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Mar 22, 2018
Intelligent Content For The Food Fascinated
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8 modern takes on classic Indian dishes
By Ashok Nageshwar // Pphotos by Carmen Troesser
Posted On: 03/01/2018   


4 servings

2 Tbsp. vegetable oil, plus more for frying
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger
1 Tbsp. garam masala
1 Tbsp. ground coriander
1 Tbsp. Indian chili powder
1 tsp. cumin seeds
Pinch of amchur powder
Pinch of fennel powder
2 cups chunky mashed potatoes (about 4 russet potatoes)
2 green chilies, chopped
1 cup peas, blanched
10 cilantro sprigs, chopped
4 12-inch flour tortillas
8 tsp. sweet chutney (or bhel chutney)
1 red onion, sliced into thin rings
6 oz. grated mozzarella

• In a large pan over medium heat, saute the garlic and ginger in 2 tablespoons oil about 2 minutes. Add the garam masala, coriander, chili powder, cumin, amchur powder and fennel powder and stir until combined. Add the mashed potatoes and green chilies and stir until evenly coated with the spice mixture. Stir in the peas and cilantro and remove from heat.
• To assemble a samosadilla, spread about ½ cup potato mixture on one side of a tortilla. Top with 2 teaspoons chutney, 2 onion slices and 1 ounce mozzarella cheese, and fold in half.
• Preheat a griddle to medium-high heat. Oil the griddle, then cook the samosadilla 2 minutes on each side. Repeat with the remaining tortillas. Slice the finished samosadillas into wedges and serve.

Kafir Lime Rasam

4 servings

4 tomatoes, diced
6 kafir lime leaves
2 Tbsp. rasam powder, divided
2 garlic cloves
1 Tbsp. cumin seeds
2 Tbsp. ghee, divided
1 tsp. brown mustard seeds
3 cups water
1 Tbsp. tamarind pulp
¼ cup chopped cilantro
Kosher salt, to taste

• Puree the tomatoes, kafir lime leaves and 1 tablespoon rasam powder in a food processor or blender and set aside.
• Using a spice grinder or mortar and pestle, coarsely grind the garlic and cumin seeds and set aside.
• In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, melt 1 tablespoon ghee. Add the mustard seeds and saute until they start to sputter and pop, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic mixture and the remaining 1 tablespoon rasam powder and saute 2 minutes. Add the tomato mixture and increase the heat to medium. Simmer 5 minutes, then stir in the water and tamarind pulp and simmer another 3 minutes.
• Remove from heat, then stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon ghee and salt to taste. Top with cilantro and serve.

Kheema Pav

4 servings

1 lb. ground beef or chicken
1 onion, diced
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 Tbsp. ginger-garlic paste
1 Tbsp. garam masala
1 Tbsp. ground coriander
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
1 Tbsp. Indian chili powder
3 tomatoes, diced
¹∕³ cup chopped cilantro
1 tsp. ghee (optional)
Kosher salt, to taste
8 pav buns
1 Tbsp. butter

• In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown the ground meat, stirring as little as possible to brown it completely, 7 to 10 minutes. Drain the meat, transfer to a plate and set aside.
• Wipe out the skillet and return to medium-high heat. Saute the onion in the oil until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the ginger-garlic paste and saute 1 minute. Add the garam masala, coriander, cumin and chili powder, and stir to combine. Add the tomatoes and reserved meat and mix well, making sure to break up any clumps. Simmer 2 to 3 minutes, then stir in the cilantro and ghee and remove from heat. Taste, and add salt if desired.
• Cut pockets in the pav buns and fill each with about an ice cream scoop of meat mixture, about 1½ to 2 ounces.
• Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat and toast the filled buns 1 minute on each side.

Masale Bhat

4 servings

2 cups basmati rice
3 tsp. coriander seeds
2 tsp. cumin seeds
1-inch cinnamon stick
5 cloves (optional)
3 tsp. vegetable oil
1 onion, sliced
5 to 6 curry leaves
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. brown mustard seeds
Pinch of hing powder
3 green chilies, chopped
2 tsp. ginger paste
½ tsp. ground turmeric
2 tsp. goda masala
2 tsp. Indian chili powder
1 russet potato, cut into ½-inch cubes
1 cup ½-inch cauliflower florets
Kosher salt, to taste
3 cups vegetable stock or water
¼ cup diced fresh tomatoes
4 tsp. peanuts
1 cup peas
½ cup fresh grated coconut, for garnish
Cilantro leaves, for garnish

• Rinse the rice, then soak 30 minutes. Drain and set aside.
• In a dry skillet over medium heat, toast the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, cinnamon stick and cloves until fragrant and beginning to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool, then coarsely grind with a spice grinder or mortar and pestle, and set aside.
• In a large, high-sided skillet over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Add the onions, curry leaves, bay leaves, mustard seeds and hing, and saute until the onions turn golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the green chilies, ginger paste and turmeric, and saute 1 minute. Add the goda masala and chili powder, and saute 2 mintues.
• Add the potato, cauliflower, a pinch of salt and ½ cup water, cover and cook 5 minutes.
• Stir in the reserved rice, then add the stock, tomatoes, peanuts and more salt to taste. Increase the heat to high, cover and cook 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and cook 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and cook 15 minutes, then remove from heat and let rest 10 minutes.
• Place the peas in a small, microwave-safe bowl and microwave 1 minute.
• Stir the peas into the rice mixture, garnish with coconut and cilantro and serve.

Chili-Lime Cauliflower

4 servings

1 head cauliflower
1 cup olive oil, divided
2 Tbsp. lime juice, divided
1 Tbsp. chopped parsley
1 Tbsp. ginger-garlic paste
1 Tbsp. Indian chili powder
2 tsp. chopped cilantro, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup hung curd or Greek yogurt
1 small garlic clove, minced

Special equipment: 4 bamboo skewers

• Cut the cauliflower into medium florets. Fill a large bowl with hot, salted water and soak the florets 30 minutes.
• In a large bowl, whisk together ½ cup olive oil, 1 tablespoon lime juice, the parsley, ginger-garlic paste, chili powder, 1 teaspoon cilantro, salt and pepper. Add the cauliflower and toss. Let marinate 10 minutes.
• In a medium bowl, whisk together the hung curd, the remaining 1 tablespoon lime juice, the remaining 1 teaspoon cilantro, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste until thoroughly combined, about 2 minutes.
• Place the florets on the skewers.
• On a grill pan over medium-high heat, grill the skewers until charred, 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Serve with the garlic dip.

Aloo Kurkure Balls

16 balls

1 1-lb. bag tortilla chips, crushed, divided
1 slice white bread, ripped into small pieces
1 cup finely chopped cilantro
1 cup mashed potatoes
½ cup grated carrot
4 green chilies, chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Pinch of amchur powder (optional)
1 cup cornstarch
1 cup water
1 cup vegetable oil
Curry sauce for serving (recipe follows)

• In a large bowl, combine half the crushed tortilla chips, the bread, cilantro, mashed potatoes, carrot, chilies, salt, pepper and amchur powder. Mix evenly, then form into 1½-ounce balls.
• In a medium bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and water to make a slurry. In another medium bowl, place the remaining crushed tortilla chips.
• Dunk the balls in the slurry, then roll them in the crushed tortilla chips to coat.
• In a deep pan over medium-high heat, heat the oil to about 350 degrees. Fry the balls in batches so they’re not too crowded, gently turning them a couple times until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
• Serve the balls with the curry sauce for dipping.

Curry Dipping Sauce

½ cup chopped onion
1 tsp. vegetable oil
Kosher salt, to taste
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 green chilies, chopped
1 tsp. Indian chili powder
1 tsp. chopped cilantro
½ Tbsp. chopped curry leaves
½ tsp. turmeric
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup water
½ cup diced fresh tomatoes
• In a large pan over medium-high heat, saute the onion in the vegetable oil with salt until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and chilies and saute 1 minute. Stir in the chili powder, cilantro, curry leaves, turmeric and black pepper. Add the water and tomatoes and simmer about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let rest about 15 minutes before serving with aloo kurkure balls.

Pista Kulfi with Pistachios

6 servings

1 8-oz. can evaporated milk
1 8-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup Cool Whip
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 oz. coarse ground pistachios, plus more for garnish
Pinch of ground cardamom

Special equipment: kulfi or popsicle molds

• Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk gently until combined.
• Pour the mixture into molds. Freeze overnight.
• When ready to serve, remove the molds from the freezer and run under warm water. Remove the kulfi from molds, sprinkle with ground pistachios and serve.

The Indian Pantry

Amchur Powder (Dry Mango Powder)
This is a tart and fruity spice powder made from dried unripe green mangoes. It adds a citrusy-sour note, which helps to highlight all the other spices in the food much like lemon or salt.

Brown/Black Mustard Seeds
Sisters to the more familiar yellow mustard, brown and black seeds pack a little more punch. To unleash their full, nose-tingling, spicy flavor, the seeds are usually fried until they pop like popcorn before adding them to dishes in Indian cuisine.

Cardamom (Elaichi Powder)
A very intense and aromatic spice with earthy, floral sweetness, cardamom helps to balance heat. You need very little to flavor a dish, whether using whole pods or ground seeds.

Coriander (Dhania Powder)
The dried seed of a cilantro plant, coriander is used frequently in Indian cuisine. Whole or ground, it has a floral, exotic taste with a touch of citrus. It’s a natural partner to cumin.

Cumin (Jeera Powder)
Cumin can be used ground or as whole seeds. It adds earthiness and warmth to dishes without delivering heat, making it a staple in stews, soups and spiced gravies.

Goda Masala 
A special blend from the Indian state of Maharashtra, goda masala contains two unusual spices: rock flower and cassia buds, along with cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, bay leaf, white sesame seeds, coriander seeds, coconut flakes and white and black peppercorns. Everything is dry roasted and ground, imparting a complex, pungent and unique flavor.

Hing (Asafoetida Powder)
This super savory spice is meant to be used in small quantities. Made from dried and powdered tree resin, it smells bitter and fetid until cooked. Then it transforms into an umami enhancer critical for Indian cuisine, with a very smooth flavor similar to leeks.

Indian Green Chili
Indian green chilies are a little longer and skinnier than serranos but have a similar spice level. They can be deseeded before use to cut down on heat.

Indian Red Chili Powder and Kashmiri Chili Powder
Standard Indian chili powder has a similar heat level to cayenne pepper, while Kashmiri is made with milder chilies and colors dishes in vibrant red like paprika.

Pav Bread Roll
Pav are fluffy Indian dinner rolls, like ones you’d use to make sliders.

Rasam Powder
Basic rasam powder is made with lentils, pepper, coriander, cumin, red chilies and hing (asafoetida). It adds complex heat and acidity to the lentil-based tomato soup called rasam, and acts as a thickening agent. I prefer the MTR brand.

Sweet Tamarind Chutney
Sweet but tart, and sometimes very sour, tamarind is potent. While tamarind pulp can be eaten alone, it is most often mixed with sugar and/or diluted to mellow its strong flavor. This chutney can be used as a dipping sauce for many salty and spicy snacks.

One of the key ingredients in many Indian dishes, turmeric is a natural food dye that turns everything it touches a sunny gold. It imparts a mustard-like, earthy aroma and a pungent, slightly bitter flavor.

Where to stock your Indian pantry
Seema Enterprises 14238 Manchester Road, Manchester, 636.391.5914; 10635 Page Ave., St. Louis, 314.423.9990, Facebook: Seema at Page Ave.

Bombay Bazaar 1761 Clarkson Road, Chesterfield, 636.778.2391, bbazarstl.com

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