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October 2012 COTM: 660 Curries -- Beef, Lamb, and Pork Curries; Fish and Seafood Curries; Paneer Curries

Please post reviews for these dishes in this thread.

Beef, Lamb, and Pork Curries …. 169-234
Fish and Seafood curries …. 235-284
Paneer Curries …. 285-310

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  1. Spicy Lamb w/Yogurt, Cream, and Fenugreek (Dahi Malai Methi Gosht), p. 207

    This is a pretty easy curry, with cutting up and cubing the (boneless leg of) lamb comprising most of the work here. I marinated 1 ¼ lbs meat in a puree of ½ c. yogurt, 1 ½ tsp. kosher salt, ¼ tsp. turmeric, ½ c coarsely chopped red onion, 8 cloves garlic, 6 Thai chiles, and 3 slices of fresh ginger for about 90 minutes. (Iyer suggests anything from 30 minutes to "overnight.")

    To cook, I heated 2 T. ghee over med. high heat (in a lg. skillet) and added the rest of the red onion called for in the recipe (1/2, sliced thinly) and stir-fried it until it started to brown, about 5 minutes. I then added the lamb and its spicy yogurt bath to the skillet and cooked it until the liquid had mostly evaporated and the ghee started to separate. Although the recipe indicates this will take about 15 minutes, it took me more like 30. I then stirred in 1 c. each water and fenugreek leaves (available conveniently chopped and frozen at the Indian market) and brought everything to a boil before reducing the heat to med.-low, covering the skillet, and simmering another 30-40 minutes until the lamb was tender. At the end, I stirred in ¼ c. cream.

    This makes a greenish-gold colored curry, a little tart and slightly, pleasantly, bitter from the fenugreek. We liked it a lot (and I especially enjoyed some of the leftovers rolled into half a piece of naan for a sandwich the next day; I’m happily adding this lamb curry to my short repertoire.
    We started with (purchased) onion pakora and cilantro chutney and then had our lamb curry with Slow-Cooked Creamy Black Lentils (p. 366), spiced rice (steamed w/ a pinch of saffron, a few cloves, and a green cardamom pod), naan, and a cucumber, cherry tomato, onion, and arugula salad. Thus was October COTM inaugurated.

    2 Replies
      1. re: nomadchowwoman

        I just made this Lamb with Yogurt, Cream and Fenugreek tonight as well - delicious! This was my first time cooking with fenugreek leaves and I really enjoyed their lightly bitter flavor. I used coconut oil instead of ghee, but otherwise followed the recipe (I too used the frozen fenugreek - so easy!). The flavor is much more complex than the simple ingredients would indicate, although I'm not sure the long cooking time does it any favors (I tasted it before the 30 minute simmer and I thought the flavors were brighter and clearer at that point). I think when I make it again I will use additional yogurt to finish rather than cream - I feel like it could be just that little bit more tart. A great dinner! I paired it with an improvised vegetable stirfry seasoned with the Maharashtrian garam masala (my new favorite spice).

      2. Peppercorn Shrimp with Coconut Milk (Molaghu Jhinga), p. 268

        This is another easy dish that could be put together quickly on a week night. I started with a pound of jumbos (recipe calls for large, peeled and deveined, w/tails intact) After removing the tails in deference to shell-averse DH, I tossed them w/minced garlic (6 cloves) and ½ tsp. turmeric and put them in the fridge for an hour (recipe calls for anything from 30 minutes to overnight).

        Into a lg. skillet over med.-high heat go 2 T coconut oil (or canola), to which a tsp. of black (or yellow) mustard seeds is added, cooking until they’re all popped out. The shrimp get dumped in and quickly seared. Then, a can of coconut milk is added along w/2 tsp. coarsely crushed black peppercorns, 1 ½ tsp. kosher salt, and chopped fresh curry leaves (recipe calls for ¼ c; I used half as much as that’s all my little bagful yielded once chopped). The curry comes to a boil and shrimp are removed after a couple of minutes (recipe says 3-5, but they can easily overcook, so watch them carefully); curry continues to cook until thickened (took me about 5 minutes longer). That’s it.

        I was very glad that I didn’t have the full quarter cup of curry leaves because I really think their strong flavor would overpower the shrimp and drown out the peppercorns. As it was, my husband thought this would have been better with even less, and next time, I’ll cut the curry leaves back even further. We really enjoyed the combination of coconut and black pepper with the shrimp.

        We ate this with untraditional sides—leftover wild rice tossed w/sliced scallions and carrot shreds; lettuce and cherry tomato salad w/citrusy vinaigrette—and garlic naan.

        1 Reply
        1. re: nomadchowwoman

          Molaghu Jhinga (Peppercorn Shrimp with Coconut Milk) Pg. 268

          This dish was very different from anything Indian I have ever tried. I expect this is because it is a dish of Tamil origin, and most of Indian dining has been of the North Indian variety. I unfortunately did not have any fresh curry leaves so I substituted dried. Not wanting to pick out the dried leaves at the end I put them in a little cheesecloth and had them simmer with the sauce for a little longer than suggested. The end result was a little on the subtle side. Not to say that this dish wasn't good, it had good balance and a nice mouth feel, and was quite appealing looking, it is just that the results were a tiny bit one note. I would perhaps go with even more peppercorn next time, and possibly the tiniest drop of acidity (lime, tamarind) to wake up the flavours a bit. The salt called for seems high but it is necessary to help perk up the subtle flavours.
          It does come together quickly, with a minimum of ingredients, and also it has no coriander or cumin, so if you are on overload with those spices this dish might be a good counterpoint.
          Overal pretty good.

        2. Tart-Hot Beef with Malt Vinegar and Cayenne (Gosht Vindaloo0 p.174

          This is indeed tart and hot not overly so. I marinated beef overnight as it was not the best beef because it came from the freezer where is has been hybernating for a while and I was hoping that a long soak will improve the flavour. I had about 3/4 of a pound and reduced vinegar, garlic and chilis accordingly keeping the rest of the ingredients the same.

          I could not bring myself to pour 2T of oil in the pan to fry onions, garlic and dry chilis and used about 2t instead. While onions and garlic cooked beautifully in the time stated, the meat took a lot longer to get dry and never really seared. I proceeded with the recipe adding salt, and corriander and cumin seeds but forgot to grind them! Added 1 cup of water as per instructions and proceeded to braise. The meat was still very tough after stated 45 minutes (as I said above, it was not the best beef) and I proceeded to braise for another 45 min or maybe a bit longer adding another 1/2 cup of water as the sauce was drying out.

          In conclusion, it was OK but I won't be making it again. It was tart and hot as promissed but other flavours did not come through strong enough for me, I did not see the point of using pearl onions that intergrated themselves into the sauce beyond recognition (a good thing) and beef and Indian food just do not go together for me. I've chosen this recipe because I am trying to use up the food in the freezer - not too wise of a choice for this book.

          6 Replies
          1. re: herby

            the grinding of the spices was an important step that would have provided depth - but part of cooking is the fun in trying and learning. Glad you are keeping at it. The cut of beef does make the difference. Also by adding the extra water to braise it longer diluted the flavors further more. Hope the explanation helps.

            1. re: 660 curries

              I would also resist the urge to cut the oil too much in Indian recipes - 2T is really not that much in the general scheme of things and I really think you need that much to properly fry onions etc for these dishes. (For those interested in these things, I did not cut the oil in either of the recipes I've made and Mr GG is trying to lose weight at the moment. I calorie counted the recipes for him and they came out at only around 300 for the chicken dish, and 200 for the cauliflower one.)

              1. re: greedygirl

                Good point, GG; will use the stated amount of oil in the next dish.

                1. re: greedygirl

                  I whole heartedly agree! As a person who has struggled with his weight off and on I used to be very very judicious with my use of fats when cooking, always cutting back on oil and butter and worrying about how much fat was going into something. I have found over time that all this fussing over fats in cooking wasn't doing much but stressing me out and usually hindering my cooking. This isn't to say I don't look pay attention anymore, and that if I see a recipe that calls for 6 TB of butter I won't try and moderate the amount, but just that if a recipe calls for a few TB or less of a given fat I generally go with the suggested amount. I have found on the whole that there has been no effect on my waist line and the cooking process has been more pleasant for me.

                  1. re: greedygirl

                    I agree that 2 tablespoons isn't really that much. It sounds like a lot until you divide it by the number of servings the recipe produces. Even people who are trying to lose weight via Weight Watchers are supposed to have a minimum of 2 teaspoons of "healthy fats" a day to aid in digestion and organ health etc. If this recipe was for four servings, then 2 TBSP divided by 4 would be less than 2 tsp and this dish would fall into the acceptable range for someone trying to LOSE weight. (And of course, someone trying to maintain a healthy weight would probably have a little more leeway.)

                    Of course, you have to be mindful of what other dishes you'll be eating at this meal and throughout the day and how much fat they have.


                  2. re: 660 curries

                    Many thanks for these comments! I am making paneer dish tonight and will follow instructions to the T:)

                2. Cheese Cubes with Spinach and Mustard Seeds (Mathura Palak Paneer) p.297

                  This dish comes together very quickly and anticipating this I had almost all my ingredients measured and chopped. It starts by cooking spinach leaves in boiling water and shocking it as soon as it is wilted and chopping fine. Next mustard seeds are popped in oil, onions and garlic go in next to be fried with tumeric and cayenne. As soon as onions are done spinach is added along with tomatoes, salt, mango powder and Punjabi garam masala (which I prepared a couple of days ago). The sauce is simmered for 5 min and in go cubes of paneer to get warmed up. Then half-and-half is added and the dish cooks for another 10 minutes.

                  This was the best palak paneer that I ever tasted! I think it is the masala that makes it so special and next time I will add a full teaspoon instead of a half. It might spoil the dish but I have to try:) I made the recipe as written - oil and all:) - the only change I made is to use roma tomatoes instead of cherry. My tomatos were meaty and flavourful, and the cherry ones that we get are all imported from far away places and do not taste like much.

                  Now I need to search other recipes that use this addictive masala. Wonder if I can search in EYB - probably can; will give it a try.

                  14 Replies
                  1. re: herby

                    FYI, the recipes that I have flagged as interesting that use the Punjabi Garam Masala are pages 147, 223, 330, 337, 364, 483 and 517. I'm planning on making pg. 517 (a Cremini mushroom dish) tomorrow!

                    ETA - given your glowing review, I am definitely making this - Mr. Bionda won't eat spinach but he's going out of town in a couple of weeks so I know what's on the menu!

                    1. re: biondanonima

                      Many thanks, Biondanonima, for this list! I copied in on a sticky and put inside the book. I am planning to make Makhani Dal and gingered chickpeas sound good. I am travelling Oct 4-16 but will continue cooking when I am back.

                    2. re: herby

                      Wow, that's a pretty amazing result, the best you've ever had! I adore palak paneer but have troubles getting it to taste the way it should. Now I know that this recipe must not be passed by. Thanks for the review!

                      1. re: herby

                        Herby, your dish sounds delicious--did you make your own paneer?

                        1. re: nomadchowwoman

                          I did not - I bought it at my neighbourhood Indian store; they did not make it either - just one of commercial brands but was very good and firm. I've made paneer when I lived in India with lemon juice, not vinegar and it was always delicious and stayed together as it should. I have not successfully made it in NA - it always crumbles and I end up with cheesecakes instead of whatever was planned:) I blame the milk but others had success, so, I do not know...

                          The dish is really delicious and Punjabi masala is a must - very delicate flavour but definitely there.

                          1. re: herby

                            Good to know. Thanks. I think I'll follow your lead on that and get some from our Indian market, which is really well-stocked.

                            1. re: nomadchowwoman

                              Let us know how yours turns out if you make it.

                              1. re: herby

                                Will do; I'm going to try to make it this weekend.

                        2. re: herby

                          Cheese Cubes with Spinach and Mustard Seeds (Mathura Palak Paneer) p.297

                          Following herby's lead, I bought some frozen pre-fried paneer cubes from the Indian Market and then made the "best palak paneer" that now herby and I have ever tasted. But the most surprising fan was my husband, who would never order this in a restaurant and who was a bit skeptical as I was making it--he loved it; in fact he finished the entire recipe (except for two small helpings for myself).

                          I thought wilting and shocking the spinach was a bit of a pain (and I'm always dismayed by how little cooked spinach results from a pound of fresh), and I skipped chopping it, to no detriment. I also upped the Punjabi garam masala (made last weekend) to a scant tsp., based on herby's notes. I had nice grape tomatoes so I used a combination of red and yellow, which made for a lovely-looking dish. I also had no half-and-half, so I finished this (shhh!) with heavy cream, probably a generous 1/4 c.

                          The paneer cubes seemed spongier than usual, but otherwise this was a stellar dish. We had it with crispy duck legs, Gingered Red Lentils w/Garlic (p. 398), and naan. Excellent meal.

                            1. re: nomadchowwoman

                              Finally made a batch of the Punjabi garam masala, for a quick chicken breast dish tonight. But this palak paneer looks like my next one. (I agree -- spinach lies.)
                              I'll be so excited if Mr. blue room likes this -- he'll be skeptical!
                              Thanks to you and herby for the reports.

                              1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                Dunno if it was advised in the book, but you can put store bought paneer cubes (fried or cut from a block or however) into a dish of water and microwave for a minute or two, then strain. Or just submerge them in boiling water with the flame off for a couple of minutes if you prefer not to microwave stuff. This softens them a lot for use and helps reduce the spongy texture. Also, if they are fried, some of the oil will be left behind in the steeping water.

                                1. re: luckyfatima

                                  Thank you lf; I will do that next time. This was the first time I'd bought frozen paneer--and I sure appreciated the convenience.

                                2. re: nomadchowwoman

                                  Cheese Cubes with Spinach and Mustard Seeds p. 297

                                  I made this tonight and we also found it delicious! I used heavy cream too, as it's what was on hand. I increased the Punjabi garam masala to a teaspoon based on herby and nomadchowwoman's notes. I did fry the paneer and chop the spinach, but this still came together quickly after I finally got the spinach cleaned. We had it with some leftovers and some take out for a rather large and jumbled weeknight meal: Cheese/spinach, take-out naan, take-out butter chicken, minty red lentils, rice with cashews and mint, and some random roasted carrots with pomegranate molasses.

                              2. Pan-Grilled Sea Scallops - p. 280

                                I couldn't pass on some fresh sea scallops at the market this weekend. When I saw this recipe added peanuts and spinach to the mix, it made my decision to try it easy. Spinach isn't my boyfriend's favorite, but a few bites into eating, he declared unprompted that the spinach alone would make an excellent side dish. Adding the scallops just made this dish that much better for me.

                                To make, the scallops are marinated with turmeric. Iyer also suggests you can make this dish with shrimp or other firm fish. The scallops are seared on both sides and set aside. Chopped garlic is then browned in the skillet. Spinach is added and cooked until wilted. He suggests baby spinach. I used chopped regular spinach because that's what I had on hand. Kolhapuri masala is then added to the mix along with a little salt. The scallops are returned to the pan and covered with the greens to finish cooking. The scallops are then removed, chopped peanuts are added to the spinach, and the spinach-peanut mixture is spread over the scallops to serve.

                                This is a dish that I can't wait to make again.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: TxnInMtl

                                  That sounds amazing! Scallops are expensive in the UK though - I might have to try it with prawns instead.

                                2. Crumbled Cheese with Broccoli and Mango Powder - p. 301

                                  I tried this dish because we had some broccoli from our CSA box that needed using up. This dish was interesting and surprisingly filling. I don't think this one will end up going onto my list of favorites from the book, but the tangy mango powder combined with broccoli and paneer does make this something different.

                                  To make, cumin seeds are toasted in oil. I opted to follow the tip and added sliced broccoli stems to the pan next. After those are cooked for 5 minutes or so, the broccoli florets, mango powder, and turmeric are added to the pan and stir-fried until the spices are cooked. Water, crumbled paneer, salt and tomato are then added to the pan. I used store-bought paneer which I found more work to crumble than the last few times I've made paneer (I guess I need to work on my paneer more!). The mixture simmers covered until cooked and is finished with some chopped cilantro and Punjabi garam masala. This dish made a nice, filling leftover lunch for me today.

                                  1. Shrimp with Bishop's weed p. 256

                                    Made this tonight, using the variation w/ thyme that is recommended. Had a moment of aggravation when I thought the called for herb was the same as the bishops's weed aka goutweed aka the demonic invasive plant I've spent the past 7 years unsuccessfully trying to eliminate in my perennial garden. A Wikipedia search seems to indicate they are different and unrelated plants.

                                    So, made a few "regional" variations. As mentioned, used thyme instead of bishop's weed, as I haven't had the chance to make the hour drive to the nearest Indian market. Used canned tomatoes, as the fesh season has ended. And, used itsy bitty Maine shrimp that I have in my freezer from last season, trying to use up before this season starts. They cook really fast, so skipped the shrimp searing step and simmered the final sauce mixture for a few minutes before adding the shrimp.

                                    Served this over soba noodles- a pasta was recommended in the header. Very yummy, vey easy. Could see why doing the shrimp and sauce separately would make a nice visual effect- pink sauce and yellow shrimp. The turmeric wins once they are mixed.

                                    1. Crumbled Creamy Cheese with Scallions and Tomatoes - p. 302

                                      I decided on this recipe for dinner after noticing it had no numbered steps and had a cook time of 5 minutes. Assuming you have paneer made (I used store bought, so it was regular paneer, not the cream based recommended) and the spice blend on hand (Balti), this could easily be a 15 minute meal. I served it with the pureed mustard greens from this book but probably would've been quite happy with this dish on its own.

                                      I greatly appreciated that this recipe used weights for the amount of tomatoes and scallions. I wish all of them were like that instead of specifying large or medium tomatoes. I used half as many scallions as called for because that's what I had on hand (and a half pound seemed like a lot), but would've preferred having more crunchy scallions in the mix.

                                      To make, cumin seeds are toasted in oil and then crumbled paneer, chopped scallions, chopped tomatoes, chopped cilantro, salt, Balti masala, ground turmeric, and sliced green chiles are added to the mix. It simmers for 5 minutes ... and you're done. That's it. It reminded me a bit of a hash ... or maybe scrambled eggs with vegetables. This felt very fresh and light but still filling. It would be a great summer meal.

                                      1. Spicy Ground Beef with Peas and Chiles (Kheema Mutter), pg. 182.

                                        I made this for dinner tonight, along with the Cinnamon Potatoes and Peppers dish on pg. 576. The recipe has you toast some cumin seeds, then add a thinly sliced onion and saute until golden. Add a mixture of chopped garlic, ginger and chiles, plus bay leaves and cinnamon sticks, and saute a bit longer. Add ground beef and cook until browned, then sprinkle in ground coriander, cumin, salt and turmeric and simmer a bit longer (I had to add water at this point, although the recipe doesn't call for it). To finish, add water, peas and cilantro, simmer until the peas are done and serve.

                                        So, this is basically Indian taco meat, LOL. It's very tasty, but I felt like something was missing. Full disclosure: I hate peas, so I left them out - perhaps they would have helped. I liked the spices but I felt like the curry needed a souring agent - maybe tomatoes? It also needed WAY more chiles (I used the full 5 called for) - it wasn't spicy at all. Maybe my chiles aren't the right kind? I bought them at the Indian store so I figured they were appropriate - they're green, slender and about 3-4 inches long. They taste spicy when they're fresh, but they seem to fade with cooking. We'll see what Mr. Bionda thinks - I'm sure he'll like it, though.

                                        6 Replies
                                        1. re: biondanonima

                                          Fresh green chiles do lose heat upon cooking. They give a layer of heat and give their own flavor but do not create overt spiciness. When we make qeema at home, we do put in tomatoes in basic qeema. I also garnish with fresh chopped cilantro and freshly chopped green chiles (chopped in large shards to give a fresh chile perfume as well as heat, plus the color looks pretty in the meat) added at the end. We don't make it especially spicy at home, but this kind of dish taste great with spicy stuff like pickle or relish on the side. If you don't like peas, this recipe should work well with other veg, too like qeema with green bell pepper, qeema with potatos, qeema with assorted veg. medley, and even lentils, like qeema studded with firmly cooked channa daal. It can also be made without any veg. addition. The secret to good qeema is actually browning the meat well (takes a long time of stirring way beyond the gray stage and into a well toasty brown stage---and Iyer does suggest to brown for 8-10 minutes, this is key for tasty qeema) before you add the liquid ingredients (water, tomato). That's funny to think of it as Indian taco meat but I guess it is similar :)

                                          So, did you husband like it after all?

                                          1. re: luckyfatima

                                            He loved it! He's not as much of a heat-fiend as I am and he thought it was fine without additional chiles. I will definitely take your suggestion and add some freshly chopped chile to finish my portion next time, though - and maybe try adding tomatoes as well. I thought it was fine without any vegetable addition but I could see adding bell peppers - of course, we ate it with a potato and bell pepper dish so they sort of got mixed in there anyway. I'll definitely make this again - I'm always looking for interesting ways to use ground beef!

                                            1. re: biondanonima

                                              Spicy Ground Beef with Peas (I didn't use peas)/kheema mutter p. 182-183

                                              I decided to try this version of qeema. I used karela (bitter gourd) instead of peas. I had prepared and fried up some coin shaped slices of karela and set them aside to add to the qeema, following the recipe's instructions otherwise. (I also made stir fried karela peelings as a bitter side dish, it was a karela partay for dinner tonight.)

                                              This recipe does look very mild. I added 1 tsp of red chile powder also because I wanted the spice to balance the bitterness of the karela and I had taken note of biondanomina's review. (long handle, what does it mean?) I also added 1 chopped tomato during the "dum" or covered with lid stage b/c I felt the karela would do better with the sweet and sour undertones given from the tomato. Lastly, in addition to cilantro, I added 6 small fresh chiles sliced into large shards.

                                              I must say that I liked the cinnamon and bay leaf flavor that permeated this qeema. That was really different, and matched the karela very well. I also liked the way the cilantro (and fresh chiles I added) was put in and then cooked through for the last few minutes as the dish finishes. This creates a distinct flavor when compared to adding cilantro as a completely raw garnish.

                                              My qeema was also not especially spicy even with the fresh chiles and teaspoon of red chile, so I can only imagine how very mild it would be without the additional chiles. We don't eat very spicy food at home, but I think without the additions, the qeema definitely would have been lacking in that regard.

                                              But I like the basic recipe a lot and perhaps will make this a regular qeema karela recipe to make it distinct from some of my other usual qeema+vegetable combos.

                                              *Side note, as a pretentious Urduphile, I never like seeing qeema spelled in English with a -kh-. Not sure how it has caught on that way (very common beyond 660 Curries). It is not an aspirated /k/ even if you say it with the common pronunciation of keema instead of the original qeema. I know I am fighting windmills, but just in case anyone wondered why I spelled qeema that way instead of kheema, we say qeema at home, it's just too weird to write kheema.

                                              1. re: luckyfatima

                                                That karela qeema sounds very unique! I love bittermelon but have not tried it Desi style. I think I'll have to try it qeema-style.

                                            2. re: luckyfatima

                                              Finally got around to making this again tonight - added tomatoes and a chopped bell pepper, per luckyfatima's suggestion. DELICIOUS! We liked it the first time around but it was truly fabulous with the additions. I also served some mildly spicy pickled radishes with it which brought it all together. Really, really fantastic.

                                            3. re: biondanonima

                                              Spicy Ground Beef with Peas and Chiles [Kheema Mutter], page 182

                                              Was looking for a way to begin to make a dent in the two huge bags of petite peas that a friend who was staying in my apartment left in my freezer and this recipe looked promising. I like peas and since I have a lot to use up, I doubled the amount. And because I had them on hand, I used four small red bird’s eye chilies. Evidently, your choice of chiles makes a huge difference, because my finished dish was not the least bit subtle. I like spicy, and this had plenty of heat to satisfy me. And the cumin was quite pronounced as well. The only thing I’d do differently is to add a half rather than a full cup of water. Since the pan was covered, the water didn’t simmer away much and I the dish was soupier than I would have preferred. Still, I liked this enormously and may well be making it again before all those peas are used up.

                                            4. Beginner Almond Shrimp With Tomatoes (Tamatar Jhinga) p.277

                                              This was an apt title, not because I'm a beginner at curries (which I'm not), but because it is the first recipe I have cooked from the book. I needed something very quick and scaleable for one person tonight (my daughter is boycotting curry month). This was so easy and so delicious. It took about 15 minutes which included making the garam masala. Garlic and ground almonds are browned in a pan. tomatoes & spices added and cooked down for a few mins, then shrimp and a little double cream added for 5 more mins. I think I might keep frozen shrimp in my freezer just to be able to make this as a stand-by quick dinner.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: JaneEYB

                                                Beginner Almond Shrimp With Tomatoes (Tamatar Jhinga) p.277

                                                Just to echo Jane's assessment of this dish. It's great, quick, and easy. It seems to be one of the few shrimp recipes that doesn't require a 30 minute (or more) marinade. I wish I had made some rice or naan to get the extra sauce. We ended up finishing off some bread while mopping up the last of the sauce.

                                              2. Creamy lamb meatballs (Pages 215-216).

                                                The meatballs are pretty simple--ground lamb, ground fennel seeds, ground black cumin, ginger, chopped onion and garlic. Once they are browned they simmer in half and half with Kashmiri garam masala and saffron.

                                                I made a couple of shortcuts because I was on conference call while I cooked this. I didn't grind the fennel seeds and I left out the onion. In the future I would definitely grind the seeds as they are a bit overpowering otherwise. I thought these were pretty good, but not great. I think I generally prefer the veg Indian dishes and those that don't include cream.

                                                1. 19th-century English-Style Veal Curry (Angrezi Tari Waale Bachade Ki Maas) pg. 183

                                                  I made this because it didn't require me to go to the store and used up some of the Madras curry powder I had already made. I was a little skeptical because it's not a traditional Indian curry, but is one Iyer developed by following (very closely) the method described in a poem ("Poem to Curry") by William Makepeace Thackeray (the poem is on page 185). It was a neat idea to make a curry based on the poem, I thought. So I guess I ate an old-timey British dish last night.

                                                  It was very easy, though took a little time, what with caramelizing onions and braising the meat (I didn't really, more on that)/cooking down the sauce. Basically, you caramelize onions (I used white onion because I got distracted and burnt the red onion, and them I burnt some white onion, and then I got it right . . .), add veal and curry powder, sear, add cream and simmmer, stir in salt and lemon juice. I had scallopini instead of 1" cubes, so I put it in briefly to sear, then removed it and added it back in later. (Thanks, biondanonima, for your input last night.)

                                                  This was not like curries I've had before, but it was really very tasty, and I would make it again. No heat at all, and not much spice flavor, but the sweetness of the onions and the tang of the lemon really made it, I think. I might use a bit less salt next time. Icould see doing this with other meats, as well.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: juster

                                                    I read that poem but had no idea it had an actual curry connected with it! Clever fun -- sounds good too. The "richest milk" is translated to cream in the recipe, I think I'd stick to whole milk, but that's just a first thought. Thanks for bringing this to our attention!

                                                    1. re: juster

                                                      It sounds like the technique is an Indian one, and that the poem was written based on Thackeray's observation of an Indian woman cooking, so I'm sure it's tasty. In an episode of Supersizers Go they prepare a curry based on the "Indian" food English people were preparing in that era. Basically a stew with curry powder dumped in. Fascinating and hilarious show for anyone interested in food history. I'm not sure which part the curry is in, but here's a link to the episode:

                                                    2. I just made: Kutchi Paneer (p 298), Nutty Cheese in a Spinach-Chickpea Flour Sauce. Why call it "Nutty" when there are no nuts anywhere near the dish?

                                                      I wanted to make a paneer dish tonight, and there were so many great choices. Decision algorithm:
                                                      a) do I have the ingredients (that eliminated lots of recipes, I seem to have run out of black cardamom; don't have red bell peppers or potatoes in the house, etc.);
                                                      b) what will go with yesterday's leftover vengaya avarai (green beans with onions), i.e. avoid onion-based dishes. Tomatoes OK.
                                                      c) didn't want to stand grinding masalas.

                                                      ended up looking at two choices: Paneer Makhani, and Kutchi Paneer. The former is an old favorite, the latter new to me, so I chose that.
                                                      Heated a little oil in my trusty large saucepan; spices were hing, cuminseeds whole, cumin+coriander powder, red chili powder, haldi. Sizzled these spices, added diced green bell pepper, chopped fresh spinach, stirred and sauteed a little, then added tomato (1 can diced, because I didn't have fresh).
                                                      Then when the veggies are almost done, I added paneer. I don't fry the paneer because I use storebought and it is very firm and doesn't need to be fried to hold its shape. Got to skip a step and save some oil.
                                                      [ETA: I added 1 cup water here]. Simmered for a little while, then added salt and a tsp sugar in true Gujarati style. Turned off heat.
                                                      Then added 2T of the bhuna besan (toasted besan) and mixed well. It immediately thickened the sauce, and gave it such a creamy yummy flavor.

                                                      LOVELY LOVELY dish. Simple ingredients, came together really quickly. Tangy flavour with a great combination of vegetables and spices, and the toasted besan added a very luxurious mouthfeel which you have no idea how it is produced.

                                                      Kids and adults loved it. Ate with yesterday's green beans + rice + raita. Great start to the weekend.

                                                      Here's the gem: this dish shows how inventive and delicious cooking with dietary restrictions can be. This dish is in line with Jain and Satvic principles: vegetarian, no onion, no garlic, no root vegetables. It happens to be low carb and gluten free :) and it doesn't use cream, butter, nuts, etc. to produce a rich taste. You can veganize it with cubed super-firm tofu instead of paneer. People who snob on Jain or Satvic cooking or who imagine that nothing edible can be produced without meat, garlic, onions, etc. should try this dish and, in the most delicious way, eat their words!

                                                      I will definitely make this in my next party and smirk when the compliments roll in. Definitely gets away from the stereotype shahi paneer/paneer makhani same old same old.

                                                      I don't know if RI is still reading these threads, but dude: why DON"T you have your own TV show?

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: Rasam

                                                        Sounds like a really interesting gravy.

                                                      2. Having been out of town, I am a little late to the party, but we started off with two dishes tonight, Curried Beef Stew and Sesame-Flavored Green Tomatoes. The latter I will review on the appropriate thread. I chose them because I there were no unusual ingredients and I didn't have to pre-make any pastes or spice blends. Both dishes were delicious.

                                                        The beef stew (pg 172) seemed like a pretty typical curry and I was worried that we wouldn't be too excited by it. It turned out to be quite unique because of the addition of the malt vinegar. I don't even know how to describe it, but I was mopping up every bit of the 'broth' with the naan I picked up at the grocery.

                                                        This probably isn't a weeknight dish because of the hour-plus simmer time, but it was still pretty easy to put together. The Old Man doesn't like cinnamon, but its presence in this dish was very subtle, I think because it was sticks. It had a tangy spiciness that we really enjoyed.

                                                        1. Shrimp with a Peanut-garlic Sauce (Sengdana Lasoon Jhinga) pg. 275

                                                          I was debating between this recipe and the Garlic Shrimp with a Coconut Sauce on page 265, but chose this one because I wouldn't have to clean a blender, and it was similar, but had peanuts. I have mixed feelings.

                                                          It was SUPER fast and easy, and used few ingredients. Big points there. You rub some shrimp with garlic, pound some peanuts, garlic, and peppers in a mortar and fry them, then simmer all of it with coconut milk. Top with cilantro. I had roasted peanuts, so ground them separately and added them toward the end of the saute time, as recommended in a different recipe, so as not to burn them. I also, being chicken, seeded the peppers, and it was pretty mild. If making it again, I would leave maybe half the seeds in and go from there.

                                                          It was tasty. I only used 2/3 of the salt (coarse sea) in the recipe, and I think more would have been too much. It was hard to tell when the shrimp was salmony-orange because of all the turmeric-colored sauce, but no real problem there because I've cooked shrimp before. I had thought it would be sort of sweet because of the peanuts and coconut milk, but it really wasn't (which is okay). It was tasty, but didn't have a lot of depth of flavor. SO will probably try it tomorrow, so only one opinion so far. In short, it was a nice dinner, but I might choose something else next time.

                                                          9 Replies
                                                          1. re: juster

                                                            Are you finding yourself reducing the salt on most of his recipes? I usually cut down the salt on most of the recipes or else it ends up tasting just a bit on the salty side to us.

                                                            I'd encourage you to try this one with all the seeds. It adds a bit of depth and warmth without making the heat overpowering (thanks to the coconut milk).

                                                            1. re: TxnInMtl

                                                              Yes, I wondered too if anyone else was cautious with the salt amounts -- just a little less seems right.

                                                              1. re: blue room

                                                                I've noticed the same thing in the recipes I've tried (lagging behind on the reports-been busy with Thanksgiving weekend). Even with reduced salt amounts, the dishes I've made have been too salty. Nothing a large pile of rice couldn't correct, though.

                                                                1. re: blue room

                                                                  I've noticed the same thing. I find the full amount of salt is just on the verge of being too salty for me. If I cut the salt back a bit (maybe 2/3) everyone is happy.

                                                                  1. re: greeneggsnham

                                                                    I've been reducing the salt too, the results are just right for me, but my Asia born and bred Mr. ends up adding a little salt at the table.....

                                                                  2. re: blue room

                                                                    I've been using just slightly less out of an abundance of caution, but haven't found anything too salty. But the recipes I've tried call for "coarse Kosher salt," and I'm assuming my Crystal brand meets that description. But a teaspoon of Morton Kosher or a non-Kosher is going to add more salt b/c of the smaller crystals/grains.

                                                                    1. re: blue room

                                                                      I've been using the amount called for (although I don't really measure it - I eyeball) and I find that it's generally perfect for me. DH adds a little salt at the table, but he adds salt to everything. The only recipes where I've reduced it are recipes where I know I'm adding an ingredient that already has salt added (like canned beans).

                                                                    2. re: TxnInMtl

                                                                      Yep, the first couple of recipes I tried were too salty for us, so I've been using about 2/3 the suggested amount, like greeneggsnham. The recipes have been turning out nicely that way. Maybe it's an Indian vs. western thing? I've been using coarse baleine sea salt.

                                                                      1. re: juster

                                                                        I reduce the salt with this book too. I think it might be partly a chef thing - I think chefs get used to a higher amount of salt.

                                                                  3. Priyanka's Shrimp, p. 265

                                                                    Another quick curry: heat a skillet with (2 T) canola oil; add red onion (1 large, halved lengthwise and sliced thinly), and cooked, covered, until caramelized but still purple, 10-15 minutes. Then add chile paste (puree of 4 dried guajillos, which have been stemmed and toasted, 1/2 c water, 1 T whole coriander seed, coconut [2 T shredded dried unsweetened rehydrated w/2 T boiling water], 1 tsp. tamarind paste, and 4 garlic cloves), along with 1 lb large shrimp (peeled & deveined) and 1 tsp kosher salt to the onions. Stir a couple of times, cover skillet, and cook curry for a few minutes until the shrimp are pink and curled. Finish with 2 T. chopped cilantro.

                                                                    We weren't crazy about this. The flavors seemed muddy: I wanted lime juice to brighten it, but had no lime so I squeezed some lemon over it. Nah. Then I thought maybe I wanted a bit of sweetness. Not sure what I would do to improve it but it seems like it should/could be very good. More tamarind? More coconut? Also, I think if I were to make this again, before making the paste, I would soak the guajillos for a while to get them very soft (instead of going straight from toasting to blending, as the recipe suggests); there were bits of dry-ish chile and seeds in the dish that I didn't like.

                                                                    We ate this w/Bhutanese red rice, re-warmed naan, and avocado slices. Just OK.

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                      Your suspicion on soaking the guajillos might be it. Do you have left overs? If so, does it taste any better today from the chiles softening from being better re-hydrated? The dish may need some tweaking, but your pic certainly looks good.

                                                                      I like some of the Indo-Mex fusion looking recipes and had wanted to try one as well.I have often used chiles de árbol as the dried red chile in my cooking---I love it tempered in oil where the skin is fried till papery and crunchy, it's so delicious!

                                                                      1. re: luckyfatima

                                                                        No, we ate it all, but I would give this recipe another try (love the ingredients--and the ease of prep), and I'd definitely pre-soak those guajillos. But I'd love to hear how you approach this if you decide to make it.

                                                                    2. Beef with Bell Peppers, Onions, and Mushrooms - p. 171

                                                                      We decided to try a meat CSA basket this month and I was a little dismayed to see that it was mostly beef when it arrived on Thursday given all the Indian cooking I'm trying to do. I picked this recipe, despite it seeming less interesting than some of the others to me, because it didn't require another trip to the store and used up a bell pepper and some mushrooms that were nearing the end of their life spans.

                                                                      I am not a huge fan of more traditional beef stews and this dish reminded me too much of pot roast, so it didn't work as well for me. My bf likes those types of dishes much more, but found it a bit odd to have a bit of heat in the dish when he wasn't expecting it. Both of us, however, liked the mushrooms in the dish quite a bit and couldn't stop ourselves from mopping up the sauce with some bread. The simmering time on this is surprisingly short, so this might be do-able on a weeknight if you started the marinade the night before.

                                                                      To make, the beef is marinated with a bit of coconut milk and turmeric. When you're ready to cook, oil is heated in a skillet and mustard seeds are toasted. Quartered mushrooms, chopped bell pepper, chopped onion, curry leaves, and the beef get dumped into the pan and everything is browned for 15 minutes or so. Water and salt is added to the dish and it's left to simmer for another 20 minutes. Cayenne is stirred in right before serving. The final product has a rather thin broth, so you'll likely want some naan or bread to enjoy it.

                                                                      1. Fenugreek-Scented Cheese with Cream p.292

                                                                        I love fenugreek leaves. The aroma of the little box of dried crumbles is something that cannot be compared to any other spice in its distinct uniqueness. I admit to opening up the container every once in a while just so that I can enjoy its fragrance. Happily, many recipes in this book feature fenugreek, and this surpisingly easy little curry was a great showcase for the fresh herb in my first foray into this book.

                                                                        Cubes of paneer are fried to a golden crispy brown. I used store-bought paneer for the first time; I may save making it at home for special occasions only from now on. It was such a time saver! Cumin seeds are fried in oil until browned, almond slivers are added, then chopped fresh fenugreek and heavy cream is stirred in. Fresh fenugreek doesn't have a potent perfume like the dried leaves--until it is heated. All at once the kitchen is filled with amazing olfactory delights--the sizzling cumin and the fenugreek mixed together are heavenly! The cream (half and half was what I had on hand) bubbles vigorously in the pot and cooks down rather quickly. I had to keep adding liquid lest everything burn. Tomato paste is incorporated into the sauce and the amazing Punjabi garam masala (which I doubled) is sprinkled in along with some salt. I reduced the salt somewhat, though found it to be still too much in the finished dish. The fried paneer cubes are added to the sauce mix and simmered, covered, until soft and spongy.

                                                                        I was happily surprised at the quick and effortless cooking required for this recipe. The family enjoyed it very much. It doesn't make a lot, but it's so rich that it was a perfect amount with a vegetable side (Eggplant with a Tamarind Chile Sauce, p 490). This wasn't as saucy as I was expecting, so I did add some extra water in at the end to loosen things up a bit. I had made rice to go with this, but I think that maybe a naan would be a better partner for both of the semi-dry dishes I served. Either way, I would make this again. A great introduction to the book.

                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                        1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                          I made Paneer Makhani (p 293) with very similar ingredients to the Paneer Methi described above. It was very quick and easy and delicious. I have made Paneer Makhani other times, and the technique involves the usual long drawn out bhuno ing of onions, ginger, garlic, then add lots of different spices, garam masala, etc.

                                                                          This one was so quick and easy. Butter, tomato puree, cumin, red chilli powder (ow, I added too much and had to add more tomato to compensate), salt. Add paneer cubes, Cream, and a little more butter at the end. This is not a dieter's recipe, it is not one of those quick and healthy and delicious ones. It is quick and delicious, but very rich and buttery.

                                                                          Then, add dried fenugreek leaves that have been soaked in boiling water. I didn't see the point of doing it this way. Next time I will just put the dry leaves straight into the simmering sauce the way the previous recipe described, as the end result will be just as good and it's one fiddly step less.

                                                                          OK, how could it not be delicious after all that butter and cream? :) But just those three spices: cumin, red chili powder, kasoori methi - and such magic! That's what I loved here. I could easily make this dish for a party and it turns out as if you have slaved for hours over a stove and it is so quick and easy.

                                                                          Ate with rice, green beans sabzi, chopped veggies/moong sprouts salad, yogurt. Would be great with naan instead of rice, a classic pairing.

                                                                          1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                            Fenugreek-Scented Cheese with Cream p.292

                                                                            I don't have much to add to Allegra's detailed review. I made this last night and we both greatly enjoyed it. The sauce with the fenugreek is outstanding. I used frozen instead of dried. Very quick and easy. I like that if you have everything prepped, the dish comes together in less time than it takes from rice to rest after cooking. I didn't have the same problems Allegra did with things reducing too quickly, but I think I had the gas turned down closer to medium when I started (I'm still getting used to the new gas stove). The sauce was just the right amount for us. Although I wish I had read the suggestion of serving it with naan before I started prepping the rice as I agree that would've been an even better pairing.

                                                                            1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                              Fenugreek-scented cheese with cream - p 292 (methi malai paneer)

                                                                              I was (probably a little bit TOO) excited to unexpectedly find a nice healthy-looking bunch of methi at the specialty shop yesterday where I stopped to buy some pomegranate molasses. Today I decided to have a go at this dish for lunch, since I had a package of paneer in my fridge. Really, I can't add much to Allegra_K's excellent review above. This dish is fan-fricking-tastic. It's quick, it's easy, and it's extremely tasty.

                                                                              IMO, there really isn't enough liquid in the dish to serve this with rice (which I did, because I didn't have any Indian-style bread available) so next time I think I would double the cream and tomato paste. We like our curries saucy around here. I found that what little sauce I was able to pour onto each serving soaked into the rice far too quickly.

                                                                            2. Chile-Smothered Pork with Vinegar (Pork Vindaloo version 3) on page 229.

                                                                              This was dinner tonight, along with Sweet Pineapple with Coconut Milk and Coffee from page 645, Cinnamon-flavored black eyed peas, pg. 323, and Nutty Rice with Cashews, Almonds and Fresh Mint on page 712.

                                                                              This recipe has you make a quick marinade of vinegar, garlic, ginger, dry red chiles, cumin cinnamon, turmeric and salt. Whiz it all in a blender and pour it over 1" cubes of pork. Marinate a couple of hours or overnight (I went for two hours, as I thought overnight might degrade the meat, given the amount of vinegar in the marinade). Heat some oil in a skillet and dump the whole mess in. Cook until the meat begins to sear and brown (this takes a while due to all the liquid in the marinade - 10-12 mins), then add some water and simmer until the meat is tender. Garnish with cilantro and serve.

                                                                              I am generally a fan of vindaloo but I've never made it myself before, and this recipe just seemed to be missing something. It was quite spicy, but I found it rather one-note flavorwise - just heat and vinegar. I subbed lamb for pork, and that might have been part of the problem - the lamb was leg meat and quite lean, so it didn't add the same flavor that a fatty cut of pork shoulder would have (although the recipe calls for loin, which is very lean). My lamb was also rather tough, but that's to be expected when braising a lean cut. This was fine, and tasted quite good with the rice, but it was just missing something for me - I'd add some onion paste for depth and sweetness next time, and maybe some pureed nuts to give the sauce some body. Interestingly, Mr. Bionda didn't think it was tangy enough and would have added some lime juice, and said that the lamb flavor was quite pronounced whereas I thought it was muted.

                                                                              So, this wasn't an unqualified success, but there are several other vindaloo recipes in the book - I'm sure I'll find one I like before the month is out!

                                                                              1. Shrimp with Cashew Nuts and Vinegar (Jhinga Vindaloo) p.274

                                                                                Repeatable, for both ease and a flavor we liked very much! I couldn't find raw cashews, so I ground up the kind you snack on, already salted. The nuts are combined with vinegar, coriander, cumin, cayenne, and turmeric for a marinade. Just 15 minutes later you are searing the shrimp for a bit, and letting them cook through in reserved marinade. Really good tangy good stuff.

                                                                                My little glass and plastic nut grinder makes little chunks, not a powder or paste. That's good for cakes etc. usually, but for this dish I should have made the effort to get the cashews pulverized -- it would have made a better coating for searing the shrimp.

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. Lamb stew with a spinach sauce (Palak gosht) p.196

                                                                                  I'm getting into these Indian greens though this time I stuck with spinach rather than subbing kale. Icelandic lamb is here for its very brief season so I'm making the most of it. The cubed meat was marinated in yogurt for a few hours which apparently makes for a curdle-free sauce. Making fresh masalas really gives a great flavor boost to these curries - it will be interesting to see whether the same is true using the same spice mix after a few weeks. The wilted spinach and browned lamb cook in a blended sauce of browned onions, garlic, ginger, tomato paste and the masala. The prep time was pretty quick and the last 30 mins cooking needed no supervision beyond an occasional stir so a good every-night dinner.

                                                                                  7 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: JaneEYB

                                                                                    Lamb Stew with a Spinach Sauce (Palak Gosht) Pg. 196

                                                                                    I am having pretty good luck with lamb recipes in this book as this dish was another winner. My previous endeavour with lamb was the "Lamb Curry with Sweet Onion Tomato Sauce" from Pg. 196 which we really loved, but the Palak Gosht is definitely giving the sweet onion version a run for its money. I just polished off the leftovers for lunch today and it was just as satisfying.

                                                                                    Jane did a great job of explaining the general technique above. My only note would be that I was worried the lamb would not sear in the first step because of the amount of liquid my yogurt and lamb had at first let off. No need to have worried however since the at about the 9 minute mark the liquid had dissipated and the lamb began to brown and create a fond in the last few minutes. RI also suggests that you add the spinach a little at a time and I found this quite wise since it essentially allows you to control the amount of moisture in the dish so that your lamb continues to cook without steaming too much.

                                                                                    The kicker of course is the masala, the sauteed onion and ginger when combined with the Bin Bhuna (sp?) masala makes for a beautiful burnt orange paste that is extremely flavourful and a perfect compliment to the earthiness of the lamb and spinach. There are slight elements of orange fragrance from the coriander, and some heat from the chilies, while the green cardamom, pepper, and cloves are more of a background note, even the cumin is slightly subtle in this blend. It is warming without being fiery, super fragrant, and just right with the onion blend.

                                                                                    I would definitely make it again as it is quick and flavourful, plus you are after all adding a lot of nutrients with all that leafy spinach goodness.

                                                                                    1. re: JaneEYB

                                                                                      Lamb Stew with a Spinach Sauce (Palak Gosht), p. 196

                                                                                      Another thumbs up for this lamb curry.

                                                                                      My husband always orders a similar lamb dish at restaurants so he was delighted when I told him I was making this for a dinner for guests. More importantly, he, the guests, and I were delighted with the result.

                                                                                      As JaneEYB and delys77 have already covered this, I don't have much to add except to say that it took me a good bit longer than the suggested 8-10 minutes to brown my onions, more like 20-25. I cubed my lamb and put it to marinate in the early morning, but put together the rest of the dish rather quickly in the hour or so before my guests arrived and let it cook while we nibbled on pakoras.

                                                                                      This was delicious, warmly spicy, slightly creamy. (I thought I had taken a photo, but apparently not. I'm relieved that mine looked very much like delys77's.)

                                                                                      1. re: JaneEYB

                                                                                        I made Palak gosht p. 196 tonight, with some substantial changes. I was actually looking for a beef recipe, and I was considering Nariyal Palak Gosht on pg. 177 when I remembered the glowing reviews for the one on pg. 196. Anyway, in comparing the two it seemed to me that the one on 196 was more what I was looking for (the one on 177 is spiced only with turmeric and cayenne, has no onions and calls for a bit of tamarind and quite a bit of coconut stirred in at the end - probably tasty, but not what I was after), so I went with pg. 196, made with beef chuck instead of lamb.

                                                                                        Additionally, Mr. Bionda hates spinach, so I subbed in a 12 oz. package of frozen methi leaves. I was too lazy to make the Bin Bhuna garam masala, so I subbed a standard commercial blend, and added a teaspoon of cayenne for a little heat.

                                                                                        The verdict? Simply DELICIOUS. I just had seconds and am typing this to keep myself from going back for thirds. The sauce is incredibly rich and complex and I love the flavor of the methi - as much as I adore spinach, I think this is much more interesting. Maybe my favorite recipe from the book so far. I served it with an improvised rice seasoned with curry leaves, mustard seeds and slivered almonds. I will make this again and again (especially if DH likes it - his verdict will come in later if there's any left for him when he gets home!).

                                                                                        1. re: biondanonima

                                                                                          Your version sounds really good, Biondanonima. I bet I would like it better than the dish as written in the book, and it sounds really easy made with beef stew meat, commercial curry blend and frozen methi. I'm going to make a note of your changes in EYB so I can give your version a try.

                                                                                        2. re: JaneEYB

                                                                                          Lamb Stew with a Spinach Sauce (Palak Gosht) p. 196

                                                                                          I made this a few nights ago, but unlike the other posters, I thought it was just good enough, not great. Somehow the sauce tasted a bit one-note to me. Some of it was the masala - it had too much cloves for my taste. And some of it may have been user error. I had great difficulty figuring out how much ginger to add, as my little lump of ginger was nowhere near the proportions he specified for his slices. I wished he had given a weight or volume measurement. In the end I just chopped up what I had - it looked like a 1 to 1 ratio between ginger and garlic, which may have been too much ginger. My other, larger, problem is that my onions did not brown in the time specified. I let them go as long as possible, but eventually my ginger and garlic were getting close to burning, yet my onions were still far from brown. I think properly browned onions would have contributed much to the flavor of the sauce. In future I will follow my usual practice and add the ginger and garlic when the onions are almost done, instead of all together in the beginning. That said, the dish certainly wasn't bad and my toddler and baby have been having the leftovers for lunch all week. I served it with buttered basmati rice and plain full fat yogurt and thought the extra dairy improved the dish.

                                                                                          1. re: JaneEYB

                                                                                            I have some stew lamb meat in the freezer and some spinach begging to be used up. Wonder how this will turn out if I adopted & cooked this recipe in the crock? any ideas anyone?

                                                                                            1. re: Chowshok

                                                                                              I think it would work fine - I feel that a lot of the beef and lamb recipes in this book could benefit from a longer braise in any case. I would probably make the blended sauce with the onions and such, and braise the meat in that, then add the spinach and yogurt only at the end of cooking.

                                                                                          2. Tonight we made Hearty Lamb with yellow split peas "Chana dal gosht" located on page 197. This one has a sumptuous array of spicy flavors and fills the kitchen with aroma, maybe even inducing a "curry cough" as my wife put it. I wish I could bottle that aroma. With such a long list of ingredients, how could we have run out of the easiest to find, cilantro?

                                                                                            A tip - you'll find two types of bay leaves (pictured here) at the market. The one with one vein is the traditional bay leaf we see in America , and the one with three veins is the leaf of the cinnamon tree - to me that is the one you want for many of these dishes.

                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: SplendidMonkey

                                                                                              The bay leaves I buy from the Indian store resemble the one on the left. I've never seen cinnamon tree leaves before.

                                                                                              1. re: boogiebaby

                                                                                                I never knew about the cinnamon leaf, I discovered by accident I had two bags of "bay leaves" that were obviously different species :)

                                                                                                Wikipedia clears it up a bit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bay_leaf

                                                                                              2. re: SplendidMonkey

                                                                                                great picture of the indian vs the laurel "bay". many thanks.

                                                                                              3. Toasted Tamarind-Rubbed Shrimp with a Coconut-Ginger Sauce, p. 262

                                                                                                Because I didn't have the dried tamarind called for, which becomes part of the spice rub for the
                                                                                                shrimp, mine weren't actually tamarind-rubbed. I did add tamarind concentrate to the sauce in hopes of getting the generally correct flavor. Whether or not I achieved that I can't say, but the results were delicious.

                                                                                                There are a few steps to the recipe. First, coriander seeds, dried red chiles, rock salt (I used
                                                                                                coarse sea salt and only half the amount), and the dried tamarind I didn't have are toasted and
                                                                                                ground finely, then rubbed on the shrimp along with minced garlic. For the sauce, coconut
                                                                                                (reconstituted dried for me) and ginger slices are stirred in oil until the coconut gets toasty,
                                                                                                cilantro is stirred in, and the pan is deglazed with water. It's then blended (I used mini FP bowl).
                                                                                                The shrimp are seared, then the sauce (to which I added a tablespoon of tamarind concentrate) is added and the shrimp are stirred until done.

                                                                                                By the time the shrimp were done, there wasn't any sauce to speak of, just the shrimp, coated with the moist coconut and seasonings. This was really, really good - sweet shrimp contrasted with toasty/sweet coconut and plenty of spice and heat. In the future, I would probably forgo the blender step if again using rehydrated coconut, as the kind I buy is pretty finely shredded and didn't really break down any more in the FP; I'd just mince up the ginger and cilantro to begin with. And I'll look for some dried tamarind so I can try it as intended. 

                                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                  I've got this one bookmarked - sounds delicious! Do you think it would work with chicken (thighs cut into shrimp-sized pieces, maybe)? My husband isn't a huge fan of shrimp and therefore I usually don't bother spending the money on it for him, LOL!

                                                                                                  1. re: biondanonima

                                                                                                    Sure, why not try it? You'd have to adjust the cooking time, obviously, but would probably only want to throw in the sauce mixture for the last few minutes as in the recipe because the liquid cooked away right off, for me.

                                                                                                  2. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                    Those sound really good, Caitlin. What kind of dried red chiles did you use?

                                                                                                    1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                      I used chiles de arbol, as I've seen several references suggesting them as a good sub for dried cayennes.

                                                                                                  3. Tender Braised Lamb with Turnips and Mint/Shalgam Gosht p. 198-199

                                                                                                    I had wanted to go out of my comfort zone with a recipe instead of just trying a new version of things I make already, but a man from the farmer's market near to work came and dropped off some beautiful turnips and I couldn't resist taking a few bushels of free organic turnips---small and sweet as described in the intro to this dish. So I ended up making this recipe. My usual shaljam gosht has similar ingredients but different steps, and no mint or cilantro added during the simmering, so this Kashmiri inspired dish was actually very different for us in the end.

                                                                                                    I used bone in goat, not lamb. Also, naughty me, I didn't make the bin bhuna garam masala, I just used my homemade garam masala (actually I did that for all the other recipes, too.) Oh, and a final major deviation from the recipe, I had no cilantro at home so I just omitted it.

                                                                                                    The recipe begins with the frying of peeled cubed turnips. I had never fried turnips before, I usually just stick them in the stew or the masala. This gave them a golden color, especially around the edges, but truthfully I didn't notice a major difference from frying, so if I made this recipe again, I probably won't fry them.

                                                                                                    One then fries ginger, garlic, and onions. I just fried ginger and garlic and added in some home made pre-fried crushed onions into the oil before pouring in a cup of water. Then this mixture gets whirred in the blender.

                                                                                                    Next I braised the mutton with 4 pieces of black cardamom. I thought 4 would be too strong, but it wasn't so when the dish was finished. When the meat browns, one adds in the mixture from the blender, salt (I did NOT add two teaspoons as instructed, I like salty food but that sounded like too much, may have used about 1.5 tsps), and the powdered garam masala. I added a little bit more water to cook this till tender because I cooked it for a good 50 minutes since it was goat.

                                                                                                    While the meat cooks till tender, one is supposed to pound fresh mint and whole dried red chiles together, then slowly work chopped tomatoes into this mixture. This is later added to the dish. I was using roughly pureed tomatoes that I keep in the fridge, so I only pounded the mint and red chile together in my mortar and pestle. That took a long time and the chiles and mint did not break down very well. It wasn't overt in the stew though in any way than in flavor. So then I added in this pounded paste and the tomatoes into the stew, added in the turnips, and simmered for 30 more minutes.

                                                                                                    This would be a very different dish with cilantro, I am sure. I regret not having any on hand. But the dish was actually quite good. The chiles made it spicy. It wasn't too minty, but there was a subtle mint flavor coming through from the cooked mint.

                                                                                                    My kids really liked this dish despite the spiciness.

                                                                                                    Edit: I forgot to say that when I was pounding away at my masala paste, a chile flake flew out of the mortar and hit me in the eye. Must be careful about that next time. Not fun.

                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: luckyfatima

                                                                                                      That looks so pretty. I love goat stewed with turnips, shall definitely have to look at this one more closely.

                                                                                                      1. re: luckyfatima

                                                                                                        Tender Braised Lamb w/ Turnips

                                                                                                        Well, I really wanted to make this with goat meat, but me and everyone else at the halal butcher wanted goat meat, and that was the one thing he didn't have. So, lamb it was.

                                                                                                        I took a page from luckyfatima's book, and cooked the meat bone in. And, since it was a Kashmiri recipe, I couldn't see why not to use Kashmiri peppers rather than the called for cayenne or Thai, so I did. Finally, reading about luckyfatima's struggles with the paste pounding, I decided to take evasive action; ground my dried chili peppers in the spice grinder before adding them to the mortar and pestle, then added the mint leaf plus a 1/2 teaspoon k. salt (I reduced the total salt in the dish to 1 tsp, half in the paste and half in the meat braise), the paste came together quickly and easily and I had no real trouble incorporating the tomato. Otherwise I followed the original recipe,

                                                                                                        I have no idea if these changes effected the end result, but they sure made the cooking easier, and we both absolutely loved this dish. Made with the lamb it is a rich dish, and we have plenty left-over, which I am already looking forward to! And I can't wait to try making it with goat. In other words, this one is a definite keeper.

                                                                                                      2. Aromatic Beef Stew with Mustard Greens, Fenugreek, and Mint - p. 173

                                                                                                        I was having a bad day when I made this and had low expectations for the dish. They were lowered even further when I pulled the greens out of the fridge and discovered they were well past their prime and worked going to be usable (oops!). Not having anything on hand to substitute for the mustard greens and not wanting to run to the store, I decided to proceed anyways. I was pleasantly surprised by the final dish. The beef was tender and the flavor from the fenugreek and herbs was wonderful. I'm certain it would be even better with mustard greens.

                                                                                                        To make, beef is marinated with ginger paste, garlic paste, and salt. I marinated for 5 or 6 hours. In a wok or cast-iron skillet (I opted for wok), oil is heated and the beef and fresh green chiles are seared. Mustard greens and fenugreek leaves are then added and cooked until the greens are wilted and the wok is deglazed. I cooked for a slightly shorter period of time due to the lack of greens. Water is then added, heat reduced, covered, and allowed to simmer until the beef is tender. I messed up here and should've added a bit more water to compensate for the lack of greens because all of my water simmered off well before the 15 minutes were up. Luckily, the dish was fine. Stir in chopped mint and cilantro and serve.

                                                                                                        I served with the saffron-laced rice recommended by the book and it worked well together. Is it just me or has EYB updated these entries to now also include the accompaniments? I don't remember seeing those before on these recipes but the feature is very much appreciated! I expected this dish to be more stew-like, but for me the liquid all evaporated and I was left with meat, greens, and no sauce. In my case, I don't think this was a bad thing at all. This was a good dish, but I still find myself wishing our meat CSA had given us more lamb and less beef to work with this month!

                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: TxnInMtl

                                                                                                          JaneEYB has been hard at work updating this book for us COTM'ers.

                                                                                                          1. re: TxnInMtl

                                                                                                            Have you considered subbing beef for some of the lamb recipes?

                                                                                                            1. re: sarahcooks

                                                                                                              I think it's more likely some lamb may sneak its way home with me from the farmer's market today.

                                                                                                          2. Whole-milk Cheese (Doodh Paneer), pg. 286

                                                                                                            I needed some paneer for a recipe, and was going to buy some frozen at the Indian grocery, but it was so expensive! Like RI says, this was super simple. Not much to report. First -- DO NOT strain this through a blue t-shirt if you can't find your cheesecloth or a non-flaky tea towel! Fortunately, the dye remained on the surface, so I was able to scrape it off. :) Other than that, it went well, except it didn't get as firm as I think it should have by the time I needed it for my recipe. I took out what I needed and smashed it in my hands between paper towels. That removed more water, but it still broke apart/melted quite a bit when I used it. What's in the fridge now is pretty firm, but still not quite where it would make neat cubes. I'll strain it for longer next time (I think I did 3-1/2 hours or so).

                                                                                                            Really, folks -- try making this! So so easy, hardly any hands-on time involved, very tasty, and much less expensive than the store-bought stuff. . I keep nibbling it out of the dish, and I can think of plenty ways to use it besides Indian recipes, even. RI mentioned that it can be a little chalky, but it doesn't seem like that to me. Does anybody ever stir flavorings into the milk before it sets? I'm picturing saffron or something. Can you sweeten it?

                                                                                                            6 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: juster

                                                                                                              It's normal for homemade pure milk paneer to not form perfect cubes and be a bit soft and crumbly. The softness is a very desirable quality.

                                                                                                              I have stirred honey, nuts and raisins into paneer before it sets. You could also do za'atar, or any number of options, and just eat it with bread. Very versatile substance.

                                                                                                              1. re: luckyfatima

                                                                                                                Thanks; good to know about the consistency. I did Iike how it got a little melty.

                                                                                                                Zaatar sounds lovely! So gonna try that.

                                                                                                              2. re: juster

                                                                                                                Whole-Milk Cheese (Doogh Paneer) p. 286 half recipe


                                                                                                                I made cheese! I couldn’t believe how easy this was. Milk is brought to a boil and then distilled white vinegar is mixed in. When the cheese separates from the whey, the cheese is placed in a lined colander. I used butter muslin and my wooden tofu press. Weigh down the cheese (I used cans) to press out the water for 3-5 hours (5 hours for me). The process was very similar to making tofu, but easier since you don’t have to make the milk.

                                                                                                                1. re: BigSal

                                                                                                                  Glad you had fun doing this! Me too -- but it uses a *lot* of milk, doesn't it?

                                                                                                                  1. re: blue room

                                                                                                                    Yes, it is surprising to see how much milk it takes to make cheese.

                                                                                                                2. re: juster

                                                                                                                  I made Doodh Paneer (pg. 286) today as well, in preparation for making Saag Paneer. I make ricotta cheese using the heat+acid method pretty regularly so I was no stranger to this process. This is even easier, though - with ricotta you have to be careful with the temperature because it gets rubbery if it gets too hot, but with this you just boil and add acid. Anyway, I pressed mine for about 5 hours and it was plenty firm to cube up, no problems. I found it a little bland, so I would probably add some salt next time.

                                                                                                                3. Red Snapper in a Smoky-tart Coconut Milk Sauce (Meen Kudampuli), pg. 247

                                                                                                                  This wasn't a winner for me. RI describes it as one that stands out as a top five for him. The kudampuli only came in a giant bag, and the recipe uses only one (there were hundreds in there), so I opted for the tamarind paste/liquid smoke combo mentioned as a substitute. I wonder if that was what made the difference. To us, this was pretty bland, not tangy or smoky, and very creamy (and I like creamy, but this was too much). Not a lot of flavor or aroma. The onions were nice.

                                                                                                                  It wasn't difficult, and the prep wasn't too bad. I didn't have that much garlic or ginger on hand, so I didn't make the actual pastes, but used a microplane and got a pretty smooth puree from that. Is that reasonable, you guys think? Anyway, you mix those with coriander, cayenne, turmeric, water. Fry fenugreek quickly, add chopped garlic for a minute, then the spice slurry, cook down for a few minutes. Add kudampuli liquid (from soaking it in hot water and squeezing it), water, salt, curry leaves, shallots, ginger, chiles. Deglaze, boil, add fish and poach. Add coconut milk and baste till fish is cook and sauce is thickened.

                                                                                                                  I guess I could add more of some of the aromatics and use real kudampuli, but I think I'll just try another dish instead, unless someone else tries this with better results.

                                                                                                                  9 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: juster

                                                                                                                    I haven't tried this one but in another using kudampuli (lamb p212) I subbed chipotle (smoked jalepeno) for some of the chilies to get the smokey flavor. I remember it was pretty good.

                                                                                                                    1. re: SplendidMonkey

                                                                                                                      Good idea. However, I keep running across the kudampuli, so I'm going to check the price tomorrow and consider getting some. Will try chipotle, with a little tamarind, if I don't.

                                                                                                                      1. re: juster

                                                                                                                        I was greeted with blank faces when I asked about kudampuli in several Indian stores. I eventually founds something I thought might be it in a Sri Lankan-run shop - it was labelled "Kerala Tamarind" and was relatively cheap. Some googling revealed that's another name for kudampuli. I'll buy some next time I'm in that area.

                                                                                                                        1. re: greedygirl


                                                                                                                          It's great that you tracked kudampuli down.

                                                                                                                          Kudampuli is a Malayalam language word (=the language of Kerala state and of the Malayali people). Thus, this is a very regional word and unless the shop you visited is run by Malayalis they won't understand you and may not carry the ingredient. Since Sri Lanka is near to Kerala, it makes sense that you found this in a SL store.

                                                                                                                          Kudampuli is Garcinia Cambogia (scientific name). Another variety is called Kokum (Garcinia Indica) which is used further north along India's western coastal strip (Konkan / Goa, etc.) The names of these two are sometimes confused, but apparently they are not interchangeable in recipes.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Rasam

                                                                                                                            I found kokum easily. In the glossary, RI says there's another name for kudampuli, but I forget what it is and am at work atm. I suspect the majority of the shops in my area are run by Pakistanis/Punjabis.

                                                                                                                            1. re: Rasam

                                                                                                                              Thanks for the hints on other names. I have kokum and it's definitely not smoked, but it does have an interesting flavor.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Rasam

                                                                                                                                This is what I discovered, too. I saw kokum in my new little Indian store and the clerk kindly looked it up for me on the internet and said they were the same. I didn't get it because the package was so large, then found out the truth when I got home. Will have a look again there and at another place to see if I can find the real thing. (doubt it, but worth a shot)

                                                                                                                                1. re: juster

                                                                                                                                  I see that the stores carry wet and dry kokum. Which would be the one typically used, or are they interchangeable?

                                                                                                                                  1. re: juster

                                                                                                                                    They really aren't the same, but many people think they are. 660 Curries gives info on them in the back of the book...don't have the book on me, but I think he gives the binomial names, which are not the same.

                                                                                                                        2. Yogurt-Marinated Lamb with Ginger and Garlic, page 214
                                                                                                                          Roghan Josh

                                                                                                                          Let me say, we loved this dish! I thought I had made this before from either the Jaffrey or Sahni books during that COTM, but a quick review indicate that I hadn't. My primary dining companion gave this an A+ and encourages me to make this anytime I want to. Of note, if you have the meat marinating and the masala, garlic paste and ginger already made, this is a very quick dish. About 45 minutes start to finish, which isn't bad for a meat curry.

                                                                                                                          I started by draining the yogurt to thicken. Then moved onto making the masala. This curry uses the Bin bhuna hua garam masala which is the first untoasted masala I have ever made. I had to substitute regular cumin for the black, and cayenne for the dried red Thai chiles. Just didn't want to leave the house on a weekend to shop.

                                                                                                                          You also need to have some garlic paste and ginger paste. Trim up your lamb and marinate in yogurt, ginger paste, garlic paste, some of the masala and salt. He suggests at least an hour, up to overnight. My meat marinated for about three hours. I used shoulder; the last package of last year's lamb.

                                                                                                                          To assemble the dish, some ghee is warmed and spices toasted. Add some onion and cook until browned. Then add the lamb. His instructions said to cook until the meat absorbs the yogurt. Since I only had 8oz of meat, this didn't take the full 15 minutes. Then tomato paste, cayenne, paprika, and water are added. Since I used shoulder, I needed a bit longer than 15 minutes to soften the meat.

                                                                                                                          So, even though I had 1/3 of the required meat, I only reduced the other ingredients in half. We wanted a bit more sauce than this dish would have traditionally. In the future, I will skim a bit of the ghee off the curry before serving since you can see there is a bit too much in the finished dish.

                                                                                                                          I served this curry with basmati rice, Sahni's Everyday Dal, and a bit of naan. A total winner in this house!

                                                                                                                          13 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                            Yogurt-Marinated Lamb with Ginger and Garlic (Roghan Josh) p. 214

                                                                                                                            I thought Imt Idian cooking was over for the month, but based on some of the reviews, there were a few recipes that I felt I needed to try. This is one of them.

                                                                                                                            Bold, spicy and delicious. Both of us agreed that we would gladly eat this again. We ate this with brown rice which helped temper the spice of the kashmiri chiles.

                                                                                                                            1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                              Yogurt-Marinated Lamb with Ginger and Garlic, page 214

                                                                                                                              Just echoing the glowing reviews of the two other posters. I served this to a friend who lived in India for 6 months for work and he raved about it. I used 1 lb of lamb stewing meat and kept the rest of the amounts the same for the recipe. I did simmer it for closer to an hour because I started the dish too early. Served with the black cardamom scented rice in the book.

                                                                                                                              1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                Yogurt-marinated Lamb with Ginger & Garlic--Rohan Josh

                                                                                                                                It 's taken me three weeks to get back and report on this curry, my first, but I wanted to add my strong recommendation. This is great.

                                                                                                                                Madame Ex assisted by making the pastes and the masala while the yogurt drained. I cut up the lamb steaks and marinated the meat 4 or 5 hours. After that the recipe went very quickly as others have said.

                                                                                                                                We had this with rice, sautéed spinach, and so so naan bought at Whole Foods. We loved this so much I made it again last night and had basically the same meal, but skipped the naan.

                                                                                                                                Funny because we used to go to an Indian restaurant and always had the same waiter. He always recommended the "Roghan Josh", but I never once ordered it because I had a favorite dish there and frankly the Roghan Josh didn't sound that interesting. But if it was anything like this dish, I was dead wrong.

                                                                                                                                1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                  Yogurt-Marinated Lamb with Ginger and Garlic (Roghan Josh), p. 214

                                                                                                                                  My go-to lamb curry (not that there are that many in my repertoire) has been a Madhur Jaffrey Roghan Josh for some time now, so after the glowing reviews here, I really wanted to try this one.

                                                                                                                                  Verdict: excellent (especially after an evening of handing out treats to all the little goblins). I marinated the lamb all day after getting everything ready this morning, and it all went together very quickly tonight. We had this with spiced basmati rice and my very favorite eggplant dish (also a Madhur Jaffrey recipe) and naan. My husband mentioned that the RJ was a little "sweet"--maybe the cinnamon?--but he had no problem eating a few servings.

                                                                                                                                  I still have a few recipes marked, so i'll be continuing w/ this book for a little while yet.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                    ncw, what is your favorite eggplant dish?

                                                                                                                                    1. re: BigSal

                                                                                                                                      "The Lake Palace Hotel's Eggplant Cooked in the Pickling Style" from Jaffrey's "Indian Cooking" (p. 136)


                                                                                                                                      Even people who say they don't care for Indian food like this dish. It is great at room temp or cold. I love making sandwiches from it. It's also a great picnic dish. I love it.
                                                                                                                                      BTW, I agree with the note in the linked recipe: I start with a little oil and add more as needed. I like grapeseed for its high smoke point when frying eggplant this way.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                        That is MY favorite as well. What a fabulous set of flavors and textures.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                          Thank you. I will have to try this. You also introduced me to another Jaffrey dish a couple years ago. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6786...

                                                                                                                                          1. re: BigSal

                                                                                                                                            I make that all the time, Big Sal, and often alongside the eggplant--sort of hilarious that I said almost the same things about the lentils as I did about the eggplant. But they're true. : )

                                                                                                                                            1. re: nomadchowwoman


                                                                                                                                              I made the eggplant dish today (half a recipe). Finally, another recipe to use up my nigella seeds. I was planning on eating the leftovers tomorrow, but I kept snacking on them until they were gone. I also made Jaffrey's lentils with garlic and onion.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: BigSal

                                                                                                                                                Hope you liked it BigSal. I made the lentils last week for a las- minute side to a store-bought (sigh--so little time for cooking lately!) roast chicken. I never tire of those.

                                                                                                                                      2. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                        Which of the two versions of the Roghan Josh do you enjoy the most?

                                                                                                                                        1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                          Hmmm. Well, I haven't made the Jaffrey RJ since last Jan-Feb, and I currently have a cold which is dulling my tastebuds. My husband suggested he preferred slightly the Jaffrey version I didn't taste the "sweet" my husband described, but could taste more heat in this; I was eyeballing my measurements and I may have been a little heavy-handed with the cayenne (I had no Kashmir chiles so had to do the cayenne-paprika blend). it was just what I wanted last night, and I thought it was delicious.

                                                                                                                                          This looked very much like Jaffrey's, but her technique is slightly--the yogurt is added in the end, but curdling never seemed to be much of a problem.

                                                                                                                                          I would say they are both delicious, and I think I need to make the other version soon so I can do a better comparison. Some help I am!

                                                                                                                                    2. Goan-Style Spicy Pork Sausage with Kidney Beans and Black-eyed Peas (Feijoada) p. 232

                                                                                                                                      This is my favorite chili-like dish since discovering it in 660 Curries a couple years ago. Chili on steroids if you will. The blended vinegar-chili mix is incredibly aromatic. The onions stewed in this sauce keep their shape and have a wonderful tangy bite in the final curry. Almost any sausage will work well, but the spicier the better. Tonight I used hot Italian sausage links. I had a can of kidney beans on hand which I combined with fresh-cooked black eyed peas (1/2 cup dry, soaked for 3 hours, pressure cooked for 15 minutes with a pinch of salt). The chilies I used were cayenne and byadgi, the byadgi are very flavorful and milder than cayenne. Rinse the blender jar with the 1/2 cup water used later in the recipe so none of the pungent mix is wasted. Served over Turmeric Trail Cumin Scented Rice, this is a wonderful fall dish.

                                                                                                                                      1. Lamb Curry in Sweet Onion Tomato Sauce (Pyaaz Tamatar Gosht) Pg. 190

                                                                                                                                        In a word, delicious!

                                                                                                                                        I was a little dubious of the marinating process as essentially you rub the spice blend on to the cubed lamb and let it rest in the fridge for 30 minutes or so. Typically I always expect some sort of tenderizing component to a marinade, and since the lamb was going to be seared I was worried it would be a little tough. My fears were unfounded however as the finished dish yielded succulent pieces of lamb in a richly spiced sauce.
                                                                                                                                        What I really like about this curry is that it has the unmistakeable smokiness of the black cardamon. RI says you can sub out for green cardamom, but I found the black cardamom made for a very appealing flavour, just slightly smoky. Also, eventhough the leg was relatively lean cut and the curry calls for just a little oil, the finished dish had a rich and unctuous flavour from the onion paste and tomato sauce.
                                                                                                                                        A real winner this one!

                                                                                                                                        18 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: delys77

                                                                                                                                            I like your little karhai serving dish :)

                                                                                                                                            1. re: luckyfatima

                                                                                                                                              Thanks luckyfatima, I bought some cheap one's at Spencer's Grocery while in India but this one we bought at a market in Panaji I wish I had brought back more.

                                                                                                                                            2. re: delys77

                                                                                                                                              Looks delicious. This one is Has been on the list all month. Your picture is tempting me to move it up!

                                                                                                                                              1. re: delys77

                                                                                                                                                Lamb Curry in a Sweet Onion Tomato SAuce, page 190

                                                                                                                                                I agree with delys77's assessment, delicious indeed. And surprisingly easy! Trimming and cubing the lamb was the most time consuming part. Once my lamb cubes were all trimmed up, I mixed the spices, ginger and garlic early in the day and tossed them with the lamb in a big Ziplock. Then, when it was time for dinner, ou just heat up some oil, toast your black cardamom and bay leaves and then sear the lamb cubes. Add tomato sauce, fried onion paste, put a cover on and simmer for 45 minutes until fork tender. Very easy! And the flavor is very rich and complex with the spices and onion paste. Which reminds me, I used the last of my first batch of onion paste to make this dish. Have to buy another big bag of red onions, because I feel an emptiness in my refrigerator where that onion paste should be--- that is some awesome stuff!

                                                                                                                                                1. re: greeneggsnham

                                                                                                                                                  hmm.. wondering if i can get away by using the slow cooker to make this onion paste!! any ideas folks??

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Chowshok

                                                                                                                                                    I'm not sure. I've never made caramelized onions in the slow cooker, although I know some people do. One thing I noticed about these onions is how much they reduce in volume, plus I did get some browned crispy edges which contribute to the flavor. I would think you would miss out on a lot of the browning in the slow cooker, plus would prob not get the same concentration of flavor.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: greeneggsnham

                                                                                                                                                      Thanks greeneggsnham for your feedback. I was thinking of using the slow cooker as a shortcut as a lot of the recipes do call for the fried onion paste, and could use the SC to help me make a big batch. my thought process initiated from another thread where they start cooking onions for the French Onion soup in the SC.
                                                                                                                                                      Thinking more about it, maybe cook the onions in the SC till they break down, then saute to them caramalize them in a pan? I know too many pots, but maybe worth it?

                                                                                                                                                2. re: delys77

                                                                                                                                                  I have my lamb shoulder defrosting so we can have this for dinner tomorrow night. Any suggestions as to what to serve with this? Especially interested in a dal recommendation.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                                    Hi smtucker,

                                                                                                                                                    I hope you like this dish as much as we did! I served this with the Perfumed Basmati Rice with Black Cardamom Pods, page 709, naan (frozen from TJ's) and roasted green beans with a little ghee drizzled on them. I thought the rice was a nice echo of the black cardamom and bay leaves in the lamb dish. I was trying to minimize time in the kitchen so went with a simple vege.

                                                                                                                                                    In terms of a dal recommendation... my first few attempts at menu building with this book were kind of frustrating because although each individual dish was great, often they didn't meld well together. Particularly, my first couple of meals had chicken dishes and dals which just didn't "go" together. Rasam made a comment which was sort of an aha moment for me...


                                                                                                                                                    I understood this to mean that a dal and a protein dish would be less likely to be served together (like serving two main courses). Since then, I have gone with more simple sides. That being said, I understand the desire to make one of these delicious dals while your in the kitchen with your Indian spices. On that front, I am totally useless in recommending a match. One of the things that I have really enjoyed about this book, particularly the dals is how unexpected the final results have been for me. Most cookbooks, I feel like I can read a recipe and get a pretty good idea about what it's going to taste like. It may be better or worse than my expectation, but it's usually not too far off base form what I imagine. With the legume recipes in this book, I find I am really not able to imagine well what things will taste like before making the recipe. Luckily, it has been pretty much happy surprises so far! But I have taken to letting dals shine on their own and not try to match them to the meat curries. Maybe someone more knowledgeable than I can chime in with a suggestion.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: greeneggsnham

                                                                                                                                                      Thank you so much for your considered response.

                                                                                                                                                      Should have picked up an eggplant when I was at the Indian market this evening, I guess. My vegetable matter right now isn't all that Indian. Oh! There was a dry cooked cauliflower and potato recipe from the Sahni/Jaffrey month that might be a nice side.I have half a head of orange cauliflower in the fridge since I didn't use all of it for tonight's soup.

                                                                                                                                                      But you are right. Nothing like a warming dal at dinner, with lovely leftovers for the next two day's lunches.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: greeneggsnham

                                                                                                                                                        I like to serve dal, or masoor dal anyway, as a first course soup. I know it's not the Indian way, but it works for us! Then you don't have to worry so much about whether it goes together. I struggle with that too.

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: delys77

                                                                                                                                                      Lamb Curry in a Sweet Onion-Tomato Sauce, page 190
                                                                                                                                                      Pyaaz tamatar gosht

                                                                                                                                                      Total homerun! We both thought this was one of the most delicious Indian dishes to come out of our kitchen. I won't repeat delys' wonderful narrative above; just confirm those comments.

                                                                                                                                                      This gosht has a lovely sauce, made with the onion paste and tomato sauce. I used Pomi tomatoes, throwing them in the blender. Per the TIPS, I added a bit more salt since there was no salt in the tomato sauce.

                                                                                                                                                      I used a shoulder steak from this year's lamb. Since it was a bit over 3 lbs, i doubled the other ingredients. Ditto to delys 'A real winner this one!'

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                                        I'm so glad people have enjoyed this one. It is definitely going into my list of keepers.

                                                                                                                                                      2. re: delys77

                                                                                                                                                        We also loved this - I used lamb neck fillet so simmered it for longer than the 45 minutes called for in the recipe. Will definitely make again.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                          Lamb Neck Filet, that sounds interesting greedy girl. I must admit that while I love lamb I often timidly stick to the leg (butterflied and bone in), and have attempted some chops with pretty good success. This neck filet however sounds like it would have more sinew but then of course would likely have more flavour. Interesting idea.

                                                                                                                                                        2. re: delys77

                                                                                                                                                          This Lamb Curry in Sweet Onion Tomato Sauce was dinner tonight due to all of the glowing reviews here. Unfortunately, it wasn't as big a win as I was hoping. It was good, just not the "greater-than-the-sum-of-its-parts" experience I expected. I would make it again if I wanted something easy, because it was super simple - probably the least labor intensive recipe I've tried from this book.

                                                                                                                                                        3. Lamb-Almond Dumplings in a Tomato Cream Sauce (Shahi Kofta Curry), p. 217

                                                                                                                                                          I'd tagged this recipe since seeing a favorable report on the meatball thread last month. Lamb + tomato-cream sauce +cardamom could only be wonderul in my book. And, except that the kofta were on the tough side, this was delicious. I'd be happy to eat just the sauce.

                                                                                                                                                          To make the meatballs, combine 1 lb. ground lamb, 1/2 c. finely chopped red onion, 1/4 c. ground (blanched, slivered) almonds, 1/4 c. mint leavs, finely chopped, 2 T finely chopped cilantro, 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped, 1 T Punjabi garam masala,and 1 1/2 tsp coarse kosher salt (I used onl 1 tsp, but we found we needed to add some to the finished dish). Portion and roll into about 12 balls. (I ended up with 14.) Saute them for 5-8 minutes (I'm sure I went at least 8) in 2 T ghee or canola (I use 1 T ea), turning every couple of minutes. (Though the recipe says to heat 1 tsp cumin seeds in he hot oil before adding the meatballs, I forgot and didn't add them until halfway through browning, which didn't seem to hurt anything.) Remove from skillet and set aside.

                                                                                                                                                          For sauce, add 1 c tomato sauce to the skillet, stirring to loosen brown bits. Add 1/2 tsp ea ground cardamom seed and cayenne. Simmer, covered, over med.-low heat for 6-8 minutes. Stir in 1/2 c cream and add meatballs, spooning sauce over them. Cover and simmer another 10 minutes or so.
                                                                                                                                                          (This doesn't make a lot of sauce, but what's there is divine.) I had been warned about these being tough in GretchenS's earlier post in the meatball thread so I probably should have done something to try to mitigate that, but I was too rushed to thnk about it. (As it was, we ate very late--just this, steamed basmati, and onion kulcha, no veg at all.) We did love the flavors; I definitely think the meatball recipe is worth tinkering with.

                                                                                                                                                          We are a bit curried out, so I'll be taking a break from this book for the next week. (And, I'm hosting a big birthday bash for my mom this weekend and having houseguests, so no time for experimenting with new recipes.) There are still several things I want t try before the end of the month, so I'll be back. But I'm going to try very hard to steer away from any more recipes that call for cream, irresisitible as they are. I really need to lay off the stuff!

                                                                                                                                                          1. Lasoon Jhinga (Garlic Shrimp with a Coconut Sauce) Pg. 264

                                                                                                                                                            This is only my third dish of the month as I am trying to pace myself on the curry (don't want to overload my partner) and I thought this would make a nice change from what we had tried so far. The recipe calls for large shrimp, shredded coconut (rehydrated), garlic, dry chilies, vinegar, cumin seeds, salt, peppercorns, and some turmeric. From the title I was expecting strong flavours of garlic with a creamy coconut component, but the ingredients themselves tell another story. The dominant flavour here is vinegar and not the garlic or coconut. Not to say that the dish wasn't good, it was definitely interesting and flavourful, but perhaps not necessarily something I would repeat or recommend to a friend. Mostly because the acidity was a little too high for my liking, and also because the dried coconut didn't do much for me. Perhaps using fresh would have helped the dish along but I'm not sure having never had much experience with fresh coconut flesh. I would say however that I have used the reconstituted dried coconut in the past and I have generally always been a little disappointed with the grainy look it creates. The texture was ok, but the dish looked like it had separated.
                                                                                                                                                            Overall not a major success, but not horrible either.

                                                                                                                                                            1. Spinach and Mustard Greens with Cheese (Saag Paneer) p. 295


                                                                                                                                                              The recipe uses two masalas (Bin bhuna hua garam masala and Punjabi garam masala).
                                                                                                                                                              A paste is made from sautéed red onion, garlic, ginger, Bin bhuna hua garam masala, turmeric, tomato paste and water.
                                                                                                                                                              Chopped spinach and mustard greens are added to the paste. The mixture is covered until the greens have a sauce-like consistency. Add salt, pan-fried paneer cubes, cream and Punjabi garam masala and simmer to warm through.

                                                                                                                                                              The addition of mustard greens adds a sharp bite to counter the richness and the pan-fried paneer adds some texture to an otherwise creamy dish. My husband did not care for the bold flavors, but did like the cheese.

                                                                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: BigSal

                                                                                                                                                                Glad to see your write up, I've wanted to try this dish, but the mustard greens in our markets right now are pretty sad looking for some unknown reason.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: BigSal

                                                                                                                                                                  I made a version of this with ingredients I had on hand plus some paneer I picked up on the way home. I used a combination of chard, beet greens, and turnip greens, omitted the ginger (thought I had some, was wrong), and used a commercial garam masala blend.

                                                                                                                                                                  I was pleased with how easy this was. I fried the paneer cubes while I chopped the veggies for this and for the other dish I made, Cabbage and cauliflower in a spicy tomato-mint sauce. Once the paneer was fried, I found it easy to cook the two dishes side by side. All together, I spent about 45 minutes cooking.

                                                                                                                                                                  I will definitely be making this again, since I nearly always have greens around and this is one of my favorite Indian dishes. Learnings for next time: don't skip the ginger and cut the paneer into smaller cubes (I thought one-inch cubes were a bit large). And of course, prep my own curry blends in advance!

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: BigSal

                                                                                                                                                                    I made this Saag Paneer pg. 295 tonight as well, although I made enough changes to the recipe that I'm not sure it's really appropriate to review it! I made my own paneer, but didn't fry it. I didn't have mustard greens, so I used fenugreek leaves instead. I also didn't feel like making the Bin bhuna hua garam masala, and since there's a note that says this garam masala is a good choice for any recipe calling for a commercial spice blend, I just used a commercial garam masala that had many of the same ingredients. Finally, I didn't have cream, so I used half and half and yogurt.

                                                                                                                                                                    Even with all of these changes (or maybe because of them), I LOVED this dish. It's quite different from any saag paneer I've had in a restaurant, but in a good way - very complex flavors. I liked the bitter dimension of the methi leaves and the tang from the yogurt, and I would definitely make it this way again. I might add some kashmiri chile powder next time for a bit of spice. The best part? My husband doesn't eat spinach so the leftovers are ALL MINE!!!!!!!

                                                                                                                                                                  2. Fragrant Ginger Shrimp with Shallots and Curry Leaves p. 260

                                                                                                                                                                    This recipe was a recommended partner to the Stewed Cauliflower in a Coconut-Cashew Sauce on page 478. Since I'm so clueless with dish pairings in this book, I happily took the advice. If only this dish were as tasty the other.....

                                                                                                                                                                    Shallots, curry leaves, and fresh green chiles are stir fried until lightly browned. Chopped tomato is stirred in along with a hearty glug of vinegar (2T) and some ground chiles, and brought to a boil. This made for a thin sauce, at which point the shrimp was to be added. I chose to cook the sauce down until it thickened up a bit, then add the shrimp. When the prawns are cooked through, julienned ginger is sprinkled atop the dish. That's it.

                                                                                                                                                                    Very simple, very fast, but not really for me. I found the astringency of the vinegar to be far to prevalent in the finished dish. The ginger was an interesting touch, but it, too, was extremely assertive in the sauce. The delicate seafood flavour of the shrimp was lost amongst all the competing tastes. It wasn't awful, but it was not something I would make again.

                                                                                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                                                                                                      Allegra, you do not list vinegar and I looked at the recipe, there is no vinegar either. Did you add it? I looked at this recipe as I am trying to decide which shrimp (and chicken) dish to make for my Sat dinner club Indian feast. I did not like the idea of adding ginger at the last moment and decided to pass on this recipe. Thank you for your review and confirmation that raw ginger did not improve the dish.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                        There is a decent amount of white vinegar in this recipe, two tablespoons, which to me seemed to be too much.. Maybe with a longer simmer time it would have mellowed, but with the acidity of the tomatoes and nothing really to offset those harsh flavours alongside the raw ginger, it just wasn't a favourite in my household.
                                                                                                                                                                        There do appear to be some scrumptious sounding shrimp dishes in this book, though. Hopefully you can chance upon a good one. Good luck with your dinner!

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                                                                                                          Thanks for these comments, Allegra! Shrimp and vinegar together do not work for me and I know that I won't like the taste of almost raw ginger in a dish. This dish is definitely not a contender.

                                                                                                                                                                          For some reason I am having a hard time choosing recipes; maybe because I do not know what sides people are making though I laid out the master plan of dishes for them but not specifc recipes.

                                                                                                                                                                          I am leaning towards peppercorn shrimp recipes but not sure. Will report at some point :)

                                                                                                                                                                    2. Pan-Fried Cheese with Green Peas p.294

                                                                                                                                                                      I selected this recipe as I had a chunk of paneer nearing the end of its short life in the fridge, and it looked like it would pair well with my other dish. Very happy to have given this a shot, as it was most excellent!

                                                                                                                                                                      There is a bit of prep work involved, but once those steps are completed, there is little to do but simmer and wait. Among the do-aheads are the tomato sauce (which includes such goodies as ghee, bay leaves, cinnamon, cardamom simmered with tomato sauce until thick and richly flavoured) and the spice sorcery, aka making the garam masala, Bin bhuna hua in this case. The cubes of paneer can be done ahead of time as well, fried to a golden crispness.

                                                                                                                                                                      After making some of the components in this dish, I dug around in my chilly appliance for the cheese, and to my dismay I found that death had already come to my precious dairy. Now what?! Well, some additional rummaging produced a packet of queso fresco (I wonder what else I have in there?), so I thought that would be an adequete substitute.

                                                                                                                                                                      Let me just say this. Do not fry queso fresco...the moisture content is evidently too high to be submerged in sizzling, flesh-searing oil. The cubes were like little bombs, popping and hissing and sending large globs of lava-hot fat across the room and onto any object in its path. Ouch. Aborted the mission halfway through (nearly needed a hazard suit) and used the rest of the cheese in the sauce sans crispy goodness.

                                                                                                                                                                      Back to the meal.....a paste is made up in a food processor with onion, ginger, garlic and green chiles. Cumin and bay leaves are sizzled briefly in oil and said paste is quickly (and I mean quickly! those seeds want to burn) mixed in and fried to reddish brown. At this point, the seasoned tomato sauce is added with a goodly amount of garam masala and salt. I reduced the salt due to my already salty little cheese grenades. This tasty concoction is simmered until the oil starts to separate, whereupon frozen peas and water are tossed in and cooked until peas are olive coloured. After this, heavy cream (I used half and half) cilantro and the paneer is folded into the dish and cooked several minutes more to heat through.

                                                                                                                                                                      As RI says, what's not to love about cream, cheese, onion, and garlic? I have to agree. Adding the lovely spiced tomato sauce and the fantastic garam masala mix won me over before I even tasted it. I would make this saucy(heh heh) little number again anytime.

                                                                                                                                                                      Served with Half-Moon Potatoes with Fenugreek, p 570.

                                                                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                                                                                                        The matar paneer + aloo methi combination sounds really classic, and good. I must buy fresh methi on my next Indian store trip and make that.

                                                                                                                                                                        Question: RI almost always says to fry the paneer cubes. I can see that this may be necessary when working with the softer home made paneer. But the store bought kind is pretty hard already, so why fry it?

                                                                                                                                                                        I have stopped doing that to save one step and oil and calories. Do you really think frying the paneer adds so very much to the deliciousness of the finished dish?

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Rasam

                                                                                                                                                                          I did it once and agree about needing a hazard suit. Super dangerous and messy, and definitely not worth it.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: sarahcooks

                                                                                                                                                                            I've broiled paneer cubes with good success. Spray a cookie sheet with oil, and put the cubes on it, spray the cubes with oil and broil. Flip them around a couple times to brown all sides.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. Restaurant-style Fried Cheese Cubes with a Spinach Sauce (Palak Paneer) - p 296

                                                                                                                                                                        I noticed that a lot of people had made (and loved!) the Mathura Palak Paneer recipe on the next page but nobody seemed to have tried this one, so my daughter (17) and I decided to give it a go. She did almost all the work, as I was preoccupied making a chicken dish, and for her age she's an experienced and good cook, so I trust her results, and neither of us was happy with the way the dish turned out. The spinach released a huge amount of water as it cooked, and it make the dish very soupy and the spinach quite bland - almost none of the flavour from the spices stuck to the spinach or the cheese, and it felt like I was just eating a big bowl of spinach and bland cheese cubes with occasional hints of coriander spice. You can see from the photo how much liquid ended up in our serving bowl. I'm not sure if there is anything we could have done to fix this, short of simmering the dish for a long time to encourage the water to evaporate.

                                                                                                                                                                        6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: geekmom

                                                                                                                                                                          I don't have the book in front of me so I don't know what the directions in your say, but the Saag Paneer recipe I made did call for quite a long simmer to help the spinach break down to sauce consistency and to let the liquid evaporate. Sorry it didn't work out for you - I can highly recommend the Saag Paneer recipe, though, if you want to try another spinach/cheese concoction!

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: biondanonima

                                                                                                                                                                            It just says to cook till the spinach is wilted (4-6 min) and then put the cheese in and only cook long enough to let it warm through (2-3 min). The recipe does say the spinach will release water but it seemed like we got much more liquid than expected! I will try the recipe you suggested, looks like it's the one before the one that I tried. Lots and lots of options in this book :-)

                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: geekmom

                                                                                                                                                                            Usually Palak Paneer uses chopped spinach, but if I remember correctly, RI mentions in his version that he likes to keep the leaves whole for texture. We prefer the chopped leaves as they make a thick puree of sorts.

                                                                                                                                                                            That being said, one thing I have noticed with RI's recipes is that I often have to cook the dishes longer than he says. The dals are a perfect example -- one recipe I tried said to cook the lentils for 20-25 minutes, but I ended up cooking them for longer because they weren't at the mushy sludge stage that I needed them to be. Same for the karela recipe I tried -- I had to cook it for longer to achieve the browning of the onions, as opposed to a light golden saute.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: boogiebaby

                                                                                                                                                                              That is interesting as I have found the same thing, at least with veggies and legumes. In most cases where he has suggested sauteeing onions etc for X minutes I have usually doubled it to get to the right consistency (for me anyway). I have two other Indian cookbooks, both of which are translated to English from the original Hindi and I often have similar problems with timing. I assumed that the books in question were written for an Indian audience that might be using different cooking vessels over varied heat sources and that was why my results differed, but if I have it correctly that shouldn't be the case with 660 as RI wrote this book for a Western audience while living in the US.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: delys77

                                                                                                                                                                                I've been wondering if maybe I am not cooking at a high enough temperature or in the appropriate cookware...

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: geekmom

                                                                                                                                                                                  Yeah definitely possible, but thus far I've followed his instructions but I'm using my judgement on timing.

                                                                                                                                                                          3. Quick review of the Paneer Cauliflower dish from this book. We didn't care for this as written. I will say that we only used half the cilantro called for as that's all I had. I didn't realize we needed a cup of cilantro and dint have enough on hand. I ended up adding some coriander powder, and some dried fenugreek at the end to help add some more flavor which helped. Served with the Lauki Kofta Curry from the book and some naan. Don't plan on making this again,

                                                                                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: boogiebaby

                                                                                                                                                                              Bb: do you think it was the lack of cilantro that brought this dish down, or even with that it would not have been that great? Some more detail on why you didn't like it please?

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Rasam

                                                                                                                                                                                It just didn't have a lot of flavor. The only masala was 1/4 tsp turmeric, 1/2tsp garam masala and salt. With the bland paneer, it was just very dull tasting.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: boogiebaby

                                                                                                                                                                                  Durr. Does not sound so good. Thanks for the warning. Odd, because 660C Paneer Makhani with "just" cumin, red chilly pwdr, and kasoori methi is divine!

                                                                                                                                                                            2. Toasted Tamarind - Rubbed Shrimp with Coconut-Ginger Sauce, Karwari Jhinga, page -262,263.
                                                                                                                                                                              A very easy, quick curry with tons of flavor, and the curry was ready within 20 minutes, start to finish. Best part of this curry was no chopping, (other than the garlic, if that counts).
                                                                                                                                                                              When I saw the name "Karwari", it brought me so many warm childhood memories. I visited Karwar so many times during my childhood and enjoyed the fresh seafood that was abundantly available at the time. My aunt (mother's sister) is a wonderful cook, her husband brought fresh seafood(fish, crabs, shrimps,) everyday, cleaned/prepd them, set out the proportions of all ingredients and went to work. My aunt would then marinate, grind the pastes and cook the yummy curries. My Uncle put out different ingredients and proportions for different types of Fish, crabs and shrimp. I always wondered, how he knew so many different curries. Unfortunately he passed away a few years ago, and my aunt prefers vegetarian cooking more than seafood. But even now if we visit, she cooks some very wonderful dishes.

                                                                                                                                                                              But this RI's Karwari curry is not something which I had tasted ever before. It's again a very unique dish, definately a keeper in our books.
                                                                                                                                                                              to make coriander seeds, salt (no rock), chiles (3-4 thai cayenne, 2-3 kashmiri - for more heat and color) were heated in a skillet and cooled. These spices were ground in the coffee grinder, added to shrimp to marinate. I didnt add tamarind pieces here, instead added the paste later. Meanwhile in 2 T Oil, coconut, ginger and garlic (another change) are heated in the skillet till coconut gets toasty brown, cilantro leaves added, the whole mixture is ground to a fine paste.
                                                                                                                                                                              ANother 2 T oil is heated, the marinated shrimp sauteed, sauce (and tamarind paste in my case) added cooked for another 2-3 minutes. Since the kids love Shrimps, I skipped adding the crushed pepper, as it was pretty hot already. Another good gem of a recipe. Thanks RI. So many successes from the book just motivates me to keep trying more recipes from this book.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. Fall-apart Beef Cubes with Spinach and Coconut (Nariyal Palak Gosht, p. 177)

                                                                                                                                                                                I found a packet of stew meat in my deep freezer from a 1/4 cow I ordered two years ago, and fortunately it had survived without freezer burn. Since I had just realized that nearly all of the beef recipes in 660 Curries rely on stew meat, the only question was what curry I was going to make with it.

                                                                                                                                                                                This recipe turned out to be a great answer to the question. I let the meat marinate all night to give it the best possible chance of tenderizing, and I let it simmer as long as it needed to follow the recipe instructions to the letter. The results did not disappoint - a slightly spicy, aromatic beef dish with some texture from coconut and a nice tang from the tamarind paste that is added at the end of the cooking time.

                                                                                                                                                                                I wouldn't recommend cooking this when you're in a hurry or desperately hungry, because you really do need to let your meat take its time to relax during the cooking process, especially if your meat's a little on the old side like mine was; but if you have a nice lazy day at home it's a very easy recipe as you don't need to do very much work at all. I will make this again, perhaps with a side of homemade roti.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. Lamb Stew with Triple-Nut paste - Awadhi Gosht, page 201.

                                                                                                                                                                                  I made this two weekends ago. I had picked a couple pounds of lamb stew meat at a discount price, and it went directly into the freezer. On a very cold, lazy, late-saturday morning, while wondering what to eat for dinner that day, i glanced at the rock solid frozen lamb meat. Checked for various recipes on 660 and thought this to be a good candidate. For some reason, I didnt want to defrost the meat. Since there was enough time for dinner, out came my slow cooker, in went the frozen meat. with some salt n pepper sprinkled on the meat, it slow cooked on high for half an hour, by which time it had thawed thoroughly. I added the ginger/garlic paste, let the SC rip for another half hour. As instructed, took the meat out, seared it on a skillet with onions, till brown, transferred it back to the SC, let it cook on low for 4 hours and followed the rest of the instructions. I also added a handfull bunch of spinach to the nuts-paste while grinding. It made a beautiful green sauce. I added this sauce 15 minutes before I turned the SC off. The nuts paste did thicken the gravy up.
                                                                                                                                                                                  It made a very rich tasting lamb stew. The Rajasthani spice mix is very aromatic & flavorful. We enjoyed the curry with naan, parathas, and basmati rice. Another winner in my books, especially if u can use the SC. Even if made on stove top, its a very easy recipe with minimum efforts for a very satisfying and exotic meal.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Old thread, but I made the Royal Taj Paneer Curry from this book yesterday and wow, was it good! You heat some oil, and add in some tomato paste, chopped chillis, chopped cilantro, curry leaves, and cubed Paneer. Sautéed for a couple minutes and then add in some cubed potatoes and water. Cover and simmer until the potatoes are done, then add some half and half and heat through. I salted at the end.

                                                                                                                                                                                    This was delicious - the curry leaves and chillies gave this simple dish so much flavor. My kids both had seconds, and asked for leftovers for dinner tonight!

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Poached Catfish in a Coconut-Coriander Sauce, page 240-241. I had a some small pieces of cod and salmon to use up, so I decided to give this a go for a quick and easy meal. The recipe has you make a (thin) paste of fresh coconut (I used reconstituted dried), dried red chiles, coriander seed, peppercorns and turmeric, plus a small amount of raw rice in water. Meanwhile, saute an onion and a few fresh chiles (I used jalapenos) until golden, then add the paste and stirfry until a crust forms on the bottom of the pan. Deglaze with a little more water, then add fish filets and simmer until cooked through. Remove fish and stir in some kokum water (and salt to taste), then pour sauce over and serve.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Delicious! I didn't have kokum, so I used the suggested substitute of tamarind, about a tablespoon, plus a squeeze of lime. The sauce was spicy but not overwhelmingly so, with nice complexity from the different types of chiles/peppercorns. The raw rice as a thickener worked well, although it would probably have been fine without it. I served it with garam masala-roasted cauliflower - Very quick and very satisfying - a do-over for sure.