Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Curry On A Cold Night

This is the time of the Indian festival Holi, the festival where brightly colored powders are gleefully chucked at friends and family. It's also a day of fasting and feasting. You don't have to be Inidan, though to enjoy curry and naan. Indian cooking is the perfect antidote for the blustery March night.

Many home chefs balk at trying the recipes of the Subcontitient. Yet, curry is an easy dish that once tasted will be a family favorite. Try a chicken one that just had chicken strips, diced onions and curry powder. The last can be bought at your local grocery, in the seasonings section. It's just heating the onion first in olive oil and then adding the meat and curry powder. It is a long process, taking about forty-five minutes to fully cook. Another caveat is keeping the burner on a low flame because curry powder burns easily. You can also create a vegan version by subbing the meat with traditional vegetables such as cauliflower and potatoes along with onions and carrots. Turmeric, that health booster is also added for more color and flavor. For a spicier dish, add red pepper flakes. If you like the dish and plan to make it often, then consider creating your own curry powder.It's dried chili blended with the seeds of coriander, fennel and cumin. Dried mace,  white pepper and turmeric round it out. Store in an airtight jar at room temperature. it can be made a week in advance.

Tikka masala is another tasty Indian dish.The chicken is usually roasted in a tandoor oven however a regular one will do. It's a little more involved than a simple curry. You first have to marinate chicken chunks in a mix of yogurt and lemon juice spiced with cinnamon,cumin, cayenne  ginger and black pepper. The chunks should be soaked for a good hour in order for the meat to be perfectly seasoned . They're then threaded on skewers and roasted on a stove top grill.As these are cooking the sauce is made.. Again, it's a blood warming mix of cream, butter and jalapenos blended with tomato sauce, garlic. Cumin and paprika are also added to intensify the color and flavor, A fun weekend meal is a plate of dosa pancakes,These are a blend of plain flour and bicarbonate of soda flavored with mustard seeds. Dosas are like crepes, meant to be filled with all sorts of delicious stuffings.One of the most popular is potato masala. Potatoes are combined with tomatoes and onions  and singed up with turmeric and curry leaves or powder if you can't get the leaves. Cauliflower and shredded cabbage is another tasty combo cooked with chaat masala, a dried spice that also has dried mango in it.

These blustery march nights can be bone chilling. Warm up with tasty Indian dishes that will warm you to your toes. They're tasty and flavorful along with being chock full of good for you spices and ingredients.

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