Monthly Archives: April 2012

Pav Bhaji: Indian Vegetarian “Chili” with Spiced Buns

Across the United States, everyone has their favorite version of Chili–a thick stew made with peppers, beans, meat, tomatoes, and spices.

I grew up eating my Mom’s version of chili (which I have to say may be the best…).  Her’s included tomato sauce, pork and beans, lots of beef and absolutely no chunky vegetables.  Man, it’s tasty!  But once I met Piyush, the chili had to change!

Because Piyush is Indian and was raised Hindu, beef is not something he eats.  Mom tweaked her recipe a little and substituted the beef with ground turkey or venison.  Once Piyush took a bite–even he was in awe!  He said it reminded him of Pav Bhaji–a wildly popular Indian street food found all over Mumbai (he grew up in Mumbai).

Since Piyush and I have been married, I have changed my mom’s chili even more.  I’ve added chopped veggies and about 5 different kind of beans. And every single time Piyush takes his first bite, he always says the same 2 things.

“This isn’t as good as your moms.”

and

“This reminds me of Pav Bhaji.  You should make me Pav Bhaji.”

So…finally–after 3 years of marriage–I have made him Pav Bhaji.

Indian Pav bhaji, Indian vegetarian chili, pav, bhaji, Indian street food, bombay street food, mumbai street food, Easy Pav bhaji, Pav bhaji

And he was happy. Continue reading

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Lamb Curry with Apricots and Almonds

I love lamb.  Although we don’t eat it often, it probably is my favorite meat–if it’s cooked right.

Lamb is one of those meats that can be a little tricky to cook.  Sure, you can toss it in a pressure cooker and cook it that way…but I just don’t think the taste is the same.  If you really want to cook lamb…and have it taste amazing…you have to cook it slow.

When I make a lamb curry I always cook it for at least 2 hours–stirring ever half hour.  It’s time consuming…yes; but because I only make lamb for special occasions, I want it to have the best flavor possible.

This was the first time I experimented adding vinegar, nuts and dried fruits to my lamb curry.  I usually make a Rogan Josh (which I have to say is the absolute best curry I make.   I’ve kept the recipe secret…so far.  But, I’m sure it’ll show up on here someday!), so this curry was a little out of my comfort zone.

I got the inspiration for this curry from the book I’m reading: “The Feast of Roses” by Indu Sundaresan.  It’s the love story of Mughal Emperor Jahangir and Nur Jahan (Mehrunnisa).  I find the story fascinating…and reading about all the rich, Mughal dishes makes my mouth water!

I wanted to use some of the ingredients I was reading about; and turn them into a fabulous curry.

Lamb Curry with Apricots and Almonds

Continue reading

Caramelized Onion, Purple Potato and Pistachio Pizza

Lately, Friday night has become Pizza Night in our household.  …Vegetarian Pizza Night, to be more accurate.  I make the dough, sauces, and chop up all the toppings in the afternoon, let the dough rise for a few hours; and by the time Piyush and I are ready for dinner, all I have to do is toss it in the oven and wait for it to bake.

I tend to make mostly vegetarian pizzas (there are some exceptions) because I don’t believe Piyush and I need to eat meat every single day.  I also think vegetables are so vibrant and beautiful…meat would only ruin the beauty of the pizza.

This week, I got the idea to use pistachios on our pizza.  I thought the green would be pretty, and the flavor would be unique.

Continue reading

Bengali Shrimp Malai Curry

This post and recipe have been updated on my new blog, Spiced up Mom. Please click the photo below to be taken to the new recipe!

shrimp malai curry recipe

I have a confession to make.  I am a judgmental, picky–sometimes even bratty–eater.  I always have been.  If something looks funny, I might still try it; but I make no promises (ehhmm…pickles!).

Growing up, I had a list of foods I would absolutely refuse to eat.  The list included (but was not limited to): onions, shrimp (and other sea creatures), pickles, most vegetables and tomatoes (unless they were sauced, smashed, diced or in the form of ketchup.  I loved ketchup).

As I get older, I notice my taste-buds have evolved quite dramatically and most things on my list have been crossed off.  But, it wasn’t until I developed a love for Indian food (and a certain Indian…) that I began to appreciate onions, tomatoes, veggies…and shrimp.

Ok…If I’m being completely honest, I can’t say that I really enjoy shrimp (tolerate…yes.  enjoy…not so much.); but drowning the little, pink sea-creatures in a sauce of creamy curry sure makes it a whole lot easier.

Piyush, on the other hand, can’t get enough of the funky looking crustaceans and loves when I surprise him with a steaming bowl of shrimp curry.

Continue reading

Vegetarian (Vegan) Navratan Korma –A Sweet and Mild Indian Curry

The korma-style curry is my ultimate favorite.  It’s sweet, mildly spicy, creamy…and just tastes so exotic.  One taste, and I was hooked!

Navratan Korma, Korma recipe, korma curry recipe, navratan korma recipe, vegetarian korma

I’ve tried many different recipes–all of which weren’t quite right–and have 34 versions saved in my bookmarks… in a folder titled “I will Conquer Korma.”  True story.

This curry has driven me insane trying to replicate the texture and flavor I order at my local Indian restaurant. Continue reading

Dabeli: The Best Vegetarian (and Vegan!) “Burger” I’ve Ever Eaten!

Indian street food is like nothing else I’ve experienced.  It’s creative, it’s delicious and it’s cheap!  I’m not quite sure what makes the taste so unforgettable–some say it’s the oil, and the spices…most say it’s the dirt and the dust. Whatever it is…it works!

Before I went to India I was warned by my doctor, my parents and pretty much anyone I talked to, that I should not eat any of the street food or drink any of the water.  I tried my best to avoid the water—but the food was irresistible!

People lined up for lunch at a roadside stand in Kolkata.

With a hefty stash of Imodium and a few packages of Charmin toilet paper (too much information?!)…I tasted a little bit of everything.  At first I was worried that I’d get sick and my whole trip would be ruined…but when you’re traveling with someone who has spent most of their life in India, you want to enjoy what they do!

Washing Dishes at a Roadside Stand in Kolkata

Luckily, aside from some mild stomach aches, I survived!  …and I want to share my love of Indian street food with everyone!  I know it’s impossible for all my readers to travel half across the world…so I thought I’d share a few of the chaats (snacks) I loved– and a few Piyush craves– right here on my blog.

I’ve already blogged about the singaras (here) and the aloo tikkis (here); but today I want to introduce you to the dabeli!

Continue reading

Indian Inspired Pasta Salad

This pasta salad isn’t like most pasta salads I’ve eaten.  It’s different…in a good way.

I was trying to think of something easy, fresh and light to bring along to my family Easter pot-luck; but nothing sounded good.  I wanted something to counter-balance all the candy I knew I would be eating.  I mean…seriously, look at this awesome cake my cousin, Emily made:

Chocolate cake with vanilla frosting...covered with kit-kats and M&M's

I thought a pasta salad would be nice, but I didn’t want to smother it with mayonnaise;  nor did I want a traditional Italian vinaigrette.  I had cucumber, onion and tomato in my refrigerator–and upon seeing those ingredients, the idea for this salad was born.

There’s a Bengali vegetable “salad” that I’ve blogged about here.  It’s fresh, light and everything I wanted; but it needed a little something extra.  I dug through the pantry and found some chickpeas and some spiral pasta.  I also had a pomegranate on hand.

Beautiful, Red Pomegranate Seeds

I wanted to add some minced fresh garlic, but Piyush thought it might be too pungent.  Instead, I cut about 5 cloves in half and threw them in a baking dish with some olive oil and one slit chile.  I thought the chile would impart a nice hint of spice…without being in-your-face hot (lots of Scandinavian palates to tend to, you know?).

I dressed the salad with a mixture of chaat masala, lime juice and the garlic-infused oil.

I wasn’t really sure how this salad would go over with my family.  My immediate family is scared to death to try anything I make—they say it’s too weird (my mom finds everything spicy. UFFDAH!); so I figured Piyush and I would have plenty of left-overs for work the next day.

In fact, we were looking forward to the left-overs.  This salad suited both of our tastes, and it was healthy too!   Unfortunately for us, we had no left-overs.  The recipe seemed to go over pretty well, and I was glad people at least tried it.  This isn’t your typical, American pasta salad…after all!

I noticed a lot of my family members were avoiding the pomegranate seeds.  You could leave them out entirely, but I thought they added a nice sweetness and a beautiful color to the dish.

I think this salad would taste really refreshing and light during the hot summer days.  It’d be a great dish to bring to a picnic or a pot-luck—or even served as a main-dish meal. I will definitely be making this again, soon!

Indian Pasta Salad

  • 1 can chick peas (garbanzo beans)- rinsed well
  • 1 cucumber- seeded and diced
  • 3 roma tomatoes- seeded and diced
  • 1 medium red onion- diced
  • pomegranate seeds
  • 3/4 lb. spiral noodles- cooked according to pkg. directions
  • 1 lime
  • 1/4 c. garlic-oil (recipe follows)
  • 2 tsp. chaat masala (or to taste)–available at Indian grocers
  • salt and pepper (to taste)
  • bunch of cilantro, chopped

Garlic-Oil

  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 1 serrano chile- slit 2 or 3 times
  • 5 cloves of garlic (skins can stay on)-cut in half

To make the oil, preheat your oven to 300 degrees F.  Combine all the ingredients in a glass baking dish and toss in the oven.  Leave the oil in the heated oven for at least 45 minutes. Remove from the oven.  Allow to cool.

Once the oil is cooled, strain.  You then have garlic infused oil!  You can store it in a cool dark place for about a month.  Make sure it’s stored in a sealed jar, though!

Salad

In a large bowl, combine the cucumber, tomatoes, chickpeas, onion, pomegranate and noodles.  Mix well so that everything is coated.

In a separate jar combine the lime juice, garlic-oil, and chaat masala.  Put the lid on the jar and shake vigorously.  Now your dressing is done!

Pour the dressing on the salad and season with salt and pepper.  Garnish with additional pomegranate seeds and chopped cilantro.

*This salad is best served cold.  It is also better if you make it and then allow it to sit in the refrigerator overnight.  —lets the flavors mingle a little, you know?

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