This is the third in my series of Cookbooks for Christmas with the purpose of sharing a few gift ideas for the foodie in your life. Be sure to check out the review and recipe from my other posts The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Bread Baking and The Vegetarian Option.
After a week of eating traditional US favorites at every meal, it doesn’t take long for me to start craving something a little more culturally diverse in flavor. With this in mind last year, I set a goal for myself at the beginning of 2011 to cook more ethnic foods, specifically Thai and Indian. I’m sad to say I’ve failed miserably.
I’ve done some recreation and my own versions of Asian and Indian-inspired foods, but my real goal was to cook authentically. Maybe I bit off more than I could chew, but with only a few weeks left in the year, I’m not ready to give up just yet.
So with a craving to put something different on my plate, I turned to my new cookbook – How to Cook Indian by Sanjeev Kapoor
. This monster of a cooking resource has been my reading material of choice for the past few weeks. Like a mystery novel I can’t seem to stop turning the page to see what happens next – to the curry, the coconut milk, the ground lamb and the chicken.
I find this cookbook ideal for anyone ready to add a little diversity to their kitchen whether beginner or advanced. There are over 500 recipes. Yes, 500. Everything from what I consider standard Indian foods (which simply means they can be found on the buffet at my favorite Indian place here in town) to things I have never heard of before. It’s been an adventure in culinary discovery for me.
No food photography in this one, but those spaces are filled with even more recipes and instructions that are straight forward and easy to understand. The book begins with base spice mix recipes for things such as Chai Masala and moves on to everything from vegetarian dishes, to lamb, to chicken, to fish.
For each recipe name the original is given followed by a description for those of us not well versed in cuisines or languages of India. There is Pyaaz Ki Tarkari (Onions with tamarind), Kolhapuri Sukka Lamb (Spicy coconut lamb) and Maa Chole Di Dal (North Indian Lentils) to name just a few.
This weekend my husband brought home some fresh chickens so we decided to go with what I consider rather classic – Tandoori Chicken. I say we because while he doesn’t make an appearance on the food blog often, he helped with this dish as much as I did.
This was my first time making Tandoori Chicken at home and I have to admit, it was pretty darn easy. As long as you take into consideration marinating times with your preparation I have a feeling you will think so too. This recipe calls for either Kashmiri red chili powder or paprika powder which is what gives the chicken that identifiable red color. Mine didn’t turn out as red as varieties I’ve had before, but I think that is because I did use paprika instead of the chili powder.
The flavor of the chicken is outstanding. With all the spices and marinating flavor is fully infused into the meat. Delicious. And with 499+ recipes to go, there is a lot more where that came from!
Chicken marinated in spicy yogurt and baked
Reprinted with permission from Abrams Books
This darling of the Indian palate, traditionally cooked in a clay oven called a tandoor, is one of my personal favorites. Leaving the bone in ensures that the final dish will be succulent and juicy.
1 (1¾-pound/800-gram) whole bone-in chicken
1 teaspoon Kashmiri red chile powder or paprika powder
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon table salt
For the marinade:
1 cup (250 grams) plain yogurt, drained until thick
2 tablespoons fresh ginger paste
2 tablespoons fresh garlic paste
1 teaspoon Kashmiri chile powder or paprika powder
½ teaspoon table salt
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ teaspoon garam masala
2 tablespoons filtered mustard oil
To cook and serve:
2 medium red onions
½ teaspoon chaat masala
2 lemons, cut into wedges
1. Cut the chicken into 4 pieces: 2 leg quarters and 2 breast halves. Make incisions in the flesh with a sharp knife. Put the chicken in a deep bowl.
2. In a small bowl, stir together the chile powder, lemon juice, and salt, and rub it onto the chicken pieces. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to marinate.
3. Make the marinade: Put the yogurt in a bowl, add the ginger paste, garlic paste, chile powder, salt, lemon juice, garam masala, and mustard oil, and stir.
4. Add the marinade to the chicken pieces and toss so that all the pieces are well covered with it. Cover the bowl again and put it in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 hours to marinate.
5. Cut the onions into round slices and then separate the rings. Put in a bowl of iced water and soak for 30 minutes. Drain well and set aside in the refrigerator until needed. This will keep the onions crisp.
6. Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C. Put the chicken pieces onto metal or presoaked wooden skewers, arrange in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet, and cook for 10 to 12 minutes or until almost cooked through. Baste with butter and cook for 8 minutes more.
7. Sprinkle with chaat masala and serve hot with the onion rings and lemon wedges.
Disclosure: A review copy of this cookbook was sent to me free of charge. I was not required to post about it and received no compensation for doing so.