India: करी, नान और चाय

Sadly I didn’t discover my love of Indian food till rather late in my 20s. I missed out on years of flavor, but no more! I love Indian food, the spices, the creaminess, the bread, the tea! I mean come on! It is all so very tasty, so naturally when it came time to cook this week I bit off waaaaay more than I could chew… We made chicken curry, naan from scratch, paneer (yes we MADE cheese), and our very own chai blend. Ya’ll I was tired after this one but I have already made this meal again for my family- it was such a big hit!

So without further ado lets get into these recipes!

Chicken Curry

This recipe comes from the Global Feast Cookbook by Deanne Cook. Her recipe calls for coconut milk and thanks to nut allergies in our house, I substituted for a mixture of milk, heavy cream and sour cream. This recipe is so simple and so delicious it is a must try!

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbs oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 Tbs curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breast cut into bite size pieces
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 2 Tbs sour cream
  • Cooked Basmati rice

Method

  • Heat the oil in a large skillet, add the onions and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes
  • Stir in the curry powder and salt
  • Add the chicken and cook till the outside is golden brown
  • Add the heavy cream, milk and sour cream, stir to combine
  • Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally until the chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Serve with Basmati rice.

Paneer

Let’s start with what is paneer? It is cheese, a simple cheese that is not aged and uniquely enough does not melt when heated. So Martin and I made cheese.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 2 Tbs distilled vinegar
  • Pinch of salt

Method

  • Heat the milk in a medium sauce pan over medium heat to 200°F, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat once it is steamy and frothy.
  • Stir in vinegar and stir. This will cause the cheese curds to separate from the whey.
  • Set aside and allow to cool for 10 minutes
  • Strain the curds from the whey, add salt and wrap the cheese in a cheese cloth or clean dish towel. Place the wrapped cheese on a plate, place other plate on top with a heavy can on top of that. The goal is to press the cheese with even weight. Press the paneer for 15 minutes- 1 hour. Once pressed, wrap in wax paper and move to the refrigerator to firm up- eat within 2 days.
  • Notes: We will use it in a recipe but I also found that this makes a great simple snack by it self.

Peas and Paneer

Now to put that newly made and chilled cheese to work!

Ingredients

  • 1 bag of frozen peas
  • Homemade Paneer, broken or cut into small pieces
  • 3 Tbs sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • pepper to taste
  • pinch of red pepper flakes

Method

Steam the peas in the microwave, as per the manufacturers instructions. Combine everything except for the peas and paneer in a bowl. Once the dressing is mixed stir in the steamed peas and paneer. Toss to coat.

Naan

Naan is a delicious squishy flat bread that is used as your utensil for this Indian meal. That’s right, you use the bread to scoop up everything and it’s available to buy at most grocery stores but like I said, I’m a nut bar and went too far this week. *sigh*

This naan is delicious and I’ll make it again but cooking fresh naan while cooking the rest of a new dinner was a touch stressful. The recipe I followed can be found here, it is from the New York Times and it was excellent!

Chai Latte

Finally dinner is done, the kids are asleep, the mountain of dish’s are now clean- it is time to sit, put your feet up and enjoy a hot cup of chai. Fun fact! Chai means “tea” so when people say “chai tea” they are saying “tea tea”.

This recipe comes from Magnolia Table Vol 2. I haven’t gotten to make much from this cookbook but what I have, I’ve been a big fan (especially the oatmeal cream pie cookies, OMG).

In the beginning of the book there is a whole section of spice blends. I’ve been making my own chili and taco seasoning for a few years now so I was really excited to get a whole bunch of new blends to add to my pantry! Due to shortages in my pantry I had to make a few simple changes:

Chai Latte

  • 4 tsp ground cardamom
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • black tea
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • sugar to taste

Mix all together and add a scoop to your tea as you steep it. I recommend a simple black tea with no added flavors. Once the tea is steeped (3 minutes), use a tea strainer or small mesh strainer to get out any undissolved spices. Add sugar to taste.

Heat up 1/2 cup milk in the microwave, froth and pour over tea. Dust the top with cinnamon. Enjoy!

Not that I’m surprised but Martin LOVED the chai latte! Thankfully I made it with decaffeinated tea so he could enjoy it with me. I love it when he gets excited about new flavors, it reminds me of why we are doing this adventure together in the first place!

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