Postcards from India… or my kitchen


This fish in a spiced chickpea flour batter and it fried up really nice and crisp but light and airy. It was just Tilapia and still really tasty. Perhaps my best deep frying effort to date. I still hate all that boiling oil though. (Here is a gluten-free variation of the Julie Sahni recipe)

The dal was leftover that I made before and I  had in my freezer. 

The rice is an easy Judith Jones recipe for leftover rice. Sauté it with some onion, mushrooms, hot green chili, cumin, and coriander. Are mushrooms a common ingredient in Indian cooking? 


eat more radishes


I feel like radishes are very under appreciated. I have kind of been in love with radishes lately. If you have some extras in the crisper drawer…try roasting them. Spicy!

The asparagus recipe called for steamed asparagus but I had the grill going for the steak and portobellos, so I grilled it. Next time I won’t mix the asparagus into the risotto. It tastes good together but it just gets mushy. I think risotto with a side of asparagus would be perfect….unless you are trying to hide it from someone.

Classic Indian cooking weekend


Okay, the Lamb Rogan Josh recipe was from 499 Simply Delicious Recipes not from Julie Sahni.

And I don’t really understand “lentil broth” but the Mysore Rasam (Mysore Spicy Lentil Broth) was reasonably tasty. I do have the actual lentil puree in my freezer to be used later so at least nothing was wasted.

I made cheese, Paneer, for first time. I don’t think I did a good job of pressing it because it was an odd shape and crumbled a bit when I cut it, but it wasn’t a disaster and it was relatively easy.

Which then went into the Shahi Sabz Korma (Royal Braised Vegetables in Cardamom Nut Sauce) with some carrots, turnips, potatoes and ground almonds. And yes that then went into Shahi Sabz Biriyani (Royal Vegetable and Rice Casserole).

That cured the cooking bug. The next few days were leftovers, fine dining, and takeout!

Are you sure cauliflower didn’t come from India?

I can’t quite pin it down via my internet search but it seems that cauliflower (and broccoli) probably originate from the Italy-Greece-Turkey region of the world. Okay, alright, maybe it did, but when I find a head of cauliflower in my shopping basket it is headed for some Indian inspired spice concoction.  I may even have other plans when I first pick it up, but by the time I get home I’m pulling the turmeric out of the cupboard again.

This time I used Deseree Anne Kazda’s concoction: salt, pepper, turmeric, cayenne, cumin, chili powder. It has just a little nip. Good stuff.

The “biryani” recipe is from food52. It is good but a little heavy on the cinnamon-cloves-cardamom for my taste.


goan-style shrimp curry heaven…

I made some organic brown basmati rice, which I always have in my cupboard and totally love.  This is rice you could easily eat totally plain and be happy. I was then a little distraught over my lack of curry leaves… btw, I don’t live that far from Devon, an Indian neighborhood here in Chicago where I’m sure I could buy some curry leaves….next time.

Now, Mr. Suvir Saran and I have had our disagreements; about how many different spices or chiles to put in something or how long to cook it, definitely how long to cook it.  So I am usually not very optimistic.  I have only made 10 of the recipes from his American Masala cookbook. I have only liked 2 of those 10: grilled vegetable salad and spiced pear chutney …but this, this is one of those where you keep thinking… I must stop eating. I have to stop! But you can’t. It is coconut-milk-curry-heaven, with shrimp….good thing I ran out of rice.

indian rice

indian rice & yogurtOvercooked and over-flavored okay so that is kind of the definition of Indian food but I keep biting into cardamom pods (not pleasant) and I can’t find the cauliflower anymore, it totally disintegrated;  also the frozen peas did not need to cook as long as the rice! What I’m wondering is why did I follow all the directions? Mr Saran and I have a rather contentious relationship, which would be better if I followed my instincts instead of his directions sometimes.

The spices are delicious and they made my apartment smell fabulous. I did use brown basmati rice which meant I had to cook it a little longer which was probably part of the problem. It still tasted good with a big glob of greek yogurt and it is vegetarian; vegan even without the yogurt…but it kind of needs the yogurt.

toasted pine nuts make rice special

Dinner included sauteed greens with cannellini beans and garlic, rice pilaf with pine nuts, and roast chicken with rosemary-garlic paste.

So the chicken is just rubbed with rosemary paste and roasted.  I made the paste in my spice grinder with fresh rosemary. It also included juniper berries and I can’t seem to resist a recipe that calls for juniper berries. I thought I would have trouble cleaning the paste out of my spice grinder (really just a coffee grinder) after filling it with fresh rosemary, juniper berries, peppercorns and fresh garlic but I didn’t actually.

The greens are kale… have I mentioned before that I love kale. I think I have. The rice is just boring old rice pilaf but I did use brown rice and I toasted the pine nuts, because I had company and it needed to be special. Toasted pine nuts are special, dontcha know