Monday, January 05, 2009

Some Sample Recipes:

Chicken Karahi:
A Quick Note:

You can use all boneless chicken breast, or as I often like to do, use boneless chicken breast and a couple of pieces with the bone in. Such as leg, thigh or chicken wings. If you are using a leg or a thigh piece, if possible, it is best to cut that up as well into a couple of pieces with a cleaver so the juices from the bone can lend flavor to the dish. But that is strictly optional, and boneless meat by itself will work just fine.


About one and half to 2 lbs Chicken cut up, skin removed. Washed and pat dried.
6-8 medium tomatoes, chopped
2 heaping teaspoons finely chopped or pureed ginger and garlic, equal amounts of each should be OK.
1 cup chopped cilantro
1-2 green chilies seeded and chopped
½ tea spoon crushed red pepper
1/8Th teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/4Th teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup cooking oil (I use Olive Oil)
A pinch cumin seeds
Keep a cup of water on the side as cooking aid


Prep all your ingredients before you start and cooking should not take more than 30-45 minutes.

Step One:
Heat oil in a wok, add cumin seeds, a couple of tablespoons of the chopped cilantro and the finely chopped ginger and garlic and cook for 3-5 minutes stirring constantly. Do not let them turn brown, as soon as they start to have a glazed appearance, add the remaining spices.

Step Two:

Cook the spices through, stirring constantly to remove the raw edge off of them, this is a very important step in Indian/Pakistani cooking, and a little time invested here, will ensure a more delicious final product. The trick here is not to burn the spices, so add a few drops of water every 3 to 5 minutes to cool the spice mixture a little, than cook as you continue to stir for another couple of minutes on a medium flame, repeating the process for at least 2-3times. At this point add the chopped tomatoes, and another couple to tablespoons of the chopped cilantro. Let the tomatoes cook for a few minutes, until they are tender and start to dissolve, about 10 minutes.

Step Three:*

Add the cut-up chicken stirring every couple of minutes to make sure all sides of the chicken are cooked through. Cook for about 20 minutes, or until most of the liquid from tomatoes has dried up. At this point you can partially cover the dish, reduce heat and let the dish simmer, add the prepared green chili, which is used to add more flavor to the dish. Cooking is complete when oil begins to surface at the top. Turn off heat, and let the dish sit for a few minutes before serving.

Can be prepared a day before, this dish will also freeze well. Great with basmati rice, chappati (flat bread) or Indian Naan.

* An Alternate version for Step Three:(Strictly Optional)

Lightly brown or cook Chicken in a table spoon of oil, a sprinkle of salt, cilantro and one teaspoon of pureed ginger and garlic in a separate pan before adding to the tomato curry sauce prepared using step one and two above. Finish cooking as mentioned above in 'Step Three', I use both versions, the first version is a little quicker, if I have the time however, I will often finish cooking using the 'alternate to step three'! 

It's just a matter of preference, it is good either way!

Daal: (Lentils):
High in protein, daal is typically a favorite side dish with a main meal; at least it was in our home when I was growing up. The ‘accidental’ absence of this side dish would get my dad’s attention in a heartbeat!
They are cooked, each variety by itself or with meat; an excellent binding agent, daals are added to some kebob and kofta dishes to hold the meat and vegetables together. Daals are a main ingredient in preparation of many snacks and in the Indo/Pak region also have had a reputation of being a ‘poor man’s’ source of protein.
I like to mix two or three varieties, and usually have been very successful with the results.
You may cook a single variety, and the rest of the ingredients will remain the same, sometimes I even throw in a lamb or beef bone in the cooking pot, which just ends up lending added flavor to the dish.

1 cup Channa Daal
½ cup Masoor Daal
½ cup Moong Daal
(use the three varieties listed above in portions mentioned or, if you choose, 2 cups of any one variety)
1 medium onion or one bunch of green onions chopped
2 teaspoons pureed ginger
3 teaspoons pureed garlic
1teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
4 tablespoons oil
1 medium tomato chopped
1 black cardamom (slightly pounded)
¼ teaspoon cumin seeds
Salt to taste
6 cups of water

1 green chili seeded and chopped
4 tablespoons of chopped cilantro

Save the green chili and the cilantro for later, and add the rest of the ingredients in a cooking pot, cover and start cooking on a medium flame. Stir initially after 15-20 minutes and occasionally thereafter, checking the tenderness of the legume. Cooking time will vary-usually about an hour, you want to make sure that the lentils are tender, they do need to be slow cooked on a medium to low flame. Check to see if done by taking a small portion and pressing between you finger and thumb, add more water if necessary. Lentils do have a tendency of sticking to the bottom of the pan when they are about close to being done, so occasional stirring would be necessary for the last few minutes of cooking, or keep the flame real low.
Stir in the chopped cilantro and the green chili.
Serve with plain boiled rice or chapati.

For “Tarka” or ‘Bhigar”:
½ a sliced onion
1 cloves of garlic chopped
1 teaspoon chopped ginger
¼ teaspoon cumin seeds
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
6tablespoons (or more) of Oil

Heat oil in a frying pan, brown the onions in the oil over a medium flame, add the cumin seeds ginger and garlic to the lightly browned onions, cook for another minute or so and pour the contents over the daal, garnish with cilantro. Enjoy.

Serves 8-10