Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Brooklyn SkillShare Cooking Classes! Bring on the Curry!

A few weeks ago I was invited to teach a cooking class at the Brooklyn SkillShare! I was honored and so excited to be able to share my love for food and flavors, with everyone. As I got to thinking of which recipes best represent me, I took a poll of all my friends and asked them to vote for their two favorite Indian dishes, and majority voted for Chicken Tikka Masala and Palak Paneer.

I prepped my recipes and ingredients and travelled with two bags full of ingredients, to Brooklyn! It was a fantastic experience and I was pleasantly overwhelmed with the 30+ people that attended my cooking class. I hope to be back there again, next year, to share some more exciting recipes with the hipsters ;)

Palak Paneer (Paneer with Spinach Curry)
100gm Frozen Paneer (Defrosted and at room temperature when ready to use)
I large bunch of Fresh Spinach leaves
2 Jalapenos (optional and you can adjust the quantity based on your preferred level of spicy)
4 cloves of Garlic
1 inch piece of Ginger
I medium Onion (roughly chopped in large pieces)
4 Tbsp Tomato Paste (or I small can of Tomato Sauce
Water/Vegetable broth – as needed
2 tsps Turmeric Powder
2 tsps Red Chilli Powder
2 tsps Cumin Powder
2 tsps Coriander Powder
2 tbsp Clarified Butter (You can also use Vegetable oil instead)
2 tbsp Vegetable Oil (to cook the Paneer)
Salt to taste
Fresh Coriander leaves to garnish

1.       First prepare the Spinach gravy. In a large saucepan, bring water to a boil and blanch Spinach leaves for 7-10 minutes. Remove from water and transfer to a food processor
a.       Add Jalapenos, Garlic, Ginger and chopped Onion to the Spinach and puree well in a food processor. Set the gravy aside in a bowl
2.       Take the Paneer and chop it into small bite sized pieces
3.       In a skillet, heat up some vegetable oil on medium heat. Add the chopped Paneer and sautee until it is golden brown. Remove and set aside
4.       In the same skillet add the clarified butter, once heated, add tomato paste and all the spices and cook for 10 minutes. Add a little water to loosen the mixture and continue to cook until the oil leaves the sides of the pan (another 5-10 minutes)
5.       At this point, add the Spinach gravy and continue to cook the curry. Add Salt to taste and more water to achieve the consistency you desire
6.       Finally add the cooked Paneer and simmer on low to medium heat for approx 10 minutes.
7.       Serve hot, garnished with chopped fresh coriander leaves and Naan!

Chicken Tikka Masala
Spice mixture
2 tbsps Garam Masala
2 tbsps Coriander Powder
2 tbsps Cumin Powder
2 tbsps Turmeric Powder
Salt to taste

For the Chicken
2 large  boneless, skinless Chicken Breasts
1.5 cups of Yogurt
2 tbsp Lemon juice
6 cloves of Garlic, finely chopped
4 tbsp Ginger, finely shopped

1. Start with marinating the Chicken, the previous night. In a large bowl add the Chicken Yogurt, lemon juice, ginger and garlic with half of the spice mixture and mix well to coat both pieces. Cover with cling wrap and set in the refrigerator overnight.

2. The next day, remove the chicken and place it on a baking tray lined with foil, bake at 350 degrees until the Chicken is almost cooked. At this point, for the last 5-10 minutes, change the oven to the broiler setting. You want the top of the chicken to brown and almost get a bit burnt to mimic a bbq feel. As soon as that is achieved you can take the chicken out and let it cool.
Once cooled, cut into bite sized pieces and set aside.

For the Curry
¼ cup of tomato paste
2 cups heavy cream
Water/chicken stock as needed
1 onion, finely chopped
6-7   whole Cardamom pods (broken open with your fingers)
3 tbsp clarified butter (you can also use vegetable oil)

1.       In a large skillet, heat the clarified butter and sautee onions and cardamom pods until the onions are slightly brown
2.       Now add the other half of the spice mixture and tomato paste with some water, and cook for about 10 - 15 minutes. Add more chicken stock to achieve desired curry consistency
3.       Finally, add the cooked chicken and heavy cream and mix well. Let the curry cook on low-medium heat for an additional 5-7 minutes
4.       Serve hot with basmati rice!