Raising the veg stakes

We’ve been eating vegetarian a lot of nights. This often involves roasting farmers market vegetables with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Always tasty, but tonight, we had to satisfy our Indian craving. This was all pretty easy and really, really good. Definitely plan to make again!

indian-dinner.jpg

Indian Spiced Cauliflower and Potatoes (from Smitten Kitchen)
Gourmet, February 2004

1 (1 3/4-lb) head cauliflower, cut into 3/4-inch-wide florets
1 1/4 lb Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 teaspoons minced fresh jalapeño, including seeds
2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 cup water

Accompaniment: lemon wedges

Put oven rack in upper third of oven and place a shallow baking pan on rack. Preheat oven to 475°F.

Toss cauliflower and potatoes together in a bowl with 3 tablespoons oil, cumin seeds, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Spread in hot baking pan and roast, stirring occasionally, until cauliflower is tender and browned in spots and potatoes are just tender, about 20 minutes.

While vegetables are roasting, cook onion, garlic, jalapeño, and ginger in remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until very soft and beginning to turn golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Add ground cumin, coriander, turmeric, cayenne, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring constantly, 2 minutes. Stir in water, scraping up any brown bits from bottom of skillet, then stir in roasted vegetables. Cook, covered, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes.

Makes 4 side-dish servings.

Cucumber Scallion Raita

1/4 cup finely chopped English (seedless cucumber)
1 thinly sliced scallion
3/4 cup yogurt
1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix!

Chana Masala (from Smitten Kitchen)
Adapted from a Madhur Jaffrey recipe, which was adapted over here because much to my frustration, I own two Madhur Jaffrey books and this is in neither

This is an intensely spiced bright orange chana masala with a sourish bite that reminded of us the best restaurant versions we’ve tasted. I’m thrilled to finally have a good recipe for it at home.

The major changes I made were simplifying the addition of spices, adding more tomatoes and oh, the recipe calls for a tablespoon of amchoor powder, which I did not have. I looked it up and learned that it was dried unripe mango powder (which sounds so delicious to me, I’m buying it next time I go to Kalustyan’s, who also sells it online), which is clearly a sour flavor, so I upped the lemon juice i used instead. The dish had a nice sour snap at the end, so I will presume this is a good swap.

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 medium onions, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1 fresh, hot green chili pepper, minced
1 tablespoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (I used a quarter of this because my cayenne is extremely hot)
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 teaspoons cumin seeds, toasted and ground
1 tablespoon amchoor powder (see note)
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon garam masala
2 cups tomatoes, chopped small or 1 15-ounce can of whole tomatoes with their juices, chopped small
2/3 cup water
4 cups cooked chickpeas or 2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 lemon (juiced) (see note; I used a whole lemon to swap for the amchoor powder)

Heat oil in a large skillet. Add onion, garlic, ginger and pepper and sauté over medium heat until browned, about 5 minutes. Turn heat down to medium-low and add the coriander, cumin, cayenne, turmeric, cumin seeds, amchoor (if using it), paprika and garam masala. Cook onion mixture with spiced for a minute or two, then add the tomatoes and any accumulated juices, scraping up any bits that have stuck to the pan. Add the water and chickpeas. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, then stir in salt and lemon juice.

Eat up or put a lid on it and reheat it when needed. Curries such as this reheat very well, later or or in the days that follow, should it last that long.

Basmati Rice (helpful tips from Madhur Jaffrey)

  • Rinse the rice in a sieve and soak it in a bowl of cold water for half an hour. This allows the boat-shaped grains to elongate elegantly. Cook unsoaked rice in boiling water and it will split.
  • Measure the rice by volume (rather than weight) before soaking it and then use one and one third the volume of liquid to cook the rice (so 12floz/340ml rice needs 16floz/450ml stock or water). This means that the rice will absorb all the flavour from your chosen liquid and any spices added during cooking. Season the liquid.
  • Bring the pan to the boil, then put the lid on. “If you aren’t confident that the lid is tight fitting, then put a sheet of foil over the top of the pan before putting the lid on.”
  • Boil for a couple of seconds, then reduce the heat to the minimum and cook for 20-25 minutes.
  • Alternatively put the covered pan in the oven set to 350F/180C/gas mark 4 (a useful trick for hobs which don’t have a very low setting).
  • Cook for 20 minutes, resisting the temptation to lift the lid and check.
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