April 11, 2010

From Hyderabad....

If you are new to my blog, please read the Welcome Note first

I absolutely love Indian food. Indian is really one of my favorites alongside Middle Eastern food...

The recipe am about to give you is simple to make, but it does necessitate some preparation in terms of buying the ingredients - the spices in particular. For me that's the fun part of the whole experience.

I enjoy going to the Attar - the spice and perfume store....the scent and colors of these spices in big jute bags are just heavenly...it engages all of the senses and for me this is the essence of food preparation...

Tonight's dish is a vegetarian one. And by the way I never give a recipe if I don't try it first...and if you are like me  and love the aroma of spices, you will delight in this one...

You will need for 2.

1 small to medium size eggplant
1 big potato
1 medium size onion
3 gloves of garlic
1 tbs of fresh ginger grated
1/2 red pepper bell (or 2 pimentos if you like it extra hot - I don't)
1/2 green pepper bell
2-3 big tsp of dessicated coconut
2 big tsp of non roasted peanuts
2 big tsp of non grilled sesame seeds
about 1/4 tsp of fenugreek seeds
about 1/4 tsp of coriander seeds
about 1/4 tsp of mustard seeds
about 1/4 tsp of cumin seeds
1/2 cup of tamarind molasses. (see section on how to use tamarind *)
if you are not using pimento, use cayenne pepper, about 1/4 tsp
1/2 tsp of curcuma
salt to your liking
about 1/2 cup of water OR 1/4 cup of water and 1/4 cup of coconut milk.

Preparing the vegetables

- slice aubergine/eggplant, in rounds not too thick, otherwise they soak up too much oil when fried
- peel potato and cut in nice medium size chunks
- heat vegetable oil and fry both until golden brown
- place the fried veggies on paper kitchen towel to absorb excess oil

Preparing the spice paste

mix together, the fenugreek, coriander, cumin, mustard, sesame, peanuts in a small non stick frying pan (do not use any oil) and roast them lightly until both sesame and peanuts start to take a color.

pour the mixture plus the dessicated coconut into a blender and add the water or the coconut milk and water mixture, you can keep adding water or coconut milk, you need to get the paste into the right thickness...not too liquid though. Keep it to the side.

now for the rest

*Tamarind: I dont know the kind of  Tamarind you have in your countries, but here it comes in molasses form and not syrup. So I cut about 1/2 cup worth of Tamarind and cover it with water and bring it to boil for about 5 mn. I then use the tamarind water and whatever is left of the fruit itself disregarding the seeds. If you can find Tamarind Syrup (no sugar added) then use 1/2 cup of it diluted in a little hot water.

- stir fry the chopped onion, the crushed garlic, and the grated ginger in about 2 tbs of vegetable oil, you can use the oil you fried the vegetables in.
- add your chopped green and red pepper and diluted tamarind  and cook a little more until  tender.
- pour your paste on top, the curcuma, the cayenne pepper and last  the fried vegetables
. Let it cook for about 5 mn. or so on a medium fire.
- if you see that the sauce is thickening too much, you can always add a little water or coconut milk or if you have some  tamarind water left you can use that too.
- salt to taste...

This is to be served with rice. I usually like to serve it with rice and sultanas as the taste of sultanas gives a balance to the piquant taste of the spices.

Rice preparation

2 cups of Basmati rice washed and soaked in cold water
about 1 1/2 tbs of sultanas
1 tbs of cooking oil
2 cups of BOILING water
salt to taste

Heat the cooking oil in a saucepan, add the sultanas and fry them a little, just a little otherwise they shrivel and dry up completely. Pour in your drained rice, add the salt and the boiling water, mix ONCE only.
Let it boil ONCE, then lower the heat to a MINIMUM until the water is completely absorbed and the rice cooked. If you want to make sure that the rice does not stick, just wrap the saucepan lid/cover with a clean kitchen cloth. This will absorb any excess moisture.

Bon Appetit.