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Posts Tagged ‘Indian Cuisine’

Roasted Curried Cauliflower

In Food, Recipes on March 7, 2012 at 1:58 pm

This past month, I’ve only been able to handle cooking if it is super-duper easy. My current go-to side dish is this roasted curried cauliflower, a riff on a favorite from A.O.C. restaurant in Los Angeles. I serve this alongside brown rice and chicken cooked in an Indian Life Tikka Masala simmer sauce from Whole Foods. (I prefer the Indian Life brand to Seeds of Change.)

The simmer sauce is a far cry from the sublime (and involved) Chicken Tikka Masala I loved making pre-pregnancy, and someday I’ll hopefully have enough energy to return to cooking good Indian, but in the meantime, at 9 months pregnant, opening a jar is fine by me.

But back to the cauliflower. I promise you this dish will be a grand slam at the dinner table. There is so much flavor and comfort, which seems particularly surprising given how easy it is to make. Let me know what you think!

Roasted Curried Cauliflower

1 head cauliflower florets (preferably orange cauliflower if you can find it)

1 medium yellow onion, quartered

3 teaspoons curry powder

3 teaspoons smoked Spanish paprika

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 1/2 teaspoons salt (or to taste)

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

Preheat oven to 450°F. Place cauliflower florets and onion in large roasting pan. In a bowl, whisk together spices, salt, oil and vinegar. Pour dressing over vegetables; toss to coat. Spread vegetables in single layer in pan.

Roast vegetables until tender, stirring occasionally, about 35 minutes. Serve.

Ghee Whiz

In Food, Recipes on November 1, 2009 at 10:22 pm

sag paneer

Ever since our favorite Indian place changed ownership, we’ve been trying new places and coming up short. Which forced me to face my fear of cooking Indian. Recently, I had great luck with a Chicken Tikka Masala recipe from Cooks Illustrated, and last night my sister tackled Sag Paneer.

We picked up the ghee (South Asian clarified butter, slightly nuttier than butter you clarify at home) at Whole Foods, and found paneer at New India Sweets & Spices, an Indian grocery on Fairfax with exceptionally friendly service and a great selection. My sister then used a recipe adapted from The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking, and I sous-cheffed. The reader who was incensed by my impressions of the Larchmont Bungalow might be pleased to know that I got nailed on my forehead by spattering ghee. It hurt. But one taste of this creamy, subtly spicy, nutty, fresh sag paneer, and the ghee incident was immediately forgiven—if not forgotten.

Sag Paneer

Adapted from The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking, by Yamuna Devi

2 serrano chiles, minced

½ inch piece of fresh ginger root, peeled and sliced

¼ cup water

½ teaspoon ground coriander

½ teaspoon turmeric

½ teaspoon ground cumin

¼ teaspoon paprika

6 tablespoons ghee

Paneer cheese, 8-10 ounces cut into 1/2-inch cubes

2 lbs fresh spinach, washed, trimmed and finely chopped

½ teaspoon garam masala

1 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons of cream cheese, cut into pieces

Splash of heavy cream

Place chiles, ginger and water in blender and purée. Add coriander, turmeric, cumin and paprika and pulse to blend well. Set aside.

ginger serranoghee paneer

Heat the ghee in a skillet over moderate heat until hot but not smoking. Carefully add the paneer cheese and fry for about 5 minutes, constantly turning the cubes to evenly brown them on all sides. When the cubes are golden brown, remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

paneer in gheefried paneer

Carefully add chile mixture to the hot oil and then add the spinach leaves.  Reduce the heat slightly, cover, and cook for 8 minutes.  Using two forks, turn the spinach over so that the cooked leaves on the bottom change places with the leaves on top.  Cover and cook for another 8 minutes.

spinach paneer

Add the garam masala, salt, paneer, cream cheese and a splash of heavy cream. Cover and continue to cook for about 5 minutes.  Stir well before serving.

Chicken Tikka Masala

In Food on October 6, 2009 at 8:05 am

chicken tikka masala

For weeks we’ve been trying new Indian takeout places, ever since our beloved Makkah Halal Tandoori on Vermont, from which we ordered takeout once a week for the past three years, changed hands—and unfortunately, their recipes. Which left our household with a serious dilemma, given that my husband has a near chemical addiction to Chicken Tikka Masala. I took matters into my own hands, and on Sunday I tackled Chicken Tikka Masala from Cooks Illustrated, and Baked Indian Rice from Gourmet. The rice was fantastic, but worth it only if you have the time—on a weeknight, forget it.

basmati rice

The Chicken Tikka Masala on the other hand, is right out of this world. Like maybe the best ever! The blend of spices is heavenly, and the fresh ginger and serrano chile gives just the right amount of heat and depth. We all ate more than we should have—and were ready for more…

indian spices


From Cooks Illustrated, September 20017; Serves 4-6

Chicken Tikka

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon table salt

2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of fat

1 cup plain yogurt

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 medium garlic cloves (minced or pressed through a garlic press,about 2 teaspoons)

1 tablespoon fresh ginger (grated)

Masala Sauce

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 medium onion, diced fine (about 1 1/4 cups)

2 medium garlic cloves (minced or pressed through a garlic press, about 2 teaspoons)

2 teaspoons teaspoons fresh ginger (grated)

1 serrano chile (fresh, ribs and seeds removed, flesh minced)

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 tablespoon garam masala [The Foodinista’s note: I used more like 1 1/2 tablespoons]

1 28 ounce-can crushed tomatoes

2 teaspoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon table salt

2/3 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

FOR THE CHICKEN: Combine cumin, coriander, cayenne, and salt in small bowl. Sprinkle both sides of chicken with spice mixture, pressing gently so mixture adheres. Place chicken on plate, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes. In large bowl, whisk together yogurt, oil, garlic, and ginger; set aside.

seasoned chicken breasts

FOR THE SAUCE: Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until light golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, chile, tomato paste, and garam masala; cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, sugar, and salt; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in cream and return to simmer. Remove pan from heat and cover to keep warm.

While sauce simmers, adjust oven rack to upper-middle position (about 6 inches from heating element) and heat broiler. Using tongs, dip chicken into yogurt mixture (chicken should be coated with thick layer of yogurt) and arrange on wire rack set in foil-lined rimmed baking sheet or broiler pan. Discard excess yogurt mixture. Broil chicken until thickest parts register 160 degrees on instant-read thermometer and exterior is lightly charred in spots, 10 to 18 minutes, flipping chicken halfway through cooking.

broiled chicken

Let chicken rest 5 minutes, then cut into 1-inch chunks and stir into warm sauce (do not simmer chicken in sauce). Stir in cilantro, adjust seasoning with salt, and serve with rice.

  • chicken tikka masala

Best Sag Paneer in Los Angeles

In Drink, Food on January 28, 2009 at 7:56 am


One of my husband’s and my addictions, as I’ve mentioned before, is Indian food paired with Riesling. Last night we placed our weekly delivery order to Makkah Halal Tandoori on Vermont (213 – 383 – 9976). It is without doubt the best Indian food I’ve had in LA. The Sag Paneer is so fresh, simmered with onions and tomatoes, which I love over their saffron flavored rice. Last night we were extra naughty and ordered the naan stuffed with housemade cheese. A cheap and cheerful Helfrich Riesling from Alsace ($12) with peachy floral notes balanced the richness and heat beautifully.

Update 9/20/09: Makkah Halal Tandoori has changed hands and sadly no longer uses the same recipes. New Indian takeout recs please???