Sunday, June 7, 2009

Indian Night In

Since we have been living in Westmead, I have been increasingly interested and experimental with Indian Cooking. I first became really interested in Indian food after going to my wonderful friend Jyoti's home in highschool. Jyoti's Parents Ravi and Gita run a catering business alongside other businesses and are amazing people, always welcoming me into their home to try their exciting and spicy food. Jyoti's Grandma 'Ba also brings a lot to their home, cooking spicy samosas and indian sweets, and always wants to feed me. She doesnt speak much english but speaks to me in food and gestures and smiles, I love her! Jot's family always seem so relaxed in their family home, around their lazy susan on the dinner table, passing vegetarian curries and homemade yoghurt towards me with contented smiles on their faces.

Jyoti's mum, Gita, makes a wonderful indian soup that goes with dinner, and I am hoping to visit and learn how to make it sometime soon.

In the meantime, I have been experimenting creating my own recipies that I change to enhance my favourite flavours and lowly introduce other subtle ones. One thing always present at an Indian meal is the traditional Indian Roti bread - probably the most difficult thing to make. I have tried this and will enjoy perfecting the technique!

The most common thing I make is spicy curries with fresh sides on Basmati rice. I was making this so often that it was more of a 'normal' meal, rather than a novelty. Though now that I am really enjoying sharing my cooking on here I decided to post an Indian meal, and this weekend I cooked two wonderful curries.

Tamarind Lamb Madras and Gudrati Dhal
(with steamed vegetables, fresh tomato salsa, raita, & puppodums)

200g diced lean lamb
1 400g can diced tomatoes
2 tbsp tamarind paste
1 carrot
1 brown onion
4 cloves garlic
400ml vegetable stock
5 tbsp tomato paste
1/4 small butternut pumpkin
1/2 cauliflower
1/2 cup red dhal lentils (soaked overnight)
1/2 cup yellow hyderabai dhal lentils (soaked overnight)
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
1 tsp black mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
pinch of fennel seeds
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tbsp cumin powder
1 tsp turmeric
2 tbsp homemade madras curry paste (from Jyoti's parents*)
handful fresh green beans
2 ripe cold truss tomatoes
1 bunch of coriander
1 cucumber
250ml fresh natural yoghurt
Fresh butter lettuce
Basmati Rice (______) (I have tried most brands and this is the most aromatic).

* Jyotis Dad, Ravi, reccomends Pataks; his brother owns the company and he reccomends it as good quality.

Tamarind Lamb MadrasMethod:
1. Saute 1/2 chopped brown onion and 2 garlic cloves in saucepan with some olive oil
2. Sear lamb in same pan with black mustard seeds, fennel seeds, curry paste and coriander powder.
3. Add carrot, chopped tomatoes, 3 tbsp tomato paste, 200ml vegetable stock, and simmer.
4. Add Tamarind Paste and stir to melt and dissolve.
5. Simmer for 1 hour on medium-low heat for best results - the lamb will be very soft.

Gudrati Dhal
1. Wash lentils and cover with water twice the depth of the lentils, 200ml vegetable stock, and bring to boil.
2. In a separate pan, saute 1/2 chopped brown onion and 2 cloves garlic with 1 tsp fenugreek seeds, 1 tsp cumin seeds and 1 tsp yellow mustard seeds.
3. Add pan mixture to lentils with diced pumpkin, 2 tbsp tomato paste, cumin and turmeric powder. Simmer continuously until ready to serve all dishes. It should be done by then - the lentils soft and the pumpkin disintegrating into the sauce to create a warm fluffy dhal.

Tomato Salsa
1. Chop fresh cold tomatoes and coriander and 1/2 the cucumber
2. Mix and put in small bowl for serving.
1. Chop other 1/2 of cucumber
2. Add to a small bowl of fresh natural yoghurt for serving

1. Heat 1cm olive oil in frypan
2. Fry each puppodum till browned and dry on paper towel
3. Serve on dark platter for contrast

Serve all dishes on the table with steaming hot basmati rice and also some fresh green lettuce.

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