Friday, July 18, 2008

Dinner Party #2

As I mentioned a couple posts ago, my friend Annabel and I are throwing little dinner parties so we can try out some new recipes! Last week's theme was Indian (see previous post for explanation of newfound Indian food cravings). Anyway, the curry recipe was a lot of work and there by the time we were finished with the chicken curry, dal, and green beans we were totally exhausted! Overall it was a good, satisfying meal. The green beans were absolutely delicious and the dal was tasty but could use a little more of a kick. The chicken came out well, but was it worth the work? I'm not sure. Feel free to decide for yourself! :)

The chicken and green bean recipes both came from a book titled "The Great Curries of India" by Camellia Panjabi. Annabel was kind enough to present me with her extra copy. While we've only tried a couple recipes so far, this book proves to be a great resource for Indian cooking. It includes thorough explanations of the various ingredients found in Indian cuisine, as well as beautiful photos of finished dishes.

Chicken and Cashew Nuts in Black Spices
(Kaja Chicken in Kaala Masala - Bombay)

Recipe courtesy of "The Great Curries of India" by Camellia Panjabi

Serves 4

  • 2 1/4 lb chicken, skinned (we used leg quarters)
  • 1 cup grated coconut (be sure to use unsweetened!)
  • 12 plump garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/2-in piece of fresh ginger, chopped
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon peppercorns
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 3 dried dark-colored red chiles
  • 6 cloves
  • 3-in cinnamon stick
  • 8oz cashew nuts
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons oil
  • salt

Cut the chicken into 8 pieces.

In a large frying pan, without any fat or oil, roast the coconut, garlic, ginger, coriander seeds, peppercorns, cumin seeds, red chiles, cloves and cinnamon over low heat. After 5 minutes add 2oz. of the cashew nuts and the onion and roast for a further 10 minutes, stirring all the time. Turn off the heat and leave to cool. Grind the mixture in a blender or food processor wtih 3/4 cup water to a fine consistency.

Separate grind 1oz of the remaining cashew nuts with a little water to make a fine paste and set aside.

Heat the oil in a cooking pot, add the ground spiece mixture and fry for 10 minutes over a low heat. Add the ground cashew nuts and salt to taste and fry for a further 2-3 minutes.

Add the chicken, turn up the heat to moderate and fry for 5 minutes. Then add 3 cups water and leave to cook over a low heat for 10 minutes, covered.

Add the remaining cashew nuts and continue to cook until the chicken is done. You should have a thick, dark curry with whole cashew nuts in it.

We served this over basmati rice.

Stir-Fried French Beans
(Beans Porial)

Recipe courtesy of "The Great Curries of India" by Camellia Panjabi

Serves 4

  • 8 oz french beans
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole white urad dal
  • 1/4 cup grated coconut
  • 3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons onion, finely chopped
  • 10-12 curry leaves, finely chopped (optional)
  • salt
  • 2 tablespoons oil or butter
  • 1 green chile, finely chopped and de-seeded if liked
  • 1/3 teaspoon mustard leaves


De-string and top and tail the beans. Chop into 1/2-in peces. Soak the urad dal in 1/2 cup water for 15 minutes. Drain and set aside. Put the grated coconut into a bowl. Add the cumin seeds, onion and curry leaves and mix well. Boil the beans in 1 cup water with 1/4 teaspoon salt for 5 minutes, uncovered. The salt will help retain the bright green color. Drain.

Heat the oil or butter in a frying pan and fry the chiles until pale green, then add the mustard seeds and after 20 seconds add the urad dal grains. After 1 minute, add the coconut and onion and saute, stirring continuously for 2 minutes. Add the beans, toss and cook for a few minutes over a low heat until the beans are tender.

Red Lentil Dal with Charred Onions
Recipe courtesy of Cooking Light

7 1-cup servings

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium onion, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 whole clove
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 dried hot red chile
  • 1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 4 cups organic vegetable broth (such as Swanson Certified Organic)
  • 1 cup dried small red lentils
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large heavy cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion to pan; cook 2 minutes or until charred. Carefully turn over onion, and cook an additional 4 minutes or until blackened and charred. Remove from heat. Coarsely chop; set aside.

Combine mustard seeds, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, and clove in a small skillet over medium heat. Cook 1 1/2 minutes or until fragrant, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Combine mustard mixture, cinnamon, cardamom, and chile in spice or coffee grinder. Pulse until ground.

Heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil in a small Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add ginger and garlic to pan; sauté 1 minute. Stir in spices; sauté 1 minute. Add broth, lentils, and tomato to pan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover; add onion, and cook 10 minutes. Stir in cilantro and juice.

We served this over basmati rice.


Joelen said...

Yay for getting together with friends and cooking new recipes! I love indian food and your menu/recipes looks great :)

That Girl said...

Your parties sound like so much fun!