We are big fans of Indian food. When we lived in L.A., we would walk to our all time favorite neighborhood Indian restaurant, Surya. However, after several years of business, they decided to close its doors and we were devastated. We have since moved an hour outside Los Angeles and we don’t have all the mass diverse restaurant choices that we use to…and this includes Indian food. So we figured it was time to explore making Indian food for ourselves.
When we stumbled upon this classic Indian recipe from Aarti Sequeira in Food Network Magazine, we knew we had found the perfect recipe for us to give Indian food cooking a try. The list of ingredients alone made our mouths water. We always love to experiment with recipes in our own home. This gives us the opportunity to somewhat make “healthy” versions of our favorite restaurant dishes. And not to mention a little tweak here and there so that the kids will also enjoy it.
So the preparation began. When we decided to try the Tomato-Yogurt Chicken Curry recipe, we also began to think about what would be a good side dish to serve with it. From our experience, we knew we loved so many of the delicious vegetable side dishes that are served with Indian cuisine. One in particular is Aloo Gobi, a traditional Indian dish made with spiced cauliflower and potatoes. Most Aloo Gobi recipes require the cauliflower and potatoes to be steamed then fried. We were hoping to stay away from the fried part and discovered a recipe online at Bon Appétit for an Indian-style cauliflower that was roasted not fried…perfect!
Lastly, we turned to our good friend Dan who shares his “Perfect White Rice” recipe on his blog The Curry Guy. We knew this would be the finishing touch to round out our Chicken Curry dish. If you are interested in discovering some awesome Indian inspired dishes, we highly recommend you check out The Curry Guy’s website. He also has some great e-books that he has written filled with even more delicious recipes!
If it’s your first time making Indian food, these are some great recipes to try. We know the list of ingredients may seem a little daunting and we’re not going to lie, this recipe will take some time to make, but we guarantee the end result will be very satisfying. We like to put some music on, pour some wine and just enjoy a night of cooking together. What we discovered from this recipe is that you really can make real authentic tasting Indian food right at home in your own kitchen. We’ve enjoyed making this recipe for family and friends and best of all, our kids absolutely love this one too!
Tomato-Yogurt Chicken Curry
2 tablespoons peanut or canola oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
2 bay leaves
1 14.5-ounce can whole tomatoes
5 cloves garlic
1 ½-inch piece ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
4 dried arbor chilies, stems removed (for our kids, we only used 1 chile, seeds removed…these are hot!)
¼ teaspoon tumeric
½ teaspoon paprika
2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, fat trimmed, halved (we used boneless chicken breasts)
2 medium red skinned potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 teaspoon honey (or agave nectar)
2 tablespoons plain whole-milk yogurt, preferably Greek style
Generous pinch of garam masala (see below)
Cooked basmati rice, for serving (see below)
Chopped cilantro, for topping
Toast the cumin: Heat the oil in a large, deep pot over medium heat until it shimmers. Sprinkle in the cumin seeds and stir; they should sizzle on contact, become fragrant and darken slightly.
Caramelize the onion: Immediately add the red onion and bay leaves to the pot. Cook, stirring often, until the onion is dark chestnut brown, 12 to 15 minutes.
Make the tomato base: While the onion is cooking, drain the juice from the can of tomatoes into a liquid measuring cup; set aside. Puree the tomatoes, garlic, ginger, chilies, turmeric and paprika in a food processor.
Sauté the base: Add the tomato base to the onion mixture and cook, stirring, until thick and paste-like, 10 minutes. When the mixture starts to sticking to the bottom of the pot, add the chicken and potatoes. Cook, stirring, until the chicken is opaque and the sauce clings to the meat and potatoes, about 5 minutes.
Simmer the curry: Add the honey to the reserve tomato juice, then add enough water to make 1-1/2 cups of liquid; pour into the pot. Season with salt to your liking and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium low and gently simmer, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are tender and the sauce is slightly thickened, 25 to 30 minutes.
Adjust the seasoning: Gently stir the yogurt into the curry. Taste for seasoning and add salt, if necessary. Sprinkle with garam masala and serve over rice. Top with cilantro.
Total time: 1 hr 15 min
Serves 4 to 6
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon tumeric powder
1 large head cauliflower. cored, broken into 1-inch florets
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon finely grated peeled ginger
1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
Preheat oven to 450º.
Stir oil, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, curry, and turmeric in a large bowl to combine.
Add cauliflower and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat cauliflower evenly.
Arrange in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet (scrape any extra seasoning from bowl over cauliflower).
Roast until cauliflower is brown around the edges and crisp-tender, 10 to 15 minutes.
Transfer to a platter and sprinkle ginger and lime zest over. Serve warm or room temperature.
Total time: 25 minutes
Perfect White Rice
2 cups basmati rice
3 cups water
A pinch of salt
1 tablespoon butter
Pour the rice in a large bowl and cover with water. Swirl the rice around in the water with your hand until water becomes milky.
Drain and repeat until the water runs clear. 10 to 15 changes of water is not out of the question.
Now cover the rice one more time with fresh water and allow to soak for 30 minutes.
Drain after 30 minutes and then cover the rice with 3 cups of fresh water. Add the salt and butter and cover the lid.
Bring to a rapid boil and then turn off the heat.
DO NOT be tempted to lift the lid for 40 minutes.
After 40 minutes, lift the lid and fluff the rice very carefully with a fork.
Carefully, because basmati rice will split and become mushy if handled to harshly. Simply run the fork through the rice slowly separating the grains.
Total time: 1 hour 15 min
(You can buy garam masala at Indian markets or online)
¼ cup green cardamon pods
4 black cardamon pods
3 large cinnamon sticks, preferably Ceylon, broke into pieces
2 tablespoon whole cloves
Shell the cardamon. Gently crack open the green and black cardamon pods with a mortar and pestle (or crush them on a cutting board using a heavy pan). Remove the seeds and discard the husks.
Grind the spices. Finely grind the cardamom seeds, cinnamon sticks and cloves in a spice or coffee grinder. Store in an airtight container away from direct sunlight for up to 1 year.
Total time: 10 min
Makes ½ cup