Tag Archives: curry

Recipe: Black-Eyed Pea Curry

29 Oct

Part of the Indian meal I prepared recently for friends with divergent dietary preferences included this Black-Eyed Pea Curry. It answered a number of needs: it is vegetarian (vegan, actually) and is an excellent source of protein. And it goes nicely with drier, less saucy dishes such as the Spicy Indian Eggplant with Tomatoes. Not that dry dishes can’t be saucy in their own ways–that eggplant was quite a palate teaser. This dish, with mellow coconut milk, is a nice counterpoint.

Black-Eyed Pea Curry
Serves 4-6

2 (15-oz.) cans black-eyed peas, drained
2 tbsp. canola oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1.5 tsp. ground cumin
1.5 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
1/4 tsp. cayenne or sprinkle of chili flakes
1 large tomato, seeded and diced
1 c. hot water
1/2 tsp. salt, or one small vegetable bouillon cube
1/2 tsp. sugar
1 c. canned coconut milk
1 tbsp. lemon juice (or to taste)
2 tbsp. minced cilantro leaves

Preparation
1. Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat and sauté the onion until it starts turning golden brown at the edges. Add the next 6 ingredients (through the cayenne/chili flakes) and stir for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook for a couple more minutes, mashing the tomatoes with the back of a slotted spoon until they disintegrate.
2. Add the black-eyed peas, the water, the salt/bouillon cube, and the sugar. Turn heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 10 minutes. Stir in the coconut milk and simmer uncovered for another 10 minutes, or until liquid has reduced slightly.
3. Add the lemon juice, cook for one more minute, then sprinkle with the cilantro just before serving.

Recipe is adapted from 5 spices, 50 dishes by Ruta Kahate.

Recipe: Spicy Indian Eggplant with Tomatoes

27 Oct

I have always loved logic problems. You know–the kind where a man in a blue coat on a bus is sitting two seats away from a woman with red hair who is diagonally across from another woman using an iPhone and one seat away from a man with a green scarf reading the paper.  Eventually, given more clues, you’d have to say where everyone was sitting, what color hair they had, what they were wearing, and what they were doing.

Perhaps that is why I also greatly enjoy certain culinary challenges. For example, tonight we had friends over for dinner and had a lovely time with them. But having lived in Berkeley, we learned early on to ask if our guests had any dietary preferences or restrictions. This time around, several of our guests could not eat dairy, gluten, or meat (two friends are each avoiding one of those items, the other cannot have two of them–but no one friend is avoiding all three). Five people at the table tonight ate anything and everything. No one was vegan.

So, what to serve? In cases such as this, I find that Indian food is perfect. There are myriad vegetarian and non-dairy options, and rice does not contain gluten. So I decided to use this opportunity to experiment by making several dishes I haven’t tried before. This eggplant dish is one of them, and one of the reasons I chose it is that it can be served at room temperature. Anything that can be made ahead of time, I like. This recipe, which family members deemed a keeper, is adapted from Madhur Jaffrey’s Indian Cooking.

Spicy Indian Eggplant with Tomatoes
Serves 6

1 tsp. ground ginger
6 large cloves garlic, minced
1/8 c. water
1 3/4 lb. baby eggplant
about 1.5 c. canola or vegetable oil
1 tsp. whole fennel seeds
1/2 tsp. whole cumin seeds
1 (15-oz.) can petite diced tomatoes, drained, liquid reserved
1 tbsp. ground coriander
1/4 tsp. ground turmeric
1/8 tsp. cayenne (or chili flakes)
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. sugar
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

Preparation

1. Cut the eggplant lengthwise into halves, then cut each half lengthwise into four strips; cut the strips in half crosswise.
2. Heat 1/2 c. of the oil in a deep frying pan over medium-high heat; when hot, add one layer of eggplant and cook until the eggplant is golden-brown, turning pieces over as they cook.
3. Remove eggplant and drain on a layer of paper towels.
4. Repeat until all eggplant slices have been cooked, adding additional oil to the pan each time as needed.
5. Once all the eggplant has been cooked, keep about 3 tbsp. of the oil in the pan, and discard the rest.
6. Add the fennel and cumin seeds to the hot oil in the pan. Stir for a few seconds, then add the tomato, ginger-garlic mixture, coriander, turmeric, cayenne, salt, and sugar
7. Stir and cook for 5-6 minutes, breaking up the tomato pieces with the back of a slotted spoon. Continue to cook until the mixture gets thick and paste-like.
8. Return the eggplant to the pan and gently mix in; add the lemon juice. Cook on medium-low for about 10 minutes, adding some of the reserved tomato liquid if the eggplant looks too dry.
9. Check the seasonings and adjust as needed (you may like to add more salt, or a pinch more sugar, or a bit more lemon juice).
10. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Recipe: Chickpea Curry (Indian Sour Chickpeas)

30 May

Chickpeas, or garbanzo beans, are the basis for many delicious things, from hummus to brownie bites — all made much more easily (and quickly) by using canned chickpeas. This recipe, adapted from Madhur’s Jaffrey’s Indian Cooking, is one of our favorites–a light curry sprinkled with onions marinated in lemon juice and ginger (hence the lovely “sour” element).

Serve with rice and other curries for a crowd, or with a simple raita (made with yogurt, cucumbers, garlic, and a pinch of mint) for a one-dish meal.

Indian Sour Chickpeas
Serves 6

2 (15-oz.) cans chickpeas, undrained
3 medium onions, finely chopped
1 tbsp. finely grated peeled fresh ginger (or 1 tsp. ground)
4 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
3-4 tbsp. vegetable oil
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 tbsp. ground coriander
1 tbsp. ground cumin
½ tsp. ground turmeric
2 tsp. garam masala
cayenne pepper (if desired)

Preparation

1. Put 3 tbsp. of the chopped onion and the ginger and lemon juice into a small cup. Mix well and set aside.
2. Heat oil over medium-high heat and add remaining onions. Fry until slightly brown at the edges, then add the tomatoes. Cook another 5-6 minutes, mashing the tomatoes with the back of slotted spoon.
3. Add the coriander, cumin, and turmeric. Stir and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the chickpeas and their liquid, the garam masala, and the cayenne (if desired). Stir to mix and bring to a simmer. Cook gently, covered, for about 20 minutes. Before serving, add onion/ginger/lemon mixture. Stir to combine.

Recipe: Curried Lentils with a Twist

7 Nov

People either love lentils, or they don’t. I fall in the former camp, and luckily, so do most of my family members. One of my sons can eat his weight in these lentils–ok, half his weight in the actual lentils and rice, and the other half in the extremely hot lime pickle he slathers on top. I’m not sure how he has any taste buds left.

This dish is actually a hybrid (hence “the twist”). It is mostly Indian, but with a few Spanish and Latin American hints. There is some degree of overlap between the cuisines, which I capitalized upon here: the lentils, onions, garlic, tomatoes, cumin, coriander, and lemon. But the turmeric and garam masala tip the balance toward a more pronounced Indian flavor, while the use of bouillon powder is typically Latin American. Either way, the result is a testament to fusion food, and like so many recipes that stand the test of time, it is one you can adapt almost any which way.

Curried Lentils with a Twist
Serves 8-10

3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 lg. onion, diced
3 tsp. whole coriander seeds
4-5 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tomatoes, diced (after dicing, remove as many of the white core parts as possible, without worrying too much)
2 tsp. ground coriander
2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
1 (16-oz.) bag lentils (about 2 heaping cups), picked over and rinsed
6.5 c. water, divided
4 tsp. chicken or vegetable bouillon powder (or equivalent cubes to make 4 c. bouillon)
salt to taste (if needed)
2 tsp. garam masala
juice of 1/2 lemon

Preparation

1. Sauté onion and coriander seeds in olive oil in a medium saucepan until onion is soft; add garlic and cook for a couple minutes more. Add tomatoes and cook until soft, mashing them with a large slotted spoon to break them up. Add ground coriander, cumin, and turmeric, stir, and cook for a a minute or two. Add lentils, 5 c. water, and bouillon powder/cubes.

2. Bring to a boil, cover saucepan, then simmer lentils until soft, usually about 30-45 minutes. Note: Stir lentils every 10 minutes or so, adding remaining 1.5 c. water as needed if the lentils start getting too dry. Depending on the lentils, they may absorb a lot of liquid, so it’s important to check periodically. Ultimately, the lentils should be soupy and almost stew like–not too thin, not too thick.

3. Add garam masala and lemon juice and check seasonings.

4. Serve with rice (short-grain brown rice is great) and chutney or Indian pickle (such as lime pickle for those who like it hot).

Recipe: Red Lentil Dip

30 Jun

If you love hummus but would like something a little different, here’s a recipe that is equally nutritious and great with pita chips, pita bread, or crackers. Adapted from Cooking Light, this dip has a light curry flavor. Red lentils turn yellow when cooked; the turmeric brings out the golden color.

Red Lentil Dip
Makes about 2 1/2 cups

1 c. dried small red lentils
1 bay leaf
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 c. finely chopped red onion
2 tbsp. pine nuts
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
1/8 tsp. chilli flakes
1 tbsp. tomato paste
3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

Place lentils and bay leaf in a large saucepan; cover with water to 2 inches above lentils. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover saucepan, and simmer about 10 minutes or until tender, adding water if needed. If any water remains after lentils are fully cooked, drain well. Discard bay leaf.

Heat oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute until translucent; add pine nuts and garlic and cook 5 minutes or until nuts are lightly browned. Stir in spices and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Fold in tomato paste and lemon juice.

Add onion mixture to lentils in saucepan and puree with an immersion blender, or use a food processor and process until smooth.