Nov 8 2011

masala chai tea

From the first sip I am enveloped …

As I sit and savor this cup of masala chai tea, I am transposed to a garden swing in Ahmadabad, India, where I sit among friends and taste this tea for the first time.

With the first sip I instantly became enveloped by a bold ‘warmth’ produced from the ginger and the spiciness that stands out from the use of peppercorns in the marsla spice mixture. For the American palate it can be quite surprising.

The combination of flavors, so delightful on my tongue, warmed my body. A knowing smile spread over my face as I realized that I was going to be able to enjoy this tea everyday (several times a day) for the next month while on tour throughout in India.
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Jul 1 2010

shahi paneer

1 large onion, chopped
4 large tomatoes, chopped
1 Tablespoon of tomato paste
1 Tablespoon of grated ginger, about a 1-inch piece
1½ teaspoons of salt
1 Tablespoon of dried kasoori methi leaves (available in Indian stores)
1 teaspoon of ground coriander seed
1 teaspoon of tandoori masala spice mixture (available in Indian stores)
¼ teaspoon of red chili powder
½ cup of heavy whipping cream (you can use milk as a substitute)
14 oz. of paneer (Nanak brand of paneer), cubed (available in Indian stores)
Olive oil

Add 2 Tablespoons of olive oil to a pan and add chopped onion and sauté until golden brown.

Add tomatoes, tomato paste, ginger and salt to the caramelized onions.  Cover and cook for 10 minutes.  Remove pan from heat and puree the mixture.   (I used an emersion blender to puree right in the pan).

Add 1 Tablespoon of olive oil to the pureed mixture.  Return to heat and continue to heat for 5 minutes.  Next, add kasoori methi leaves, ground coriander seed, tandoori masala and red chilli powder.  Continue heating for 5 minutes.  Add 1½ cups of water and return to a boil then add heavy cream and continue to heat for 5-10 minutes.  Add cubed peneer pieces to mixture, cover pan and cook for final 5 minutes.

Note:  Paneer can start breaking so don’t boil for long time.

– Kasoori Methi
– Tandoori Masala
– Chilli Powder

Kiran Chopra is a forensic toxicologist. She is best known (in her circle of friends and family) for making the best paneer.  I concur.

Mar 4 2010

green chili coconut chutney

Not really a sauce or a dip, chutney is in a class of its own.
In India, no meal is complete without chutney. There are hundreds of different recipes, for both fresh and cooked versions. Chutneys based on coconut are more common in the south, fruit chutneys in the north and west.

1 cup of fresh cilantro leaves
3 tablespoons fresh mint leaves
1 cup grated coconut (frozen shredded coconut from a bag)
1 garlic clove
1 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 green serrano chilies
1/3 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons of lime juice
1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar
Water as needed

In a food processor, blend all ingredients (except the water) to form a paste. Add just enough water to make a moist (but not wet) chutney.

Chutney is a great pairing for a plethora of foods including meat, fish, vegetables, cakes, cheeses and sandwiches.