IFR daily

Daily Indian food, as it's cooked in my kitchen. Sometimes, not-so-Indian. No frills. No props. Just good food. A phone blog.

Category: main

Egg Curry

6-8 eggs
2-3 tbsp oil
1/2 heaped tsp black peppercorns
2 green cardamoms
1 inch piece of cinnamon
5-6 cloves
1 ‘petal’ star anise (optional)
1 cup chopped onion
2 large beefsteak tomatoes, diced
1 tsp grated ginger
1 tsp grated garlic
1/2 tsp red chile powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp garam masala (sambar masala also works well)
1/2 cup coconut milk (optional)
1 tsp salt or to taste

Place eggs in a saucepan, fill with water until eggs are covered by at least 1 inch of water. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Turn off heat, cover, and set the timer for 10 minutes. When timer goes off, drain water, add some cold water to saucepan and add ice until eggs are covered.
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In a medium pot, heat oil and add peppercorns, cardamoms, cinnamon, and cloves. Add a small ‘petal’ of star anise, if using.
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Add chopped onions and 1/2 teaspoon salt and sauté on medium-high stirring frequently until soft, about 10-12 minutes.

Add diced tomatoes and cook down until you see some oil oozing out from the mixture.
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Add ginger, garlic, garam masala, red chile powder and turmeric powder and cook on medium for 3-5 minutes. This is your masala.

Add coconut milk, if using, and mix well together. (I didn’t have any so I skipped this step but I really like it with coconut milk.) Reduce heat to low.

Drain water from pan with eggs. Bring the curry to a simmer. Shell the eggs, poke with a toothpick in several spots and add to the masala. Add 1/2 tsp of salt or more if needed.
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It’s not the end of the world if you lose some egg white while peeling the eggs and they aren’t smooth all over.
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If you aren’t using coconut milk, add water to the masala to make a curry of the thickness that you like. I usually add about 1/2 – 1 cup of water. There are times when I don’t add water or coconut milk but leave it like a thick coating over the eggs.
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Bring the curry to a simmer. Adjust seasonings and serve hot with rotis or over steamed rice. 2015/05/img_2119.jpg

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Spicy Baby Dutch Potatoes

1.5 lbs baby Dutch potatoes
2 tbsp ghee (or oil)
1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
6-7 fresh curry leaves, washed and wiped dry
2-3 hot green chiles, sliced fine
1 tbsp chana dal
1/4 cup sliced white onion
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
2-3 tbsp lemon juice
Lots of chopped cilantro
Salt to taste

Boil baby Dutch potatoes in their jackets, preferably using a pressure cooker. (I let my pressure cooker go for a tad bit longer and some skins split. It isn’t a problem as these are waxy potatoes).
2015/04/img_1839.jpgWhile the potatoes are cooking, heat ghee in a medium pot. Once hot enough, add mustard seeds. (Test ghee by dropping one or two mustard seeds into it, if they pop then it’s ready). When they pop, lower heat and add cumin seeds, followed by curry leaves, finely sliced green chiles and Chana dal. Toss to combine.

Add sliced onion, turmeric powder, about 1/2 tsp of salt and cook on medium heat, stirring frequently, until onions are soft.

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Peel the potatoes, if you like. The skin is thin and peels off easily.
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Halve some of the larger potatoes. Add all potatoes to the pot. Toss to coat potatoes with onions and spices.
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Drizzle 1 tbsp of ghee along the side of the pot. Add another 1/2 tsp of salt. Mix well taking care not to break down any of the potatoes. Spread in as much of a single layer as your pot will allow. Cook on medium for about 7-8 minutes, allowing the potatoes to crispen a tad, but making sure that they do not burn. If necessary, mix and spread out in a single layer again.
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Add chopped cilantro. Add fresh lemon juice. Mix well.

Adjust for seasonings and serve hot with rotis or with rice and dal.
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Notes:
Use any waxy potatoes. If they are larger than baby potatoes, dice them into smaller pieces once boiled and peeled.
Do not peel, chop and then boil.
Use more hot green chiles to up the heat. More lemon juice if you are like me.

No Longer Shepherd’s Pie

1.25 lbs ground bison (or lamb)
2-3 tbsp oil
2 medium to small onions, chopped
2 large cloves garlic, minced
2 Thai green chile, finely chopped
3/4 cup sliced carrots
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp sambal oelek
Juice of half lemon
1 tsp sugar
(Or use Worcestershire sauce instead of last 4 ingredients but I think my combination works better)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup broth or water
3 large red potatoes
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 tbsp milk
Freshly ground pepper
2-3 tbsp of Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp breadcrumbs

Boil potatoes in their jackets.
Heat oil in a saucepan. Add onions and garlic and cook until soft on medium-high stirring frequently, no need to brown. About 7-8 minutes.
Add green chiles, soy sauce, sambal oelek, lemon juice and sugar. Stir.
Add ground bison, stir fry while breaking it up to ensure that it doesn’t clump together as it cooks.
Add carrots.
Mix in flour and then slowly add broth.
Turn the heat down to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens, about 10-15 minutes.
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Add salt, about 3/4 tsp, depending on the sodium content of your broth, soy sauce and sambal oelek.
While this is cooking, peel and mash potatoes.
Add butter, several grinds of black pepper, cheddar cheese and milk. Add about 1/2 tsp salt. Mix well. Taste and adjust seasonings as well as butter as desired. This mashed potato mixture should not be dry.
Transfer ground bison mixture into oven-proof casserole.
Heat oven to 375F. Use convection bake, if your oven has it.
Spoon mashed potatoes over bison mixture and spread out evenly over the top.
Seal the edges well with the mashed potatoes or else the sauce will bubble through in the oven. I forgot to do this and some sauce bubbled through. It doesn’t look great and softens the mashed potatoes a tad but otherwise, not much harm done if you forget.
Mix Parmesan cheese with breadcrumbs (and a few grinds of black pepper) and sprinkle evenly over the top.
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Bake for 20 minutes.
Allow the casserole to sit for 5-10 minutes once out of the oven, before serving.
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Enjoy!

*based on this recipe.
I don’t remember cheese in the shepherd’s pie recipe that my mother baked but it tastes good!

Achaari Murgh Stir-Fry

1 lb (approx) boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces
2-3 tbsp avocado oil
1/2 large white onion, sliced
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
1″ piece of ginger, minced
2-3 hot green Thai chiles, chopped fine (optional)
1 large beefsteak tomato, sliced
2-3 cups of sliced / chopped veggies (I used asparagus, with thick stems sliced vertically into two; sugar snap peas, and green peppers)
2-3 tbsp of Mother’s Amla Pickle (only the masala

Heat oil in a medium kadhai or wok.
Add onions and stir fry on high heat until soft.
Add ginger, garlic and green chiles and stir fry for a couple of minutes.
Add tomato slices and continue to stir fry for a couple of minutes.
Add the veggies and stir fry for a couple more minutes.
Add the chicken pieces.
Add the pickle masala. Mix well.
Stir fry on high for a couple of minutes and then spread it out as much as possible over the surface of your kadhai, cook on medium until chicken is done. Do not over-cook.

Since the pickle masala is high in sodium, there is usually no need to add salt. However, taste it and adjust seasonings according to your tastes.

Skip the green chiles if you want to keep this mild. But, why?!

Use any veggies that hold their own when cooked on high heat. Any veggies that do well when roasted will work in this recipe. I don’t normally roast sugar snap peas but they worked really well.

Garnish with cilantro, if you like, before serving over rice or with any plain Indian rotis or parathas.

Stew

1 lb pork or lamb or firm tofu, diced
3-4 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly crushed black pepper
2-3 tbsp oil
1 cup finely chopped red onions
2 medium carrots, diced
1 cup cauliflower, diced
1/2 cup broccoli
2 medium red potatoes, diced
1.5 tbsp ginger, finely minced
1 tbsp garlic, finely minced
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp coriander seeds
1 Thai green chile
2 cartons chicken stock 32oz each
1 cup pearled farro
Salt to taste
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Dust meat with flour, salt and pepper.
Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large stockpot.
Brown the meat in the hot oil, turning occasionally. Transfer to a platter or bowl.
Powder cumin and coriander seeds in your spice grinder.
If necessary, add another tbsp of oil to the pot.
Reduce heat to medium-low and add chopped onions, minced ginger, minced garlic, powdered cumin-coriander powder. Also add green chile, sliced down the middle.
Sauté for a few minutes and then add remaining vegetables. Stir to mix well and then add the chicken stock.
Bring to a boil and then add the meat back to the pot. Simmer on low heat.
Cook pearled farro according to instructions on the packet. When cooked, drain and add to stew.
When the potatoes are cooked and the carrots tender, this stew is ready.
Adjust salt, if required, and serve hot.

This is based on my Tunisian lamb stew. Use quinoa or bulgur or brown rice instead of farro. Add more green chiles to up the heat. Use vegetable stock or water instead of chicken stock, and skip the meat to make it vegan.

This is a nourishing stew, just perfect to cope with spring snowstorms as well as coughs and colds.

Spinach and Red Pepper Frittata

2 tbsp oil
1 cup diced onion
2 red peppers
1/2 lb baby spinach, coarsely chopped or not
2 big cloves of garlic
2 hot green chiles
1/2 dried red chile (optional)
3 eggs
2/3 cup milk
1/2 cup grated Gruyère cheese
1/4 cup Parmagiano cheese
1/8 cup dill leaves, loosely packed and chopped
A few sprigs of cilantro, chopped
1 tsp salt
Few grinds of black peppercorns

Slice red peppers into strips and lightly caramelize them on a cast iron griddle.
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Mince together garlic and green chiles.
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Heat oil in a 12 inch saucepan. Add onions with a good pinch of salt and cook on medium heat until soft, 5-7 minutes. Add minced garlic and green chile mixture. Mix well and cook for a couple of minutes.

Beat eggs with milk and the rest of the salt and a few grinds of black peppercorn. If you like, crumble a dried red chile into the egg. It looks quite pretty.

Add caramelized red peppers.
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Add spinach.

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Cook on medium-high, stirring frequently, until spinach is wilted and the resulting mixture is not very wet.
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Spread the vegetable mixture evenly over the saucepan. Mix cheeses together and sprinkle evenly over the vegetables.
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Sprinkle chopped dill evenly over the cheese layer. Carefully pour beaten egg mixture into saucepan. Sprinkle evenly with chopped cilantro.
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Cook covered on medium-low until eggs are set, about 7-9 minutes.
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Cut into 8 wedges and serve immediately.

This is based on a recipe for a red pepper and spinach quiche from NYT. I made a frittata as my oven was otherwise occupied.

Mangai sadam (Mango Rice with lots of Mustard)

1.5-2 tbsp ghee
1 tsp cumin seeds
7-8 curry leaves, washed and dried
1 cup unripe green mango, peeled and diced
2 tbsp split coarsely ground skinned mustard seeds (rai kuria)
2-3 Thai green chile
1 cup basmati rice, rinsed and drained
2 cups water (+ 3/4 cup for the lid)
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp salt

Warm half cup of water and soak split mustard seeds for about 10 minutes.
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Purée diced mango, soaked split mustard seeds (including water it is soaked in) and green chiles in your blender.
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Heat ghee in a medium saucepan or kadhai. Once it melts, add cumin seeds and allow them to sizzle, ensuring that they do not burn. Add curry leaves.
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Add drained basmati rice and stir-fry until rice grains appear translucent.

Add mango-mustard purée, followed by turmeric powder.
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Mix well. Add 1.5 cups of water and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
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Once it boils and the level of liquid falls below the level of rice, cover preferably with an indented or concave lid. Turn the heat down to medium low. Pour about 3/4 cup water onto the lid, less if it is more shallow, ensuring that it does not go into the kadhai. This condenses the moisture inside the pot and ensures that the rice cooks evenly and does not dry out on the top. Cook covered for about 15 minutes.

Carefully lift off the lid and drain off any remaining water from the lid. Check that the rice is cooked.

Serve hot with yogurt.
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This is based on my friend Niv‘s recipe for Mango rice with Mustard. She uses black mustard seeds while I used split skinned mustard seeds. She does not soak her seeds. I did that to help my blender along.

Traditionally, about 1.5 tsp of mustard seeds are ground to a paste with diced mango. Mustard seeds and asafetida are then added to ghee / oil. Niv’s recipe skips this step and adds all the mustard seeds to the paste. This really appealed to me as I love the sharp taste of mustard. If you are not crazy about mustard, you may want to tone it down by using only half the quantity of mustard or even less. There are versions of mangai sadam that don’t have any mustard in the mango paste and the chiles are added to the seasoned oil. Think about what your preferences are and make adjustments accordingly.

I made this into a one-pot dish since I dislike washing dishes. This also allows me to halve the amount of ghee from 3-4 tablespoons (for 1 cup of rice) to 1.5 tablespoons. Use more if it floats your boat.

Thai-inspired Chicken Curry with Udon Noodles

1 lb chicken tenderloins, diced into bite size pieces
2 packets pre-cooked udon Annie Chun’s organic udon noodles
1/2 cup dried shiitake mushrooms
2-3 tbsp oil
1 medium onion, diced
3-4 splashes of Tamari sauce
1-2 splashes of fish sauce
2-3 splashes of rice vinegar
1 cup celery, sliced
1 cup sweet peppers, diced
2 tbsp Thai Kitchen red curry paste
1/2 can coconut milk
3-4 cups of water
1/4 cup roasted peanuts, crushed
Some cilantro for garnish

Rehydrate shiitake mushrooms according to instructions on packet. I do not bother to squeeze them out before I add them to my soups and curries.
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In a large saucepan or wok, heat oil and sauté diced onions for a couple of minutes. Add splashes of Tamari, fish sauce and rice vinegar.
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Add other diced vegetables. I was trying to finish off my celery and my sweet peppers. You could use zucchini, broccoli, carrots (thin slices), or any combination of veggies that appeal to you. I also had some shoots growing out of my onions. Since these are edible, I added them with the diced onions to mellow their sharp flavor. Stir fry for a couple of minutes.
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Add diced chicken and Thai red curry paste and mix well. Spread everything out so that the chicken cooks quickly. Stir only a couple of times.
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Add coconut milk. Stir to mix and add 2-3 cups of water. Add more to thin it down to the consistency you like. Since we are adding noodles, I thinned the sauce down to almost soup-like consistency.

Drain shiitake mushrooms and add them to the curry.
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Bring to a simmer and add udon noodles. Use a fork to break them up as they warm. Gently fold them into the curry as they separate.
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Sprinkle crushed peanuts, garnish with cilantro and enjoy hot!
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This is a quick one-pot meal for weeknights. If you make your own Thai curry paste, more power to you! Use that as it will no doubt be more flavorful than the bottled stuff. If you have dried udon noodles, use those or use any other noodles of your choice. I stock Annie Chun’s pre-cooked organic noodles as they help cut prep time in the mornings if I find I have to put together a lunchbox quickly. They are a boon on busy weeknights as well. If I’m out of noodles, I serve this curry over steamed rice.

If you have Thai basil, use that instead of cilantro. I brought my Thai basil inside before winter but it didn’t do well.

Chhole with turnips (Shalgam-wale chhole)

4-5 cups pre-soaked garbanzo beans (chhole / Kabuli chana)
OR
1.5-2 cups dried garbanzo beans, soaked
2-3 tbsp oil
1 cup chopped white onion
1 tejpatta
2-3 Thai green chiles
1 inch piece of ginger
2 large cloves of garlic
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
2-3 tomatoes or half a pint jar (16oz) of canned tomatoes
1 black cardamom
1/2 tbsp garam masala
4 medium turnips, peeled and diced
4 small red potatoes, either raw or boiled, peeled and diced
1 tsp of chaat masala (optional) OR
Juice of half lime (optional)
2 tsp salt or to taste
half bunch cilantro, chopped

Heat oil in the pan of your pressure cooker. When it shimmers, add tejpatta and when it changes color, add chopped onions. Sweat on medium-high. Add 1 tsp salt to make them cook down faster.
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While the onions are cooking down, coarsely pound ginger, garlic and green chiles using your mortar-pestle. Or grate the ginger-garlic and chop the chiles.
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I was out of ginger and really regretted not making a dash to the Indian store yesterday. But I made do with what I had on hand and skipped ginger.
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Add ginger-garlic-chile mixture to the pressure cooker and stir-fry for a few minutes. Add turmeric powder and garam masala. I used Malvani masala.

Add tomatoes, breaking them down if they are not diced small.

Drain soaked garbanzo beans and add to the pressure cooker.
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Add diced turnips.
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If your potatoes are uncooked, add them now. If they are boiled, wait until later. Add 4-5 cups of water.

Add black cardamom. Smell it. It is smoked and best added while braising or once the liquid has been added to the pot. In general, do not toast this spice on dry heat as that makes it bitter.
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Add 1 tsp of salt.

Cook under pressure for 3-4 pressure releases and do a quick release, if you know how to do it safely. Otherwise, allow the pressure to release naturally and open the pressure cooker when safe. It may seem too watery but stir it gently and cook for about 5 minutes, allowing the potatoes to thicken the sauce.

If you have boiled potatoes, add them now and cook on medium for 5 minutes. I dice them rather small so that they near-dissolve into the sauce.

Stir in cilantro.
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Add chaat masala or lime juice. If you know me well enough by now, you know I added both!

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Serve hot over steamed rice or with rotis, with yogurt on the side.

We had chhole with Shalgam for dinner last night. I also got two lunch boxes and enough for one more weeknight dinner out of this.
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Pasta with garlic, spinach and green onions

3 cups dry gemelli pasta, cooked
1 tsp truffle Olive oil (optional)
2 tbsp Olive oil or avocado oil
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1/2 lb baby spinach, coarsely chopped
4 green onions, diced small including stalk
1/2 cup diced ham / turkey / chicken, cooked (optional)
2 cups marinara sauce
1 dried red chile
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup grated parmagiano reggiano

Heat the two oils in a large pot and quickly sauté minced garlic, making sure it doesn’t caramelize or burn.

Add spinach, green onions and meat, if using, and continue to cook on medium heat. When the spinach has wilted some, add cooked pasta and the marinara sauce and heat through. Stir in a folding motion so that you don’t separate the gemelli. If you like more marinara sauce, go ahead and add more.

Crumble red chile over the pasta, add salt and mix well.

Just before serving, stir parmagiano into hot pasta.

Sorry, no pictures! It’s all gone. We had it for dinner last night. Medha took some for lunch and there was about 1 cup left that I just polished off for breakfast.

The marinara sauce I use can be found at Costco. We like it so much that I use it as pizza sauce, too.

You can use any other pasta of your choice. I love how the flavors get tucked into the twists of the gemelli strands.

This can be a one-pot meal if you use the same pot for cooking the dry pasta as well as the final dish. Just make sure that the pot is dry before you heat oil in it. The one-pot thing, not counting the colander used to drain the cooked pasta, is very important to me as it means fewer dishes to wash. It does, however, take about 10-15 minutes longer to cook as the pasta could be cooking while you are sautéing the veggies.