Things Because They’re Tasty - Mung Beans aka Usal

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This is not a dish you can just whip up in one night. It took me two days of planning ahead - those mung beans aren’t messing around.

I started by soaking the dry beans in water overnight. Once the beans looked plump, and like they were ready to sprout, I emptied the wet beans into a sieve, set it atop a large bowl and placed a damp (near soaked) paper towel on top to let them continue to spout for another evening. 

Finally, after they had sprouted, they were ready to be cooked. I started by toasting my spices (garam masala, turmeric, black mustard seeds, cayenne pepper, coriander and cumin) in some vegetable oil to enhance their respective flavors. After a few minutes, I then added half a diced onion, ginger and garlic, and sautéed for a few minutes until the onions looked like they were starting to brown a little. To this, I then added the mung beans, let them sauté for a couple of minutes, then added a cup of water. At this point, I covered the beans and let them steam though to soften, then just before serving, I added a large diced tomato and let it cook down. Ideally, I would’ve also added cilantro, but we didn’t have any. 

Like I said, this isn’t a meal that can be made on a whim one evening, but once you get to the final product, it’s totally worth the wait. Serve with basmati rice, some yogurt and a bit of mango pickle. YUM.

So, basically you’re telling me that I should make Chicken 65 and then slap that on a waffle? YES and YES.
npr:

splendidtable:

Keralan Fried Chicken, Lowcountry Cardamom Waffles, and Spicy Maple Syrup

Anything with maple syrup is good in my book. — Lauren 

So, basically you’re telling me that I should make Chicken 65 and then slap that on a waffle? YES and YES.

npr:

splendidtable:

Keralan Fried Chicken, Lowcountry Cardamom Waffles, and Spicy Maple Syrup

Anything with maple syrup is good in my book. — Lauren 

Things Because They’re Tasty - Chicken Curry

While we were still in the old place, I did manage to make one last delicious meal (or two). Inspired from a previous post (seen here), I opted to make a spicy, satisfying chicken curry. The best part about this dish? It can be made in advance, and probably even tastes better the next day once the flavors have intensified even more. 

To start, I heated up a couple tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large pot then added a chopped medium onion and garlic/ginger paste. Once the onions soften slightly, I added a couple tablespoons of tomato paste, a couple tablespoons of garam masala, tablespoon of turmeric, salt and red chili flakes. After that, I added a can of light coconut milk and the same amount of water then stirred and let sit while it thickened slightly. After this simmered for about 15 minutes, I added the chicken to cook for another 20 minutes or so. Once complete, I added in 4 diced tomatoes, a handful of chopped cilantro and an additional serrano pepper (cut large so no one bites into them). Finally, once this had simmered for a few more minutes, it was ready! 

The process sounds a lot longer than it really is to make, but if you do your chopping and dicing ahead of time, I can assure you that the flavors and pay-off are well worth it. One note, you can use ghee (clarified butter) instead of oil, but I didn’t bother and was still impressed with the result.

This looks delicious. I wonder if dal can be made without a pressure cooker? I’m sure it can, and clearly I need to learn how.
huffposttaste:

Why order Indian when you can MAKE it even better? 

This looks delicious. I wonder if dal can be made without a pressure cooker? I’m sure it can, and clearly I need to learn how.

huffposttaste:

Why order Indian when you can MAKE it even better? 

Things Because They’re Tasty - A Walk in the LES

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While we were trying to make the most of our last days living in New York, we took a walk in the Lower East Side and stopped at a couple of places that looked tasty. First, the guacamole taco from Brooklyn Taco in Essex St. Market. Packed with fresh guac, corn, tomatoes, onions, and a hot sauce (bright green) that delivered a hearty kick, this was a great place to start.

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Then it was time for some Indian street-style food from The MasalaWala (such a great name). We started with some Pani Puri that was a little sweeter than we’re used to, but the puris were plenty crisp.

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Then the Chicken 65. A favorite for S, he thought the flavors were pretty good, but commented that it ought to be drier (rather than have so much sauce ladled over it).

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Then a favorite of mine - the Dahi Puri. Similar to the Pani Puri with the chick peas, onions, chutney and various condiments, but these have little dollop of yogurt (the “dahi”) on top that I love. yum.

Things Because They’re Tasty - Tamarind (Flatiron)

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So this post is a tad late, but I’ve been away, and now I’m sick, so here we go!

Had some friends in town a while back, and we went to dinner at Tamarind in the Flatiron area. The food was all kinds of yummy. We started with the dishes above, the Chili Crab and Raj-Kachori (Chickpea-filled flour patty). Both delicious, and an equal balance of spicy and tangy.

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We also shared the Murgh Kolhapuri above, which was a near replica of a chicken dish my dad makes often. It’s described by Tamarind as a “Fiery Maharashtrian chicken with whole spices and peppercorns.” Fair warning, they’re not kidding on the fiery part. It was such a nice reminder of being at home, too.

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We also shared the special that evening, the Sea Bass Curry that did not disappoint. It was much milder than the chicken, and again, a good balance of flavors with everything on the table.

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There was also an order of the Daal Makhni (lentils above) and Vegetable Jalfrezi. The four of us happily cleaned our plates. Can’t wait to go again!

Indian street food cropping up all over New York, and I can’t wait to try them! Especially Old Delhi, where the bhel above comes from and prices top out at just $10. 

Indian street food cropping up all over New York, and I can’t wait to try them! Especially Old Delhi, where the bhel above comes from and prices top out at just $10. 

After the Munja ceremony, the family had a man to make freshly prepared dosas just outside of the ceremony. How awesome is that? If you’ve never had a dosa, it’s an Indian crepe, usually stuffed with potatoes and spices, from the Southern part of India. This guy was happy to add cheese, spiced potatoes, cilantro, onions, chili pepper, jalapenos or any combination of those items. In about 3 minutes, it was ready to go, and you were on your way. yum.

Indian Buffet Time in Princeton, NJ

While visiting family in Princeton, New Jersey recently we had lunch at an Indian buffet. Not that it was anything terribly amazing, but it brought back memories of participating in this exact routine almost every Sunday as a child. Growing up in Houston, there were certainly plenty of opportunities for it, too. Bombay Palace anyone (definitely well before it became Kiran’s)?

Anyway, it was nice to reminisce and catch up with family over plates of lentils, potatoes and Tandoori chicken. Sort of hard to beat that on a lazy summer day. 

A view of the spread, below. The other side had plenty of chicken options, too. Oh, and Indian sweets, but I never liked those. Seriously, Gajar Halwa? No thanks. 

Things Because They’re Tasty - My Mom’s Pau Bhaji Sliders

I think of pau bhaji as the Indian Sloppy Joe (who is Joe anyway? was he even sloppy, or just marginally dirty?). In this case, I have pau (“pow”) bhaji (bhaa-gee) sliders that my mom made over the weekend. The “pau” is basically just the word for bread in marathi, while the “bhaji” is the veggie mixture. In this case, the bhaji has potatoes, cauliflower, peas, onions and tomatoes. The best part? You cannot skimp on the butter and lime juice to finish. Seriously. yum.