Recipes so good it oughta' be a sin!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Indian Dinner with Friends

As our New Year's Resolution, Sandy and I made a pact that we would get together at least once a month for a couples night. This month we decided to do a homecooked Indian dinner since Michael bought a new Indian food cookbook for me. It's Madhur Jaffrey's Quick and Easy Indian Cooking.

Sandy and I decided on a menu based on chicken with a few other favorite ingredients deciding the side dishes. You'll notice an ingredient in the list called "garam masala." This is a wonderful spice blend used in many dishes and can be found at international specialty stores or Indian grocers. If you don't have any nearby you can get it online at .

We'd originally planned to do a Banana Halva for dessert, but by the time we'd finished up everything else everyone wanted to start eating. Of course, we'd all been snacking on my peanut butter buckeyes while cooking, so the sweet tooth had been satiated anyway.

And yes, that is a Christmas plate you see in the photo. By the time we'd finished cooking everyone was in such a hurry to eat that Michael just grabbed plates from the cabinet and that's the one that I happened to get a photo of before the food was devoured! 

The menu consisted of:
  • Silken Chicken (Reshmi Murgh)
  • Indian Mashed Potatoes (Mash Aloo)
  • Spinach with Ginger and Green Chilies (Saag Bhaji)
  • Rice with Peas and Dill (Matar aur Sooay ka Pullao)
  • Naan
  • Garlic Padmum
  • Pale Orange Mango Lassi (Aam ki Lassi)
We were really pleased with the results and it turned into a real group effort with everyone pitching in on the prep work and cooking. Sandy and I spent the afternoon shopping for ingredients and enjoyed visiting a very small but friendly Indian grocery store, India Dukaan. The proprietor was very friendly and she helped us find the items on our list and also gave us some tips for preparing things.

Here are the recipes for our Indian Dinner with Friends:

Pale Orange Mango Lassi

1 1/4 cups plain yogurt
1 cup chopped ripe mango
3 tbls. sugar (or to taste)
1/4 tsp. ground cardamom seeds
8 ice cubes

Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. (Makes 2-3 glasses).

Rice with Peas and Dill:

2 cups Basmati rice
3 tbls. vegetable oil
3 whole cloves
4 cardamom pods
1 small onion (peeled and cut into half rings)
1-2 tsp. salt
1 tsp garam masala
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh dill
2 1/4 cups chicken stock
1 cup shelled fresh or frozen peas (if using frozen cook for 2 minutes first)


Put rice in bowl and wash well several times. Drain and leave in a strainer set over a bowl.
Put oil in a heavy saucepan and set over medium-high heat. When hot add cloves and cardamom pods. Stir for a few seconds. Add onion and stir until brown. Add rice and 1 tsp. salt, garam masala, and dill. Stir for about a minute. Add stock and bring to a boil. Cover tightly and reduce heat to low setting. Cook for 20 minutes. Add peas and cook for another 5 to 7 minutes. Stir gently before serving.

Spinach with Ginger and Green Chilies


1 1-inch piece of fresh ginger (grated)
3 tbls. vegetable oil
1 1/4 pounds trimmed and washed fresh spinach
2-3 hot green chilies finely chopped (do not remove seeds)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. garam masala
1/4 tsp. sugar
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper


Cut ginger crosswise into thin slices and then into very fine slivers. Put oil in large wide pan or wok and set over high heat. When oil is very hot add the ginger. Stir until ginger starts to brown. Add the spinach and chilies. Stir and cook until spinach has completely wilted. Add salt, garam masala, sugar and cayenne. Stir and cook for another 5 minutes.

Indian Mashed Potatoes


2 1/4 pounds potatoes (peeled and cubed)
1/4 cup milk (heated)
4-6 tbls. butter cut into pieces
1 1/4 tsp. salt (or to taste)
1 fresh hot green chile, finely chopped (do not remove seeds)
1 tsp. garam masala
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 1/2 tbls. fresh lemon juice


Boil the potatoes with enough water to cover. When tender (about 15-20 minutes) drain and mash them. Add hot milk and butter and beat with whisk or fork adding 1 or 2 more tablespoons of milk if necessary for needed consistency. Add all other ingredients and mix well.

Silken Chicken:


4 boned, skinless chicken breast halves
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tbls. fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 tsp. garam masala
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. ground roasted cumin seeds
1/2 tsp. paprika
1 clove garlic (peeled and crushed)
1/2 tsp. peeled and finely grated ginger

For Sprinkling over chicken:
Salt as needed
Fresh ground black pepper as needed
Garam Masala
Ground roasted cumin seed
Cayenne pepper
1 tsp. mint (finely chopped or dried flakes)
Generous squeeze of lemon juice

Preheat oven to highest temperature and arrange rack in upper third. Cut 3 diagonal slits across top of each piece of chicken being careful not to slice completely through. Prick chicken pieces with tip of sharp knife. Place in single layer in baking dish and rub both sides with lemon juice and salt. Leave for 5 minutes. Combine cream, garam masala, cayenne, cumin seeds, paprika, garlic and ginger in bowl and stir well with whisk. Pour over the chicken and rub into the meat. Leave for 10 minutes. Lift chicken from dish (most of the marinade should stick to chicken) and place down in single layer in shallow baking dish lined with foil. On top of each piece sprinkle the dry ingredients. Squeeze lemon juice over pieces and put into oven. Bake for 15 minutes or until the chicken is just white all the way through. Serve immediately with mint side up.


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