Tag Archives: curry

Mini Vegetarian Korma Pies with Whipped Coconut Cream for National Pie Day!

Mini Korma Pies

Mini Korma Pies

I’ve had a lot of requests for this recipe, and I’m not really sure why I haven’t posted it. But hey, it’s never too late…right?

I created this recipe for a pie contest that was held way back in September.  Unfortunately, I didn’t win, but that’s okay.  You see, I made 300 little pies the night before because Piyush and I had to transport them to Minneapolis by early afternoon the next day.  Living a couple hours away from Minneapolis, I knew I wouldn’t have time to prep and travel the day of.   Continue reading

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Restaurant Style Paneer Tikka Masala (Vegetarian)

paneer tikka curry, paneer curry, indian paneer curry, paneer tikka masala, vegetarian curry

Restaurant Style Paneer Tikka Masala

When I was cleaning out my freezer the other day I noticed I had a few (forgotten) packs of paneer.  Paneer, a fresh Indian cheese made with whole milk, is one of my all-time favorite ingredients.  It’s a great vegetarian (not dairy-free) source of protein and can be used in many different ways. Continue reading

Mushroom, Pea and Fenugreek Korma (Khumb, Matar and Methi Korma)

I love mushrooms and would have no trouble eating them everyday.  They’re a great substitute for meat, a wonderful “filler” for all sorts of vegetarian recipes, but mushrooms are especially good if they’re drenched in a smooth, fragrant, spiced  masala.

That brings me to my newest “creation”:  Mushroom, Pea and Fenugreek Korma. In Hindi it would be called something like Khumb, Matar and Methi Korma —but don’t completely trust me on that.

My Hindi is not good, and practically non-existant.  I speak Hindi like a two year old.  In fact, I know the important words (mostly swear words learned from Hindi movies) and I’m fluent in exactly 4 sentences:

The girl is eating.

The boy is eating.

The girl is drinking.

The boy is drinking.

I shouldn’t even be talking about my Hindi skills though, because my husband will probably read this and then he’s going to lecture me about learning Hindi and then he’ll bring up how he bought me Rosetta Stone for my birthday a few years ago and it’s been used approximately 4 times since.

Yes, nothing good can come from that…so lets get back to the curry!

Mushroom, Pea and Fenugreek Korma

Traditionally this dish is more of a Malai curry rather than a Korma, meaning it is made with nuts, milk and a type of milk-cream instead of with nuts and yogurt or coconut milk.

Because I’m very sensitive to dairy (I even break out in hives from it!), I definitely do not indulge on traditional malai curries very often, so I’ve kind of taken a traditional recipe and made it my own.

I started by making a wonderful smelling masala by grinding together:

  • a 1″ piece of cinnamon stick
  • 3 green cardamoms (only the seeds)
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 5 black peppercorns
  • 2 tbsp. cashew nuts

Homemade Masala Mix

Once my masala was made I threw a couple onions into my food processor.  I pulsed until the onion was a smooth paste.  It was really watery, but no need to worry!  Water evaporates.

Then I tossed a little ghee in a pan and tossed the mushrooms in, added some ginger and some garlic, a little salt and some pepper.  Once the mushrooms were cooked, I removed them from the pan and set them aside.

Cooked Mushrooms

I then added a little oil to the pan that I had cooked the mushrooms in.  I tossed in the onion paste and turned the heat to low.  I cooked until most of the water had evaporated from the onions, but I didn’t let them brown or caramelize.

At that point, I added the masala paste I had previously made.  I let it cook for about a minute, just to get rid of some of that raw smell.

I added some dried fenugreek (methi) leaves and cooked until everything became a homogeneous mixture and was no longer watery.

I added a little garam masala, amchoor (mango powder), chili powder and salt and cooked that for about 2 minutes to ensure the chili powder would no longer be raw.

I tossed in the peas and mushrooms and added a little almond milk, a couple tablespoons of fat free half & half,  and a little water.  I let the mixture cook until it was the consistency I wanted, and then I garnished it with some fresh coriander leaves and cashew nuts.

This curry was absolutely wonderful, and the smell was incredible!  The gravy was thick and rich, and it truly did seem fit for a king!

Mushroom, Pea and Fenugreek Korma

serves 4-6 as a side dish

Because this recipe has it’s roots in Mughali cuisine, it is a very heavy and rich curry…something the Mughal emperors would have enjoyed.

NOTE:This dish can be made vegan by replacing the ghee with oil and leaving out the half & half.  Alternatively, if you prefer to use regular milk rather than almond milk…that will work as well. 

Ingredients:

Curry

  • 10 oz mushrooms: any variety
  • 1 cup peas (frozen is fine)
  • 4 tbsp. dried fenugreek leaves (kasoori methi)
  • 2 tsp. garlic- minced
  • 2 tsp. ginger- minced
  • 1 tbsp. butter or ghee (may substitute oil)
  • 1 tbsp. oil
  • 1 large onion- ground to a paste in the food processor
  • 1 c. milk, half & half, almond milk or soymilk (I used almond milk for this recipe)
  • red chili powder- to taste
  • salt- to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. garam masala
  • a small pinch of amchoor (dried mango) powder- optional, but it adds a nice “sourness” to the curry
  • a small pinch of ground nutmeg
  • fresh coriander leaves (cilantro) for garnish

Masala Paste

  • 3 green cardamoms (only the seeds)
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1″ piece of cinnamon stick
  • 5 black peppercorns
  • 2 tbsp. cashew nuts

Grind together all ingredients for masala powder until they are completely powdered.  A coffee grinder works wonderful for this.

Directions for Curry:

  • Clean the mushrooms and trim the stems.  If they’re big, cut them into bite-size pieces.
  • Heat 1 tbsp. butter in a pan over medium-high heat.  Turn heat to high and add the mushrooms.  Cook until all the water releases from the mushrooms and evaporates.  They should take on a little golden color.
  • Add the garlic and ginger, a little salt–to taste, and some black pepper–to taste.  Cook one more minute and remove from heat.
  • Remove mushrooms from pan and keep aside.
  • Using the same pan, heat 1 tbsp. oil over medium-high heat.  Once the oil is hot, add onion paste and cook until onions no longer smell raw, but don’t let them turn brown or carmelize.
  • Add the fresh ground masala powder and cook for about 30 seconds.  Toss in the fenugreek leaves and 1/4 c. of milk.  Cook on low heat for about 4 minutes or until the milk evaporates.
  • Add salt, chili powder, garam masala, pinch of ground nutmeg and amchoor.  Cook for a minute or so.
  • Add peas and mushrooms into the onion mixture.
  • Add 3/4 c. milk (soymilk, almond milk or half & half) so your curry is thickened.  If the curry seems too thick, add water until you’re happy with the consistency.
  • Boil the curry for a few minutes.  Garnish with fresh chopped coriander.  Serve with rice or rotis.

On a completely different topic…

This past weekend was the Food Experiments Pie Contest, sponsored by Brooklyn Brewery.  I made 300 mini Korma pies that were topped with whipped coconut cream (man, that was a lot of work!), and Piyush and I headed to Minneapolis.

Although we did not win the contest, we had a really fabulous time!  We met a lot of really cool people…people I wish we lived closer to (I’m talk’n about you, Journey and Rachel!)

I’ve never entered any contest even remotely close to this before, but now that I–somehow–survived baking 300 little pies myself, I’m totally ready for the next one!!!

Bring. It. On. 🙂

Oh!  By the way, if anyone is looking for my Vegetarian Korma recipe, it can be found HERE.  Enjoy!

Bhindi Masala (Okra/Ladies Finger Dry Curry)

Bhindi, commonly known as okra in the United States, is one vegetable I’ve had little– to no– experience with.  It’s not that I didn’t like it, or that I felt intimidated by it’s funny shape and sticky, weird texture.  In fact, I didn’t even know it had a sticky, weird texture until fairly recently.

Instead, the simple truth is that okra is not a popular vegetable in Minnesota.  Most grocery stores don’t carry it, and most people wouldn’t know what it was or what to do with it even if they did.

Before Piyush and I were married, I wanted to impress him and make his favorite dish.  I asked him what it was and he told me “Bhindi Masala.”  I was absolutely confused.

I thought bindi was the forehead decoration (usually a red dot or jewel) worn by women…I didn’t realize it was also a vegetable! I must have had some sort of befuddled look on my face because Piyush then went into a 15 minute lecture about the Hindi alphabet and its correct pronunciation.

I learned that bhindi and bindi are not the same thing, but they sound exactly the same.  Exactly. Piyush assured me that they don’t, but I know what I hear; and to me there is no difference.

He then went on about bhindi, trying to explain to me what it was in English.  He kept saying “ladies finger” …I was even more confused. I thought ladies fingers were oval shaped cookies!  Then he said, “okra.”  I still had no idea what he was talking about.

Oh how times have changed…

bhindi masala

I can’t say that okra is my favorite vegetable, but I’ve grown to tolerate it.  Piyush, on the other hand, could eat a whole pound in one sitting.  He loves the stuff!

Fresh okra should be firm, crisp and bright green.  They should also curve very slightly towards the narrow end.  Piyush says the best okra should be pretty small to medium sized.  The bigger the pods, the more bitter they taste…I guess.

I’ve learned that I can purchase fresh okra from any local Asian market.  Occasionally one of the sellers at the local farmers market will have a small container full as well.  I’m still not the greatest at picking the best pods, so when all else fails, the Indian market will have frozen okra.

Before you begin to cook the okra, there are a few things you should know.  First, it’s important to wash and dry off the pods, and to trim the ends.   Second, there will be a sticky, gel-like substance inside the okra.  It’s weird and slightly intimidating, but it will disappear  as the okra cooks.

For this recipe, I sliced the okra pods in half, and then cut them into manageable pieces–about 1 inch long, or so.  If you prefer, you could slice the okra into 1/2 inch circles instead.

The cooking process: 

Onions and chilies are cooked until softened, tomatoes are added.

After the onions/garlic mixture has cooked…the okra simmers in a mixture of tomatoes and water

I’ve found that by adding the extra water to the masala, the okra is sure to cook properly and there will not be any stickiness left behind.  Simply cook the masala until the water evaporates and the bhindi is softened.  The resulting curry is considered dry, and is perfect for eating with naan, rotis or chapatis!

Bhindi Masala

Bhindi Masala 

Serves 2 as main course, 4 if served on the side

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. bhindi (okra)
  • 2 tbsp. oil
  • 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 green chilies (I used Thai), slit
  • 1 tsp. khus khus (white poppy seeds)
  • 1 tsp. black mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp. cumin, ground
  • 1 tsp. coriander, ground
  • 2 tsp. garam masala
  • 1 tsp. turmeric, ground
  • 5 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 3/4 c. fresh diced roma tomatoes (you may substitute canned or even use my curry base recipe)
  • 1/2 c. water –more if needed to cook the okra through
  • salt, to taste
  • black pepper, to taste
  • fresh corriander (cilantro), for garnish

Directions:

  • Wash, dry and slice bhindi as desired.  Set aside.
  • Add oil to a pan over medium-high heat.  Toss mustard seeds into oil and cook until they start to splatter.  Once the seeds splatter, add the cumin, corriander, garam masala, tumeric, chiles and sliced onions.  Cook for about 4 minutes, or until onions are translucent.  Add garlic and khus khus.  Cook an additional minute, or so.
  • Add the tomatoes to the curry.  Mix everything well and cook for two minutes before adding the bhindi.  Add 1/2 c. water, or more and allow the bhindi to simmer.  Keep adding water, as needed, if the bhindi is still giving off a sticky substance.  Cook for approximately 15-20 minutes.
  • Season with salt and black pepper, to taste.
  • Turn off heat and garnish with chopped corriander.  Serve with rotis…and enjoy!

 

Time to get ready for work!  Have a happy Friday, everyone! 🙂

 

Meatless Monday: Indian Chole Masala (Chickpea Curry)

Happy “Meatless Monday!”

Indian Chole Masala

Chickpeas are one of my favorite ingredients.  There are so many things you can do with this humble (and cheap!) ingredient, that I always have a stash on hand.

As I’m still not feeling all that well, I’m going to keep this post short. Continue reading

Aloo Gobi (Indian Spiced Potatoes and Cauliflower)

Since knowing Piyush and his family, I have eaten–and grown to love–foods I swore I didn’t like.  Foods I absolutely, positively hated.   Foods like: cucumbers, chilies,tomatoes (unless they were served in a bottle clearly marked HEINZ–I love ketchup) and the oh-so-dreaded cauliflower!

On the (very) rare occasions that my mom prepared this unpopular–at least in my household–white vegetable, it was either served raw with ranch dressing (I hate ranch!) or boiled until it turned to mush.  It smelled funny; and I didn’t like it.

I had completely banished cauliflower from my life.

That is, until I tasted aloo gobi.

Aloo Gobi: Indian Spiced Potatoes and Cauliflower

I don’t quite remember the first time I tried this dish, it was so long ago; but I can tell you that it changed my life.

It taught me that vegetables could–and do–have flavor.   This simple–yet complex– vegetarian dish also helped me to realize that vegetables don’t have to be mindlessly tossed on my plate alongside a giant hunk of chicken.

Instead, they can shine on their own; as a flavorful and filling meal.

Aloo Gobi is an easy, and very inexpensive, dish to make on a busy evening.  In it’s simplest form, it consists of potatoes, cauliflower and Indian spices.  But Indians are very innovative, so you’ll find that every part of the country–and practically every household–has their own version; sometimes adding tomatoes, peas, curry leaves, or even a few squeezes of lime juice.

This is my basic version, but feel free to make the recipe your own.  Add what you have on hand.  Do you have some forgotten carrots in the back of your fridge?  Are they sprouting little roots?  Peel them, and toss them in!  Personally, I think crushed peanuts would be a pleasant addition.  Anything goes!…well, almost.

Toss in some slit chilies!

Aloo Gobi ( Spiced Potato and Cauliflower)

Serves 4

This recipe will yield an incredibly delicious, but rather dry dish.  If you would like to make this dish more like a curry, add a little water and some chopped tomato (about 1 roma tomato would be just fine).  Aloo Gobi is delicious served with naan or rotis, and makes an excellent side dish!

Ingredients:
  • 1 small head of cauliflower (or 1/2 regular-sized)- cut into small pieces
  • 2 medium sized potatoes- peeled and diced
  • 2 tbsp. oil
  • 2 jalapenos- seeded and diced (leave the seeds in for extra heat)
  • thai or serano chilies- leave whole, but slice 2 or 3 slits in the chili (optional)
  • 1 tbsp. ginger paste
  • 1 tbsp. garlic paste
  • 1/2 tsp. black mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp. garam masala
  • salt- to taste
  • black pepper- to taste
  • 1/4 corriander (cilantro)- chopped, extra to garnish
Directions:
  • Prepare all vegetables and keep them near.  Heat 2 tbsp. oil in a large pan over medium-high heat.  Add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds.
  • Once the seeds begin to pop and crackle, add the cauliflower, potatoes, chilies, ginger, garlic, turmeric, cumin and garam masala.  Stir everything to combine.
  • Continue to stir/fry for about 10-15 minutes, until the cauliflower and potatoes are cooked to your liking.
  • Once the vegetables are properly cooked, season with salt and pepper and add the chopped corriander.
  • Serve, garnished with additional chopped corriander.

Indian spiced potatoes and cauliflower: Aloo Gobi

Tonight, because Piyush wanted something more than just the aloo gobi, I served it with some vegetarian momos.  Momos are incredible, and if you haven’t tried them, you must!  You can learn more about them, and find my recipe HERE.

Aloo Gobi with Vegetarian Momos

And now, because I’ve been talking about vegetables, I thought I’d share a few shots of stuff from my garden.  This heat-wave we’re currently experiencing is causing my plants to struggle a little, but overall they’re doing pretty good.

…and I have to admit, no vegetable tastes better than one you’ve grown yourself.  I feel so excited when I pull something out of the dirt!  And so proud!  🙂

This shallot became an awesome raspberry vinaigrette! I’ll share the recipe soon!

Heirloom Amish Paste Tomatoes. This plant was almost dead, but it’s been coaxed back to life!

Basil! I have a giant basil plant as the centerpiece on my outdoor table. It’s thriving, and smells so good!

And because it really is amazing….

It deserves a close-up! 🙂

Home-Style Chicken Masala (Indian-Spiced Chicken Stew)

It’s no secret that I love Indian food.  Love may even be an understatement.  Truthfully, I am obsessed with the cuisine!

Sure, I enjoy the typical restaurant fare: chicken tikka masala, saag paneer, and even heaps of naan slathered with ghee (clarified butter).  Yes,  I admitted it.  I love ghee.  But, that’s not the point…(**quickly changes topic**)

What I’m trying to say is that the restaurant stuff is good, but it doesn’t even hold a candle to the rustic and inventive food served in the Indian home.  There is absolutely no comparison.

The curries my mother-in-law (Maa) and my father-in-law (Baba) create aren’t just food.  No way.  If you could just have one taste, you’d understand; these curries are love.

Home-Style Chicken Masala

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