It’s true, I’mÂ deeply in love with Indian Food! I would relish the chance to travel to India to explore and to eat. It’s on the to do list someday….
My affair with Indian food began in the early 1990′s while I lived in Minneapolis. I met my friend ManishaÂ in French class…. she introduced me to this wonderful cuisine. She would spend hours and hours in her home preparing a multi course traditional meal for us to enjoy. She took me to Udapi restaurant in Minneapolis and would order for many, many dishes so we could sample as much as possible. When her family traveled to India they brought me back a “Masala Dabba” (a spice container) that I still use today. I miss spending days with Manisha. She still lives in Minneapolis with her wonderful husband and beautiful little girl. I’m not sure if Udapi is still open, if so…maybe a trip to the cities and a visit with Manisha is in order!
The Watson family prep cooks have been really into trying new cuisine lately. Yesterday was Indian day. We prepared a wonderful meal with Makai Sak (spicy creamed spinach) Matar Dal with Tomatoes, (we used yellow split peas) Tamarind -Raisin Chutney, Fresh Mint Chutney. We served this with pistachios, rice andÂ attempted naan…(which didn’t turn out so great, so anyone with a recipe that works..please pass along..in theÂ meantime, we’ll continue to experiment) The whole family enjoyed this…even little Sophie who had two helpings of the Dal.
Matar Dal with Tomatoes (servers 4 or 5)
2/3 cup yellow split peas
6 cups water
1/2 tsp tumeric
3 tbsp vegetable oil
3 medium sized tomatoes cut into 8 pieces each
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp minced fresh ginger root
1 1/4 tsp cumin
1 to 2 whole dried red chiles (broken into bits)… use as desired
2 tbsp coarsely chopped cilantro
Bring the water, tumeric and a little oil to a boil over high heat. Stir in the peas and again bring to a boil for about 30 minutes. Add the tomatoes. Cover and continue cooking for 1 hour or until the peas are soft and fully cooked. Remove from the heat, uncover, add the salt and stir.
Heat the remaining oil in a small pan over medium heat. When it is hot, add the ginger, cumin and red chili in rapid succession. Fry until the chili’s turn brown. Quickly pour the fried seasonings into the dal. Immediately cover and allow theÂ seasonings toÂ soak into the peas..about 5Â minutes.
Add the cilantro and serve.
Malai Sak: serves 4 or 5
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tbsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp tumeric
1 tsp garam masala
3 tbsp water
4 tbsp unsaltedÂ butter
2 pounds fresh spinach, trimmed, washed and coarsely chopped
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup of any of the following: heavy cream, cream cheese, sour cream or stirred yogurt
Combine the cayenne, coriander, black pepper, nutmeg, tumeric and garam masala in a small bowl, add the water and mix well. Melt the butter in a 5 quart pan over moderate heat. Add the spinach and sprinkle with salt. Add the spice mixture. Cover for 6 to 8Â minutes, then turn the leaves over so that the uncooked layer on the top changes places with the cooked leaves underneath. Cook for an additional few minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the desired milk product. Return the pan to the heat a nd rewarm briefly.
Imli Kismish ChatniÂ Tamarind-Raisin Chutney: makes about 1 cup
2/3 cup raisins
3/4 cup water
1 to 2 hot green chiles
2 tbsp chopped cilantro
1 tbsp chopped mint
1/3 cup tamarind, concentrated
1/3 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp garam masala
3/4 tsp salt
Combine the raisins and water in a small pan and quickly bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool for about 5 minutes.
Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor or blender and process to smooth puree. Transfer to a non-metallic storage container. Cover. Keep refrigerator, will last up to 3 days.
Podina Chatni Fresh Mint Chutney makes about 1 cup
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
2 tbsp honey
3 tbsp water
1 3/4 cup chopped mint, packed
1 to 2 hot green chiles, chopped
1/4 cup coconut, chopped
1 tsp salt
Combine ingredients in a food processor or blender and mix until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and serve.
The chutneys are condiments and are delicious with many dishes. We especially like them with samosasÂ (Indian fried pastry, stuffed with spiced potatoes, cauliflower & peas). While we did not prepare samosa’s yesterday, we will sometime soon.
We are so lucky to have a good Indian restaurant here in Fargo. Passage to India http://www.passage-2-india.com/Â I encourage you to dine here!!! They have a fantastic lunch buffet daily that I love as it allows you to try many options. I think I’ll head over there this week. Maybe with my adventurous diningÂ friends,Â Melissa & Leah. Â I hear their Christmas menu is fantastic as well… we haven’t broke our traditions of turkey and mashed potatoes yet, but when we do..we will head to Passage to India. If you make it there, be sure to order the Samosa’s…
Another fun event in town this week that will celebrate Indian culture is the Fargo Theatre’s Film Festival… Wednesday, March 2nd featuring the film “Made in India”. This event will feature Indian hors d’ouevres prepared by Mosaic Catering & Events, I know that Tandoori Chicken Salad and Curried Hummus Stuffed Tomatoes are on the menu…for more information check out http://www.fargofilmfestival.com/.
I hope you try this cuisine and discover a new culinary adventure yourself.. There areÂ many regions of India, each with their own unique flavors to explore. Enjoy trying them all..Â maybe you will fall in love with it as well!