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October 09 COTM: "Indian" Vegetables

Welcome to the October 2009 Chow Cookbook of the Month featuring:

Classic Indian Cooking, by Julie Sahni
&
Madhur Jaffrey's Indian Cooking

Please post your full-length reviews of *Vegetable* recipes here. Please mention the name of the recipe you are reviewing and the book or author and page number, if possible, as well as any modifications you made to the recipe.

This thread will encompass the following chapters-

Jaffrey, "Vegetables"
Sahni, veggie recipes from "Main Dishes" and "Side Dishes"

A reminder that the verbatim copying of recipes to the boards is a violation of the copyright of the original author. Posts with copied recipes will be removed.

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    1. "Dry" Potatoes with Ginger and Garlic, Pg. 155
      Indian Cooking, Madhur Jeffrey

      1 lb 6 oz potatoes are boiled in their skin, drained, cooled then peeled and diced. I used small red potatoes and quartered them. Ginger, garlic, a little water, turmeric, salt and cayenne are processed in a miniFP till a paste forms. Oil is heated in a non-stick pan, fennel seeds are added and left to sizzle for a bit, then the spice paste is added and fried for 2 minutes. The potatoes are add to the pan and stir fried till they are golden and covered with the Luscious sauce. At this point the kitchen smelled like a spice house. This is a wonderful side dish for just about anything. There's a bit left over and I want to see how they taste when cold. Perhaps a new version of potato salad???

      5 Replies
      1. re: Gio

        warm them up thoroughly then mix with some good yogurt, chipped green chile and cilantro, salt and pepper - makes a nice raita/indian potato salad. Let sit a while after mixing and before eating.

        1. re: jen kalb

          OK Thanks, Jen! That's just what I'll do. I'm making the turkey koftas tonight and your suggestion will go with that very well, I think. Thank You.

        2. re: Gio

          My turn. Kid chose our menu tonight and we ate a lot of garlic. Gio's description of the process is accurate. We found that we had to cook the potatoes for about 2 minutes longer than called for, but I love it when you get crispy bits. I used chili pepper instead of the cayenne, so there was a nice underlying heat to the dish but it didn't overpower. Really nice recipe indeed. And we also have some leftovers!

          1. re: Gio

            "Dry" Potatoes with Ginger and Garlic
            Jaffrey, page 144

            We closed Indian month with a veritable feast of goodness drawn from the Jaffrey book. The menu included Lamb Samosas [with wonton skins], Tandoori-Style Chicken [p90], Cauliflower with Potatoes [p144], "Dry" Potatoes with Ginger and Garlic [p155], Red Split Lentils with Cumin Seeds, and Simple Basmati Rice. Also on the table was a Tamarind Chutney and the Onion Relish [p221.]

            I forgot the naan but didn't miss it.

            The original menu inlcuded the cauliflower and potato dish, so this add-on was because the chow-pup-almost-an-adult wanted to come to dinner and she hates cauliflower. [Has she actually tried cauliflower??? But I digress.]

            Used locally grown russets this time, and we all really enjoyed this simple preparation again. Love both the flavor and the texture of slightly crispy potato edges. The russets had more flavor than the new, white potatoes I used last time. This dish is a keeper.

            1. re: Gio

              What a delicious recipe! I tried it tonight (recipe is posted here):
              http://www.seasaltwithfood.com/2009/0...

              Question: I used Yukon Golds and did not let them cool completely. Is that why mine was more like a rustic version of Indian mashed potatoes? :) Either way, really good. And I might try the leftovers as jen kalb suggested below. Thanks!

            2. Cauliflower with Fennel and Mustard Seeds
              Jeffrey, page 146

              I divided this recipe in half. Soak florets in water until ready to cook and then begin preparing the spices. in hot oil cook fennel seeds, mustard seeds, garlic, turmeric and cayenne pepper. Add cauliflower, 4 tablespoons water and a little salt. Cook until the cauliflower is cooked and then browned, about 5 minutes. I reduced the amount of oil by a third, but with the final crisping, I don't think it could be reduced by much more than that.

              First words from my dining partner's mouth were "this is cauliflower? Wow, this is good." [Yea, he actually doesn't care for this vegetable and ate two servings.] This side dish had a nice set of flavors, was quick and easy to make, and complimented the menu perfectly. We would make this again without reservation.

              Served with cocktail koftas [page 47], Lentils with Garlic Butter [Sahni page 332], Yogurt with cucumber and mint [page 210], and plain, easy to cook rice [page 192.]

              6 Replies
              1. re: smtucker

                Cauliflower with Fennel and Mustard Seeds, Pg. 146
                Indian Cooking, Madhur Jaffrey

                I made these last night and we liked them too. Quick and easy and a great accompaniment for just about anything, I think. I served them with the potatoes reviewed above and Spicy Scrambled Eggs, Pg. 107

                1. re: Gio

                  Made this one tonight for the first time. Daughters commented it would have been better if I had let the cauliflower brown a bit. but we all ate it up. It was tasty but improved by a heavy sprinking of cilantro leaves for freshening (a lot of these dishes are.

                2. re: smtucker

                  good to hear to positive reviews of this one ... it is on my list. And I love hearing "quick and easy to make" in both reviews!

                  1. re: smtucker

                    Based on the reviews here, I made this tonight. What a hit!

                    Had it with Sahni's shahi korma and Lucknow sour lentils, as well as Jaffrey's peelay chaval. Too much red food last time, too much yellow food this time. One of these days I'll start paying attention to presentation **before** I start cooking.

                    1. re: alanbarnes

                      Wow! I'm impressed...so many dishes.

                    2. re: smtucker

                      My turn on the cauliflower with fennel and mustard seeds (Jaffrey)

                      Loved them. As with the green beans in her book, I found them to be a little saltier than I'd like, but still and all, loved them. I started off giving Lulu a very small portion, since in the past some foods with dark seeds in them have elicited a "whats this dirt" response. But ... I gave her seconds (and she wanted thirds, but they were gone). I should mention that I do not have black mustard seeds, only regular, and haven't found there to be any issue with taste. Oh, and we were out of cilantro, so i skipped that with no problem.

                    3. Mattar paneer - peas and cheese - Sadhi p. 266.

                      Making the cheese was a snap. I really didn't expect it to be so easy.

                      When it came time to cook, call me chicken, but I don't like putting hot liquids in the blender. So rather pureeing cooked chopped vegetables, I made an onion paste, browned it, added a garlic-ginger paste, continued browning, and proceeded with the other sauce ingredients including lightly pureed tomatoes.

                      I think the secret to the depth of flavor of this dish is to cook all the moisture out of the tomatoes and brown them. After that you can thin the sauce back out, add the peas and browned cheese, and simmer until done.

                      I put in a little extra red pepper, so it had a pretty good hit of heat that complemented the creaminess of the cheese. Good stuff.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: alanbarnes

                        I made this last night. I liked it, but I was struck by how different it tasted from mattar paneer I've had in restaurants. I was kind of distracted while cooking, so maybe I just did something wrong.

                        1. re: alanbarnes

                          Matar paneer - peas and cheese - Sahni p. 266

                          My oh My. We loved this dish. And, I took a lot of shortcuts and it still tasted great.

                          Note: while this is an easy recipe it takes a lot of time. Active cooking time is about an hour. But, waiting around time is about 1.5 hours. So, allocate at least 3 hours to make the dish or serve it the next day.

                          So, my shortcuts - I used store bought ghee and paneer and I used canned tomatoes (tomato season is over, sniff, sniff).

                          Anyway, cut and then dry out the paneer (sits there for 30 minutes). Then fry the paneer for about 5 minutes. Sahni warns that the oil will splatter and she wasn't kidding. Use a splatter shield. I also had my heat on too high so some of the paneer stuck to the bottom of the pan and was more brown then she called for. Remove the cheese and add more ghee.

                          Sahni calls for 8 T of ghee. I used a hair less than 6 and it was more than enough. Add the chopped onions and fry until their brown. Then add garlic and ginger and then add ground coriander, tumeric, red and black pepper and paprika. Lastly add the chopped (canned) tomatoes. Stir and cook for about 10 minutes. The tomatoes/spice/onion mixture turns thick and pasty.

                          Add 2.5 cups of hot water and bring it to a boil. Once it boils, lower the heat and cook for 20 minutes. I then used the immersion blender to give it a whirl. At this point, add the (defrosted) peas and cheese back into the mixture. Sahni also adds another .5 cups of hot water here. I didn't because I didn't want the sauce to get too watery. It was great without that extra water. Simmer for another 5 minutes and then you let it rest for an HOUR. I didn't see that until it was too late so we ordered takeout that night.

                          But this was worth the wait. After the dish is heated through, add the garam masala and cilantro. The flavors just popped. I think it's because of all the different spices and veggies (onions, ginger, garlic, coriander, tumeric, cayenne, pepper, paprika, chopped tomatoes, garam masala and cilantro). So many depths that my mouth didn't no which way was up. Plus, the cheese was creamy and delicious. I also think that this sauce would be great with tofu and the peas.

                          Huge winner of a dish. Can't wait for leftovers tonight.

                        2. Broccoli in Garlic Sauce, Julie Sahni: On-line Recipe
                          http://www.surlatable.com/gs/julie-sa...

                          The ingredients are: 1 bunch broccoli cut into long-ish spears with the stems peeled, vegetable oil (corn), 8-10 garlic cloves (8), 1/3t turmeric and 1t (1/2t) Kosher salt. Put the oil into a frying pan and when hot add the garlic which has been peeled but left whole.
                          When the garlic is golden quickly add the turmeric, stir, then add the broccoli so it lies in one layer. Let this sizzle for a minute then sprinkle in the salt. Turn the broccoli with tongs and sauté it for another minute. Turn down the heat, cover, and cook till the broccoli is cooked through. Uncover the pan and if there's moisture cook till it evaporates.

                          Pretty straightforward this preparation, but the finished dish, to me, was very salty. DH thought it was delicious but I didn't. I cook broccoli regularly usually in a quick sauté so I didn't expect not liking it. In retrospect it may have been the combination of the flavors of the relish and chutney that clashed with the broccoli.... I don't know.

                          8 Replies
                          1. re: Gio

                            I made this as well tonight. Garlic night in the smtucker household.... This is not a way that I have prepared broccoli before, so I wasn't really sure what to expect.

                            For me, the broccoli just wasn't cooked enough before being brown. Not sure if my spears were too large, my broccoli didn't give off any water so there was no steam and should have or what. I liked the flavor, so in the future I might try steaming the broccoli just a bit before sauteeing or making smaller spears.

                            I didn't measure the salt, just adding a pinch of kosher salt to avoid the over-saltiness that Gio experienced.

                            1. re: smtucker

                              From the description, its not expected to be cooked before being brown - You would do the sauteeing at high-ish heat and then cover for the broc to steam a bit at low heat to finish. there should be enuf moisture for it to finish cooking. It wont brown nearly as well if you parboil it firat. Smaller spears and peeling your stems would also help - I usually divide my broc into two parts, thin slices of stem and small flowerets - then you dont get a delay as you wait for the stems to cook. good luck next time!

                              1. re: jen kalb

                                Yes, I expected the broccoli to steam, but it didn't. Do you think adding some water after the browning would help? This was broccoli that was just picked at the farm, so freshness wasn't in question. Just didn't give off any water.

                                1. re: smtucker

                                  Hmm ... maybe I'll try something else then for my dinner tonight, and give this a try another time.

                                  1. re: MMRuth

                                    I was just going to suggest the green beans as an alternative, MM. Here's the exact recipe:
                                    http://www.recipesource.com/ethnic/as...

                                    1. re: Gio

                                      Thank you - by the way - I made the eggplant with fresh herbs from Sahni yesterday, for tonight, and it's taking a lot of will power for me not to gobble it up!

                                      1. re: MMRuth

                                        That's good to know. I've had a fixation on eggplant lately. I'll take a look at the recipe, thanks.

                            2. re: Gio

                              Broccoli in Garlic Sauce, Sahni, pg. 297

                              I made this last night and we loved it. I didn't seem to have any of the problems listed on the thread. Maybe because I used a large skillet but there wasn't as much broccoli? Also, probably because there was still water in the floret heads and this probably helped with the cooking. Anyway, this was just delicious and I'll definitely make this again.. Next time I think I'll cut down my broccoli so the stems and florets are separated.