I have been a bit under the weather for the last 6 days. I started out making traditional comfort food like lemon and herb roasted chicken. then switched to my NM comfort foods, pork and green chile. Went back to childhood with tater tots (feeling too crappy to cook even that night) and now am on to Indian.
Indian as comfort food you ask?
Well I am sure to someone from India, their comfort food is Indian. Roasted chicken is downright boring compared to Indian food. I still feel awful, but somehow well enough to make not one, but 4 dishes. Cooking is comfort to me. I thought I would try some new dishes and one old favorite, but this time not taking the shortcuts I usually take with the old favorite. The first dish is Malay chicken biryani and I usually skip some steps, don’t pay attention to the measurements (the box directions are metric) and don’t add curry leaves because I haven’t had any. This time, I followed the directions and found some curry leaves at the Asian store. Ok, I didn’t add the cucumber and wouldn’t have even if I had one on hand. I ate enough cooked cucumber during the years when my brother was a vegetarian (and now he raises pheasant, quail and high end chickens). This dish is terrific. Tangy, spicy hot and the curry leaves really make the dish. I could eat this every week.
Next I made Paneer Mahkani from Hooked on Heat’s site. I followed the recipe and added a bit of fresh muddled cardamom and coriander too, just a teaspoon or so. I used homemade canned yellow tomatoes for this one and it gave it a beautiful color. My goal here was to make a new dish and use my kasoori methi leaves (fenugreek). This dish turned out so well I had to hold myself back from eating it for breakfast. Great creaminess from the ground cashews and nice tartness from the tomatoes. The methi leaves are a key ingredient and have so much flavor!
On to Dahi Bhindi – Okra in yogurt sauce. I love okra and have wanted to make an okra dish for a while. However after eating this dish, I have decided that I only want to eat okra three ways: in gumbo, deep fried or pickled. Perhaps I would have liked this more using fresh okra, but I had frozen on hand. Still pretty slimy and not enough flavor to overcome the slime.
Finally, rice with nigella(onion) seeds, cardamom, tumeric and one red chile pod with lemon juice to brighten the flavor (pictured next to the green okra). I know, two rice dishes. I can’t eat the bhindi and paneer mahkani plain can I? I need something to soak up the delish sauces. Truth be known, Indian food is not very photogenic, esp dal’s. But I did my best above. Cooked okra is never going to be photogenic unless it is barely blanched to keep that green goodness color.
At least I can take tomorrow night off from cooking and indulge in my favorite TV weaknesses – Survivor and Grey’s Anatomy (And you thought I was perfect didn’t you? Guilty little pleasures).