Sunday, February 10, 2013

Saffron Cauliflower and Chicken curry

This was inspired by a dish served at a local Indian restaurant, and then based on techniques from this very different curry. I'm still developing it, but it turned out so well I thought I'd post the version I made tonight.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 onion, minced
  • 1/2 tsp black mustard seeds (optional)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1.5" segment of ginger root, peeled
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 1/4 c. blanched, peeled almonds
  • 1/4 c. roasted, unsalted cashews
  • 1/2 c. water 
  • 1 can coconut milk 
  • 1 large pinch saffron, soaked in 1/4 c. warm water
  • 1 cauliflower, cut into small flourets
  • 2 chicken breasts, cut into thin pieces
Smoosh the garlic and ginger root together - I did this in a mortar and pestle, you could probably achieve a similar effect with enough mincing with a knife. Blend the almonds, cashews and water in a food processor until it makes a smooth liquid.

In a mix of 1 Tbsp. butter and 1 Tbsp. oil, sweat the onions and mustard seeds on medium-low heat until the onions begin to turn transparent. Add ginger and garlic mixture, and cook for about a minute until the garlic starts to mellow. Add the dry spices (cumin seeds, turmeric, pepper, cayenne, cardamom pods), and cook briefly until they start to smell amazing. Add the nut-juice and cook about 5 minutes, then add the coconut milk and saffron w/water. Stir until mixed, add the cauliflower, and then simmer until cauliflower starts to break apart. Taste and add salt as needed. Add the chicken, and cook until no longer pink, about ten minutes. Serve with rice.

Indian cucumber salad

I just made this salad up, but it turned out so well as an accompaniment to Indian food that I thought I should post it. It's quick and easy to make, and for those who don't like American cucumbers, you can often get the "burpless" smaller varieties at Middle Eastern and Indian grocery stores.

Ingredients

  • 1 large cucumber, skinned and cut into thick slices (halved depending on cucumber size)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp warm water
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp minced fresh cilantro
Grind cumin seeds and black peppercorns in a mortar and pestle. Pour in vinegar, water, sugar, and mix. Pour over cucumber slices, and garnish with cilantro.