Indian Adventure Round Up!

This past weekend, I spent time with friends exploring Chicago’s Devon Ave. This culinary neighborhood tour inspired me to host an Indian & European Eats Blogging Event. Quite a few bloggers participated and here are the wonderful recipes that they have shared. If you’re intimidated by Indian or European cuisine, hopefully you’ll give these recipes a try and discover how delicious these cuisines are!

Thanks to all my fellow bloggers for participating!

Renee of Savory Safari
from Washington DC
Tandoori ChickenWhat Indian recipe round up would it be without the popular Indian dish, tandoori chicken? Renee shares this recipe and it’s a great dish to try for folks just learning about Indian cuisine. What I really like about the recipe Renee shares is that it uses pantry staples and spices most folks have on hand. Check out her blog and give this recipe a try!

Malani of Cravings
from Maharashtra, a state in India
(currently in California)
Masala OkraMalani taught me that okra is a common fresh vegetable in India. Who knew? The vegetable is actually known as bhindi. Her recipe for Masala Okra is a great way to prepare okra with some Indian flair. Check out her blog for the recipe and to learn about other interesting ingredients used! (I learned a lot from her post and I’m sure you will too!)

Erica of Erica’s Kitchen Adventures
from Pennsylvania
Chicken Korma & Indian Style Basmati Rice
If you’re interested in trying/cooking Indian cuisine for the first time, Erica can totally relate. Her recipes for Chicken Korma and Indian Style Basmati Rice were her first attempt to make and eat Indian cuisine! She did an excellent job and has some great step by step pictures too. Check out her blog for the recipes and give them a try!

Kira of Food alla Puttanesca
from Tennessee
Indian-Inspired Chickpeas & Spinach in a Tomato Cream SauceNot sure how Indian food will taste the follow day? Let Kira reassure you! She made this dish and ended up eating it the following day… and she was blown away. Perhaps this dish may be better the following day but regardless, it’s a recipe you should try. Check out her blog for the recipe!

Tammie of My Little World
from Ohio
Tammie has a great neighbor to learn authentic Indian cooking from. She shares with us her neighbor’s recipe for Upma, a breakfast dish that can be eaten for lunch or snack. Tammie even suggests it as a side dish. Check out Tammie’s blog for the recipe!

Sudeshna of Here I Cook
from Bangalore, India
Baigan BhartaSudeshna joins us from across the globe to share her dish of Baigan Bharta. This dish is made with eggplant and looks like a wonderful side dish. One thing I really enjoyed about Sudeshna’s recipe is that she included both the English and Hindi words for the ingredients. Such a great thing to learn, especially when I hit up the ethnic grocery stores near me! Check out Sudeshna’s blog for a wonderful vegetarian recipe!

Nancy of Gaga in the Kitchen
from California
Naan, Indian Chicken Curry, & Aloo Gobi
Nancy has hit the trifecta with me because she shares with us three of my fave Indian dishes! Naan is a common bread served with an Indian meal and is a great ‘dipper’ to sop up all the deliciousness. Indian Chicken Curry is a rich and flavorful stew, whereas Aloo Gobi is a fragrant and a great dish using cauliflower. Check out her blog for these recipes and have yourself an Indian cuisine night!

Coriander Lemon Chicken

The following recipe was prepared during my International Chefs Dinner. You can read about it and check out the other recipes that were made for the event HERE.

Coriander Lemon Chicken
shared at the event by Teresa
recipe courtesy of Madhur Jaffrey
2 lbs skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut in large chunks
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
5 cloves finely chopped garlic
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger, mixed with
4 tablespoons water
7 ounces fresh coriander leaves, washed and very finely chopped
1 finely chopped and deseeded green chili pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
5 fluid ounces water
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Heat the oil and brown the chicken, you might have to do that in batches, remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add the garlic to the same oil, when that starts to brown lower the heat to medium and add the ginger/water mix, fry this for 1 minute Then add: coriander, chili, cayenne, cumin, coriander, turmeric and salt, cook for another minute and mix well.

Return the chicken to the pan, with the accumulated juices, add the water and the lemon juice.

Stir, bring to the boil, and then cover and simmer on a low heat for 15 minutes, depending what chicken meat is used.

When cooked and you find the sauce too thin, uncover the pot and reduce the sauce by using some higher heat.

Chickenpea Salad w/Cilantro Lime dressing

The following recipe was prepared during my International Chefs Dinner. You can read about it and check out the other recipes that were made for the event HERE.

Chickenpea Salad w/Cilantro Lime dressing
shared at the event by Yumi
recipe courtesy of Vikas Khanna

2 (15 oz or 425 grams) chickpeas, washed and drained

1 medium red onion

1 medium ripe tomato

Juice of 2 limes

4 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro

1 tablespoon tamarind paste

Salt to taste

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Mix all the ingredients in a large (non-reactive) mixing bowl and serve cold as a salad or a side dish.

Palak Paneer

The following recipe was prepared during my International Chefs Dinner. You can read about it and check out the other recipes that were made for the event HERE.

Palak Paneer
shared at the event by John
recipe courtesy of Tarla Dalal

2 cups paneer (cottage cheese), cut into 12 mm. (½”) cubes

10 cups spinach (palak) leaves
¾ cup onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic
12 mm. (½”) piece ginger, grated
2 green chillies, finely chopped
½ tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
¾ cup tomato purée
¼ tsp garam masala
2 tbsp oil
salt to taste

Blanch the spinach in a big vessel of boiling water. Drain, wash with cold water and blend in a liquidiser to a smooth purée.

Cut the paneer into small pieces and deep fry in hot oil until golden brown. Remove and drain on absorbent paper. Keep aside.

Heat the oil in a pan and fry the onions till they turn translucent. Add the garlic, ginger, green chillies and turmeric powder and fry again for a little time. Add the tomato purée and fry stirring continuously till the mixture leaves oil. Add the spinach purée, paneer, garam masala, and salt 1 cup of water and bring to boil. Serve hot.

Ethnic Tour: Indian/Pakistani Eats!

Tonight I took my cooking group on an ethnic tour dedicated to Indian/Pakistani cuisine & culture. Located in the far north side of Chicago, we headed out to Devon Ave. There, we stopped in at Patel Brothers Grocery Store, had dinner at Tiffins Restaurant and took a short stroll to King Sweets for after dinner desserts. Here are pics of our event… and unfortunately the dinner pics didn’t come out too well and we were too hungry to take pics of the food!

Indian in an Instant

It was a busy day for me so I cheated my way through dinner. Tonight’s theme was Indian and I ordered out Chicken Tikka Masala from a local Indian restaurant, Hema’s Kitchen. Along with it, I served biryani curried rice and garlic naan, both from Trader Joes.
Chicken tikka masala is one of the most popular Indian dishes in the world, though it originates from Britain. Its popularity has proven so great that almost every Indian restaurant worldwide offers it. It has even replaced tandoori chicken as the flagship of Indian & South Asian cuisines. Oddly, this dish isn’t nearly as popular as it is outside of India.

The chicken tikka masala I ordered was kind of lacking chicken so I cut up 2 chicken breasts and cooked the take out & chicken in a pot. It completely defeated the purpose of ordering out food when I ended up cooking the dish again. But nonetheless, it was still a good and satisfying meal. (I just wont be ordering take out from that place again.)

Here’s the doctored Chicken Tikka Masala, from Hema’s Kitchen:
Here’s the rice ~ Biryani Curried Rice, from Trader Joe’s:
Here’s the ~ Garlic Naan, from Trader Joe’s:

An Indian Getaway for My Tastebuds…

Today for lunch, my husband and I met with friends for lunch at a local Indian restaurant, Indian Grill. It has been a cuisine that has intrigued me for its complex flavors and exotic spin on preparing vegetables.

Indian cuisine varies from region, including Northern, Southern and Western. Our lunch was primarily dishes of Northern India. North Indian cuisine is distinguished by the higher proportion-wise use of dairy products like milk, paneer (cottage cheese), ghee (clarified butter), and yogurt.

They also use a tandoor, a large and cylindrical coal-fired oven, to cook meats like Chicken Tandoori – which was part of our meal… The chicken is marinated in a yogurt seasoned with garam masala – garlic, ginger, cumin, cayenne pepper, and other spices depending on the recipe.

Another important feature on North Indian cuisine are flat breads. These come in many different forms such as naan – which was also part of our meal. Naan resembles pita bread and, like pita bread, is usually leavened with yeast.

Here is a plate created from our lunch buffet which includes lamb curry, saag, rice, and a Samosa, to name a few.

It was a wonderful, flavorful meal that hit the spot and warmed our bellies on a Saturday afternoon!