Sunday, December 28, 2008

Aloo Paratha

So . . . this is even more of a giant guesstimate, since I’m trying to recall all this from yesterday, when a new friend very nicely let me peer over his shoulder while he was making it. However, it was amazingly delicious and I didn’t want to forget it, so just consider it to be more of a jumping-off point than an actual recipe!

Whole wheat flour
Corn flour
Chili powder

For the dough:
Mix together equal parts whole wheat flour and corn flour. Add water in small amounts, kneading with hands, until dough is a soft and manageable ball – about 10-15minutes. My coworkers tell me that if you don’t knead enough, your bread will end up hard, so don't even think about getting lazy on this one. Let the dough ball rest for about an hour

For the filling:
Boil and mash some potatoes. Add cumin, chili powder, and salt to taste.

After the dough has gotten a good little rest, knead it again for a few minutes. Then, break off maybe a 2-inch ball. While holding it in both hands, stick your thumb into the center and move it outwards, flattening the dough out. Rotate the ball and continue – kind of like you’re molding a little bowl. Do this until you can about fit your fist into the dough-bowl. Scoop some of the potato mixture into the center, and close the edges of the dough around it, so you have a little dough-ball filled with potato yumminess.

Heat a nonstick pan over a medium-high flame. As it's heating, roll out the dough-ball with a rolling pin till it’s maybe a quarter of an inch think (maybe even a tiny bit thinner?). Ideally, the potato filling should stay inside the dough. Plop the paratha onto the pan and let it cook for about 2 minutes; it should start to puff up a teeny bit. Then, with a pastry brush or a spoon, spread a little oil evenly over the top of the paratha. Flip the paratha and repeat the oil-brushing on the other side. Cook for several minutes, flipping every once in a while until each side turns golden brown.

Serve hothothot with vegetable curry, dal, raita – y’know, general yumminess. So. Friggin’. Good.

Anshuman's "Bachelor's Raita"

So named because it’s super-easy and doesn’t have too many ingredients. And yet – so yummy! All these measurements are giant guesstimates, though, so my first few attempts at this at home could be interesting . . .

Approximately 1 ½ cups plain yogurt
1 small red onion, chopped fairly small
About 1 ½ tbs cumin seeds
Sprinkle of salt
Sprinkle of sugar
Sprinkle of chili powder

Whisk a little bit of water into the yogurt to thin it out. It should pour easily by the time you’re done, but not be too watery.

Heat a nonstick pan over a medium flame; do not add oil. Instead, dry-roast the onion and the cumin until they’re golden and smell yummy. Add this to the yogurt along with the salt, sugar, and chili, and stir everything together.

Deeelicious – especially with the paratha recipe I’m about to post!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Lemon Rice

My first tofurobot post from India! This is one of my favorite dishes here . . . a little spicy, a little salty, a little sour, and a lovely yellow color. I warn you that the measurements are in no way exact, though -- I tried to just guess as I watched my homestay aunt make it. It's made with white rice here, but I bet it would also be good with brown. And once you stock up on all the ingredients at the Indian grocery store, you can use them to make Priya's amazing cabbage curry!

2 cups cooked and cooled rice
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp "putani" -- yellow split peas, I guess? I think I've seen it labeled as chana dal . . .
4 dried red chilis (more or less, depending on how spicy you want it), stems removed, broken into 1-inch pieces
1 tsp black mustard seeds
about 15 curry leaves
3 tbs shelled peanuts
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 tsp salt
2 small lemons, or 1 1/2 large (American-sized) lemons. The ones here are itty-bitty!

Spread the rice out on a plate or shallow pan.

Heat about 2 tbs oil in a pot till it's REALLY hot. Add the cumin, dal, chilis, mustard seeds, curry leaves, peanuts, and turmeric and stir for about 30 seconds, till the chilis start to darken. Dump the spice mixture onto the rice (quickly, or it'll burn!). Sprinkle with salt and let it cool for a few minutes. Squeeze the lemons over everything and mix it all together with your hands. Serve with plain yogurt. Soooo yummy!

This definitely needs a protein with it, though. I'm wondering if it might go well with spicy fried tofu for an intensely flavored dinner. Hrm. Lu, experiment and get back to me on that :)