Saturday, October 23, 2010

Dinner with friends

This evening we had friends over for dinner. Everyone was very relaxed and in a chatty mood (as always). Amidst jokes and Kishore Kumar songs, we started off with Symphony (a light bodied caliCaliforniante) and lime punch. Starters were simple and light. We had spanakopita, cheese-onion filo bundles and cold shrimp with beetroot-carrot salad. Dinner was the standard Indian spread with kasuri methi chicken, kadai paneer and punjabi kadhi (my fav) accompanied by roti, rice, onion relish and papad. It was an apple cake for dessert. Here are the recipes.

Kasuri Methi Chicken

2 Tbs Canola oil
2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs, cubed
2 Tbs Kasuri Methi
1-inch ginger slit into small pieces
4 large cloves of garlic, chopped
5-6 green chilies, slit (optional)
3 Tbs Sour Cream
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 tsp coriander powder
Chili powder
  1. In a large pan heat oil at medium heat.
  2. Add garlic, ginger and green chilies and fry for 30 seconds till garlic gets pink.
  3. Add kasuri methi and stir.
  4. Add the chicken pieces and all the spices. On medium heat fry the chicken turning occasionally for about 10 to 15 minutes until chicken leaves some oil in the sides of the pan. The chicken should be browned lightly and should be completely cooked from inside. At this point, there should be very little liquid left in the pan.
  5. Remove from heat and add the sour cream. Stir well and enjoy with roti or naan.

Punjabi kadhi
Kadhi is an Indian dish made in several parts of India. It is a spicy yogurt based gravy which often contains chickpea flour and vegetable dumplings called pakoras, and is served in combination with rice. There are several versions of kadhi and each version has slightly different ingredients and spices. I made the punjabi kadhi which is a traditional recipe for the northern region of India.

Ingredients for pakora (dumplings):
1/2 cup Besan (Gram Flour)
1 Tbs plain yogurt
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1 cup chopped spinach
  1. Mix all above in a bowl and make a smooth thick batter of a droppable consistency.
  2. Heat oil in a pan.
  3. Drop one-inch diameter dumplings into the oil and deep fry on a medium heat.
  4. Keep aside.
Ingredients for broth:
1 cup besan
2 cups plain yogurt
5-6 cups water  (proportion of besan:yogurt: water is 1:2:5)
salt to taste
1 tsp turmeric
2 tsp coriander powder
1 Tbs canola oil
2 tsp panchphoran (a mixture of 5 whole seeds-Nigella, fennel, cumin, mustard, and fenugreek)
chili powder
2 cloves garlic grated
1 Tbs ghee (clarified butter)
  1. In a large mixing bowl take besan and add the yogurt to it. mix well. Add water and salt, turmeric and coriander powder and mix well making sure there are no lumps. Keep aside.
  2. In a large stock pot heat oil on medium high.
  3. Add panchphoran and let it sputter for 30 seconds. Carefully add the besan mixture into the stock pot and stir.
  4. Bring to boil and add the dumplings into the broth.
  5. Bring back to boil and simmer covered for 20 to 25 minutes. Stir occasionally ensuring the kadhi doesn't burn and keep the temperature low
  6. If the mixture becomes too thick then add some water.
  7. Remove from heat and put a tempering (tadka or baghaar) of ghee and garlic and red chili powder.
  8. Serve hot with plain boiled rice.

Kadhai Paneer

1 tsp oil for tomato sauce
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
ginger slit into small pieces
2 garlic cloves chopped
2 large tomatoes pureed
2 Tbs oil for paneer
400 gms paneer (Indian cottage cheese) cubed
1 each red and green sweet pepper cut into strips
1 tbsp kasoori methi
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 tsp coriander powder
red chili powder
salt to taste
1 tbs sour cream ( or plain yogurt)
  1. In a small pan heat oil and add cumin seeds. Let sputter for 20 seconds.
  2. Add ginger and garlic and stir for a minute.
  3. Add tomato puree and a little bit of salt. Also, red chili powder if desired.
  4. Stir and cook on high for 3-4 minutes till tomatoes get cooked, water evaporates and oil leaves the side of the pan. Keep aside.
  5. In another pan heat oil and add kasoori methi. Stir for 10 seconds.
  6. Add cubed paneer and on medium heat lightly fry them till they turn golden.
  7. Add the peppers and all the spices. On high heat stir well till the peppers get a little crispy, for about 2-3 minutes.
  8. Now add the tomato sauce and coat well.
  9. Take out of the heat and add the sour cream and mix.
  10. Garnish with fresh green coriander and serve with roti or naan.

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