Tag Archives: Indian

Grilled Tandoori Chicken Skewers

Tests are over–and I floated about in the pool for an hour today, finishing up Mansfield Park and Range of Motion and I was, well, torn about how I felt about my latest Jane Austen read.  I’m interested to hear what you think.

I think reading Jane Austen perfectly exemplifies the dichotomy under which I live my daily life.  On one hand, I love reading a romance novel just as much, or perhaps more, than the next girl–especially if it’s well written.  I will gladly indulge in any period film involving a horse and carriage and Mother bustling around in multiple brown skirts and aprons marrying off all their gorgeous daughters to rich, sexy men to save their family’s fortune.  If it’s raining outside and I am drinking vast quantities of tea, wrapped in a blanket with my cat, all the better.  I just love that feeling.

It’s sad, I know.  I think it might be too late for me.

But at the same time, I despise the horrid and privileged men and especially the stringent, sexist, oppressive atmosphere these poor women are forced to live in.  Seriously, Mansfield Park?  Fanny Price is not able to participate in putting on a play in the privacy of her own home with her family because it is too morally corrupt?  And that she judges all the other people around her and rarely expresses any true emotion other than that which is acceptable by the society in which she was raised is supposed to make me like her?  Ugh.

And then the book ends with her marrying her one true love–perfect, except that it’s her cousin!  Her first cousin, that she was brought up alongside!  The genetics alone horrify me.

I know, I know, I have to respect the times in which it was written–and I’m not saying Jane Austen wasn’t a great writer.  I’m just…you know.  What do you think?

Anyway, on to our meal for tonight–grilled tandoori chicken kabobs.  This is one of my favorite chicken recipes I’ve had in a long time, but I do have to warn you: it’s hot!  So beware if you still actually have some of your taste buds remaining.  Feel free to get rid of the cayenne all together if you need to.

Grilled Tandoori Chicken Kabobs (adapted from Real Grilling by Jamie Purviance, serves 4) Grilled Tandoori Chicken Skewers Printable Card

  • 3 chicken breasts (about 6 oz each)
  • 1 C plain yogurt
  • 1 T each ground ginger, paprika, and vegetable oil
  • 2 t minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 t each salt and ground curry powder
  • 1 t ground turmeric
  • 1/2 t ground cayenne pepper

I halved the marinade recipe and used two small chicken breasts to make two servings.

Combine the yogurt, spices, and vegetable oil in a bowl.

Cube the chicken into roughly equal pieces, about a 1″ each.  Place the chicken in the marinade, and make sure it covers all the chicken.  Tightly wrap the bowl in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.

Either soak wooden skewers for 10 minutes before using, or use metal ones.  Slide the chicken onto the skewers, placing them next to each other, but not too tightly.  Grill the skewers over direct medium heat on the grill for about 10 minutes, turning once.

We also grilled zucchini and green onions.  For the green onions, cut off the root tip and a few inches of the hollow tops on the opposite end.  Spray with olive oil or canola oil, and dust with salt and black pepper.  Grill over direct heat for about two minutes on each side–if you can finagle this, the white part should be cooked over higher heat than the green side.  If you can’t, it’s okay.  I’ll still like you.

I was a huge fan of the grilled green onion–I left most of the green tops, and they basically turned into onion chips at the skinny ends.  The whiter ends were soft and sweet.  Oh, yes.

The tandoori chicken?  Spicy, hot, tender, moist, charred–everything I love most about grilled food.  Even Fritz, who hates food that is too hot, loved it.

He actually said he wanted to eat this chicken every night for the rest of his life…but I’m not sure he really means it. 

Oh–I also got featured on a fellow blogger’s site (not a food blogger, though).  Visit Arianna Belle’s blog on Organized Interiors to check it out!

Last but not least, I’ve been playing with my new (old) lens from the garage sale–I’m in love with it and now I want to buy lots more lenses.  Uh oh.  Hello Henry!

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Filed under Entrees

Rooibos Chai

Nothing like a spicy, warm, and smooth mug of tea to start the day–especially when you are on vacation.

While searching for recipes that I thought looked good, I read a blog post about how saying “chai tea” is redundant and incorrect, so I’m trying to say it right–but it goes against years of Starbucks training.

So what to call this?  I really wanted to say rooibos chai tea, but I know that’s not right!  Chai rooibos?  Rooibos chai? Chai tea rooibos?  Masala (the blend of spices I used) rooibos chai?  Chai masala rooibos?

I’m just gonna stick with the simple version:

Rooibos Chai (serves 2)

  • 1 heaping t rooibos tea
  • 2 C boiling water
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1/2 star anise
  • 4 green cardamom pods
  • 2 whole peppercorns
  • 6 fennel seeds
  • milk and sugar to taste

Most importantly–you must toast the spices!  I used the toaster oven at 350 and toasted for 4-5 minutes, until they were touched with golden color and smelled amazing.

Next, crush ’em up with a mortar and pestle or spice grinder–but don’t go too small.  You just need to release the flavor, not grind them to a fine powder that can fit through a tea sieve.

Make the rooibos tea–I used a Bodum, which was perfect for straining the spices later.  You can make the tea (just boil the water and add the tea) while the spices are toasting and let it steep.  The awesome thing about rooibos tea is that you can let it steep all day long and it will never get bitter, just nice and strong.

Now we don’t have to go all day, but a good 15-20 minutes would be nice.

Once the spices are crushed, toss them in with the rooibos tea and let it continue to steep–like I said before, 15-20 minutes is good, but feel free to go longer.  I did about 20 minutes and it had a nice assertive flavor that was still so smooth.  Warm up some milk (I used about 1/6 C) and add the tea (and sugar if you want).

Breathe in deeply.

Melt.

Swoon.

I love this tea.  I want to make it every day. 

You can mix up a big batch of the spices, toasted and crushed, to have on hand and use when you get a craving.  Which, after you try this tea, will probably be often.  You can also get creative–use the spices I used, or take some out, or add more–for instance, adding a few more peppercorns will make a more intense and spicy tea.

It’s worth the prep.

For breakfast everyday I’ve been eating some variation of a greek yogurt parfait: plain greek yogurt, fruit (bananas or clementines), Ancient Harvest cereal, and raisins.  Mason jar=perfect height for a filling breakfast that’s fun to eat, too.

I’m going to go out for a quick run, then it’s time for a late lunch and board game playing with Mom, Fritz, and Jordi.

Sorry you can’t be here for this, Dad.

I know how you love board games.

(Not).

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Garam Masala (Spice Mix)

Often when I make Indian food (and apparently Moroccan), it requires a spice mix that I don’t have–garam masala.  Garam masala means “hot mixture”, but that refers more to the intensity of the spices included then the actual heat–it’s not really a hot spice, more of just a spicy spice.  If that makes any sense. 

As I was making the Moroccan stew a few days ago, the recipe once again called for garam masala, which I (once again) didn’t have.  As I thought about it, I realized that I probably had all the spices used in the mix, and combined with a coffee grinder, I could probably just make my own!

I was right.

Garam Masala (adapted from this recipe)

  • 4 T coriander seeds
  • 1 T cumin seeds
  • 1 T black peppercorns
  • 1 1/2 t ground ginger (I didn’t have this, but I will absolutely add it as soon as I get my hands on some)
  • 3/4 t black cardamom
  • 3/4 t cloves
  • 3/4 t cinnamon (two 1″ pieces)
  • 3/4 t crushed bay leaves

If the spices you are using are already ground, simply combine them in a bowl and mix.  For a more authentic (and powerful!) mix, use whole spices, toast them first, and then grind them.

To toast them, heat a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat and add spices.  Move the spices often by shifting and shaking the skillet so they don’t burn–and don’t be tempted to turn up the heat!  Toasted spices taste good, burnt ones do not.  Once they have all deepened a few shades in color, remove from the heat and let them cool.

I used a few pre-ground spices and some whole, depending on what I had.  I toasted the bay leaves, cardamom, cumin, black peppercorn, and cinnamon.

Let me warn you–toasting spices smell amazing!

The pre-ground spices I added to a bowl to await the others (cloves, coriander, and would have been ginger, if I had it).

Once the spices cool, grind them in a spice/coffee grinder (or a food processor may work). I ground the cinnamon first, then added the rest.

Combine with the other spices, mix, and store in an airtight container.  I had just run out of tandoori masala, so I had a nice almost-correctly labeled container to use.

that's my coffee grinder in the background (thanks, Mom--as always!)

I really don’t know how I lived without a coffee grinder before my mom stepped in.  I use it for everything–grinding oats, grains, spices–everything.

I also wanted to remind you of a recipe from a few months ago:  Not Your Grandmother’s Tuna Salad.  I was scavenging through the cupboards trying to find something (anything!) to make for a quick lunch, and I remembered this recipe.  It’s quick, healthy, and uses up those ingredients that you can usually find in the cabinets when you have nothing else.  It’s not the kind of tuna salad you put in a sandwich, but the actual salad kind.  Lovely!

Wondering what Henry is up to?

Fritz calls this “playing Crock Pot”.  Henry climbs up into those shelves and quietly waits for me to notice him.  He also likes being able to survey the activities of the mere mortals who live beneath him.

I woke up super early this morning because the sun was shining so brightly that there was no way I could go back to bed–too  beautiful!  I’m definitely looking forward to Daylight Saving Time this weekend because I love, love, LOVE when it’s light out past five–plus, it’s much easier to fit in dinner after class without having to set up the lightbox for pictures or rushing to chase daylight.

Enjoy the sunshine today!

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Filed under Spice Mixes

Indian Samosa Casserole

One lovely day, Lauren met Fritz.  Fritz is South African.  South African food is influenced by all sorts of different countries than American food is.  It is delicious.  Fritz taught Lauren about braais, boerewors, samosas, melk tert, rusks, rooibos tea, droerwors, biltong, Mrs. Ball’s chutney, amarula, and lamb roasts.

Lauren married Fritz.  Immediately.

Seriously, though, I may have been born into the wrong country.  My entire family fully embraced all things South African after meeting the Zietsmans–we had a lamb roast at our rehearsal dinner, my mom makes rusks more often than I do, and everyone drinks rooibos tea.  My dad even gave a blessing in Afrikaans at our wedding.

It’s so wonderful when families blend as well as ours did.

So as a tribute to food that Fritz loves, I was ecstatic when I stumbled upon a recipe for an Indian samosa casserole in Vegetarian Times a few days ago.  I love to make things that I know he will be excited to have (on one of our first dates I made him bobotie to surprise him–and perhaps demonstrate my eligibility as a bride), and this proved to be just as successful as I expected.

Fritz ranked this right up there in the list of “vegetarian things I don’t mind not containing meat”.  Now if this did contain, say, ground lamb, I am quite certain he would not object–so feel free to add that if you want a non-vegetarian version.  I also doubled the recipe so that I could bake one for dinner and freeze one for some other day–the recipe says you can freeze it for up to four months!

Indian Samosa Casserole (from Vegetarian Times; makes one casserole)

Crust:

  • 1/2 C all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 C whole-wheat flour
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/4 t curry powder
  • 2 T vegetable oil

Filling:

  • 1/2 T mustard (I used spicy)
  • 1 t curry powder
  • 1/2 T minced fresh ginger
  • 1/2 t ground cumin
  • 1/8 t red pepper flakes
  • 5 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped (1 1/4 lbs)
  • 1 t vegetable oil
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 C frozen peas
  • 1 C veggie or chicken broth
  • 2 t sugar

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  To make the crust, whisk together the dry ingredients and add oil–stir until clumps form.  Slowly add 6-10 (I only needed 6) T cold water until the dough sticks together (this is roughly a million times easier if you use your kitchen-aid).  Cover dough with a damp towel and set aside.

Next, boil the potatoes until tender, about 15 minutes.  Roughly mash them (you want some chunks of potato leftover) and set aside.

Side note:  I always misspell potatoes.  I spell it potatos.  Every time.  Tomatoes, too.  Thank goodness for spell check.

Anyway, heat the vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat and sauté the onions, carrots, ginger, and garlic until the carrots are tender (about five minutes).  Push the onion mixture to one side, and add the mustard, curry, cumin, and pepper flakes.  Toast ’em for 30 seconds, then mix it all together.  Stir in the frozen peas.

Next, add the broth and sugar and stir, making sure to scrape up all the spices from the bottom of the pan.  Add this onion mixture to the mashed potatoes, and stir it all up, adding salt and pepper to taste–if you want.  That’s your filling!

Spoon into a 9-inch pie plate (or two, if you doubled this recipe like I did).

Set aside, and take out the dough.  On a slightly floured surface, roll the dough out into an 11-inch circle (if you doubled the recipe, make two circles…duh).  Cover the filling with the dough, pressing down to make sure there are no air pockets. Fold the overhanging crust under, and crimp the edges.  Cut an “X” into the middle (to release steam while cooking), and brush the top of the pie with milk.  If you are freezing one, leave out the milk step for that one–do it right before you bake it.

For the pie you aren’t baking, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and place in a ziplock bag.  It’s okay if you squish the beautifully crimped crust a little–Fritz won’t even notice.  Then freeze it!  To bake it later, preheat the oven to 375 degrees,  place on a baking sheet, and bake 75-90 minutes.

For the casserole we are eating tonight, place it on a baking sheet (there’s boil-over potential here, so be kind to yourself), and bake for about 40-50 minutes until the top is golden-brown and you see the filling bubbling up around the edges.

Let stand for five minutes before serving.

Enjoy! 

Fritz and I really enjoyed this–for a more decadent casserole, you could try using another crust recipe.  This one was good (and very healthy) but you could tell it wasn’t a flaky, buttery, pastry crust.  You could also try phyllo dough on top.  That said, neither Fritz nor I had any complaints as is–the curry powder in the crust was a nice, tasty addition.

I also just ate leftovers as dinner tonight, and after a minute in the microwave it was just as good the second day.

With all that said–it’s back to studying.  Have a beautiful night!

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Filed under Entrees, Vegetarian

Indian Lamb with Apricots (Crockpot)

Since my last recipe involved a  crockpot, don’t be too sad that I’m breaking it out again for this recipe.  I had some lamb stew meat in the freezer that I took out and I decided that the recipe I wanted to use would be better in the crockpot because I was using a cheaper cut of meat and therefore needed the extra couple…ahem…six hours of tenderizing.

Turns out that this was a fantastic idea for the reason that I threw everything into the crockpot in the morning, ran a million errands, and came back to have dinner all ready to go!  Even better because I made a last-minute plan for my lovely friend Lola to come over for dinner, and I definitely would not have had time to make something more impressive.  Not to mention I had some leftover cardamom rice, which went perfectly with this stew.

I just love when everything works out so well, don’t you?

Don’t be intimidated by the huge quantities of spices in this recipe–it’s not hot, just flavorful.  I also used a trick I learned over Christmas and added a bit of chutney to my plate that added an amazing tang and sweetness that I loved.

Indian Lamb with Apricots (adapted from Global Feast Cookbook)

  • 12 dried apricots, soaked in water until soft and sliced
  • 2 T curry powder
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 t minced garlic
  • 2 t chili powder
  • 1/2 t turmeric
  • 2 t ground coriander
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 2 T tomato paste
  • 1 lb diced lamb stew meat
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 t sugar

Oil the crockpot lightly with olive oil, then add…all the ingredients (this is why I love the crockpot).  The order I used was: onion, garlic, spices, lamb, tomatoes and paste, apricots, lemon, and sugar.  Combine everything, and set on low for six to eight hours.

The cookbook suggests you serve over rice and, if you have it (I didn’t),  poppadums, an Indian bread like crackers.

Serious Y-U-M.

While Lola was here, we also watched the documentary Babies, which made me want to adopt the fattest-cheeked Mongolian baby I can find.  So stinkin’ adorable.

Speaking of things that are adorable, I will leave you with an image that I completely forgotten that I had, but made me actually laugh out loud when I rediscovered it.  It’s my parent’s giant Irish Wolfhound, Hadley, sitting on the couch with my mom and Jordi.  Yes, sitting.  On the couch.  Like a human:

Have a lovely evening!

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Saffron Rice

Every year us kids get a large variety of amazing (and occasionally weird) goods in our Christmas stockings, including paperclips, nail buffers, and a personal favorite, purple tights.  Last year my mom gave me a few fun ingredients that I took as a personal challenge: find something cool to make with them that is also delicious.  These ingredients included lemon champagne vinegar and red wine vinegar (yum on both counts) and saffron threads.

I found a recipe for saffron rice in my favorite Indian food cookbook, and couldn’t wait to try it out.  Instead of using Basmati or Patna rice, I used brown rice because you all know I’m-a tryin’ to be a little more healthy.  The rice switch was not noticeable to anyone who tried it, so I managed to sneak another one in under the radar!  Score.

I served this rice with a chicken cauliflower curry (oh, the alliteration!) and Fritz and his friend Jun Oh chowed down while watching the Grand Prix and Jenny and I used it as an energy booster before we headed to the mall for some Christmas shopping.  Oh–and did I mention that we saw Harry Potter VII.1 yesterday morning?  I loved it–but now I can’t wait for the second installment.  Really really can’t wait.

Don’t judge me.

Instead, make some rice!

Saffron Rice (adapted from Complete Indian Cooking)

  • 1/2 t saffron threads
  • 3 C boiling water
  • 1 T canola oil
  • 2 small onions, diced
  • 1 1/2 C brown rice
  • 1 t ground cloves
  • 1/2 t ground cardamom
  • 1/2 t salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Put the saffron threads in a small bowl with 1 T boiling water and set aside for 30 minutes to soak.

Heat the vegetable oil in a large saucepan, and put in the onions.  Cook for four to five minutes until softened.  Wash and drain the rice, and add it to the pot, stirring in the cloves, cardamom, salt and pepper.  Fry for three minutes, stirring often.

Pour the remaining boiling water into the pan along with the saffron threads and their soaking liquid.  Lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 20-25 minutes until the rice is cooked.  Traditionally, the rice can be served with varq, an edible silver leaf.

I didn’t have that on hand.

This is a beautiful yellow color and taste great on its own as a side dish, and would be amazing with grilled veggies as the main dish.

Now, cooking can be very dangerous from time to time (I have the scars to prove it), but I’ve found that the best way to stay safe is to have your cat be a lookout:

Nothing gets past this guy.  He is diligent, dedicated, and determined.

I love alliteration.

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Filed under Side Dishes