Thursday, October 27, 2011

Happy Diwali!

Happy Diwali everyone!! It's the festival of lights and the Indian New Year! And to celebrate, we decided to cook up some delicious traditional Indian fare and share it with our loyal followers!

Don't be intimidated by the countless spices in your grocery store's ethnic food aisle. Instead pick up a few choice ingredients and you will be surprised at the versatility of them magic masalas!

First up: a classic and very popular street food from India, and so simple to prepare at home! Street vendors in Mumbai make these fresh to order and it's served between two pieces bread, slathered with Tamarind chutney and spicy Coriander chutney. Delish!! And the absolute comfort food on crisp Fall days.


Spiced Potato Croquettes

6 large potatoes (I used a combination of white and red)
3 cloves of Garlic, minced
2 Jalapenos, finely chopped
1 inch of freshly grated Ginger
2tsps Poppy Seeds
2 tsps Turmeric Powder
Handful of Coriander leaves, chopped
Salt and Sugar to taste

For the batter
5 large tbsps of Gram flour (made from ground chickpeas)
1 tsp Red Chili Powder
Salt to taste

1. Boil the potatoes and mash em up good - No instructions required for this! Add salt and sugar to taste
2. Prepare the batter with water and set aside. Be careful to not add too much water to the batter, you want it thick enough to coat the potatoes but not too thick!
3. In a skillet, heat 1 tbsp of Oil. Add the Poppy Seeds (let them pop), then Turmeric, Garlic, Ginger and Japalenos and saute for 2 minutes
4. Add this mixture to the mashed potatoes and mix well to incorporate
5. Form the potato mix into medium sized balls, dunk in the batter and fry until golden brown!

Enjoy the crisp and spicy Potato Croquettes with Tamarind chutney or even with plain ol' ketchup!

Curried Spinach & Lentil Soup - perfect for a cold fall day, this hearty soup is a whole meal in itself!

1 cup Yellow Pigeon Peas
3 tbsp Olive Oil/Vegetable Oil
1 cup Spinach leaves, julienned.
1 small Onion, finely chopped
1 small Tomato, finely chopped
3 cloves of Garlic (you can substitute this with Garlic Powder too)jm
1 Jalapeno, finely chopped (leave this out if you don't like your food very spicy)
1 tsp Poppy Seeds
3 tsps Red Chili Powder
3 tsps Cumin Powder
4 tsps Garam Masala (very easily available in the Ethnic Foods aisle of your Grocery Store)
1 1/2 tsps Turmeric Powder
salt and sugar to taste

1. Start with soaking the Pigeon Peas in 2 1/2 cups of water, in a large pot. Bring this to a boil and let it cook until the lentils are soft to the touch. Remove from flame and use a hand blender to puree the lentils. I like to keep this puree a little chunky.
Transfer the pot back on a low flame, add 1 cup of water, salt and sugar and let it simmer on a low flame.

2. In a skillet, heat 3 tbsps of Oil. Once the oil is hot add Poppy Seeds and let them pop! Then add Garlic, Jalapenos,Onions and Tomatoes and saute until slightly browned.
Now add the spices: Tumeric, Cumin, Red Chili and Garam Masala powders and continue to saute 5-7 minutes more to cook the spices further.

3. Now add the chopped Spinach to this mix, stir it all together for 2 minutes.

4. Transfer this cooked spiced mixture to the boiling lentil soup and stir to combine.

5. Continue to stir and let the soup simmer for 7-10 minutes. The end consistency of this soup is not too thick and not too thin. After a taste test, feel free to add more salt if needed.

Traditionally, the soup is served over plain white rice or with Naan bread. Enjoy!!

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