The Sensitive Kitchen

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Paneer Tikka Masala

For the paneer:

2 Tbsp Greek yogurt
1 Tbsp oil
1 Tbsp grated ginger root
3/4 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp salt

14 ozs paneer

Mix yogurt, oil and spices in a bowl. Cut paneer into 3/4-inch cubes. Toss paneer evenly to coat. Let stand at least 1 hour (can be refrigerated).

For the masala:

2 tsp oil
1 cup minced red onion
1 1/2 tsp grated ginger root
1 tsp crushed garlic
12 ozs cremini mushrooms, quartered (optional)
1 14-oz can diced tomatoes with juice, blended until smooth
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/4 to 1/2 tsp cayenne, to taste
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c cream
1 c shelled green peas
1 Tbsp lime juice
1/2 tsp garam masala
2 Tbsp chopped cilantro

Heat oil in a large skillet. Add onion; saute until translucent and beginning to brown. If using, add mushrooms and saute without stirring until they begin to release their juices. Add ginger and garlic; saute 1 minute. Add tomatoes and spices. Simmer 5 minutes. Add peas; cook 2-3 minutes or until softened but still bright green. Remove from heat; stir in cream and garam masala. Fold in paneer gently. Squeeze with lime, sprinkle with cilantro and serve.


Jeera Pulao

2 tsp oil
1 tsp ghee or 2 tsp butter
1 tsp cumin seeds
3/4 tsp coarsely cracked black pepper
5-6 green cardamom pods
1 bay leaf
1 c basmati rice
2 c water

Heat oil and ghee or butter in a medium lidded saucepan over medium-high heat. When oil shimmers, add spices (seeds will crackle). Stir, then add rice. Saute 30 seconds, stirring, or until rice is evenly coated with oil. Add water; when water boils, cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook 15 minutes or until rice is done. Let stand 5 minutes, lidded. (Can stand 2 hours at room temperature.) Fluff with a fork and serve.


Sunday, August 05, 2012

Curry Leaf Powder (Karuveppilai Podi)

Spice powders of this type are common in nearly all South Indian kitchens. Mixed with ghee and served with idlis, this podi is magic - and my older daughter's favorite Indian breakfast.

4 tsp oil
4 Tbsp chana dal (bengal gram dal, split hulled chickpeas)
2 Tbsp urid dal (split black gram dal)
1 1/2 Tbsp coriander seeds
1 Tbsp cumin seeds
7 dried Indian red chiles
2 c curry leaves, stemmed, washed and dried
1 1/2 tsp tamarind concentrate
salt to taste

Heat 3 tsp oil in a large saucepan. Fry dals over medium heat, tossing continuously, until they turn reddish. Don’t let them scorch. Remove from pan; set aside.

In the same pan, toast coriander and cumin seeds over medium heat, stirring continuously, until they smell fragrant and begin to brown. Remove from pan; set aside separately from dals.

In the same pan, toast dry chiles, tossing regularly, for 2 minutes or until fragrant and browned. Remove from pan; set aside separately from dals.

Add 1 tsp oil to pan. Fry curry leaves, stirring continuously, until roasted crisp, about 1 minute. Turn off heat. Let all ingredients come to room temperature.

Once ingredients are cool, place dals in the smallest jar of a blender, Magic Bullet, or Indian-style mixie. Grind dals coarsely. Add coriander, cumin seeds and red chiles; grind. Add tamarind; grind until mixture looks smooth. Remove spices; set aside.

Add curry leaves to blender jar. Grind them to a powder. Stir ground curry leaves into ground spices. Add salt to taste; store in an airtight container.