Puri

Puri is simply a deep-fried chapatti. The flavor comes from the curry with which it’s eaten, typically some form of potato curry.

Ingredients
2 cups Indian whole wheat flour
1/2 Tablespoon vegetable oil
salt to taste

Method
Measure flour in bowl. Slowly add about 3/4 cup warm water, just enough to form a firm dough, and knead till smooth. Cover, let rest at least 1/2 hour, and knead again briefly. If resting more than 1 hour, punch and knead dough again before rolling out.

Divide into small balls about golf-ball size, and roll out into 6″ rounds on an oiled board. Heat vegetable oil in a wok or saucepan. Add a little salt to the oil to keep it from smoking. Fry the puri one at a time, holding them under the oil on the first side until they puff. Turn and fry till light brown; drain.

Serve as soon as possible; these breads are not as good later.

Puri are traditionally served with any or all of the following: Chana, Black-eyed Pea Curry, Spinach Dal, Potato Curry, Brussels Sprouts, and anything with yogurt in it; Potato Curry is the best.

For spicy puris:
When making the dough, add to the dry ingredients pinches of:

turmeric
hot pepper
cumin/coriander powder
hing

Chicken Curry with Tomatoes (Murgha Kari)

This dish from the Punjab takes only 30 minutes to prepare. In India fresh tomatoes would be used in this dish.

Ingredients

4 medium onions, chopped
2 tablespoons curry powder
1/2 cup butter or cooking oil
1 cup or 1 can (8 ounces)tomato sauce
2 teaspoons salt
1 frying chicken (2 to 3 pounds)
3/4 cup hot water

Method

Use a casserole or large skillet with lid. Cook onions and curry powder in butter for 10 to 15 minutes. Add tomato sauce and salt. Disjoint and skin chicken, and place in sauce. Cook, uncovered, over medium heat, turning frequently until sauce becomes quite dry and chicken tests done with fork, about 15 minutes. Add hot water, cover pot, and cook over low heat for 5 minutes. Makes 4 servings.

Murgh Makhan (Silken Chicken)

“The Best of India” by Balraj Khanna (Collins, 1993): “The Mughals, who ruled India for almost three hundred years, loved eating and entertaining, and rich, creamy dishes such as this formed an essential part of their lavish lifestyle. Serve this very special dish as part of a large meal.”

Ingredients

1 3lb chicken
4 cloves garlic
1 medium fresh green chili
1 2 inch piece ginger
2 c. onion, finely chopped
8 cardamom pods
9 cloves
Total butter: 1 stick

Method

CUT one 3-lb chicken, skin removed, into 10 pieces.

COMBINE and process for 15 seconds: 4 garlic cloves, halved 1 medium fresh hot green chili, seeded, one 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled, coarsely chopped

ADD and process 15 seconds: 2 cups finely chopped onions

ADD and process 15 seconds: 8 cardamom pods, cracked 9 cloves

SET ASIDE.

HEAT in large saucepan/ skillet: 3 Tablespoons butter (heat until foam is going down)

BROWN on medium heat: 1/2 the chicken pieces (“lightly browned on all sides) Transfer to plate, repeat with 3 more tablespoons butter and remaining chicken.

ADD TO PAN and cook, stirring constantly: The rest the butter The garlic/onion/spice mixture Cook it for 10 minutes or until liquid has evaporated.

ADD and cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly: 2 teaspoons cumin seeds 1 teaspoon chili powder (unspiced ground chili peppers) One 1 1/2 inch piece cinnamon stick

ADD and cook, stirring often, 10 minutes: One 16 ounce can whole tomatoes, chopped, with juice 1/2 teaspoon salt (sounds silly, with that in butter and tomatoes)

ADD: The chicken and its juices

REDUCE HEAT to low, cook covered 30 minutes, until chicken is tender and sauce is thickened.

GARNISH WITH: 1/4 cup fresh coriander (for 6)

Mattar Paneer (Peas with Farmer Cheese)

This Punjabi dish, with some variation in the spices, is eaten all over North India. Indian restaurants, whether in India or outside it, almost always serve it on their thali, or vegetarian platter. As an interesting variation, you could substitute a diced 6 oz. cake of regular bean curd for the paneer. Serves 6

Ingredients

1 medium sized onion, peeled and chopped
1 inch cube of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
6 tbl veg. oil
paneer (plus 2 cups of the whey)
1 whole dried red pepper
1 tbsp. ground coriander seeds
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
3 medium sized tomatoes, peeled and minced
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 cups shelled fresh or 2 packages defrosted frozen peas

Method

Put the chopped onion and ginger into a blender or food processor along with 1/3 cup water and blend until you have a smooth paste. Leave paste in the blender container. Heat oil in a heavy 10 inch wide pot over a medium flame. When hot put in the pieces of paneer in a single layer and fry until golden brown on all sides. This happens pretty fast. Remove to a plate. Put the dried red pepper into the same oil. Within 2 seconds, turn the pepper over so that it browns on both sides. Now put in the contents of the blender (keep your face averted as the paste might splatter). Fry, stirring constantly, for about 10-12 minutes, or until paste turns a light brown color. Add the coriander and turmeric and fry, stirring, for another minute. Put in the minced tomatoes. Stir and fry for another 3 to 4 minutes or until the tomatoes turn a dark, reddish brown shade. Now pour in 2 cups of the whey. Add the salt and the black pepper. Mix well and bring to a boil. Cover, lower heat, and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Lift cover and put in the paneer pieces and the peas. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until the peas are cooked.
from Madhur Jaffrey’s World of the East Vegetarian Cooking

Sucha’s Dal

Sucha Pannu Singh is another native of Punjab, who now lives in Portland, OR. You can substitute supermarket lentils for the masoor dal in this recipe, but if you’ve ever had masoor dal, you’ll know regular lentils are a poor substitute. Serve this dish with rice and a green salad. Chapati or whole-wheat flour tortillas can be served to help scoop up the dal.

Ingredients

2 cups masoor dal Water
1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala
1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup oil
1 1/2 onions, chopped
1 head garlic, separated, chopped
1 (1-inch piece) ginger root, chopped
2 jalapeno chiles, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 bunch cilantro, chopped

Method

Rinse dal thoroughly, until water is clear. In pot bring 1 quart water to boil. Add dal. Cook half way, about 10 to 15 minutes, add 1/2 teaspoon garam masala, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric and salt. As dal cooks, uncovered, water will evaporate and mixture will thicken. Add more water to keep dal loose, like texture of thick cream. When dal is soft, turn off heat. Heat oil in wok. When oil is very hot, add onions and cook until tender and translucent but not browned. Add garlic, ginger and chiles. Continue to fry until onions are deep-yellow. Add remaining 1 teaspoon each garam masala and turmeric. Do not allow spices to burn. Keep stirring until mixture starts to stick. Add tomatoes and cilantro. Cook until tomato softens. Pour in pot of dal and simmer to blend flavors. Taste and add more salt if needed. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Chandni Vegetarian Cuisine’s North American Blackeyes (Lobhia)

Move over Hoppin’ John; blackeye peas is steppin’ out Indian style. This dish is from Chef-owner Kuldip Chand of Chandni Vegetarian Cuisine of India in Culver City, CA. He is from the Punjab and the man knows his dals.

Ingredients

2 cups blackeyes
1 1/2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 tablespoons oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 large cloves garlic, chopped
1 (3/4-inch piece) ginger root, peeled and chopped
Scant 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 medium tomato, chopped

Method

In pot soak beans overnight in water to cover generously. Next day, drain beans, cover with fresh water and bring to boil. Add salt, coriander, cumin and turmeric. Simmer until beans are just tender, about
30 to 45 minutes. Heat oil in deep saucepan. Add onion, garlic, ginger and cumin. Fry
10 minutes and add tomato. Cook another 5 minutes and add beans and cooking liquid. Continue to simmer, uncovered, until beans are soft but not completely dissolved. Mixture should be soupy. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Chicken Dilruba

Ingredients

2 medium onions
1 cup milk
2 tbs. chopped fresh ginger root
2 TB Punjabi garam masala
6 tbs. butter or vegetable oil
1 tsp. ground turmeric
3-4 lb. chicken, skin removed, cut
2-3 fresh green cayenne peppers, minced, into small pieces or serranos/jalapenos as substitute
1 cup fresh plain yogurt
Salt and ground cayenne to taste
1/4 cup almonds, ground A few strands whole saffron, soaked in 2 tbs. warm milk
1/4 cup walnuts, ground

Method

Minced fresh cilantro and whole 1/4 cup melon, pumpkin or squash seeds almonds/cashews for garnish (optional), ground
Put the onions and ginger in a blender or food processor and process into a smooth paste (consistency of apple sauce). Heat the butter or oil in a heavy, deep skillet and gently brown the onion-ginger mixture, stirring often. Add the chicken and yogurt. Combine well and cook over medium heat until the mixture becomes rather dry and the chicken begins to brown. Grind the almonds, walnuts and melon seeds until quite fine. Stir them into the milk, then add the mixture to the chicken along with the garam masala, turmeric, chili peppers, salt and ground cayenne. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until the chicken is very tender and the sauce is very thick (about 10-15 minutes). Stir in the saffron/milk mixture and cook 1-2 minutes longer.
Serves 4

Quick Glazed Carrot Halwa (Gajar Halwa)

From CLASSIC INDIAN VEGETARIAN AND GRAIN COOKING (Julie Sahni; William Morrow and Co., N. Y., 1985)
The art of making halwa with nuts was introduced in India during the Moghul period by the traders from the Middle East and Asia Minor. It is the Indian cooks, however, who are credited with making halwa by using vegetables such as carrots, pumpkin, zucchini, snake squash, winter melon, potatoes, and yams. This glazed carrot halwa, a specialty of the Sikhs of Punjab, is the most popular halwa in India and is enjoyed as a dessert as well as a sweet. Traditionally it is made with milk fudge (khoya), but I substitute ricotta cheese combined with dry milk and butter, which is quicker and produces just as good a result. For 12 to 16 persons:

Ingredients

3 sticks (3/4 pound) sweet butter
3/4 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
3/4 cup nonfat dry milk powder
1/2 cup blanched slivered almonds
2 tbsp. chopped pistachios 6 cups packed shredded or grated carrots (2 1/2
3 pounds)
9 tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom

Method

1. Melt 1 stick (8 tbsp.) of the butter in a skillet. Add the ricotta and dry milk, mix it in, and cook over medium-high heat to a thick paste (about 15 minutes), stirring constantly. Transfer the mixture to a small plate and set aside.
2. Wipe the skillet clean and add 2 tbsp. of the butter along with the almonds. Cook over medium-high heat until the almonds turn light golden (about 2 minutes), turning and tossing constantly. Drain the almonds on paper towels and set aside for garnish. Add the pistachios to the same skillet and cook until they become crisp (about 1 minute). Drain the pistachios on paper towels and set aside separately.
3. Wipe the skillet clean and add 1 stick (8 tbsp.) butter and place over medium-high heat. When the butter melts, add carrots and stir-fry until they are will coated with butter. Reduce heat to medium or medium- low, cover, and cook for 8 minutes or until the carrots are cooked but not mushy. Add sugar and cardamom and cook until the carrots are glazed (about 5 minutes), stirring constantly.
4. Blend in the milk-cheese paste and continue cooking and adding the remaining 6 tbsp. of butter in small portions, until the halwa looks thick and glazed (12 – 15 minutes). Turn off the heat and stir in the pistachios. The halwa can be made ahead and kept refrigerated for up to
1 week.
To serve: Heat the halwa and put on an attractive serving dish and pat it down with a metal spatula. Garnish the halwa with almonds. The halwa has the consistency of a thick, moist pudding. Therefore, serve scooped into individual dessert plates with a spoon.

Five-Jewel Creamed Lentils

Recipe By : Julie Sahni
Classic Indian Vegetarian Cooking
Serving Size : 8
Preparation Time :1:00

Ingredients

175 Grams Yellow Split Peas (channa dal) (6 ounces)
90 Grams White Gram Beans (urad dal) (3 ounces)
45 Grams Yellow Mung Beans (moong dal) (1 1/2 ounces)
45 Grams Red Lentils (masar dal) (1 1/2 ounces)
1/2 Teaspoon Turmeric
2 Teaspoons Salt (or to taste)
6 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
2 Medium Onions, Peeled, Sliced in Thin Rings
2 Teaspoons Garlic, Minced
2 Teaspoons Ginger, Grated or Crushed
3 Medium Tomatoes, Sliced in 2cm thick wedges
2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
1 1/2 Teaspoons Cumin Seed
1/2 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1 Teaspoon Paprika
4 Tablespoons Fresh Coriander, Chopped
2 Green Chilies, Minced

1. Pick clean and wash all the beans thoroughly in several changes of water. Put them in a deep pot with 1/2 teaspoon turmeric and 1 1/2 litres (1 1/2 quarts) of water. Bring the water to the boil and stir often to prevent the beans from sticking to the bottom of the pan or lumping together. Cook over medium heat, partially covered, for about 30 minutes.

2. Stir in the salt to taste. Keep the lentils on a low simmer while you make the fried seasonings.

3. Heat 4-6 tablespoons of the oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring constantly, until they turn light brown (15-18 minutes). Add the garlic, ginger and chilies and continue cooking for 2 more minutes. Increase the heat to high, add the tomatoes, and fry, turning them carefully and shaking the pan, until they look slightly browned and cooked (about 5 minutes).

4. Pour the entire contents of the pan over the dal and gently stir to mix. Continue simmering while you make the spiced butter.

5. Wipe the frying pan clean and place it on medium-high heat. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of the oil. When it is hot, add the cumin, cayenne and paprika. Immediately pour the entire contents of the pan over the dal, scraping the mixture out with a rubber spatula. Stir a few times, just to streak the dal with the spiced butter.

6. Serve garnished with coriander and more paprika.

Sag Gosht

Ingredients

Ghee – 4 tbs.
Mustard Seeds – 1.5 tbs.
Garlic cloves, crushed – 2
Cardamom seeds, crushed – 2 tsp.
Ground Coriander – 1tbs.
Fresh root ginger, peeled and chopped – 1.5 inches
Lean boned lamb, cubed – 2 lb.
Medium Onion chopped – 1
Green Chilies, chopped – 3
Sugar – 1 tsp.
Turmeric – 1 tsp.
Spinach, trimmed, washed and chopped – 2 lb.
Salt – 1.5 tsp.
Black Pepper – .5 tsp.
Yogurt – 3 Tbs.

Method

Fry until the seeds begin to pop. Stir in the garlic, cardamom, coriander and ginger and fry for one minute, stirring constantly. Add the lamb cubes and fry until they are evenly browned. Stir in the onion, chilies and sugar and fry until the onion is golden brown. Stir int he turmeric and spinach and cook for three minutes. add the remaining ingredients and reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer for one hour or until the meat is cooked through and tender and stir well. Preheat the oven to cool 150 C (Gas Mark 2, 300 F). Put the casserole into the oven and cook for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve at once.
4-6 servings.

From _The World of Cooking: Indian Cooking by Isabel Moore 1973