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(clockwise from upper left) Lamb Vindaloo, Saag Paneer, Naan, & Dal

indianight

We love Indian food– typically we’ll make Indian food about once a month.  We’d make it more often but we tend to go all out and it takes a lot of effort, plus it leaves the kitchen a complete mess.

Now, we’re not Indian, so authenticity is not a guarantee.  Keith grew up eating British Indian food, which is delicious but definitely not the same as the food you’d find on the sub-continent.  That being said, we do our best to “keep it real”.  We read alot about traditional cooking methods, we’ve gotten tips from our Indian friends, and Keith has been to Indian (ostensibly to work in a rural village for Engineers Without Borders, really he just went for the Poori and Dal).  So for our “Indian Night” we made Saag Paneer (spinach with our homemade cheese), Lamb Vindaloo (a spicy stewed meat dish more popular in Britain than India), Dal (a lentil stew and a staple of the typical Indian household), and Naan bread.  In addition we prepared raita, a cucumber and yogurt condiment.

RECIPES

Raita

  • 1/2 c. plain yogurt (full fat)
  • 1/2 c. finely diced cucumber

Rice

  • 3 c. Jasmine rice

Rinse and add water.  The amount of water should be  about  3/4 of an inch above the rice.  Place in a rice cooker.

Naan

  • 3 cups all purpose four
  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 1 T. dry yeast
  • 3 T. melted butter

Mix above ingredients and let it sit for a couple of hours.  Wait to cook at the very end.

Heat up a cast iron skillet on high.  Take a fist size amount of dough and flatten with a rolling pin (use a generous amount of flour to coat the counter, rolling pin, and your hands to prevent sticking).  Place flattened dough on skillet.  Cook one minute per side or until you get pocky burn marks then transfer to a direct flame for about 30 secs to puff them up.  Be sure not to let them catch on fire.  Brush with melted butter (clarified if you want to go through the trouble).

Lamb Vindaloo

  • 1 lb lamb chops (cubed)
  • 1 lb red potatoes (from Alsum Produce in Friesland, WI)
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (we prefer Spanish)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup of peppermint green tea
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • salt
  • Spices (to taste):

The lamb, potatoes, onion, garlic ginger, and cilantro could all be sourced locally in Wisconsin (but for this dish they were not all local, shame on us).  Cooking this is pretty straight forward, saute the lamb meat in olive oil, add the potatoes, onion, broth, tea, tomato, and spices and cook to until the liquid is reduced to the consistency of gravy.  When done, add the coconut milk.  The peppermint green tea (365 brand) was a last minute addition, I love the combination of lamb + mint, but Leslie pulled up all our mint last year.  The tea worked wonderfully.

Saag Paneer (spinach & cheese)

  • 3 cups 2% milk
  • 2 tablespoons coconut vinegar (any vinegar would work here).
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Cumin
  • Coriander
  • fresh ginger (I keep mine in the freezer to grate as needed)
  • salt

Heat the milk slowly to just below boiling (180-200 deg F).  Add the vinegar, remove from heat, and let sit for 10 minutes.  Then separate the cheese from the whey (save the whey to use as a soup base).  Saute the spinach and spices in olive oil until cooked and then mix with the cheese.

Dal (bean dish)

  • 1 cup cooked black eyed peas
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup evaporated milk
  • salt
  • Spices:
    • Cilantro
    • Cumin
    • Turmeric
    • Chile Pepper
    • a ton of Garlic

Usually we would use lentils, this time we had black eyed peas on hand.  Mix the cooked beans and raw onion together and saute in olive oil with the spices.  When done, add the evaporated milk.

Tea

After dinner we had tea made from a  1:1 mixture of Twining’s English Breakfast and Chai teas.  Then we added 2 cardamom  pods to each teacup.  It was a wonderful ending for a moment then we had to clean up!

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