy.
Pour mixture over ice cubes in tall glasses.

Mango Lassi
1 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup milk
1 cup chopped mango (peeled and stone removed)
4 teaspoons sugar, to taste
A dash of ground cardamom (optional)

Put mango, yogurt, milk, sugar and cardamom into a blender and blend for 2 minutes,
then pour into individual glasses, and serve. Can sprinkle with a little cardamom.

The lassi can be kept refrigerated for up to 24 hours.
Makes about 2 cups.

Look for Alphonso Mango Pulp which comes from India, canned.
Don't use substitutes. There are other mango pulps which are not as tasty as this one.
Experiment with how you want to mix it but don't add sugar as there is lots with the pulp itself.

This mixture is also good with chicken breast. Brown the breast and then simmer it for a bit in the sauce.

Rabri (Barley-Yogurt Drink)
    * 6 cups water
    * 1 cup barley flour
    * 1 cup uncooked whole barley
    * 2 cups nonfat plain yogurt
    * 1/4 cup water
    * salt to taste

Bring 6 cups of water, barley flour, and whole barley to a boil in a large saucepan.
Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer 1 hour. Remove from the heat and refrigerate until cold.

Whisk the yogurt with 1/4 cup of water; stir into the cooked barley. Season to taste with salt.
Serve chilled as a cool drink.  Original Recipe Yield  10 cups

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