I always try to eat delicious food. Unfortunately I don't have that much money, so I have to cook a lot of it at home. But thats OK because I love cooking and I love eating at home with my wife. This is a website with my favorite recipes and a little bit of commentary.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Indian Food

My favorite cuisine, hands down, is Indian food. I like to go out to a restaurant for it, but some times I just like to stay home.

I started liking Indian food in medical school. I'm a white boy who grew up in the middle of Iowa. I never had any exposure to it until I moved to Chicago. Ever since then I have been hooked. Last Friday my wife and I were both hungry for Indian food, so we made a big spread and pigged out. This was food that was so tasty it could not be reasoned with. It could not be stopped, only contained.

Spicy Cucumber Wedges

1 cucumber, peeled and cut into wedges
1/3 t salt
1/8 t cayenne pepper
fresh ground black pepper
1/3 t cumin seeds
juice of 1 lemon

Combine everything and serve.

Spicy onion relish

1 onion, diced
3/4 t salt
juice 1/2 lemon
1 t paprika
1/2 t cayenne

Combine everything and set aside for at least 30 minutes.

Tandoori Chicken

2 1/2 lb chicken breast, skinned and cut into strips to put on skewers
1 t salt
1 lemon, juiced
15 oz yogurt
1/2 onion, peeled and quartered
1 clove garlic
1 inch fresh ginger
1/2 of a green chili like a serano
2 t garam masala
red food coloring

Combine all of the ingredients except the chicken in a food processor and Blend until smooth. Brush the chicken on both sides with red food coloring. Marinate the chicken in the blended ingredients for a few hours to overnight. Put chicken on skewers and grill.

Chicken Tikka Masala

Heat 1 stick butter in a saucepan. Add 1 inch of fresh ginger, chopped and saute a little, then add the rest of the ingredients:

15 oz can tomato sauce
1 cup water
1 t garam masala
1 t cumin
1 t mace
1 t salt
1 serano chili, finely chopped
1 T fresh chopped cilantro
4 t lemon juice

Boil mixture, covered, for one hour. Then add some pieces of tandoori chicken, cut up. Stir in about 1/4 cup cream and serve.

Mutter Paneer

1 T butter
1 t cumin seed
1 cup diced red onion
1 T ginger root, finely chopped
1 large tomato, diced
1 T cilantro
1 t salt
1 t cayenne pepper
1 t garam masaala
1 16 oz bag frozen peas
2 cups of 1/2 inch cubes of fried homemade cheese (buy in Indian grocery store or make)
1 1/2 cups water
8 oz tomato sauce

Homemade Cheese (Paneer)

1/2 gallon whole milk
1/8 cup white vinegar

Boil milk, stir in vinegar and remove from heat. Line a colander with cheesecloth. Pour the mixture into the colander. The curds will separate from the whey. Wrap curd up in cheese cloth and leave in the colander. Place a weight like a Dutch oven on top of the bundle and let it sit for 5 to 6 hours to drain fully. Cut cheese into 1/2 inch cubes and fry in oil to use for mutter paneer.

Saffron Rice

It is easy to make saffron rice for Indian food. I have a rice steamer so I use it. I typically for 2 people make 1 cup of basmati rice according to the directions on the package. Before I make it I add a few threads of saffron to the liquid that I am using for the rice and let it sit a couple hours. Then I make the rice in the rice steamer.

If you are going to make Indian food at home, you simply must make naan. Naan is the flat bread that is served with pretty much every Indian meal. It is used almost as a utensil to scoop up the delicious food and shovel it into your mouth.

The problem that most people run into when they try to make naan is that they don't have a tandoor oven. Neither do I. I use my grill.

To make naan on the grill I usually start with 1 cup of warm water and a package of yeast. I add enough flour (usually 2 1/2 cups or so) to make a wet dough. Let it rise in the oven for an hour or so until doubled in size and you're ready. Roll the dough out like you would if you were making a pizza. Toss it on the grill and cook on one side for 30 seconds or so, until it firms up and starts to get a few grill marks. Then flip it over and grill it on the other side. Be careful not to burn it. Then bring it inside, cut it into slices and butter both sides. Cover it until you are ready to serve it.