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Really, Really Easy Indian?

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Planning a family cooking and movie night and the theme is Indian. My husband and I and my two college aged steipdaughers will be going to an Indian grocery store then coming home and cooking for the rest of the night.

We've done theme cooking nights before, but this is the first time I really don't have a lot of experience with the chosen cuisine. I took a one night Indian cooking class recently and have recipes ( which I haven't tried yet!) for:

Dahl
Almond Chicken
Alo Gobi
Cilantro/Mint Chutney

Does anyone have some really easy, wonderful Indian dishes? Everyone has to cook at least one dish and I'd like to give the girls something great...but easy.

Was hoping for a great basmati rice dish and also an eggplant dish..maybe a lamb dish. Also, any suggestions on brands to buy at the Indian grocery for nan, mango chutney and samosas?

Thank you for your help.

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  1. This sounds like a fun event!

    You might want to check out this thread. There are some good suggestions there. Chicken marinated yogurt is simple and delicious.

    Also, I found these videoclips on youtube. Lots of good simple vegetarian dishes. That woman is amazing! http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=M...

    1 Reply
    1. re: mielimato

      Wow, found more...check out this guys' videos: http://www.vahrehvah.com/videos.php

      And this recent topic on chowhound: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/477109

    2. I agree-this sounds like a blast. Make sure you make some ghee, which is pretty expensive to buy. Alton Brown has a nice and easy way to make it....www.foodnetwork.com/food/recipes/reci...

      If you decide that you want to go a bit further, Julie Sahni has a great cookbook called Classic Indian Cooking. It goes into great detail about all things Indian cooking, and it's a nice read in addition to having all kinds of great food. Have fun!!

      1. Saute some finely chopped onion and garlic in a big pan (I use butter & olive oil).
        Add chopped spinach.
        Cover and cook, stirring occasionally.
        When the spinach has shrunk significantly, add some chopped tomatoes, curry powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, and salt.
        Serve warm.

        I usually serve it as a side dish, but add some chunks of chicken, tofu, or paneer and it could make a main course. Takes about 15 minutes, including chopping.

        1. Madhur Jaffrey's butter chicken (mahkani) recipe is wonderful. Yes, it's more British-Indian than Indian, but it's delicious.

          For lamb, you may consider a vindaloo, but only if you love VERY hot things.

          For eggplant, I will roast a split eggplant. While it is roasting, I saute ginger and sliced onions. When they're done, I mash in the roasted eggplant meat (scraping it from the skin) and toss in some diced tomatoes. Then, season with coriander, salt, pepper, cumin. It's lovely.

          5 Replies
          1. re: katecm

            Yum! That eggplant dish sounds great! There is a catalan eggplant dish that I make which doesn't involve the onion, tomatoes or the spices. But I like this addition...will make for my inlaws next time and see how they like their escalivada dressed up!

            1. re: mielimato

              Will you post your escalivada recipe? I'm trying to get the husband to share my love of eggplant, so am introducing him to a lot of different recipes. Thanks!

              1. re: katecm

                Sure. We usually prepare it when we bbq lamb or any other meat because it is a nice accompaniment. It is shamefully simple...

                Whole eggplants, red peppers and onions (whole and unpeeled) on the grill until they are soft (probably 20-25 minutes but I am guessing). The outside skin will get charred but that's ok. Place on a plate and wrap in a plastic bag for several minutes (this creates steam which further cooks the veggies). Then peel off the burnt peel. Cut into splices and add generous amounts of olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste.

                Best results if you are using a wood-fire grill because the smokiness comes through in the taste.

                Enjoy!

            2. re: katecm

              How about Rogan Josh using lamb meatballs? That wouldn't be too spicy.

              1. re: RGC1982

                Actually rogan josh is named for its color, which it derives from red hot chilies. It's one of my favorites, particularly because of its spice.

            3. Main course for four:

              Fry a couple of onions and some garlic. Add some ground coriander (couple of tablespoons) and say a teaspoon each of garam masala, cumin and chili powder (or cayenne). Add a tin of tomatoes. Simmer for 15 minutes. Add three different tins of beans - your choice of chick peas, cannellini, butter, black eye, whatever. Heat through. Serve with rice, chapati or naan. On the table in not much more than 20 minutes.

              1. Tips for quick curries:

                1. Cut vegetables in small rather than larger bite-sized chunks--almost a mince.

                2. Start by sauteeing the aromatics (onion, ginger, and whatever you put together as "curry powder", cumin, chilis) and then add the veggies and meat, if any.

                3. For large amounts, onions and tomatoes can be blitzed in a food processor--saves a lot of knife time.

                3. Add coconut milk\--if using--and cook until the milk amost separates.

                1. If you want something easy, but still amazing, that incorporates your desire for basmati and lamb, try making lamb biryani. My recipe comes from Tamil Nadu of all places, but is absolutely wonderful with its bright saffron streaking and mouthwatering spicing. While it's in the oven, you can whip up raita and a vegetable curry for the side -- perhaps baigan bhartha, though my preference is for something green like kutchi bhindi (sweet and sour okra). Otherwise I second the recommendation for makhani murghi, which is popular in the UK as much as India for a reason. Kormas like your almond chicken can be labor intensive, but if you like mild spice and creamy flavors, they're hard to beat.

                  Sadly can't help with the other requests. We only use Major Grey's for Western food and haven't found a frozen samosa brand that we really enjoy.

                  1. You seem to have three good basic dishes (dal, chicken, and veg). You plan samosas for the chutney, but you could also consider papad, which is far easier - just buy the packet and fry, toast on a gas flame, or even microwave for a very short time.

                    Don't forget the raita or similar yogurt based side dish to cool your system. It's very very easy to make. Buy good quality yogurt. Put it in a glass dish and whisk till smooth. Add grated cucumber (for cucumber raita; there are many varieties), salt, black pepper, powdered toasted cumin seed, a little red chili (or cayenne) powder, and a little finely minced cilantro or mint, and there you are!

                    Someone could also make mango lassi to drink: take good quality yogurt or buttermilk, blenderize with top quality mangoes chopped into pulp - the best mangoes should be in the market now - some sugar, a smidgen of cardamom powdered and that should do it. If using yogurt, you may have to add water to thin it a bit to drinkable consistency.

                    Instead of buying naan at the grocery, can you get it from a (good) restaurant instead? If they have an actual tandoor oven, the naans will be wonderful, much better than the refrigerated restaurant stuff.

                    What about dessert? If you are not making mango lassi, buy mango or kulfi ice cream from the Indian store, and serve with fresh fruit (e.g. mango, strawberry, etc.) chunks.

                    Most important: what movies are you watching?
                    :)
                    Rasam

                    1. Oh, wow thank you for all of these great ideas. My youngest just emailed me back...it is her last day of college finals and said she wants to try to make Lamb biryani and she is so excited about this.

                      1. Could I ask a stupid question? What is Tamil Nadu ? I googled it and saw two lamb biryani recipes.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: DaisyM

                          Tamil Nadu is the south eastern state of India and is where India's Tamils come from.

                          1. re: DaisyM

                            Tamil Nadu is an Indian state in the South, known less for Moghul-style dishes like biryani, than for the spicy Southern Indian vegetarian fare of Hindus in that region. Finding a great biryani recipe from Tamil Nadu is kind of like coming across a great recipe for jambalaya from Wisconsin.

                          2. Thank you for telling me!

                            1. I recently made this wonderful (easy) dip, excellent with Naan bread cut smaller & toasted to scoop into this:

                              Peel and grate 3 carrots. Take 1 onion (finely chopped), the carrots, orange juice (from 2 oranges) and 1 TBL hot curry paste in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer 10 min. Process the mixture in blender til smooth, leave to cool. Stir in 2/3 cup plain yogurt and handful of basil leaves (torn small). Add 2 TBL fresh lemon juice, hot sauce (to taste) and salt and pepper. (I didn't add the hot sauce but tad more curry paste).

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: lexpatti

                                I will definitely 3rd the Butter Chicken (makhani.) This is something I wind up craving every so often no matter how many times I have it. Easy as pie: Shan spice mixes makes a "Chicken Handi" if you can find it at your indian grocer. I just had butter chicken last fri for dinner, and again for breakfast on Saturday! So smooth, so tangy - perfect umami.

                                I will also second buying naan from a restaurant, BUT I will also suggest getting some paratha (parantha) as well. I much prefer paratha to naan.

                                I'd also suggest a raita. Mine is basically plain yogurt, lime juice, cilantro, coriander chutney, and a garam masala in the blender. If I want to make it a little more substantial, I'll add sour cream.
                                For a full meal, I'd do:
                                Chana or dal masala
                                spinach dish (saag paneer)
                                Straight veggie (aloo gobi)
                                Chicken (Butter Chicken - make extra sauce)
                                Lamb (Biryani cuz u also get the rice)
                                bread (naan and paratha)
                                sauces (raita, chutneys, pickles)

                                What time should I come over? :-p'''

                                1. re: gordeaux

                                  I wish everyone would come over so I could eat your delicous food. I love Indian food!

                              2. The next time you can hit up an Indian grocer, look for little boxes of spices under the brand name "Shan" - they produce them for every conceivable Indian dish from chicken tandoori and butter chicken to biryani and jalfrezi, and they're fantastic. Unlike seasoning packets and simmer sauces made for American and British consumers, they are made by and for South Asians so flavors are super robust and authentic.

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: jbentley4

                                  Or buy individual spices in bulk and combine your own.

                                  1. re: jbentley4

                                    As pointed out elsewhere, the Shan brand spice packs are good but contain a ton of salt - they are intended for large volumes of product that will absorb the salt. Be advised, they are also not shy on the chile pepper.
                                    You can obtain smaller quantities of whole spices at a Latino market. Buy the remainder at your IndoPak market but don't count on small packages :-).

                                    An easy appetizer that is great with beer are black pepper papadums (papads) sold in packets. They will fry or microwave cook very quickly.

                                    Non-risen flatbreads like paratha are easy to make, just get some whole wheat flour if needed. They can be stuffed with cooked meat or veggie fillings made in advance.

                                    Make the mint 'chutney' yourself or buy it from an Indian restaurant - the bottled stuff isn't fresh and is usually sickeningly sweet.

                                    1. re: DiveFan

                                      Shan is a mixed bag (no pun intended). I love the haleem pack, but detest the biryani masala. With a dish as variable as biryani, it's hard to make a coverall masala that will go well with everything from lamb to chicken to goat. Luckily the spices in homemade biryani are mostly kept whole (except for cumin, which is easily obtained), so you needn't worry about grinding spices in a mortar and pestle or coffee grinder. Other than cardamom, you probably have most of the spices in your cupboard.

                                      1. re: JungMann

                                        agreed on other posts about shan. I generally use about half of the amt of the spice mix recommended on the box's recipe. They are generally heavy on the salt. The heat and other spice, I love. I really like their nihari, and Chicken Handi (the handi mix really resembles a butter chicken. LOVE it!)

                                    2. re: jbentley4

                                      I regularly cook with Shan masalas, everyone I know does. Some say that Shan Masala and other masala mixes like Shan has led to the break down of traditional cooking knowledge, but hey, you can get all the 20 plus spices needed for one dish already mixed together in a packet, and it's good and convenient, too. The old Aunties say Shan is major cheating, but you will find a few boxes tucked in their cupboards as well.

                                      Most of their back of the box recipes are very useful, some I don't like though. Even when I don't use their particular recipes, I always use their spice mix. It is authentic for a generic North Indian and Pakistani type flavor scheme (Shan brand is from Pakistan). It is not suitable for other regional South Asian cooking, especially South Indian cooking. There are many nice South Indian brands of individual dish spice mixes these days, too, though. I don't regularly cook that type of food so I can't recommend one, actually. The only one I use is for sambhar powder.

                                      I usually add 1-2 tbs of shan masala and then add some of my own separate masalas, depending on what the dish is.

                                      I highly recommend Shan qorma masala, follow the back of the box recipe to a T, but they suggest using 1/2 the packet to the whole packet. DO NOT do that, use about 2 heaping table spoons.

                                      I also use their Sindhi biriani mix and doctor it up with my own additions of more coriander powder, more dried mango powder, more red chili powder, and extra aloo bukharay (dried plums)... You can also make a sort of typical U.P. Muslim style biriani by using Shan Qorma masala for the gravy.

                                      I do agree that biriani takes time to get right and it is too ambitious for a first time try for the dinner party. That could spell disaster. Once you get it down though, it is time consuming but fairly easy.

                                    3. What brand is best for mango chutney? Also, what do you use to grind the spices?

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: DaisyM

                                        I use a coffee grinder for small amounts, my stick blender for larger amounts, I usually grind them hot from the pan.. makes it a bit easier, with all those lovely oils a'flowing.

                                        I useSharwoods Green Label mango chutney, but I'm in Australia, and so I don;t if you'd be able to source it.

                                        1. re: purple goddess

                                          I'm in the UK and, if I have no homemade mango chutney, I would buy Green Label.

                                      2. My mouth is watering even though I've been on an Indian food roll for about two weeks and should be craving variety by now.

                                        I've scrounged up a recipe for eggplant raita, courtesy of Classic 1000 Indian Recipes. Steam 1 cubed eggplant until soft, let it cool and mash it with a fork. Toast 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds in a dry frying pan until they start to spread their aroma around the kitchen and grind them in a mortar. Mix eggplant, cumin, 2 cups plain yoghurt, a pinch of ground chili pepper, 1 tablespoon fresh chopped mint, 1 thinly sliced small onion and salt to taste.

                                        Another of my favourites comes from Madhur Jaffrey, a carrot salad from Gujerat. Peel and coarsely grate five large carrots and season with salt and a splash of fresh lemon juice. Heat 2-3 tablespoons of oil in a frying pan and add two teaspoons of black mustard seeds. When the seeds start popping and hissing, pour oil and seeds over the carrots and stir well.

                                        Instead of coffee, try masala chai (though it's more of a winter thing for me, I admit, and fun because I get to do all those things to the tea that you're not supposed to do as a tea snob -- use CTC leaves, boil the heck out of them,and sweeten with a load of sugar). My spice mix is one large teaspoon cardamom seeds, six cloves, six black peppercorns, six allspice corns, a large pinch of fennel seeds or two star anise points, a tablespoon coriander seeds and a 2-inch cinnamon stick. Toast the spices in the saucepan until the coriander gets slightly darker, then grind them up with a pinch of coarse salt. Boil the spices with 2 1/2 cups water, 1 cup milk, 3 teaspoons of a strong black loose tea and 1 teaspoon rooibos (if you can't sleep after drinking tea, invert the proportions or use only rooibos) for fifteen minutes. Strain and sweeten with palm sugar or soft brown sugar.

                                        1. Hmm...I would venture to say that lamb biryani is perhaps a bit ambitious if you don't have a lot of experience with it. Since you have to cook the rice and the lamb both separately and together, it can be tricky to get them both to the right stage. I'd suggest "bhagara rice" which is basically a more aromatic version of regular basmati rice: heat some oil in a deep pot, add a small amount of ginger-garlic paste, a couple cinnamon sticks and cardamom pods, and fry lightly. Add washed basmati rice, stir to coat with oil, add water and cook rice as you normally would. Once cooked, fluff up the rice and turn it onto your serving platter. Garnish with fried onions and cooked peas, and if you like, raisins and fried cashews. If you want to really pretty it up, add saffron: using a mortar & pestle, grind up a small amount of saffron. Add milk (about 2 tbsps). You now have yellowish-orange milk - sprinkle this on top of the rice about 5 minutes before it is fully cooked. Do not stir it up. When you fluff it, you'll end up with some nice yellow grains mixed in with white.

                                          As for the eggplant: many good suggestions here for baigan bharta (steamed or roasted eggplant which is then chopped/mashed and fried with tomatoes, etc). I enjoy this dish. However, the absolute best way to enjoy eggplant is deep fried. Slice the eggplant (do not peel) into sticks (about 1.5-2 inches long) and deep fry until crisp. About 5 minutes before fully cooked, add any brand of curry powder or "sabzi" masala (Shan, etc). No need to add anything else. Drain and serve as a side dish or mix into raita. Simple and delicious!! (Warning: if adding to raita, do not add additional salt to the yogurt).

                                          Good luck and have fun!!

                                          1. for a nice eggplant raita, cook the eggplant over the open flame of your gas stove or on a grill (this makes it nice and smoky) chop or puree the cooked pulp and mix with yogurt, garlic, cooked frozen sweet peas, and mint or cilantro. Can also use pomegranite seeds in place of the peas if they are in season.

                                            for easy lamb, buy a boneless butterflied leg of lamb and marinate it in tandoori spices (buy the spice pack or make your own) grill or bake it to desired doneness and slice.
                                            Another good one for boneless leg of lamb is a spice paste made from olive oil, garlic, whole cracked coriander seeds and pomegranite molasses. not really indian but good. also good on chicken.

                                            for a rice dish, try a pulao. i don't make them very often but my mother used to make one with frozen mixed veggies that was nice. I sometimes do a simple one where I cook the rice and then mix in a tarka of fresh curry leaves, asefoetida, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, green chilis, and turmeric. Use more oil than you would with a veggie dish. Then mix in fresh or dried grated coconut and lots of cilantro.

                                            another delicious and easy thing is a tomato salad of halved grape tomatoes, chopped onion, green chili, cilantro, lemon juice, and chopped peanuts. if you go to an indian grocery store, you can replace the peanuts with bhel puri mix.

                                            1. A very, very easy and tasty salad (and good for you too!). Its better if you can get decent tomatoes:

                                              Kachumber

                                              Chop two large ripe tomatoes, or a cup or two of cherry tomatoes. Or combine the two. Its also fine (and good!) to have different varieties of tomatoes.
                                              Add about a cup fresh carrots, peeled and sliced thin.
                                              Add about a half cup of red onion, finely chopped.

                                              Stir in about a tablespoon of sugar, a tsp. of salt, and a tablespoon of ground cumin. Add a dash or two of ground coriander. Taste and adjust seasonings. Garnish with fresh cilantro if desired. You might want to start with a little less salt and cumin, and adjust up. I like more than some folks do.....

                                              Its best if you make it about an hour before serving and let the flavors meld a bit.

                                              5 Replies
                                              1. re: janetofreno

                                                this sounds wonderful janet, but is there any liquid like rice vinegar or just these spices and herbs?

                                                1. re: lexpatti

                                                  Hi: I'm not Janetofreno; but I'll say that rice vinegar or any other vinegar is not typically used in these fresh salads. Use a little fresh lime or lemon juice if you want (optional). The tomatoes will leave a lot of liquid. You could add sliced cucumbers too. I would use much less sugar though.... (but tastes vary).

                                                  1. re: Rasam

                                                    lol....I learned the recipe from my (Gujarati) husband, and their food tends to be sweeter!

                                                    1. re: janetofreno

                                                      I should have guessed! :D
                                                      Indeed you are right about Gujarati food and a pinch of sugar.....

                                                    2. re: Rasam

                                                      thanks, can't wait to try it.

                                                      Been doing a really easy salad with just tom./celery/red onion/sliced portabello/stale bread. Only lemon juice and tad of olive oil. I love it,

                                                2. Great site with many easy to follow video recipes:

                                                  www.videojug.com/tag/food-and-drink?h=

                                                  I want to be there!

                                                  1. Oh, wow such great recipes. So we'll have to have about 6 different kinds of eggplant because they all sound so good. Is there another suggestion for an easier lamb dish then biryani?

                                                    1. I'm not certain that biryani is too difficult for a family cooking night -- you marinate the lamb overnight and whilst the rice bubbles away in a rice cooker, cook the lamb, mix together, then bake. The first time I made it was sophomore year of college without my father's help.

                                                      But if you want to play it safer as it's a first-time experience for everyone, maybe the advice of a previous poster for rogan josh might be appropriate for a good, spicy curry. I've heard advice that you can tone down the spice by subbing paprika for chili, but I've never tried that. Or if you decide to get parathas as someone else suggested, try making shami kebabs with ground lamb and lentils. It's sort of like an Indian burger, but radically different in the seasonings as well as the differing textural preferences of South Asians. With a creamy yogurt sauce and plenty of onion and cilantro, it's one of my favorite treats when I visit home.

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: JungMann

                                                        Jungmann: Rogan Josh is a Kashmiri dish, and the red pepper used in Kashmir is not as hot as in other regions. In fact Madhur Jaffrey's recipe calls for paprika (not red chili powder). Other versions call for both paprika and red chili powder (or cayenne), and the latter could be way reduced or even omitted.
                                                        From what I've seen, Rogan Josh is a comparatively mild dish, compared to something truly fiery like Kolhapur-style mutton....

                                                        1. re: Rasam

                                                          As I recall, Madhur Jaffrey juxtaposes Rogan Josh with the milder recipe she calls "Kashmiri Rogan Josh" in "Indian Cooking." It's certainly not the spiciest dish I've eaten, but it always had ample heat and a bright red color. I grew up thinking of that as the definitive rogan josh, but maybe that was just my family's preference.

                                                      2. I made this great mango curry this weekend. This was my first attempt at a fruit based curry, and it turned out really well. The only change I made was to substitute yogurt for the cream.

                                                        http://www.elise.com/recipes/archives...

                                                        1. tons of indian food blogs linked here: http://mydhaba.blogspot.com/2006/10/c...

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: alkapal

                                                            Well, the day is here and we're about to go to the Indian grocery store. It is feeling a little bit like Top Chef with everyone keeping their recipes secret and determinded to have the best dish. I have a feeling that we won't be eating till midnight since my youngest is determined to make lamb biryani and even got the recipe from her friend's Mom in India. Here we go...thanks for everyone for all of your help. So many great eggplant dishes that I might end up making two. If you've never done this with your family, let me tell you it is always a big hit. It is a fun family night and really encourages everyone to learn a new dish and have more confidence in their cooking.

                                                            1. re: DaisyM

                                                              daisy, hope it is a wonderful time for all of you. i'm anxious to hear of your success!

                                                          2. There's a lovely cook book called "5 Spices, 50 Dishes" by Ruta Kahate that provides many minimal, but tasty, Indian recipes.

                                                            1. I love the Indian dish lamb with spinach, and I'll second the people here who have mentioned Madhur Jaffrey. I bought her book "Madhur Jaffrey's Indian Cooking" and tried the Lamb with Spinach recipe. If you're heading to an Indian store, you can presumably find stuff like garam masala. Most of the ingredients can be found at any supermarket. It's basically pretty simple, like making a stew, just brown the ingredients a while and then let them simmer for an hour or so. I'm not much of a cook, but I followed the recipe to the letter, and to my mind it tasted as good as any of the versions I've had in a restaurant.

                                                              1. Seriously this was the best family cooking night we've ever had. Everything was amazing. But truly the best dish was my stepdaughter's lamb biryani. Her friend's (Indian) mother emailed her the recipe and it was just fantastic. I have to say better then anyhting we've ever had in a restaurant. She just glowed with pride as we ate it and raved. My other stepdaughter made samosas. They were also very good. It took several hours to get it on the table and a very fun hour at the Indian grocery store. But it was so impressive they both of our girls took out their cameras to take photos of the food! We all have new food appreciation of the amount of work it takes to make terrific Indian food. Oh, we got one of those amazing mangos from India that just became available this year in the US. Also, is it just me or are Indians just the friendliest, warmest people? Being at the grocery with so many people offering suggestion and opinions on how to cook things and what to buy, reminded me that everyone I've ever met who was Indian was just incredibly sweet and warm. Anyway...thank you for all of your suggestions. I think we'll be doing an Indian theme again. Oh, and we also watched Top Chef after dinner while eating coconut sorbet.

                                                                3 Replies
                                                                1. re: DaisyM

                                                                  Glad you had such a great night!! I always get lots of suggestions and recipe ideas at the Indian food store....but what I really want to know is: where did you get the mango?? I have yet to see any of the Indian ones on the west coast....

                                                                  So what was the final menu?

                                                                  1. re: DaisyM

                                                                    Would your stepdaughter and you share the Lamb Biryani recipe with us here? Sounds wonderful. I have had the same experience as you in Indian grocery stores - and other stores where I see someone buying an ingredient I am not familiar with. I often ask what they do with "that" and have always gotten a very friendly and helpful answer.

                                                                    1. re: Lotti

                                                                      I'm going to ask her to email it to me so I can post it! It was terrific. I also want to tell you that we bought a large filet of salmon and I asked her to mix up a marinade with the leftover yogurt, garlic, ginger, lime and various Indian spices. We marinated it for about an hour and then grilled it. It was so moist and delicous. Everyone loved it.

                                                                  2. OMG, the mango! They were in boxes and we're $25/box. I really wanted to try just 1 and was told that it was fine to buy just 1. It tasted so sweet...almost like perfume. Does that make sense. It wasn't tangy...just sweet and delicious. We served it with dinner. We had, samosas, store bought nan, grilled eggplant with ginger, badami murgh (chicken in almond sauce), lamb biryani, and dahl. Also, store bought tamarind sauce and mango chutney, and papadums.

                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                    1. re: DaisyM

                                                                      Sounds great...its making me hungry!!

                                                                      1. re: DaisyM

                                                                        Were they the yellow Alphonso mangoes. I noticed they'd arrived in my local market yesterday. How many did you get in a box for $25! The going rate is about a pound each over here in London.

                                                                        1. re: greedygirl

                                                                          They were willing to sell me just 1. I think there were about 15 in a box. They really were amazing!

                                                                      2. Very Easy Tandoori Chicken: Mix 1 tablespoon tandoori masala with 8 oz container of plain yogurt (and extra garlic if you like). Cut boneless skinless chicken breasts so that each half-breast makes three pieces. Marinate chicken in yogurt, covered, in refrigerator 24 hours. Put foil on cookie sheet (to avoid cleanup mess). Heat oven to 425*. Lay marinated chicken on foil with extra yogurt mixture piled on top of each piece. Bake until just done. (PS: If not doing other Indian dishes, this chicken is good with sweet potatoes baked whole, busted open, and filled with butter and brown sugar--- and frozen chopped spinach cooked, drained, and mixed while hot with 1 tsp each curry powder and garlic powder, salt to taste, and 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese (added stuff melts to make a sort of sauce, very tasty).

                                                                        1. Can I marinate salmon instead of the chicken in the yogurt and then grill it? I have lots of yogurt left and a ton of different spices. Would this work and would you marinate it for 24 hours or would that "cook" the salmon?

                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                          1. re: DaisyM

                                                                            do use your marinade on salmon! in addition to garam masala seasoning, add lots of minced garlic and minced ginger, plus lemon juice, in the marinade. don't marinate 24 hours, though. 2-3 hours tops, i would think.

                                                                            here's an example: http://www.indianfoodforever.com/non-...

                                                                            also, if you like fish, and indian food flavors, here are some great ideas from the southern part of india (an enjoyable read, with nice photos, food culture, recipes): http://thecookscottage.typepad.com/cu...

                                                                            1. re: alkapal

                                                                              Great site! Indian style seafood is something I'd like to try more of and learn more about. I'm more accustomed to eating meat and vegetables heavily spiced but not seafood, which always seemed to me too delicate to hold up to spices and dairy. But this is something definitely worth investigating!

                                                                          2. Great! Thank you very much. I'm going to try the salmon tomorrow night. I was thinking I would grill it. I have tons of garlic, ginger,and all of those wonderful spices. Can't wait to try it.

                                                                            1. Speaking of Julie Sahni, she is my favorite Indian chef,and my husband often makes her curry mixture in a dedicated coffee grinder:
                                                                              JULIE SAHNI’S CURRY POWDER

                                                                              4 teasp cumin seeds
                                                                              4 teasp coriander seeds
                                                                              4 teasp mustard seeds
                                                                              2 teasp fennel seeds
                                                                              2 teasp whole cloves
                                                                              1 teasp dill seeds
                                                                              1 stick cinnamon, crushed to bits
                                                                              2 teasp black peppercorns
                                                                              1 teasp level, cayenne (this is exactly right for a curry that’s just hot enough.)
                                                                              4 teasp turmeric

                                                                              Pulverize in a grinder to a powder. Then toast on the stove till you smell the spices.

                                                                              For a mindlessly easy side dish he serves basmati rice cooked
                                                                              with golden raisins, peas, cinnamon stick, sprinkled with toasted almonds.

                                                                              Now you've made me hungry for Indian food!

                                                                              1. Basmati rice and store-bought jarred curry.

                                                                                1. Here's the lamb biryani recipe...

                                                                                  For making the lamb curry you will start with frying about two or three chopped large onions in any vegetable oil. When the onions are soft and slightly golden add a teaspoon of cumin seeds, about ten black peppers(whole), eight cloves, a stick of cinnamon, eight to ten green cardamoms slightly crushed. Fry this lot for a cople of minutes then add two tbsp of coriander powder, one tbsp of cumin powder, a tsp of turmeric powder and some red chilli powder to taste. Alongwith these dry ingredients add a cup of yogurt and two tbsp of tomato paste. Keep frying till the oil separates from the masala. Add a paste of minced ginger and garlic to the masala and fry for another couple of minutes. Add the lamb and fry till slightly brown and then add enough water to cook the lamb. At this time add salt to taste but remember the water will have to be evaporated. Cover and let the lamb become tender. Then remove lid and let the liquid evaporate till the masala is almost dry. Keep aside and then cook the rice and layer the two. *given the recipe for about a kg of lamb. What you do is make a lamb curry and thicken the gravyuntil almost all the water has evaporated. Make sureyou add a good pinch of ground green cardamom in thegravy. Cook basmati rice in slightly salted water andstrain out the water when done. In your serving dish,grease the bottom of the pan and start layering: alayer of rice first, then a few pieces of lamb andspoonfuls of the curry, another layer of rice, etc andend with a layer of rice. On the top layer, you canput a few dabs of clarified butter on the rice and ifyou can get a little saffron, soak about 15-20 strandsin 2 tablespoons of warm milk and dribble that overthe rice. Cover the dish, keep it warm and just beforeserving, disturb the layers and mix up the rice andthe meat.