Chana masalaMy best friend Amy and I got together over the holidays and spent hours in the kitchen making Indian food. I’ve talked about Amy a lot on the blog and in the early years of Eat Drink Pretty she wrote a bunch of Indian-themed posts and recipes. Do you remember Amy’s amazing Indian wedding from a few years ago(part 1 and part 2)?

I absolutely love Indian food and chana masala is my favorite dish. Amy nailed this recipe, the chana masala tasted amazing. I watched her pretty closely so I now I will be able to make this dish time and time again.
Chana masalaBefore embarking on our all-day cooking event, we went shopping at an Indian grocery store about 15 minutes from my house. I stocked up on all the Indian spices needed, which is awesome because I was in serious need. Spices at the Indian grocery store are super affordable and will last a while (you get a huge amount). It’s a much better route to buy individual spices (like garam masala, turmeric, coriander, cumin, etc) then buying curry power.
Chana masalaSuch amazing flavor. YUM.

Chana masala (recipe slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

Ingredients

2 Tablespoons ghee (or butter or vegetable oil)
2 medium onions, minced
2 Tablespoons garlic ginger paste
2-3 serrano chiles, minced
2 teaspoons coriander
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons cumin seeds, toasted and ground
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon garam masala
3-4 whole tomatoes, chopped small (or 1 15 ounce can whole tomatoes with their juice, chopped)
2/3 cup water
2 15 oz cans chickpeas, drains and rinsed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2-1 lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon tamarind paste (optional)
3 Tablespoons cilantro (optional)

Preparation

Heat ghee/butter/oil in a large skillet. Add the onion, garlic ginger paste and pepper and saute over medium heat until browned (about 5 minutes). Reduce the heat to medium low and add coriander, cumin, cayenne, turmeric, cumin seeds, paprika, and garam masala.

Cook onion mixture with spices for 2 minutes, then add the tomatoes, scraping up bits that may have stuck to the pan.

Add the water, chickpeas and tamarind paste (if using). Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, then stir in salt and lemon juice.

Taste and adjust spices according to taste.

Serve with naan or basmati rice (did you know you can microwave rice? I was super wary but the basmati rice turned out great and super fluffy) and top with cilantro.

In addition to this awesome chana masala, we also made chicken tikka masala (which rivaled the best chicken tikka masala I’ve had in restaurants and I plan to blog about it sometime soon) and an Indian tomato soup. It was an awesome day ending with a great dinner shared with friends.

Do you love Indian food? What is your favorite dish? I could probably eat naan every day for every meal for the rest of my life. I also love pakora (a fried vegetable appetizer). Making Indian food at home is great because you can limit the amount of unhealthy ingredients (like heavy cream) that they use in restaurants. The chicken tikka I made did have cream, but not much. It was so, so good. I want some right now. It is pretty Weight Watcher friendly, too. Ok…I gotta end this post because I’m so hungry thinking of all this amazing Indian food.

Happy Friday and have a great weekend.

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I took yet another Whole Foods cooking class all about Chinese Dim Sum the other weekend and my favorite dish was this Congee. It is easy, full of veggies and super flavorful.

To me, any dish with rice is comforting.  Being filipino, growing up I ate rice every single day.  Even with breakfast sometimes. Rice reminds me of sitting around the dining room table with my family.  We did that every evening.  I definitely want to do that when I have children someday. 

Congee (recipe credit to Ani Loizzo of Whole Foods)

2 cups sushi rice, rinsed well
8 ounces sliced shiitake mushrooms
1 medium onion, sliced
1 cup shredded carrots
2 baby bok choy, thinly sliced
1 stalk lemongrass, pounded and minced
2 inches of ginger, peeled and minced
2 green onions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
1/4 cup sesame oil

Directions

Combine sushi rice and three cups of water in a medium pot with a lid and bring to a simmer. Cook for 30-35, or until the rice is very soft and creamy, stirring occassionally.

Meanwhile, heat the sesame oil in a very large pan and cook mushrooms, onions, carrots, bok choy, lemongrass and ginger until soft and brown, about 20-25 minutes. Stir together rice, vegetables, green onions and sesame seeds, season to taste and serve.

Serves 8 as a side dish.

This dish is great served plain but also with a splash of soy sauce.

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If you like Indian food you will love this Chicken Tikka Masala recipe. It’s simply amazing. And pretty easy to make, which is not exactly true for most Indian recipes.

I found this recipe on Pioneer Woman’s blog. She has great step-by-step directions along with awesome photos. This is delicious served with basmati rice and naan. Be sure to include the naan! Trader Joes carries a great garlic naan for just a few bucks.

Chicken Tikka Masala (recipe from Pioneer Woman)

Ingredients

3 whole (to 4) Chicken Breasts
Kosher Salt
Ground Coriander
Cumin, To Taste
½ cups Plain Yogurt
6 Tablespoons Butter
1 whole Large Onion
4 cloves Garlic
1 piece (approximately 2 Inches) Chunk Fresh Ginger
Garam Masala
1 can (28 Ounce) Diced Tomatoes
Sugar
1-½ cup Heavy Cream
2 cups Basmati Rice

OPTIONAL:

Fresh Cilantro
Chili Peppers
Turmeric
Frozen Peas

Preparation Instructions

Start by seasoning the chicken breasts with some kosher salt. Next sprinkle them on both sides with some coriander and cumin. Then coat the chicken breasts completely with the plain yogurt. Set the chicken on a metal cooling rack over a foil-lined baking sheet and place it about 10-12 inches below a broiler for 5-7 minutes per side. Watch carefully so as not to totally char the chicken. It should have slightly blackened edges. Remove from oven.

Next dice one large onion. In a large skillet melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. Toss in the onions and sauté until they are slightly browned. As the onions cook, mince your garlic. Next, cut off the outer skin and mince or grate a 1 by 2 inch chunk of fresh ginger. Add the garlic and ginger to the onions. Also throw in about 1 tablespoon of salt.

Next you are going to add about 3 tablespoons Garam Masala spice. And if you like it hot, this is also when you will add your hot chili peppers. Serranos work well. Now you are going to add your can of diced tomatoes. Continue cooking and stirring, scraping the bottom of the pan to deglaze it. Add about 1 tablespoon sugar. Let this mixture simmer on medium for about 5 minutes.

To a rice cooker add 2 cups Basmati rice, 4 tablespoons butter, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon Ground Turmeric and 4 cups water. Cover, turn on your rice cooker and walk away. If you do not have a rice cooker, cook your rice as usual but make sure that you use Basmati rice.

After the Tikka Masala sauce has had a chance to simmer for a little bit, add in the 1 ½ cups of heavy cream. Now, chop up your chicken breasts into chunks and stir them into the Tikka Masala sauce. A handful of chopped fresh cilantro is a nice addition if you like cilantro. You can also throw some frozen peas into the cooked rice, give them a stir, and allow the heat of the rice to cook the peas. It tastes great and gives another nice dash of color. Serve the rice with the Chicken Tikka Masala over top. Make sure to have some Nann bread handy, too.

Remember my friend Amy’s Rani in the Kitchen guest posts? She’ll be back to posting after her wedding in October. She promised to post a Chana Masala recipe (which is my favorite Indian dish).  Do you like Indian food? Have you tried making it at home? If you have any great recipes I’d love for you to send them my way, eatdrinkpretty {at} gmail {dot} com.

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Today’s guest post is part 6 in the series “Rani in the Kitchen”, written by my friend Amy. Click here for parts 1-5.
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I love today’s recipe, Potato Poha. This is second part of my last post, which was a breakfast post. This recipe is great because it is SUPER simple and quick. You can eat this recipe anytime during the day: breakfast, lunch, dinner, or even as a snack! I make this recipe often instead of basmati rice, or as I did last week, to go nicely as a type of Indian hash brown recipe with curried scrambled eggs!

So lets start with the basics. Poha is a flattened rice that is eaten in many parts of India. You can read about it here.

Poha is often used as a snack-type food, but can also be a nice change from plain basmati rice. I often make the recipe below with peanuts instead of potatoes as a mid-afternoon snack for Jay and I.

One small catch to this recipe: I’m fairly certain poha is only available at Indian supermarkets. So in order to make this, you’ll almost certainly have to venture out and get some. But hey, what’s cooking without a little culinary adventure? So Google an Indian grocery store near you! I usually buy the Swad Thick Poha. I know others that buy the Thin Poha, but I really like this kind the best:

After you get your Poha, you should hvae the rest of the ingrediants handy. The recipe takes about 20 minutes to make.

Aloo Poha (Potato Poha)

Ingredients

1 large russet potato
2-3 handfuls of thick poha
11/2 Tablespoon of Turmeric
1 Tablespoon of black or brown mustard seeks
1 medium onion
1-2 green chilies or 1 teaspoon for red chili powder
1 inch grated ginger (or 1 1/2 tablespoon ginger paste)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2-3 Tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
Handful of cilantro
Salt to taste

Preparation

1. Peel the potato, cut into bite size cubes, and boil until you can put a fork through it, but not mushy (6-8 minutes). Drain the water.
2. While the potato is boiling, put two to three handfuls of poha in a colander. Rinse the poha well, drain, and sprinkle with turmeric and salt and set aside.
3. Thinly slice and chop your onion
4. Thinly slice and chop your chiles
5. Heat oil on medium high heat in a non-stick pan. (I’ve found this recipe always cooks better in a non-stick pan)
6. Once the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds. They should quickly start to pop, then add the onion, and chiles. Saute for 1-2 minutes.
7. Add the potatoes and ginger (and chile powder if you did not use chiles above). Saute until the potatoes start to fry and brown.
8. Add your damp poha mixture into the pan and sautee for 1-2 minutes.
9. When the poha is well coated with the sides and starts to dry out, turn off pan.
10. Sprinkle lemon juice, salt, and freshly chopped cilantro into the mixture.

Feel free to add peas or peanuts into this mixture as well. Poha is sort of like fried rice, you can make it a million different ways!

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Today’s guest post is part 5 in the series “Rani in the Kitchen”, written by my friend Amy. Click here for parts 1-4.
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I love today’s recipe because it is healthy, easy, and super delish! Plus, it is a wonderful weekend breakfast recipe – and my fiance absolutely loves it! The recipe is Egg Bhurjee (or curried scrambled eggs). Those that have been following my recipes know that Indian cooking is all about the spices – and this recipe is no exception. What makes this dish so healthy is that it is flavored with fresh veggies and spices – so you an avoid much of fat in cheesy/meat scrambled egg combos! It actually cooks pretty fast in the morning, which is wonderful if you want to sleep in and have a quick and easy breakfast. Of course you can eat this recipe for dinner too – Indian food tastes good all the time!

Egg Bhurjee (Curried Scrambled Eggs)
Serves 2

Ingredients

5 medium eggs
2 tablespoon half and half or milk
1/2 large white or yellow onion
1-2 small green thai/indian chiles (optional)*
2-3 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 inch grated ginger (or 1 heaping tablespoon ginger paste)
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 tablespoon turmeric
2 tablespoon Garam Masala
1 tablespoon Coriander
1 teaspoon salt (more or less to taste)
1 tablespoon fresh chopped cilantro
3 tablespoons vegetable oil or butter

Preparation

1. Break open the eggs into a bowl. Add the half and half or milk. Whisk the egg/milk mixture together and set aside

2. Add the frozen peas to hot water and allow them to soak for a few minutes

3. Put the oil in a large skillet and heat on medium high heat

4. Chop the onion and add to the hot oil. Saute for a 1-2 minutes.

5. While the onion is sauteing, chop the green chiles and add to the onion/oil mixture

6. After the onion starts to turn yellow, add the grated ginger or ginger paste

7. Immediately drain the water off your peas and add the peas to the fry pan. Reduce heat to medium and fry for 1-2 minutes.

8. Now add in the spices: turmeric, garam malasa, and coriander. Saute for 1 minute.

9. Add in the chopped tomatoes and cook until tomatoes are mushy and fall apart 4-5 minutes (you can turn the heat back up a bit if you want to).

10. After the tomatoes are soft and the spices are fragrant, add in the egg mixture. Saute and stir the scrambled eggs for 3-5 minutes.

11. Garnish with cilantro

*If you don’t have chiles but you want the eggs a bit spicy substitute red chili powder or paprika.

It’s a wonderful, quick/easy breakfast. I usually serve this with Potato Poha (picture above, on the right side of the dish), which I will write about in my next post!

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Today’s guest post is part 4 in the series “Rani in the Kitchen”, written by my friend Amy. Click here for parts 1-3.
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Today’s recipe is a fantastic north Indian recipe I received from Jay’s mom and it is a true culinary adventure. If you’re not from the Southern part of the U.S. (or even if you are!) you initially may be a little put-off by this Bhindi Masala (Okra Masala) recipe. Trust me though, I have had avowed okra-haters rave about this recipe and there is one reason – it is not as gooey as southern Okra recipes often are- and tastes ten times better. The reason the okra is not gooey is because of the way you dry, cut, and saute the okra. The recipe takes some time – usually an hour or so – but I find cutting the Okra (the most time consuming part) a methodical and peaceful exercise. So turn on some music, get out your Indian spices, and get ready to cook something new and different!

Most of you should be able to find fresh Okra at any major supermarket. If you’re local supermarket does not have it, an Indian supermarket surely will. Do not use frozen okra, it just does not turn out the same. When selecting Okra, look for green pods that are tender, but not too soft or tough. This recipe goes really well with Indian bread (Naan or Roti). I always buy the Indian breads -maybe this blog is an excuse to start making them!

Bhindi Masala

1 lb of fresh okra
4 oz of vegetable oil
1 teaspoon of salt
1 large yellow onion
1 teaspoon black pepper
3 cloves of garlic (or teaspoon of garlic paste if you have it)
2 tablespoons of ground coriander
2 tablespoon of turmeric
1 teaspoon of red chili powder (more or less if you like it more spicy)
1 and 1/2 tablespoon garam masala
2 oz of canned tomato paste
Cilantro (optional)

1) Wash and individually dry very very well each piece of Okra. (I use paper towels).

2) Cut off the tops and the tips (tails) of the Okra and cut the okra into 1/2 inches pieces wiping the knife with a paper towel in between each slice. It is important to wipe the knife while cutting the Okra.

3) Put the Okra in a dish and sprinkle with black pepper.


4) Peel the onion and slice thinly.

5) Peel and mince the garlic (or use garlic paste).

6) Heat the oil in the sauce pan on medium-high heat, and fry the onion and garlic until they are softened.

7) Add the coriander, chili powder, and garam masala and cook for another minute. Stir well to ensure the spices do not stick to the bottom of the pan.

8) Add the Okra and cook for another 15-20 minutes or until the Okra starts to char or blacken a bit. Gently turn the okra as you are cooking it, but be careful not to crush the it- otherwise this makes it mushy.

9) Add the tomato paste and gently toss with the Okra. This is suppose to be a dry curry, but you can add a little (couple of tablespoons) of hot water if it appears to be sticking to the pan. Cook for another 4-5 minutes or until the Okra is soft and brown.

10) Add the salt at the end of the recipe as the salt tends to draw out moisture.

11) Garnish with chopped clinatro if you have some!


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