Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Rosie Tries Her Hand At Indian Cuisine. And It Was GOOD!

According to my Time/Life/ Foods of the World/ The Cooking of India, spices are the key to Indian cooking. The elaborate combinations of freshly ground seasonings are called masalas. The masala blends vary widely and each is designed for a special purpose.

Above, is a picture of the various spices I used for my Garam Masala mixture for tonight's dinner. (By the way, I halved this.)

5 3-inch pieces cinnamon stick
1 cup whole cardamom pods, preferably green
1/2 cup whole cloves
1/2 cup whole cumin seeds
1/4 cup whole coriander seeds
1/2 cup whole black peppercorns

Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
Spread the cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, cumin, coriander, and peppercorns in one layer in a pan. Roast about 30 minutes, stirring and turning the mixture several times. Do not let the spices brown.

Now, here's the bitch part. Break open the cardamom pods and get the seeds out.
Discard the pods and set seeds aside.
Now, how to do this.........?

Hmmmmm..... It's coming back to me.

Certain time-honored traditions and talents honed from a misspent youth come to my rescue.
Apparently, I didn't fry every single last brain cell.

I can separate the seeds from the chaff in a heartbeat.

Here are the toasted spices.

A little Magic Bullet action.

Process. Hmmm. Good smells.
I had enough for two 4-ounce pimiento jars.

Now, on to my Kesar Chaval, or Saffron Rice.
Above, I have 1 teaspoon saffron threads with boiled water on top, a chopped onion, a piece of cinnamon stick, 4 whole cloves, 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar with molasses, and the seeds of 3 cardamom pods.

Here, I've melted about 6 TB butter, then added the cinnamon and cloves, then the onion. Cook about 7-8 minutes.

Add the rice to the mix, stir about 5 minutes, then add 4 cups boiling water.

Here, I have the saffron water and molasses and brown sugar.
Add 4 cups boiling water, the brown sugar, molasses, 2 teaspoons salt, and the cardamom seeds. Bring to a boil.
Add saffron and its soaking water, stir gently, then reduce heat to low. Cover tightly and cook for 25 minutes.

Now, on to the chicken dish.
Here, I have my spices ready for my Murg Kari (chicken curry).From top left, the darker brown is freshly ground coriander seed, the red in the middle is ground hot red pepper, the medium brown on the top right is freshly ground cumin seed, the orange on bottom right is turmeric, and the lighter brown on bottom left is freshly ground fennel seed.

I have sliced onions, minced garlic, and minced fresh ginger here.Here's everything for my chicken.
The chicken has been rinsed, patted dry, and sprinkled with Kosher salt.

In a heavy skillet, heat vegetable oil over high heat, add the chicken parts in, and fry for 4-5 minutes on each side.
Transfer chicken to a plate.

Add the onions, garlic, and ginger to the remaining oil and saute for 7-8 minutes.

When the onions are soft and golden, reduce heat to low, and add the cumin, turmeric, coriander, red pepper, fennel, and 1 tablespoon of water,
stirring constantly.

And you all know how much I love my ACTION shots.

Stir for a few minutes.

Then, add a can of chopped tomatoes.
Stir well to incorporate.
May I just say, I can llllllliteralllllly see all the flavors
and it's really smelling good now.

The recipe called for 1/2 cup unflavored yogurt. I didn't have any unflavored yogurt so I substituted with my homemade
creme fraiche and some Ricotta Cheese.

Here's how to make creme fraiche. It's like a sour cream only much better. Take a cup of heavy cream, add 1-2 tablespoons of buttermelk to it, stir, cover, and let set out overnight at room temperature. Next day, refrigerate it. If you like, add a bit of lemon juice for a nice tang.

Add in the leftover coriander, a bit of salt, some water.

Add the chicken, turning to coat evenly, and bring to boil.
Reduce heat to low, and sprinkle top with garam masala.

Cover tightly and simmer for 20 minutes.

ACTION shot.

Add fresh cilantro.

I'm so glad I finally like cilantro. I used to hate it, but kept on trying it and now I love it. I have read that there's a gene for either liking cilantro or hating it, but I'm not so sure. And usually, it's one or the other. You either love it or hate it - no middle ground. I was the same way with blue cheese. Kept on trying Mr. Hawthorne's blue cheese salad dressing every time we'd go out to eat. After twenty years - yes, twenty years - of trying- one day I suddenly liked blue cheese dressing.
I am nothing if not persistent.
Action shot of lemon drop.

More rip-roaring lemon drop ACTION going on.

Here's the finished Chicken Curry, or Murg Kari.
Before Mr. Hawthorne got home with the fresh cilantro, Youngest Hawthorne came upstairs with a Schwann's chicken pot pie in his hand, ready to nuke it for dinner. His nose started atwitchin' and he asked what I was fixing. Putting the Schwann's aside, he decided to have some of this, sans cilantro.

1 comment:

Lane said...

oh wow that takes a shit ton of ingredients. I won't be making any Indian I'm afraid. That looks just like the stuff at the restaurant though! I WANT SOME >:o