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

Lamb Piralen

Ingredients

Two pounds of cubed leg of lamb, trimmed of fat
Six teaspoons ground coriander, lightly toasted
Half teaspoon ground cumin
Half teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)
Half teaspoon ground black pepper
Quarter teaspoon ground turmeric
Pinch of ground cinnamon
Pinch of ground cloves
Half teaspoon fennel seeds, coarsely ground with a mortar and pestle
One and half tablespoons white vinegar
Salt to taste
Two medium boiling potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes
Half cup thinly sliced onion
Five tablespoons vegetable oil
Two teaspoons minced garlic
Two teaspoons minced ginger
Half cup water
Half teaspoons mustard seeds
10 curry or two bay leaves
Quarter cup minced onion

Method

Marinate the lamb in the mixture of ground spices, fennel seeds, and vinegar for at least one hour.

In a saucepan of salted water, parboil cubed potatoes for 12 minutes, set aside.

In a large frying pan over medium- high heat, fry half cup sliced onion in oil until the edges are nicely browned. Add garlic and ginger and stir for two minutes, or until the onion turns medium brown.

Add marinated lamb and stir until the meat is no longer pink. Add salt and half cup water to keep the meat simmering. Cook, uncovered, over low heat for about 30 to 40 minutes, or until the meat is tender and sauce is reduced to a very small amount.

Meanwhile, in a nonstick frying pan, over medium high-heat, fry the potatoes in 2 tablespoons oil until light brown, crusty and cooked through, for about 20 minutes. Add potatoes to lamb. Raise heat to medium-high and stir to coat thoroughly with sauce. Turn heat down to low.

In a small covered frying pan, heat mustard seeds and curry leaves in one tablespoon of oil over medium heat until the mustard seeds begin to pop. Add a quarter cup of minced onion and fry until they turn light brown. Pour contents of frying pan over lamb and potatoes, stir well, and remove from heat. Taste for salt.

The whole effort takes about 80 minutes, apart from the marinating time. Serves six.

Source: Source: Curried Favors, Maya Kaimal

Okra Kichadi

Ingredients

Five tablespoons vegetable oil (note: coconut preferred)
1 pound fresh okra, trimmed and cut into thin slices
2 green chilies, split lengthwise
Salt to taste
1 cup grated, unsweetened coconut
Half teaspoon mustard seeds, coarsely ground with a mortar and pestle
Half teaspoon cumin seeds, coarsely ground with a mortar and pestle
15 curry leaves
Water
One cup plain low-fat yogurt
Half-teaspoon mustard seeds
Two dried red peppers
One teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Method

In a wok or large frying pan heat three (note: or four) tablespoons oil over medium heat. Add sliced okra and one green chile and stir-fry until the okra softens and browns around the edges. Stir in salt. Remove to a bowl and set aside.

In a food processor or blender combine coconut, coarsely ground mustard, cumin seeds, one green chile and five curry leaves with just enough water to make a fine paste. (note: if using desiccated coconut, re-constitute it in water or coconut milk for thirty minutes before blending.)

Wipe clean the wok, and combine in it coconut paste, yogurt, half-cup water and little salt. Bring mixture to a simmer — do not allow it to boil — and remove from heat immediately (or else yogurt will separate).

In a small covered frying pan over medium heat, heat mustard seeds, dried red peppers, and 10 curry leaves until the seeds begin to pop. Stir contents of pan into coconut-yogurt mixture.

Stir in fried okra, adding more water if necessary to form a thick but pourable mixture. Stir in lemon juice; taste for salt. Serve at room temperature.

It takes 40 minutes to prepare and serves six to eight people.

Note: Similar method can be used with eggplant or bitter melon instead of okra.

Source: Curried Favors, Maya Kaimal

(also spelled okra kichidi, okra kichedi)

Terms

The following may be useful in translating some of the terms used in the recipes. (note: Malayalam sound designated by letters ‘zh’ is a soft English ‘r’.)

Indian/English Name Malayalam name
tuar dal thuaran parippu 
urad dal uzhunnu parippu 
masoor dal  parippu 
chana dal (bengal gram) kadala parippu 
moong dal  parippu 
hing (asafoetida) kayam 
tamarind puli 
coriander  malli 
cayenne pepper mulaku podi 
methi (fenugreek) uluva 
cilantro leaves  malli ila 
cumin (jeera)  jeerkam 
mustard  kaduku 
okra vendakka 
pumpkin  mathanga 
cucumber  kumbalanga 
like, Totally! Ayyo!
saunf  perumjeerakam 

Fish in Banana leaf

Recipe courtesy Marc Miron

2 pounds snapper filets
Salt and pepper
1 Bali lemon, or two regular limes
Betutu spice, recipe follows
Banana leaves, or tin foil
3 salam leaves, or substitute bay leaves
2 sliced green tomatoes
2 kaffir lime leaves
1/4 sweet basil leaves
Tamarind water, to soften, or substitute with the juice of 2 lemons

In a bowl season the fish with salt, pepper, lime juice, and betutu paste.

On a sheet tray, lay down the banana leaf. Place a salam leaf on the banana leaf. Place the fish on the middle of the banana leaf over the salam leaf. Place sliced green tomatoes, lime leaf, sweet basil, and tamarind water on the fish.

Season with salt and pepper.

Wrap the fish folding both ends together and secure with a bamboo
skewer. Grill until cooked, approximately 4 to 5 minutes per side
depending on the thickness of the fillets.

Betutu spice:
1/2 cup peeled shallots
1/4 cup peeled garlic
2 tablespoons fresh turmeric
2 tablespoons fresh peeled ginger
2 tablespoons galangal
3 pieces lemongrass
2 tablespoons fresh hot chili peppers seeded
and cleaned
2 tablespoons palm sugar chopped
4 tablespoons shrimp paste
1/4 cup coconut oil, for frying

Grind shallots, garlic, turmeric, ginger, galangal, lemongrass, chili
peppers, palm sugar, and shrimp paste in a food processor. Saute
paste with coconut oil.

Yield: 2 servings Prep Time: 30 minutes Cook Time: 20 minutes
Difficulty: Easy

Deep-fried appetizer

This is a second Indian recipe. It is an unfailing favorite everywhere we make it. It is a deep-fried appetizer, great with cocktails, and for best effect, should be served with a fresh chutney, such as coriander leaves ground with fresh ginger, chopped green chilli pepper, some yogurt and maybe some mint leaves.

Cut into matchsticks: 1 large potato 1 small eggplant 1 onion There should be about equal amounts of each.

Mix together about 1/4 cup of white flour with 1/2 cup of chick pea flour (called *bessan* and quite a unique thing, which has the aroma and aftertaste of sprouted mung beans) and 1/2 tsp salt, some coarsely ground black pepper, 1 tsp ground coriander seed, 1 tsp ground cumin, and about 1 Tbsp of whole coriander seeds.

Mix the flours and seeds into the vegetables, sprinkle on a couple of Tbsps of water–VERY LITTLE water–and mix together with your hands until it just holds together. It’s gooey.

Fry tablespoons of this mixture in about 3/4 inch of very hot vegetable oil until golden brown–about 5 minutes. Drain and serve hot.
This comes from a lavish cookbook produced by the New York restaurant called The Bombay Palace, and which has sister restaurants in Europe. The food at the restaurant is wonderful, but the cookbook, for the most part (edited by the food critic Stendal) is a bust. The recipes do not make up well, usually, with some exceptions. This is one.

Ajay Shah, (213)734-3930, ajayshah@usc.edu

Biryani

From: ajayshah@alhena.usc.edu (Ajay Shah)

Ingredients

1 kg meat (chicken/lamb/prawns)
4 cups rice (ideally basmati)
10 cloves garlic
2″ piece of ginger
10 dried red chillies
3 large onions
3 large tomatoes
10 mint leaves
pinch of saffron
6 large potatoes
1 tspturmeric powder
4 tbs cooking medium (butter tastes best)
6 cardamoms
6 cloves
4″ stick of cinnamon
salt to taste
An amount of water which is “correct”. If basmati rice, then it’s 1.8 cups of water per cup of rice.

Method

Preprocessing:
1. Make a paste of the garlic, ginger and chillies.
2. Chop the onions and the tomatoes (don’t mix ’em up). The onions should be rings, ideally.
3. Peel, cut and wash the potatoes in 1.5″ pieces.
4. Clean and wash the rice.

Processing:
1. Clean and cut the meat into 1.5″ pieces. If the chicken is bony (i.e., not boneless) ignore this step.
2. Fry the onions till golden brown. This is a long and painful process, but keep the faith. Remove the onions, drain of oil, and put ’em aside. Chuck the ginger-garlic-chilly paste into the same oil. Fry for 6 minutes. Put in the meat and fry for K minutes. If lamb, K = 10; otherwise K = 5. In either case, you want the meat to be half cooked before starting stage 3.
3. Add chopped tomatoes, cloves, cinnamon, cardamoms, turmeric, mint leaves and salt and fry for 5 minutes. Add a little water and cook till the meat is 75% cooked. This will take a short while for chicken/prawns, and longer for lamb.
4. Now add the rice and potatoes. Add the rest of the water and cook (covered) till the rice is ready. A slow flame will work better than a powerful one. Stir occasionally.
5. Serve hot, garnished with the fried onions.

(This recipe is from the Taj Hotel in Bombay!).
Ajay Shah, (213)734-3930, ajayshah@usc.edu

Simple Bombay Aloo

Ingredients:

Yellow potatoes, scrubbed and quartered (or eighted 🙂 depending on size)
a chopped onion
a handful of fresh or frozen peas

optional: other vegetables might include carrots, cabbage, cauliflower, whatever you want
a good bit of madras curry powder (to taste, maybe starting from a teaspoon per estimated serving) (8 parts coriander, 4 parts cumin, 1 part cayenne, and 2 parts turmeric)
a big handful of cilantro leaves optional garnish
yogurt
raisins (optional)

Method:

This comes out great with everything but cilantro and garnish cooked in a pressure cooker; otherwise “sautee” the onion and curry powder in a little apple cider vinegar, then add the potatoes and optional vegetables and a little vegetable broth. Simmer until the potatoes are almost done; add peas. simmer about five minutes. Stir in cilantro; serve immediately with yogurt if desired.

AKA: Potato Curry.

Source: “Elisabeth.”

PATRANI MACHI

In this dish, fish is topped with coconut-cilantro chutney, wrapped in leaves, and baked. Here lettuce leaves substitute for the traditional banana leaves. This is a popular dish around Bombay where fish and coconuts are fresh and abundant.

Serves 6 to 8

CHUTNEY Ingredients

1 cup unsweetened grated coconut ( preferably fresh)
1-2 small chilis
3 garlic cloves, coarsly chopped
1 Tbl. chopped fresh ginger root
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin seeds
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. brown sugar (optional)

Main dish ingredients

2 pounds firm, white-fleshed fish fillets
6-8 large lettuce leaves for wrapping (leaf lettuce works well)
1/4 cup melted butter or ghee
2 Tbl. fresh lime juice
1 lime, sliced

Method

In the bowl of a food processor or in a blender, combine the chutney ingredients and process until quite smooth. If using a blender, it may necessary to add one or two Tbl. of water and to blend the ingredients in batches.
Rinse the fish and cut into 6 to 8 serving sized pieces. Place each piece at the bottom of a lettuce leaf and spread a generous spoonful of the chutney on top. Fold the rest of the leaf down over the fish and tuck in the edges to form a packet.

Place the packets in an oiled baking dish and drizzle the butter and 2 Tbl. of lime juice over them. Bake, covered, at 350 F. for 30 to 40 minutes, until the lettuce looks wilted and browned. The lettuce may be eaten or not, as desired.
Serve with rice and Tomato Kachumber and garnish each serving with a slice of lime. Or serve the fish accompanied by a simple side dish of cherry tomatoes stir-fried with some oil and minced garlic.

Note: If you are pressed for time or are out of lettuce leaves, you can simply spread the chutney on top of the fish and bake approximately 10 minutes less. The chutney can be served by itself to accompany any Indian meal. Parsley can be used in place of the cilantro. from Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant

Bombay Taj recipe for Reshmi Kabab

Ingredients

2 lb boneless chicken
4 medium sized onions
2″ ginger
8 cloves garlic
1 bunch of coriander (cilantro) leaves
1 tsp cummin (jeera) seeds
white pepper to taste (around 1 tsp if you don’t have a prior)
1 tsp garam masala (available in indian stores)
2 eggs
salt to taste

(for garnishing) lemon spring onions (red onions are ok)

Method

1. Mince the chicken
2. Grind all ingredients together except eggs and salt
3. Mix in the eggs and salt
4. Shape into sausages, put on skewers and cook over charcoal fire or in rotisserie till tender
5. Garnish with onions and lemon

Ajay Shah, ajayshah@usc.edu