Cooking with Alison

Archive for the ‘Indian’ Category

Easy and Delicious Curry Chicken Recipe (Only 5 Ingredients)

In Indian, Meat and Eggs, Poultry on July 27, 2014 at am

First off, you should know that this recipe is, by no means, an authentic curry recipe from any part of the world.  However, it is addictively delicious and ridiculously easy to make.  I don’t normally post recipes that aren’t traditional or authentic, so believe me when I say that this recipe is worth sharing.  I wouldn’t be surprised if it instantly becomes one of your family favourite recipes.  It’s mild in heat, buttery, and slightly sweet.  My sister’s friend, Chelsea, introduced me to this recipe.  She made it for us and a large group of people at a ski chalet, once.  Every single person loved it.  I made it for John’s mom one day and she loved it too.  This is a great dish to make for a crowd.

The key to making this sauce more than just a sum of its 4 ingredients, is to use high quality and complex curry powder.  I’ve had the best success using Malaysian meat curry powder.  Otherwise, it will taste like a curried, honey dijon chicken dish.  But even the curried, honey dijon chicken tastes great, so use whatever you have on hand.  Note that if you use a yellow curry powder, the colour of your sauce will be more yellow than mine.  Ideally, you want the dijon mustard to be indiscernible, leaving your guests wondering what’s behind that addictive flavour.


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Ingredients That Freeze Beautifully

In Appetizers, Hors D'oeuvres, Snacks, Asian, Breads, Breakfast, Desserts, How-To, Indian, Main Course on June 1, 2014 at am

Whenever I cook with ingredients that I don’t use regularly, I almost always end up with extra ingredients that I can’t find the time or purpose for.  I hate to waste food.  So, very early on, I learned how to make the freezer my best friend.  Below I’ve shared a list of fresh and canned ingredients that freeze beautifully for months to a year, without a change in texture or taste.  Let me know if you can think of anything else!  I will add to this list as I discover new freezer friendly ingredients.  Also, I’ve posted many many freezer friendly recipes throughout the years.  Just look to the end of each recipe for freezing instructions, as applicable.

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The Best Saag / Palak Recipe (Indian Creamy Spinach Side Dish)

In Indian on January 5, 2012 at am

Saag and palak are very popular Indian side dishes.  Saag is a combination of greens such as spinach, mustard greens, and/or fenugreek leaves and palak is simply spinach.  Some restaurants make these dishes thick and creamy whereas others make them thinner in consistency and healthier.  The recipe I’ve shared below is for a quick and easy, thick and creamy saag or palak.  I tried many different variations before I got this recipe just right.  For example, I compared the textures of boiled spinach vs pan-cooked spinach, and food processor shredded spinach vs chopped spinach vs whole spinach leaves.  I also compared the creaminess of using whipping cream vs yogurt vs whipping cream plus yogurt.  I’m glad I didn’t give up, because I’ve made this for friends and family and everyone has loved it.  (See here for tips on how to get the most flavour out of your Indian spices.)

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Favourite Butter Chicken Recipe

In Indian on March 19, 2011 at am

Depending on the region of India, the restaurant, and the cook, the ingredients used in “butter chicken” curry vary significantly.  This is my recipe for what I believe to be traditional butter chicken (a mild, tomato-based curry).  I researched countless recipes and tested several before creating this one.  Personally, I love it and when I made this for Krystal and Ed, they repeatedly told me how delicious it is.  So I think you’ll like it too, even if it’s not how your local restaurant makes it.  I highly recommend using the dried fenugreek leaves, because they make a huge difference in this simple dish.

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How to for Indian Spices

In How-To, Indian on March 14, 2011 at am

Indian food uses a lot of different spices and is rich in flavour.  It can be made to be very healthy and there are many great vegetarian and vegan options (with a few minor substitutions).  I enjoy Indian food, but I have always felt that Indian restaurants were overcharging for their food.  My suspicions were confirmed when I started making Indian food at home;  it turns out that many of the popular Indian dishes are ridiculously easy and cost effective to make!  If only I could afford the money and space for a tandoor oven…

If you’ve never cooked Indian food before, don’t be intimidated by the long lists of ingredients, because once you’ve picked up a few spices, the cooking part is easy.  Most of their meat dishes involve slow cooking, but I have created some fast-cook recipes that still taste authentic and won’t take hours to make.  Another great thing about cooking Indian food is that most dishes freeze well, so you can make one large batch of curry at a fraction of the restaurant price, and freeze the leftovers for future meals.

Check out my recipes for Indian food!  You can find them under the Recipe Index, under the Indian category.

Below, I have listed a few simple tips for using Indian spices that will hopefully encourage some of you to try making this cuisine at home.  Please share your tips by posting a comment!

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Tandoori Chicken Recipe (Murgh Tandoori)

In Indian on October 26, 2010 at am

Tandoori chicken is often recognized by its bright red colour.  But I don’t like to order it because most restaurants actually achieve this colour using red food colouring.  (If you’d like to do this at home, mix it into your yogurt before adding the yogurt to the chicken.)  If you’re like me and you don’t have access to a tandoor (clay oven), you can make this using your oven and/or grill (see instructions below).  Also, I’ve heard of people putting a lump of charcoal in their ovens to infuse a smoky flavour into the chicken.  I can’t wait to get my hands on some charcoal to try this!

This is how I make tandoori chicken at home.  Note that I prefer my tandoori chicken mildly flavoured, so adjust the spice to your taste.

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Tarka Dall (lentils)

In Indian on October 24, 2010 at am

I’ve been wanting to incorporate more beans and lentils (legumes) into my diet for a long time now.  They’re high in nutrients and fiber, they’re cost-efficient, and they’re available year round.  This is my recreation of a local (Kingston, ON) Indian restaurant’s version of tarka dall – a pureed lentil side dish.  See here for tips on how to get the most flavour out of your Indian spices.

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Chana Masala Recipe (chickpeas)

In Indian on October 22, 2010 at am

Chana masala is an Indian dish that consists mainly of chickpeas and tomatoes.  It is mildly spiced and is slightly sour in taste.  What I love about this recipe is that the tartness comes from amchur / amchoor powder, which is ground, dried mangoes!  (You could also make this using lemon juice, but I highly recommend getting the amchoor.)  All of the people that tried this asked for the recipe.  See here for tips on how to get the most flavour out of your Indian spices.

Photo below:  For my friend’s birthday, I made homemade Indian takeout and we had dinner at her place.  I made fast-cooked beef “borma”, tarka dall and chana masala (and rice, of course).

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Beef “Borma” Recipe

In Indian on October 20, 2010 at am

Regardless of how familiar you are with Indian food, I’m sure you’ve never heard of beef borma before.  That’s because I coined the term “borma” for a happy accident where I mistakenly made a dish that was half bhuna and half korma.  My housemate and my friend and I liked this dish so much that I decided it was worthy of 1. sharing and 2. distinguishment from other Indian curries.  

The night before, I had been researching beef bhuna and beef korma recipes – the first being tomato based and the second being cream based.  I had decided on making the korma.  But while making my fast-cooked version of an otherwise authentic dish, I mixed the recipes up in my head and accidentally added tomatoes instead of cream.  Since I accidentally used tomatoes that were meant for a bhuna in my korma, my dish was named “borma”.  Then again, “torma” (t for tomatoes) might actually be more appropriate…

Note that authentic bhuna and korma dishes involve slow cooking beef for at least 1 1/2 hours.  But I don’t like the texture of slow cooked meat, so I prefer to use tender cuts of meat and make fast-cooked versions of Indian curries.  The great thing about this cooking method is that you can enjoy an authentic tasting Indian curry on a work night without compromising on the restaurant-like flavour.  See here for tips on how to get the most flavour out of your Indian spices.

Photo above:  I was making homemade Indian take out for my friend’s birthday.  Pictured are beef “borma”, tarka dall (lentils) and chana masala (chickpeas).

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Indian Lentil Soup

In Indian, Soups and Salads on April 29, 2010 at pm

Most Indian lentil soups are pureed and very thick.  But the vegetable soup that I had at a popular local Indian restaurant was light, brothy, lemony, and in my opinion, much better than the typical pureed lentil soup.  So I re-created it at home.  You can easily adjust the water or boiling time to achieve your preferred consistency.  See here for tips on how to get the most flavour out of your Indian spices.

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Aloo Gobi Recipe (Potato and Cauliflower)

In Indian on February 20, 2010 at pm

I rarely eat cauliflower because I find it so tasteless.  When a creamy, cheesy, cauliflower gratin that I made still wasn’t enough to change my mind, I gave up on this vegetable for a long time.  But I recently read about the nutrition and health benefits of cauliflower, so I thought it was time to give it another chance.  While searching for interesting ways to cook it, I found aloo gobi, an Indian spiced potato and cauliflower dish.  It was perfect because I just happened to be binge-cooking indian this month.  This dish still wasn’t enough to make me crave cauliflower, but it’s a great side to a curry meat dish (and Ed loved it), so I’ll definitely make it again.  See here for tips on how to get the most flavour out of your Indian spices.

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Ghee Recipe

In Indian on February 18, 2010 at pm

Ghee is clarified butter that is commonly used in Indian cooking.  In recipes, it can be substituted with oil but ghee makes the food much more flavourful.  It’s Very easy to make at home, but if it’s your first time making it, I’d suggest halving the recipe first because it can burn easily.  See here for tips on how to get the most flavour out of your Indian spices.

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