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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Basmati Rice

Basmati rice is generally served with Indian food. It's has a longer grain than most other rice; it also has an incredible, nutty aroma while it's cooking. You can, of course, simply cook the rice according to package directions and it's lovely. We like to dress ours up just a little bit when we serve it with a nice curry or other Indian dish.

The peas, by the way, are optional.

Basmati Rice

1 ½ cups basmati rice
3 Tbs. vegetable oil
1 small onion, cut into thin slices
1/2  teaspoon garam masala
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup frozen peas

Wash the rice in several changes of water and drain. Cover generously in water and soak for 30 minutes. Drain thoroughly. Heat the oil in a small, heavy pot over medium high heat. When hot, add the onion and stir until it is brown. Add the rice and garam masala. Stir for a minute. Now put in the broth and bring to a boil (or transfer rice to rice cooker and add broth and stir). Cover tightly, turn heat to very low, and cook 20 minutes. Add the peas. Cover tightly again and cook another 5 to 7 minutes. Stir gently before serving.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Chicken Coconut Kurma

First, although my mother taught me never to begin with an apology, let me apologize for the less-than-perfect photo. This tastes really good, though. Chicken coconut kurma is one of my favorite dishes at Indian restaurants. The same sauce can be used with other meats; we like chicken so much that we've never ventured out. The coconut cream and raisins give this a sweetness that contrasts nicely with the rest of the savory flavors.

Chicken Coconut Kurma

½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon ground coriander
¼ teaspoon turmeric
¼ teaspoon cayenne
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2 ½ to 3 pounds skinned, boneless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces

Mix the spices together and stir over the chicken pieces. Mix well and refrigerate for at least one hour.

6-7 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 inch square of ginger root, fresh
1 ½ cups of water

Put the ginger and garlic in a blender with ½ cup of the water. Blend until smooth.

4 Tbs. of vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
2 medium tomatoes, peeled and finely chopped
6 tablespoons plain low-fat yogurt, whip until very smooth
2 tablespoons golden raisins
¼ cup cashews
1 teaspoon garam masala
½ cup coconut cream (sold by the can in most Asian stores; it's thicker than coconut milk)

Heat the oil in a heavy, non-stick pan. When hot, put in as many chicken pieces as will fit on the bottom. Cook until browned and repeat with other pieces of chicken. Set the chicken aside.

Put the onion in the remaining oil and fry hot until they turn medium brown. Add the garlic-ginger paste. Stir and fry until the water evaporates. Put in the remaining cumin, coriander, turmeric, and cayenne. Fry for about 30 seconds. Now put in the chopped tomatoes. Turn heat to low and cook for three to four minutes, mashing the paste with the back of a spoon. Add the yogurt, one tablespoon at a time. Add raisins and cashews. Put in the chicken and any accumulated juices, ¾ cup of water, and one teaspoon of salt in the pan. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Take off the cover and add the garam masala and coconut cream. Mix gently. Turn up the heat and cook, stirring gently now and then until the sauce becomes fairly thick.