Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Recipe 15: Raita & Chutney

50 Great Curries of India, Tenth Anniversary Edition
I've been craving Raita and Chutney. Perfect to pair up with your favorite frozen samosas, put out the firey spices of your favorite curry, or even drizzling into a chicken pita sandwich. I hope you guys like it. This is definitely something I can enjoy while Mike is away. Cucumbers and Cilantro in one meal could be his worst nightmare. Take a look at Camellia Panjabi's 50 great curries of india if you need more pictures than Madhur Jaffrey offers in her cookbooks. Pick your favorit raita and definitely try this delicious green chutney so easily wizzed up in a food processor.

Spinach Raita
15 leaves spinach, well washed
1 c. yogurt
salt and pepper and 1/8 t. cumin
12-15 seedless raisins or 3 dates
pinch of paprika
Cut the spinach into fine strips. Boil with a pinch of salt for 3-4 min in 1 c. water. Then drain. Whisk the yogurt. Season with salt and pepper to taste and add the cumin. Add the spinach and raisins or dates, cut into thin strips. Pour into a serving bowql and sprinkle with paprika.

Tomato Raita
1 c. yogurt
salt and pepper and 1/8 t. cumin
1 large tomato, finely chopped
1/8 onion, finely chopped
1 t. cilantro
Whisk yogurt, adding a little water if desired. Season with salt and pepper to taste an dadd cumin. Combine with tomato and onion and pour into serving bowl and garnish with cilatro leaves

Cucumber Raita
1 c. yogurt
1/2 c. cucumber, peeled and finely chopped
salt and pepper
1/8 t. cumin
1/2 t. sugar
pinch of paprika
1 t. cilantro, finely chopped
Whisk the yogurt. Add cucumber, salt, pepper cumin, and sugar. Mix well. Garnish with paprika and cilantro.

Green Chutney
1 c. mint leaves
1 c. cilantro
1 or 2 chiles, chopped
1/2 small onioin. chopped
1/4 t. cumin
1/4 t. salt
1 t. sugar
2 t. lime or lemon juice
Puree all the ingredients except the lime or lemon juice. Then add the juice and stir well.

I'm going to try and pair a raita and chutney with a Bengali Chicken Dopiaza ( chicken with onions)
2.5 lbs whole chicken
9 medium onions
8 small potatoes
3 t. chile powder
1/2 c. yogurt
1/2 c. oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 bay leaves
2 in cinnamon stick
6 cardamom pods
1 1/2 t. peppercorn
12 cloves
2 whole red chiles
2 T. grated ginger
1/2 t. tumeric
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 T. butter
3/4 t. sugar
1 1/2 t. garam masala
Cut chicken into 8 pieces. Cut 3 onions in half. Chop 2 onions coarsely. Extract the juice from the remaining 4 onions by grating them, squeezing the juice out with cheesecloth and discarding pulp.
Peel the potatoes. Mix the chile powder to a paste with water. Whisk in yogurt.
Heat oil and fry 2 chopped onions until light brown. set aside. Fry the garlic in the same oil with bay leaves. Then add cinnamon and cardamoms. after 2 min, add peppercorns, cloves and whole red chiles
After 30 sec, add ginger, chile paste and tumeric and stir. Add chicken potatoes and tomatoes, then butter, yogurt and sugar. Cook 10-12 min. Stir and add water if necessary to keep spices from burning.
Add onion halves, followed by onion juice and salt to taste. Stir for 2-3 min. Transfer to baking dish and cook in oven at 325 for 20-25 min. When chicken and potatoes are done, add half the fried onion and sprinkle over garam masala. Sprinkle over remaining fried onions just before serving.
I know, this chicken with onions better be good with all its steps. I'll let you know how it turns out unless I decide to just put a quick chicken sandwich together.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Jer: Rhubard Apple Ginger Compote

Like Elaine, I never cook or bake with rhubarb save one attempt at pie years ago that came out too mushy and tart for my taste. So I was eager to give it another try. It was hard finding some stalks that were in good enough condition to buy. Even at the San Francisco Ferry Building where one can typically find the best versions of almost any fruit or vegetable – the few stalks they had in one of the produce shops looked and felt like old celery. I think in the states (or at least in California) rhubarb inventory just doesn’t turn that often relative to some other fruits which we have in abundance.

I did finally some nice stalks with good color and weight at a specialty market in Pacific Heights. I used ground ginger instead of crystallized ginger and used a microplane for the orange rind instead of cutting the rind it into julienne.

But my compote didn't have much color and it just looked like a pile of mush (I must have stewed it too long). So what to do. Strawberries are in full force in California and I found a little market selling gorgeous specimens for only $1 a basket. So I brought home a few of those and folded fresh sliced strawberries into the compote after it had already cooled.

Served it last night for dessert over some sliced pound cake. I didn’t really like it with the cake, I think because it just made the cake mushy and the compote flavors hadn’t had time to really develop. It wasn't bad, it just didn't move me.

This morning, however, the compote was divine with some greek yogurt and granola. I think having it sit in the refrigerator overnight really allowed all the fruit flavors to come together and it set off against the thick yogurt and crunchy granola very nicely.

Freshly shelled peas and morrel mushrooms were also in full force at the SF Ferry Building (which in my opinion is the best green market in our country). So picked some up and made a risotto for dinner last night.

ps: sorry that my photos are so terrible. Pete is on a surfing trip with our camera so I'm making do with my camera phone :-)

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Elaine: Rhubarb Apple Ginger Compote

Rhubarb is something I've never prepared before due to a scarring experience with a strawberry rhubarb cobbler we had ordered years ago. So I did find rhubarb at Whole Foods quite easily this trip. It was kind of hidden amonst all the other not-so-popular produce section. After being informed that the leaves were poisonous, I made sure I cut them all off, and then some. The recipe was super quick. Since I didn't have crystalized ginger at home, I just threw in a chunk of ginger which I can't seem to find yet in my serving. In trying to clear out my freezer for the move, I found some puff pastry which I decided to use with this compote...sprinkle a little sugar on top, pop it in the oven and you have an instant palmier to pair with this compote. And instead of Kate's suggestion of cream which sounds perfect, I stole some of Sam's yogurt and put a splash of almond extract and dash of sugar to drizzle. Toasted some slivered almonds and sprinkled for a little crunch. And the verdict? Not to sweet. Not too heavy. Such a light refreshing dessert that I could eat lots of and all the time. Kate, thanks for opening my eyes to the world of rhubarb. I want to try all types of rhubarb recipes now.