The perfect combination of drama, show, and pomp. This dish requires a little effort, but all it needs to go with it is a raita and perhaps a salad on the side. I like to use a few different types of mushroom for varying textures and flavors, and if the budget allows, to add a few wild mushrooms. If not, stick to shiitake, oyster, and large cremini mushrooms. The pastry is lovely on top but you can leave it off and finish the dish with saffron and some roasted cashews instead. The cream and tomato paste are there to balance the flavors of the sauce, so add to taste, and season the sauce well.
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Curry has been known in Great Britain since the mid-eighteenth century (see page 105), not just through Indian restaurants opened by immigrants—the first of which appeared in 1759, in London—but as prepared by chefs at non-Indian establishments, and even by home cooks. Thackeray has one fed to an unsuspecting Becky Sharp by the Sedleys, for instance, in Vanity Fair, his 1847-vintage satire on British society (see page 103). Queen Victoria was introduced to curry by her Indian secretary, Abdul Karim, who also taught her Urdu; according to Heston Blumenthal, she ate curry every day for the last thirteen years of her life. Curries prepared in the U.K. by chefs who are not themselves South Asian tend to employ that ubiquitous seasoning known as curry powder. In his own curries, like this one from Hix Oyster and Fish House in Lyme Regis, chef Mark Hix prefers individual spices instead. “I like to use firm fish for this,” he says, “like monkfish, huss [a kind of small shark or dogfish, sometimes called rock salmon, popularly used for fish and chips], or ling.”Recipe courtesy of cookbook The British Table: A New Look at the Traditional Cooking of England, Scotland, and Wales by Colman Andrews. Click here to purchase your own copy.
I'd like to share with you a recipe for methi chicken (chicken cooked with fresh fenugreek leaves). It's one of my dad's recipes which I absolutely love and is so simple to make. As long as you have fenugreek leaves and some chicken you will not have to run to the grocery store, I promise you that. So enjoy! Serve with naan or roti.
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Butter chicken, or murgh makhani, is an Indian dish that was apparently created accidentally in the 1950s when three restaurant owners in New Delhi decided to combine some leftover chicken with a rich, buttery, creamy tomato gravy and discovered that the resulting dish was absolutely delicous. This version is courtesy of the New York City restaurant Baar Baar, located in the East Village.
A kadhai – a certain spice combination – is both a type of restaurant dish and also a cooking pot, similar to a wok but with rounded sides. It is a really useful pot as it allows you to stir-fry with without worrying about bothersome edges, but also to cook a curry and do everything else you need in an Indian kitchen. The word kadhai also refers to the dish’s style and the spices used. This is a delicious and versatile sauce to have with any protein, but also works really well with vegetables, and is one of the dishes I order for my vegetarian husband in Indian restaurants (in India). Delicious with Indian breads, Naan or Flaky Malabar Paratha. —Anjum Anand, author of I Love India
Maybe the best thing about running a wood-fired bakery is that there’s always room in the stone oven for your pot. That’s where our friend Ferhat Duman, the proprietor of Van’s beloved Little Star bread bakery, cooks his fabulous lamb curry. It’s as simple as can be: Toss chunks of lamb with chopped onions and spices and arrange in a pot, smother the meat under a mound of diced tomatoes, and place the pot in a hot oven. As the lamb becomes tender, the tomatoes combine with the spices and meat juices and reduce to a wonderfully flavorful sauce. In Van, some spice dealers add prepared curry powder to their seven-spice mixes—not so surprising when you consider the province’s border with Iran, where cooks also flavor some dishes with curry powder. For this recipe, I replicate a curried seven-spice mix I bought in one of Van’s many spice stores. After making the lamb curry, you’ll have leftover spice mix. Store it away from light in a well-sealed container and use it to make Curried Bulgur Pilaf (page 181), toss with cauliflower or potatoes and olive oil for roasting, or add a pinch to melted butter for scrambled eggs. Plum tomatoes, which have less juice, work best here. You can also use canned tomatoes. Though cooking time is long, assembly is quick; once the curry is in the oven, you’ll have time to make bulgur or Smoky Freekah Pilaf (page 280) to serve alongside.—Robyn Eckhardt, author of Istanbul & Beyond
Mangalorean food is so delicious, yet still undiscovered on this side of the world. I was introduced to it at the house of a friend, who had a Mangalorean lady coming to cook for her on occasion. She made a fish curry and it was just so delicious, it got me curious. I had some more Mangalorean food in restaurants in Bombay, but it was only when I got married that I found out more about it. The lady who was coordinating the marriage for the hotel was Mangalorean and, over the time it took to plan the wedding, I had learned a lot more. She also gave me a cookbook one of her relatives had written, to help me to understand it properly. I have since fallen in love with the food of this region… I haven’t tried a bad dish yet. I have simplified this recipe to appeal to busy cooks. Serve with rice or dosas. —Anjum Anand, author of I Love India
Panch Phoran is a five-spice mix used in India, mostly on the East coast, to flavor vegetables and legumes. This spice mix is either fried at the beginning and ingredients are added to it or fried and added as a final seasoning. The process of adding the spice at the end is called turka.
Authentic home-style Indian chicken curry is the Indian recipe people are most familiar with. It’s perfect with rice and naan, but you can always add veggies like potatoes, peas, and carrots to the dish if you’d like a one-pot meal.
My father is a simple man and very simple things in life make him happy. Indian pumpkin cooked with fenugreek seeds, garlic, and chile with a little sweetness and a little tang make him happy.
After quite a while, I realized that the pumpkin we get in India is very different in taste, shape, and size from the ones we find in the U.S. And after a lot of trial and error I finally found a variety of squash that comes closest to the taste. Acorn squash is what you need if you want the taste of Indian pumpkin.
There are a lot of ways pumpkin is cooked in India; this is the way my grandmother taught my mom and then I learned from her. It's very simple with just a few ingredients you can easily find at home and it tastes pretty good.
My mom stresses the use of mustard oil, which I always say is to Indian food (after ghee, of course) as olive oil is to Italian. But I used olive oil because that's what I and a lot of us can easily find in our pantry. If you can find aamchur (dried mango powder), then fabulous, or else you can use lime or lemon juice as well. So here's the recipe.