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Category Archives: Indian

Bean Curry

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I have secrets.  Delicious secrets.  There are many recipes I’ve made, a few that I’ve won ribbons for, that I’ve never shared.  (Not on purpose, mind you, I just forget!)  But I can hide this one from you no longer.  I stumbled across this old picture in my Garam Masala post while I was indexing all my recipes, and since it seemed so bright and cheerful I thought it would be a nice one to share with you now that the weather is bright and cheerful.

This was one of the first Indian dishes I ever made.  In fact, I think it was THE very first.  I can still remember the delicious flavor and how taken I was with the dish at first bite.  I know it seems strange to use black-eyed peas in a curry dish, but I promise you, it works.  I may keep secrets, but I wouldn’t lie to you.  This curry is fantastic!

Bean Curry

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1 tablespoon canola oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 large tomato, chopped
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
pinch cayenne, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon Garam Masala
3/4 cup half and half
1 cup vegetable stock or chicken broth
1 can black-eyed peas, lightly drained
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion; saute 5 minutes or until translucent and slightly browned. Stir in garlic and grated ginger root; stir constantly for 30 seconds. Add tomato; cook for 2 minutes. Stir in turmeric, cayenne, salt, paprika, and garam masala; stir constantly for 30 seconds. Add half and half, stock, and black-eyed peas. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in cilantro. Serve immediately with rice, chapati, or naan. Although it doesn’t show in the picture, the curry has plenty of sauce to go over your rice.  I recall draining it off for this plate to make a better picture.  That doesn’t count as a lie…does it? ;)

Makes 4 servings.  

Per serving (calculated with 1 cup white rice): 188 calories; 9.5 g fat; 23 g carbohydrates; 5 g fiber; 5 g protein; 10 Points Plus

Recipe source: Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

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Masoor Dal with Cauliflower and Kale

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Before we get to some major Indian yumminess, I wanted to mention two things.  First, you may notice things look a bit different around here.  I changed my theme and I like it but I’m not sure it’s “the one.”   I think the header is very plain…but I’m cheap and I don’t want to pay to get fancy so this is probably as good as it gets. :) Let me know what you think!

Second, I think I caused some confusion with my post on the cake decorating competition at work.  I’m not sure how many of you saw that, but I wanted to clarify that the date on it is correct.  I wrote it two years ago on my MySpace blog, and newly copied it to Recipe Rhapsody so that I could link to it in reference to how to make a tiered cake in an upcoming post.  I posted it with the original date I wrote it, so I didn’t think any one would see it, but I started getting some comments on it so apparently it came across some of your radars!  Just wanted to clarify that it’s now old news, but I appreciate your kind words and congratulations.

Red Lentils

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Although I still have a large backlog of recipes to post, the weather is heating up again and it looks like the casseroles, soups, and pumpkin recipes will probably have to wait until next year, so I thought I’d gush (or perhaps rhapsodize would be a more appropriate word for this blog!) about the lunch I made today instead.  I’m on a mission to spring-clean my wreck of a house into sparkling submission, and I started eying the red lentils I’d purchased at a Lebanese market over a month ago while I was organizing the kitchen.

I decided I was (finally) going to make something with them, but by the time I took a break to cook,  I was starving and didn’t want to bother with looking up any recipes.  I needed a quick meal and I threw this one together in just over half an hour, so it would be great for a busy day.  While I’m usually not a good enough cook to come up with anything edible without using a recipe, I think I knocked this one out of the park, if I do say so myself!  Becoming familiar with the cuisine by cooking several Indian dishes over the last few months helped a lot.

I made a masoor dal (a thick stew made of red lentils) that is almost vegan, and could certainly be turned so by using vegetable stock in place of the water and chicken bullion.  It is spicy in the full sense of the word–with plenty of Indian aromatics and and a moderate heat index, though you can certainly reduce or increase the spiciness to your tastes.

I’m usually not a fan of lentils, but I liked this more than any lentil dish I’ve made before.  I’m not sure if red lentils have a better flavor (which I do suspect, because I detected none of the usual musky lentil flavor in this dish), or if the spices just overwhelmed it.  The tender cauliflower pieces were a perfect accompaniment, but I don’t think the kale is absolutely necessary.  I couldn’t really detect any of its flavor, and it got kind of dull & ugly during the cooking process, but I don’t think it hurts to have all that extra nutrition!  Kale has powerful  antioxidant properties and is considered an anti-inflammatory so if you have it on hand, throw it in!  If not, don’t sweat it.  The only thing I didn’t have that I really felt it needed was a little cilantro to sprinkle over the top.  I had to make do with some dried parsley.  Bummer!

I served mine with whole wheat couscous since I was in a hurry to eat (it only takes 5 minutes to make), but you can serve it with rice or bulgar or even pasta.  Whatever floats your boat!

Masoor Dal with Cauliflower and Kale

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2 cups water
2 chicken bullion cubes
1 cup red lentils
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 (8 oz) cans tomato sauce
2 teaspoons garam masala
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon sriracha hot chile sauce, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 head cauliflower, separated into florets
2 cups loosely packed kale
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Fresh cilantro, for garnish

In a large 3-quart saucepan, combine water, bullion, lentils, onions, and garlic; cover and bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce heat to medium and cook for ten minutes.  Stir in the tomato sauce, garam masala, curry powder, sriracha, and cumin.  Add the cauliflower and kale, stir & cover.  Cook for 20 more minutes, stirring often to make sure the dal isn’t sticking, or until the lentils are tender.  Stir in the olive oil during the last five minutes of cooking and serve with a sprinkle of cilantro over rice or couscous.

Serves 4

Per serving: 231 calories; 8 g fat; 40 g carbohydrates; 15 g fiber; 13 g protein

Lighter Chicken Tikka Masala

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Biz from My Bizzy Kitchen has been taunting me with her chicken tikka masala for months.  And months.  It’s my favorite Indian dish of those I’ve had the opportunity to try at restaurants, so I’ve been meaning to make it at home for quite some time.  When Biz changed her recipe to lighten it up, replacing the heavy whipping cream with Greek yogurt, I knew it was time.  And I could not believe that it was even better than what I’ve had at restaurants!  Just like with the dal makhani, it was so good I couldn’t move on and had to bring it back to our menu a second week in a row.  Except this recipe is actually better than the dal makhani, IMHO.  Thank you so much, Biz, for sharing your wonderful recipe with us.  I’m paying it forward to you, my readers, so that you can enjoy it as well.  And you will–it’s simply divine!

Lighter Chicken Tikka Masala

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1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
3/4 cup (6 oz) nonfat, plain Greek yogurt, divided
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4 teaspoons ground cumin, divided
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter
1 small jalapeno, cut in half, seeded and chopped
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
6 dried red chili peppers
2 (8 oz) cans tomato sauce
1/4 teaspoon sriracha chili sauce (I use a full teaspoon for more heat)

Mix half the yogurt the chicken, lemon juice, 2 teaspoons cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, salt and pepper. Refrigerate and marinate for one hour. Melt butter in a skillet and add jalapeno pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons ground cumin, garlic, paprika, curry powder, sriracha sauce and stir for 2 minutes, until nice and fragrant. Add chicken and cook for five minutes, turning pieces half way through. Add tomato sauce and dried chiles and simmer for 15 minutes until the chicken is fully cooked.  Remove from heat, stir in remaining 3 ounces of Greek yogurt. Serve over brown rice and garnish with cilantro.

Makes 4 servings. Per serving: 205 calories; 2.5 g fat; 13.7 g carb; 3 g fiber; 29 g protein

Recipe source: barely tweaked from My Bizzy Kitchen

Dal Makhani with Baked Saffron Rice

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I have a folder on my computer called “future blog” wherein lies all the pictures of food I’ve made that I want to post recipes for.  There are currently 150 pictures in it, which may explain why it has taken me so long to post this recipe!  I have less time time to post recipes than I used to, so I usually just scan the folder when I have a minute and pick whatever picture stands out.  Today, this one winked at me, reminding me how much I enjoyed it and how sorry I should be for having forgotten to post it sooner.

Sorry, dal makhani. You deserve better.  I’m not worthy!

Dennis (the picky eater) and I both enjoyed this Indian dish so much the first time that I ended up making it two weeks in a row, which is rare since I like to try new things constantly.  It’s a very simple recipe, but it is bursting with flavor!

Dal Makhani with Baked Saffron Rice

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Dal Makhani:
1 cup dried lentils
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or more to taste
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons heavy cream
fresh cilantro for garnish

Saffron rice:
1 cup long grain white rice
1 tablespoon butter
2 chicken bouillon cubes
½ teaspoon saffron threads
2 cups water

Place the dried lentils in a medium pot and add cold water to cover them by 2 inches. Bring to a boil and then simmer over medium heat for 20 minutes, or until the lentils are soft but not mushy. Drain and return to the pot. Place the pot on the burner again.  Add the tomato sauce, ginger, garlic, cayenne pepper, and butter. Stir and let the mixture simmer over low heat, covered, for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, make the rice: Spray a 1 ½ quart casserole dish with cooking oil and measure rice and butter into it. Heat the bouillon, saffron and water together until boiling and pour over the rice. Cover and bake 30 minutes.

Taste the dal makhani mixture and adjust the seasoning as needed, adding more cayenne if you’d like it spicier. Remove the pot from heat and stir in the cream. Serve with minced fresh cilantro over saffron rice.

Recipe sources: Jenna’s Everything Blog and ifood.

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