Indian Food Recipes - the easier the better
Here's a Maharashtrian style Baingan Bharta (Mashed Eggplant):
Get the most tender and seedless eggplants you can find. I used to get only globes for this, but the other day needed to use up a long thin Japanese type, and it worked too - just lopped off one half of the eggplant when it was done and then continued with the other half. Wash the eggplant and set it on a low to medium low gas flame. Turn occasionally to char on all sides. It may drip quite a bit of sticky juice, so it's better to cut a burner sized hole in a sheet of aluminium foil and put it in place before you start roasting, to catch drips.
While the eggplant is roasting, dice the mildest onion you can find. The onion is not going to be cooked much, so this is important. Rough chop one or two hot green chillies. Pick, wash, pat dry and chop some cilantro. Once the eggplant is charred all over, peel it. It helps to have a small bowl of water to dip your fingers in, so bits of charred peel don't stick to your fingers. Remove the stem and and chop/mash the eggplant into pulp. Heat a tsp or two of oil in a pan. When it is nearly smoking, turn of the heat and quickly add some whole mustard seeds, cumin seeds and a little asafoetida to the hot oil. Stand back - these will splutter and pop. Quickly throw in the onion and chillies and stir a bit. Now add the eggplant pulp and salt to taste and stir. Add the cilantro and some beaten yogurt (say about 1/3 cup for each cup of eggplant mush - I prefer using thick Greek yogurt here.) and incorporate it in. Nicely rounds out a meal of dal and roti or dal and rice.
Get some of Penzey's Vindaloo blend and follow the brain-dead simple recipe on the label. I leave out the potatoes and serve it over basmati rice. Otherwise I follow it to the letter and it is one of the best curries I've ever eaten and everyone who eats it agrees. It might make you locally famous.
No marinating the pork, just cubing/browning, slow simmer w/lots of vinegar and yellow onions. I serve it with raita, sauteed julienned red & yellow peppers & onions, the "Tender Greens with Indian Spices" from CI's The Best Recipe. (I like spinach better than chard in this recipe.)
It is one of the easiest, most beautifully color & flavor-coordinated, most scrumptious meals you'll ever put together.
I love two curries--a lamb and a chicken--from the old 1960s NYT cookbook, and I have an outstanding lamb & spinach curry recipe I found somewhere and will dig up and post if it sounds good to you-- as I will any of the things I've mentioned if you can't find them easily elsewhere.
okay, here is my mother-in-law's mint chicken curry recipe. indian cooking ain't easy, but this is a pretty high yield endeavor.
- in a blender, blend 8-10 cloves garlic, 2 inches fresh peeled ginger, 1 green chili, 4 dry red peppers, 1/4 cup lemon juice, salt to taste (1 tsp), 1-1.5 tsp gharam masala from indian store, 1 cilantro bunch chopped finely, 1 cup yoghurt - best for indian cooking is pavels nonfat or low fat
- marinate chicken in this for at least 4 hours
- chicken: 2 lbs chicken - best is bone-in skinless thighs, but i use tenders sometimes as well. cut thighs into four pieces and tenders into halves
- take a wide pan
- 1 medium size onion, sliced thingly lengthwise, sautee in oil (extra for tenders and less for thighs) until light brown.
- add 1 tsp of ground roasted jeera (cumin)
- add chicken and marinade
- add half a bunch of fresh mint, chopped finely
- cook chicken on high heat until it boils, then turn to medium/medium low and cook it covered, when chicken is tender you will see the oil separate at the top, about 30 minutes
- add last half of mint bunch, chopped, and stir in
- garnish with 1-2 inch matchstick ginger