*August 2010 COTM - COMPLETE ASIAN: India & Pakistan
Our cookbook for August is The Complete Asian Cookbook, by Charmaine Solomon.
Please use this thread to discuss recipes from the chapter INDIA & PAKISTAN
There are a variety of editions and publishers of The Complete Asian Cookbook, although it appears that the recipes for the most part are unchanged between them. Please mention the edition you are using along with the page number when you report on recipes.
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Alu Chat (Potato Slices), Pg. 102, 1992 Edition
This recipe calls for small potatoes which are cooked then spiced but since we had the tiniest of carrots, some not bigger than my little finger, and very small potatoes I decided to combine the two. This dish is supposed to be a snack but for us it made a fantastic side dish. Small potatoes are sliced then cooked in their skins. Drain and set aside to cool. A spice mixture of salt, ground cumin, chili powder, and garam masala is then sprinkled over the vegetables and fresh lemon juice is drizzled over all. Toss gently to coat and serve. Absolutely addictive. I couldn't stop eating the little cuties. Although the potatoes are supposed to be peeled after cooking I didn't. Neither did I peel the baby carrots. Just a good scrub was all that was needed. Make this dish. You'll love it!
Dinner was left over spicey meatloaf, the above dish, Tamatar Salat and Khira Raita both on pg. 85.
Alu Chat (Potato Slices), Pg. 102, 1992 Edition
This was a huge hit. At first, I was unsure whether or not I liked it. It seems dry to me and I thought it needed to be crisped up. C loved it though. But, the more I ate it, the more I liked it. I found that I really enjoyed it as cold leftovers the next day. The flavors are fantastic together.
Tamatar Salat (Tomato Salad with Mint and Spring Onions), Pg. 85
Easy peasy, sprightly flavored, and very refreshing this dish. We had wonderful tomatoes from The Farm to use but no mint. So.... I used cilantro. Still the dish was very nice. Tomatoes are sliced into thin wedges, (I didn't peel them), the scallions are thinly sliced and the herb is chopped. The dressing is: lemon juice, salt, sugar and chili powder. I placed the tomato wedges on a platter strew the cilantro over then drizzled the dressing on and tossed to coat. So good...we liked this very much.
Khira Raita (Cucumber with Yoghurt), Pg. 85
This the last of the accompaniments to our main course last night. Quite a refreshing raita with a hint of garlic and ginger. It's a pretty straightforward recipe: Peeled and diced cucumber (salted then drained), crushed garlic (I pressed 1 small clove), grated ginger, thick yoghurt, lemon juice. Most of us can make this without a recipe but I thought the addition of garlic & ginger a bit different. I can't remember if I ever used those two ingredients in the past...but then I can't remember why I've entered a room sometimes. Anyway, there it is. A quick and easy hot Summer's eve dinner. Now I'm off to read the Burma and Korean chapters...
Do pyaaza, pg 67
I followed the recipe but used 1.5 lbs of chicken parts (legs and thighs) for this dopyaaza. Solomon gives a good explanation on some thoughts about what the 'dopyaaza' title means. Do=2, pyaaza is a reference to pyaaz, or onions. There are many ways to make this dish. It also goes by the name Stew Dopyaaza in Pakistan. Most recipes I see involve two types of onions (one red-fried and one cooked till the rawness is gone), plus whole and/or ground garam masalas. The main difference from family to family is whether or not tomatoes are added. My in-laws are from U.P. India originally, so they are no-tomato dopyaaza people, and I usually use my MIL's recipe. Panjabis do put tomatoes in their dopyaaza. That Urdu-speaking vs. Punjabi Pakistani line is usually drawn along the tomato or absence of tomato in many recipes. So it is in dopyaaza, and Solomon's recipe is a no-tomato recipe.
The recipe required red-frying some onions and keeping them aside to add in at the end of the cooking. I crushed the fried onions so that they would melt well into the gravy, though Solomon doesn't specify this. The second onion appearance is a puree of yoghurt, masalas, and raw onion, plus cilantro. I was a bit afraid that the cilantro would turn my gravy green and make it like a similar cilantro chicken gravy dish, and it kind of did look olivey brown even after I allowed the reddened onions to melt down at the end of the dish. The recipe specifies that paprika be added to the wet masala, and I didn't have any paprika, so I am guessing that this is why I didn't get the best color. I defatted the gravy before adding in the garam masala at the end.
I enjoyed the dish very much. he gravy was yummy, and it tasted different from my daily Pakistani gravies. My husband said it was very good, but when I told him it was supposed to be a type of dopyaaza, he said it didn't seem like dopyaaza. I did like the recipe, but next time I will omit the cilantro in the wet masala. Or I could up the cilantro and turn this into a cilantro-chicken gravy dish...I will definitely keep this recipe in my repertoire either way.
We ate dopyaaza with chappati, basmati rice, vegetable raita, and a homestyle mixed sabzi.
EDIT: in the pic the dopyaaza looks exactly reddish brown the way it should, I am not sure why...but in real life it looked paler and vaguely hazel colored. I wish the gravy would have looked this color for me at home!
No 1 Garam Masala p. 35.
Same Ka Bhaji (2) Spicy Fried Beans p. 72
Kesar Murgh Saffron Chicken p. 52
Getting out of my comfort zone and cooking some new cuisine. I am happy to report our meal was a great success and excited to try more.
GM-Toast all spices separately (coriander seeds, cumin seeds, peppercorns, cardamom seeds, cinnamon stick, cloves and nutmeg). and grind. Wonderfully fragrant. My fiancé said it smelled like Christmas. I think it was the cinnamon and nutmeg.
Fried Beans- cut green beans in thick pieces. I used Roma beans from my garden. Then, heat ghee and fry finely chopped onion until golden, then add tumeric, chili (I used cayenne) and garam masala. Then add beans and salt and cook 5 minutes and cover and cook on low until tender. This was not a subtle dish. It was boldly flavored, but delightful. It definitely wakes up the mouth. We quite enjoyed the flavors and the spiciness. It worked well with the chicken which was not as aggressively seasoned.
Saffron Chicken- cut chicken into small serving pieces. We made a half recipe and used 2 thighs and a split chicken breast. We cut the thighs in half and the breast into quarters. Heat ghee and cook onion until golden (I tried to make it more golden than I would based on a different CH thread about Indian food) add saffron pounded in a mortar with hot water, add cardamom and chicken. Heat chicken to golden for about 5 minutes and season with salt, cover and cook 10 minutes until tender. The chicken turned out extremely moist and although flavorful, it was not as strongly flavored as the green beans. It was subtly sweet and rich from the onions, garlic and ginger. This subtle seasoning turned out to be a good thing so the two dishes were not competing against each other. It was also eye opening for me as I typically think of Indian flavors to be bold. This was delicate and subtle, but delicious. Would definitely make again. We served the dishes with brown rice. With teamwork, it came together nicely for a great after work meal.