Friday, December 15, 2006

I is for...

I is for Indian Food.
Who: Indian Food.
What: The cuisine of India, which is heavily influenced by the use of herbs and spices, and a greater use of vegetables than many other cuisines.
When: Britain has close ties with Indian food dating back to the mid 1800's when India was part of "British India".
Where: The customs and climates in the different regions of India impact the type of foods eaten in different parts of the country. Some areas are strictly vegetarian, while others include fish or meat in their diets. The Northen part of India uses more dairy (ghee, yogurt, paneer) and the Southern areas are heavier users of rice and coconut.
Why: Indian food is full of spices that have health benefits - cumin and ginger aid digestion, and tumeric has anti-inflammatory properties. Indian food also uses lots of good-for-you foods like lentils, chick peas, rice, spinach (saag) and cauliflower (aloo gobi).

Mango Lassi
A traditional Lassi is made with yogurt, water, salt and spices. Here's my delicious Mango version.

2 small or 1 large drink

1 1/2 cups plain low fat yogurt
1/2 cup mango nectar
pinch of salt
2 tsp (or more) sugar
big pinch ground cardamom (optional)

Mix all ingredients together in a blender or use an immersion blender.

This is a total must try recipe - Curry Spiced Avocado Butter from the excellent Naughty Curry. This is completely to-die-for; rich and creamy and so flavorful. You can and will slather this on everything.
I under-estimated the power of the butter and only put out a small amount.
It was gone in less than 5 minutes.

We served some plain steamed cauliflower, but it ended up being tossed with the avocado butter.
Damn that stuff was good.

Indian Style Potato Cutlets

makes 6

1 large potato (10-12 oz) peeled and grated
2 tb cornstarch
1 tsp salt
1 tb grated fresh ginger
1/2 hot pepper seeded and minced

oil for frying

In a bowl mix together the potato, cornstarch, salt, ginger and hot pepper.
Heat 1/2" of oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.
Form the potatos into 6 small patties and fry in the oil until brown and crisp on both sides. Drain briefly on paper towel and serve hot.

recipe from Are You Really Going To Eat That? by Robb Walsh

1 cup flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup clarified butter
1 cup warm water

Put the dry ingredients into the bowl of a mixer. Add 1 1/2 tb of the clarified butter and blend with a dough hook until well mixed. Add the water a little at a time until a soft dough forms. Continue kneading with the dough hook for 30 seconds.
Divide the dough into 10 balls. Roll the balls of dough into circles 5-6" in diameter. Heat a pan over medium heat. Brush the pan with butter and cook the roti on both sides.

What a feast! We also had some store bought pakoras, dal, and some sort of bean dish. It was all delicious, and it all went very well with the avocado butter.

For Indian recipes check out:

Previous Alphabet Posts:
A is for Artichoke
B is for Beet
C is for Carrot
D is for Dogs
E is for Egg
F is for Fondue
G is for Garlic
H is for Hamburger


Brilynn said...

That is a nice spread of Indian food you've got there, lassis are sooo good.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I can only wished I'd been at your place for that feast!! I'd have loved everything there.
I've always made my lassis with buttermilk but I can see yogurt would be great also. Since I have 10 ripe mango, I think I see one of these in my future tonight!!
Super love that avocado butter on the cauliflower!

Lis said...

That avocado butter looks dreamy =) I've never had indian food, but dear lord you make me want it right now!

Anonymous said...

I like the potato pancake like dish...looks different but good.

Emmy said...

This post made me super hungry. Thanks a lot Sara :P The Indian Style Potato Cutlets sound really yummy. And I'm definitely going to try veganizing the Curry Spiced Avocado Butter. Thanks for the heads up on that recipe :)

Anonymous said...

Delicious. Definitely one of my favourite cuisines.

Anonymous said...

Mmmm bliss!

Sara said...

Brilynn - thanks! Yes the lassi was very good.

Tanna - the avocado butter was the hit of the party!

Lis - do it!!!

Peabody - thank you!

Emmy - if you do, let me know.

KH - thank you, mine too, although it's hard to find good Indian food around here.

Pam - yes!

Ruth Daniels said...

Gosh!!! Everything looks so good. I love Indian food and now have even more dishes to try.

Thanks for sharing.