Simple Authentic* Dal

February 19, 2012 § 1 Comment

E: Now before anyone jumps down my throat here, let me clarify that title:  this was authentic. I got the recipe from my good friend Aditya by watching him prepare it a few times for dinner parties when we were in college. I wrote down what I saw, and may have adapted for one or two things that are difficult to find, but I would say this is 80-90% faithful to the original. Hopefully, Aditya himself will be reading this (I know you do check this blog from time-to-time) and can chime in if I’ve erred somewhere.

the garnish of chives is something of our own invention

Authenticity concerns aside, this recipe and I have a long and important history, and so I’m really happy to finally have taken pictures of the process so I can share them with all of you. This is the recipe that got me into cooking. When I tasted this the first time, I couldn’t believe how fantastic it was. And the process had seemed easy enough. So I learned to make it myself, and then promptly made it for everyone I could find. This was the “aha” moment for me, that interesting food could be healthy, tasty, and easily made at home.

Joanna and I have shared this dal many times. However, we often make it when we are tired and otherwise not looking to make an event of cooking. So we just haven’t gotten out a camera and photographed the process. But I picked up three recipes from Aditya during college (and I recently badgered him for some eggplant recipes that I hope to make and photograph sometime soon) and I really wanted to start getting them up on the blog. So here is the first of them. « Read the rest of this entry »

Muttar Paneer

October 2, 2011 § 2 Comments

E: Paneer is something I first tasted in college. I don’t think I really knew what it was until one of my good friends (yes Aditya, if you are reading this, that means you) cooked with it for an Indian dinner we had. Yes it is very dense, and the texture can be a little rubbery, but we are talking about fried cheese here. How could it not be good?

spices, vegetables, and fried cheese . . . who could argue?

So when we saw that Nigella Lawson, the goddess of food, had a recipe for muttar paneer we simply had to try it. From some of the comments it seemed that her version was a bit plain, so we upped the spicing a little bit (and could probably have afforded to go even a little further). But as it stands it was warm if not spicy, and definitely had a good flavor. It isn’t even that hard to make, though frying the paneer can be messy. I tried to fry it dry but wasn’t thinking properly and used a plain skillet, which it subsequently stuck to. Adding some oil helped to fix that problem, but meant getting spattered with grease. I’d tentatively suggest using a non-stick frying pan that you can cover with a grease screen if necessary.

If you can’t find paneer at whatever grocery store you usually go to, and don’t have an Indian grocery store in your area, Whole Foods probably has it. Ours did. If you can’t find it anywhere, you could make this with tofu. It wouldn’t be made with fried cheese (so, you know, why bother?) but the dish would certainly still be tasty. « Read the rest of this entry »

Slow-Cooked Chickpea Curry

July 31, 2011 § Leave a comment

E: The slow-cooker is the fire-and-forget missile of the cooking world, and that’s something that comes in handy when you are busy around dinner time, say, for example, you have to bring your laptop in for an appointment at the Apple store (which you just know is going to start and end late). Then, if you have one of these nifty devices—mine comes courtesy of Joanna’s parents as a graduation present:  thank you both! I’m sure we’ll get lots more use out of it—just load up the ingredients, press the proverbial little red button, and come back from your Genius Bar appointment—or wherever else you’ve been—to find fresh curry awaiting your return.

looks slightly better than it tastes, but nothing a little salt and spices won't fix

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Orange Dal

February 22, 2011 § Leave a comment

E: This is an easy Indian dal that I got from GF-Zing!, a blog for gluten-free eating that is run by the the mother of one of our friends. It takes about 45 minutes or so to make, but really just requires the occasional stir during that time. It is lovely, warm, and spicy, and the orange/cinnamon taste is unique in my experience. The original recipe is baked in an oven-safe pot or dish, but we did ours on the stove top like we usually do for dal.

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Indian Chicken Curry

February 13, 2011 § 1 Comment

E: So everyone, Indian curry is fantastic. I make no claims that this is the most genuinely Indian recipe–I’m fairly certain it isn’t–but it is still delicious. I’ve made it twice, and both times it all disappeared quite quickly.

Yes, you want to make this!

A note about chutneys:  this is one of the few recipes I/we make these days that uses something from a bottle. Take your pick of mango chutney. I’ve used both Major Grey’s and plain, and I thought Major Grey’s was better suited to the recipe. It added a nice bite that was absent with the plain. As soon as we get the chance, Joanna and I will try to re-make this using fresh ingredients instead of the bottled chutney and let you guys know how it goes. For the moment, if you care, check the ingredients list on the bottle to make sure there’s nothing too strange in there.

The original recipe comes, yet again, from Macheesmo. We are perennially indebted to that blog for its excellent food ideas. The original recipe calls for chickpea-flour pancakes, but I’ve served the dish with rice both times and it worked out just fine.

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Tandoori Chicken

January 21, 2011 § Leave a comment

J: Hey all, just a couple quick notes before we get into this wonderful recipe.  First, yesterday this blog was featured on the front page of FoodPress!  I’m so thrilled and honored, and I really hope that some of you who found us through that will stick around.  We love cooking, we love sharing what we make, and we hope you enjoy our posts!

Secondly, as this has evolved into a collaboration between my boyfriend and me, we’ve decided that for simplicity and ease of discrimination between the two of us (Erik and Joanna) as we write our posts, from now on we’ll just start each one with an E or a J.

Now, let’s get moving on some delicious Indian food.  This chicken is tender and incredibly flavorful, and could be served with some seasoned basmati rice and steamed or sautéed vegetables to round out the meal.

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Indian Spinach and Chickpea Dal

January 6, 2011 § 4 Comments

This is the second time I’ve made this dal.  The first time it was just as delicious, but I only got one dinner out of it before disaster struck.  I had just moved into my apartment and been abandoned by my family and boyfriend, and I decided I would make some comfort food that would be easy, healthy, and would last a long time.  What better than dal?  It’s a one-pot meal (unless you do rice, which you should, and which makes it a two-pot meal), it has all sorts of good-for-you ingredients, and despite its simplicity, the spices that go into it, if done right, give it a lovely warmth that really spreads through your whole body.

So, I made this dal.  I sat down on my couch with a nice warm bowl of dal and rice, and enjoyed it slowly.  An hour after sitting down to eat, I got up to put away my leftovers, and as I was spooning the dal into a tupperware, SHOCK: there was a COCKROACH in the dal.  Fortunately, it was already dead.  I took small comfort in knowing that it had not gotten in there while I was cooking, since I’d kept the lid on most of the time and had barely taken my eyes off the pot, but I tearfully had to throw out all of the leftovers.  Cockroach traps went up in my kitchen very shortly thereafter and I’ve not had another encounter since, thank goodness.

A few weeks ago, then, I decided to reconquer this dal and enjoy every last bit.  Let’s get going with the recipe so you can enjoy it too!

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