Jun 16, 2006

Indian Food Adventure

I have been wanting to make a "real" Indian meal ever since I ventured out of my culinary comfort zone and tried making a simple Chicken Curry some time ago. I fell in love with the flavor of curry and wanted to prepare something else that was new and exotic to us. I decided to seek out a main dish, a side dish and a veggie dish for this endeavor. It took me a while because there are so many great recipes out there and they all sound delicious. I had never really eaten Indian food before but just the sound of the recipes with all the fragrant spices got my mouth watering so I had to give it a try.

I found the main dish recipe at My Dhaba. I had seen recipes for Tandoori Chicken before but this one sounded so good and it was very easy. I was glad it was able to be prepared on my George Foreman Grill (you all know how much I LOVE my grill!!) :) Here's the recipe...

My Dhaba'’s Tandoori Chicken Recipe

Chicken 2 full leg pieces, skinned (I used boneless, skinless chicken tenderloins)
Ginger 1 inch size, finely chopped (I used powdered ginger... in all the recipes)
Garlic 3 cloves, finely chopped
Onion 1, medium size, finely chopped
Cloves 2
Cinnamon ¼- inch stick
Lemon juice 1 tablespoon
Salt 1 teaspoon
Yogurt/curd 2 tablespoons, low-fat, non-salted; alternatively you may use 2 teaspoon soy sauce, teriyaki, or oriental sauce for getting totally different flavors
Vinegar 1 teaspoon
Red chilli powder 1 teaspoon or as needed to make it more hot
Cummin powder 1 teaspoon
Black pepper powder ½ teaspoon
Coriander powder 1 teaspoon
Turmeric powder ¼ teaspoon
Nutmeg powder ¼ teaspoon (optional)
Paprika powder 1 teaspoon (optional)

Method: Blend ginger, garlic, onions, cinnamon, salt, and cloves to a smooth wet paste and keep aside. Mix all the spice powders - red chilli, cummin, black pepper, coriander, turmeric, nutmeg, and paprika. Heat a pan, pour in the spice mix and roast for a minute on high heat. Combine the wet and roasted spice mixtures and spread all over the chicken pieces. Spinkle the vinegar and pour over the yogurt. Marinate the chicken pieces in this marinade covered for a minimum of 2 hours in a refrigerator, the more the better for a delicious flavor (if possible marinate it covered overnight). If marinating overnight, take the chicken pieces from the refrigerator an hour before cooking to bring it to room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 375 degree F, place the chicken on the low rack, and cook for 20-25 minutes. Then, turn over and cook for 10 more minutes or till the chicken pieces are completely roasted and get a golden brown color. Adjust the timings accordingly as needed. If chicken pieces are getting dry, you may baste it with a little butter or ghee. Alternatively you may also broil the marinated chicken pieces over an electric or charcoal grill.

Garnish the tandoori chicken with sliced onion rings, tomatoes, lemon wedges, and/or finely chopped coriander leaves and serve it immediately hot-hot. Enjoy!

The second recipe is for Indian Rice and Potatos and I found it on 28 Cooks. This recipe is delicious! Even if you are not a fan of highly spiced foods, give this one a try. The flavor is bright and buttery and so good. Here's that recipe.

Indian Rice and Potatoes
From 28 Cooks

2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into sticks
3 tbsp yogurt
2 tbsp minced fresh cilantro
1 tsp ginger, peeled and minced
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 c dried coconut*
6 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
3 tbsp oil
1 cup rice
3/4 tsp turmeric
1 tsp light brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp lime juice
2 cups water
1/2 c frozen peas
1 tbsp butter

Combine yogurt, cilantro, ginger, garlic, cayenne pepper, and coconut. Add potatoes, stir well, and allow to marinate for a few minutes. Heat oil in large pan, and add cloves, cinnamon stick, bay leaf, and cumin seeds. Cook for 1-2 minutes, until cumin turns brown. Add potato and yogurt mixture, and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once potatoes are nicely browned, add rice, and cook for another minute or two. Add turmeric, brown sugar, salt, lime juice, and water. Bring to a boil, cover with lid, and lower heat to a simmer. Cook, undisturbed, for 15 minutes. Add peas to pot, and do not stir in. Cover with lid and cook an additional 5 minutes. Remove lid, and fluff with fork. Remove from heat, and stir in butter. Serve and enjoy!

Finally, I made Curried Vegetables based on a recipe for Curried Cauliflower I found over at Delicious Living. This one had a bit too much citrus for my taste but it was still good and went well with the other two recipes. This is the recipe.

Curried Cauliflower
From Delicious Living
(Serves 4)

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup diced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh ginger
2 tablespoons curry powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
4 cups cauliflower florets, washed and dried
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 cup light coconut milk
1/4 cup vegetable broth or water
Sea salt, to taste (optional)

1. In a large skillet over medium heat, add olive oil and saute onion, garlic, and ginger for about 3 minutes. Add curry powder, cumin, and mustard seeds and saute for an additional 3 minutes, until fragrant.
2. Add cauliflower and lime juice and stir-fry on medium-high heat for about 5 minutes. Reduce heat, add coconut milk and broth or water, cover partially, and simmer on low heat for about 5 more minutes, until cauliflower is crisp-tender. Add sea salt to taste, if desired.

If you're new to Indian food or used to eating it often, give these recipes a try they are wonderful!

My 6 year old gave the Tandoori Chicken a thumbs up. In her words "Next time just add a little more salt, a little less pepper and it will be off the hook." I will take that as the highest praise :)


Anonymous said...

I tried the tandoori chicken recipe. It turned out great. Everyone in my family enjoyed it!


Michele said...

Paz, it really is good isn't it? The flavors are so wonderful and the yogurt really makes the chicken tender. I will be making it again very soon!

VKN said...

Michele - wow! Glad to read about your successful adventure with my dhaba's tandoori chicken. Thanks for the post about it.

Paz - thanks for your kind words. Cheers pals!

Deetsa said...

Big thumbs up. That sounds very good! A bit tame for me but I'm a Heat Queen ;-)

Anonymous said...

Wow! All three of these recipes look fabulous. I'm going to have to try them all!

Michele said...

vkn, it was delicious! I will be making it again very soon!

Narissa, you could certainly add some chili to this dish, we don't do much heat because of the kids but I know it would taste great with some heat!

Paige, you will love them, all are delicious!

Marc said...

I didn't realize that leg meat is used for tandoori chicken. Isn't tanoori chicken typically white meat? Interesting....I do love Indian food. If anyone has a good recipe for a chicken dosa, I'd love to see it!

Unknown said...

Thank you for sharing these recipes.

I enjoy trying all different types of food.

Hopefully one day my family will be more open to various cuisines and I'll be able to prepare some indian food for them.

You seem to be very successful at introducing new foods to your family. How do you get your precious children to try new dishes?

Michele said...

Marc, I am not sure what the traditional meat is, but I have seen leg meat used a lot in Indian recipes I have come across. I'll see if I can find a chicken dosa recipe to share too.

mrs. blessed, what I do for me kids is to point out a familiar ingredient to them. I used lots of spices and let them smell things and make comparisons to thins they aready are familiar with. Most oftem they will try at least a bite and often they love it and ask me to make it again. My 6 year old really loves trying new things so often her sisters will want to try too just because she is. :)