Feeding my obsession

One of the biggest highlights of the trip so far has been the food. I’ve loved Indian food for years, but eating the authentic stuff on home turf has taken this love affair to a higher level! Roman and I are concerned that we’ll never be able to eat Indian food in the west again without being bitterly disappointed. 🙂 To stave off this fear, I am endeavoring to learn what I can about Indian cookery while we are still here.

Yesterday, I took a cooking class at the hotel K One One. It was an into class and not as hands on as I would have liked, but the teacher, Lalit, was lovely as were my fellow classmates (a sweet Aussie couple), and the food was really tasty. 🙂 Here’s what we made.

Recipes

These include the measurements in the recipe print out. Lalit was casual in his technique and generous with his measurements, especially when it came to oil, onion, ginger and garlic. The dishes were delish, but personally I’ll probably use slightly less chili and salt than he added when I make them (when ever I have a kitchen again! 😉 ) – experimentation is probably advisable for all these recipes. 🙂

Dal Makhani A creamy lentil dal

Ingredients
Black lentils (soaked)    200 grams
Sunflower or mustard oil    2 tbsp
Medium to finely chopped or paste of the following:
Onion    2 tbsp
Ginger    1/2 tsp
Garlic    1/2 tsp
Tomato puree or paste    100 grams
Cream    100 grams
Roasted cumin seed powder    1/2 tsp
Coriander powder    1/2 tsp
Red chili powder    1/4 to 1/2 tsp, depending on heat preference
Salt    1 tsp
Butter    2 tbsp
Fresh chopped coriander for garnish

Preparation
Add oil in a pressure cooker and once hot, add onion, ginger and garlic and fry for a few minutes until they begin to brown. Then add the coriander, cumin and chili powders, salt and tomato puree and let it cook for a few minutes. The sauce will be ready for the next step when the oil begins to separate from the rest of the ingredients.
At that point, add the lentils and about the same volume of water and cook on high in the pressure cooker for about 40 minutes. (Can be cooked in a normal pan as well but will take longer).
Once done, stir in the butter and cream. Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve.

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Browning the garlic, ginger and onion

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Fresh spices, generously administered 🙂

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Ready to be pressure cooked

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Butter and cream before mixing – not necessarily the healthiest Indian dish I’ve had 😉

Roasted eggplant
Ingredients
Oil (sunflower or mustard)    3 tbsp
1 medium eggplant
2 medium tomatoes chopped
2 medium onions chopped
Medium to finely chopped or paste of the following:
Ginger    1 tbsp
Garlic    1/2 tsp
Red chili powder   1/2 tsp
Coriander powder    1/2 tsp
Cumin seed 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Fresh chopped coriander for garnish

Preparation
**Lalit used a totally novel method to roast the eggplant: cooking it directly on the gas range. Using this technique, it took probably about a quarter of an hour, maybe a bit longer, to roast. He said this gives the eggplant a smokey flavor. More conventional roasting in an oven is also fine if preferred.**
Smear the eggplant with a light layer of oil and pierce the skin with a sharp knife on all sides. Roast the eggplant on a medium flame. Cook both halves until they become soft, then continue rotating every few minutes so that it can cook evenly, until skin is very dark and insides very soft.
Once done, remove from the flame, run under cold water and the remove the skin. Mash the flesh and set aside.
Heat oil in a wok. Once hot, add the cumin seeds and cook for one minute. Next, add onion, ginger and garlic and fry till golden brown. Next, add the tomato, red chili powder, coriander powder and salt. Cook until the tomatoes are soft.
Add the mashed eggplant and stir and continue to fry the ingredients for 5 to 7 minutes on medium heat. Remove from heat, garnish with fresh coriander and serve.

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Cooking the eggplant directly on the flame

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After roasting

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Frying all the ingredients together

Simple Pakoras Battered, fried, spicy goodness

**I have had other pakoras with mixed vegetable filling. This was a more simple version, with straight spinach leaves and pieces of paneer prepared in the batter. The batter and prep method can be used with any sort of filling. The simple ones we used were yummy, especially the fresh spinach.**

Ingredients
Gram (chickpea) flour   250 grams
Salt    1/2 tsp
Carom seeds 1/2 tsp
Garlic (paste or finely chopped)    1 tbsp
Red chili powder    1/4 tsp
Cooking oil    2 or 3 cups – enough to cover the pakoras as they cook
Chat masala (a special sour spice mixture for sale in Indian markets) 2 tbsp

Preparation
Heat the oil in the wok.
Make the batter with gram flour by adding a little water and all the spices. The consistency should be thick enough to cover the vegetables with a coat.
Dip the vegetables and paneer in the batter and deep fry them until golden brown. Remove the pakoras from the oil when done and sprinkle with chat masala. Serve hot.

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Coating paneer in the batter

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Frying the pakoras

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Finished pakoras – yum

We also made Roti and Parantha… The finished meal was delicious! 🙂

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Our teacher Lalit

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