Monday, June 7, 2010

Indian dinner marathon!


We invited friends over for an Indian dinner. I perused all of our Indian recipes and found a couple on line. It was hard coming up with only a few so as usual we went overboard. It is ok because Dr. Food took the rest to work (I think he did but I haven't looked in the refrig yet). I just didn't want to be eating anymore of it because one night of it was fattening enough. Back to the "Boring week food" or BWF.

We got up early and started right away. We had to go to the grocery store to get what we had not gotten at the Indian market the night before. When we got back we decided to start prepping for the dinner. We started off by making our appetizer which was an Indian chicken liver pate. It is a favorite.


Curried Chicken Liver Pate

1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 teaspoon asafetida
1 medium to large red onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon garam masala or ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground fenugreek seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground red cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup pureed tomatoes (two large)
1 lb chicken livers, washed
1 1/2 ounces kale leaves, washed and finely chopped
3 tablespoons dry white wine
1 box sturdy crackers for serving

1. Heat oil in a medium pot on high heat for 1 minute. Add asafetida and cook for 10 seconds. Add onions, reduce the heat to medium and saute for 5 to 8 minutes, or until golden brown. Add garam masala, fenugreek, cayenne, turmeric and salt. Stir well and add tomatoes. Saute for another 8 to 10 minutes, until the oil glistens on top.

2. Stir in chicken livers and kale leaves, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring regularly but gently. Once chicken livers harden a bit and stop bleeding during the cooking process, they are cooked. Remove from the stove and cool for 45 minutes.

3. In a food processor, combine the chicken liver mixture and the white wine. Puree until smooth. Transfer to a stainless steel or glass bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Serve with crackers.

We also measured out spices for each dish (which there are like a billion) and we chopped stuff.


I found a recipe online for Hyderabad Biryani and it looked really interesting. I have to say that it was very labor intensive and although it was awesome I did not like it as much as the Pakastani Biryani that we just made.

First off the chicken is marinaded for about an hour.



Chicken is browned and spices are added. Luckily I did have tomatoes that I had canned. I used these instead of having to peel and puree fresh ones. I do have lots of canned products because I adore canning.



I also digress to tell you that Dr. Food thinks I am a weirdo because the smell of asafetida makes me so happy that I can't even begin to tell you. When I told him maybe I should wear it as perfume he informed me that if I did that I would have to go live somewhere else (maybe they would accept me in India!)


Ok back to the cooking...oh wait..we also had the music going! Also, the pooch was keeping guard on any falling food.



Eggplant had gone onto the grill outside (it was only 90 degrees outside, raining and humid) for and eggplant dish that we were making.


Lentils were soaking for a lentil dish that we were making.


Through time lapse photography here I am layering the Biryani


This is what it looked like before it went back on the burner.


Ah, and then it was time to shred some coconut because I was too stupid to buy the stuff in the freezer section at the Indian grocery store. I left this task to Dr. Food.


At this point let me take you (through actual footage) along with what was actually happening here.


and then there was the grating of the coconut



We are now getting down to the wire.


More music


By now I need a glass of wine.


and I am rolling along on something that is totally new to me. It is Banana flower. I have seen them fresh but of course when I went to go get one there were none to be found. I decided that canned might work. Boy did it ever! I loved this dish perhaps most of all.


The Banana flower was chopped up and combined with a paste that I had made.



The leaf in here is curry leaf.


So, we are pretty much set. We just have to clean up the mess which we did with time to spare.


It was a great dinner. What we had when all was finished is the following:

Hyderabad Biryani


Stir-fried Banana Flower with Coconut (buy the frozen stuff)


Subru Uncle's Whole Green Moong Dal


Roasted Eggplant Subzi


and of course there was Naan (no, I didn't make it) and Raita (yes, I did make this). There might also have been a little Indian Spiced Rum to drink.


and there was also Mango Ice Cream but I am pooped now and will post it later. Oh, this is what the kitchen looked like when we were all done with dinner.


Roasted Eggplant Subzi
Show me the Curry


Eggplant/Brinjal/Aubergine/Baingan – 1 lb (approx 500gm)
Oil – 1 tbsp
Asafoetida – 1/8th tsp (optional)
Onion – 1/2 large/1/2 lb (approx 250gm)
Garlic – 3-4 large cloves /1 tbsp
Green Chillies – to taste, finely chopped
Turmeric Powder – 1/4 tsp
Salt – to taste
Lime/ Lemon Juice – to taste
Cilantro – 10 sprigs, finely chopped

1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F (approx 200 degrees C).
2. Line the baking pan with foil.
3. Coat the Eggplant with a little Oil and bake it for 1 hour.
4. Once out of the oven, allow it to cool down and trim off the stem portion.
5. Peel the skin off and transfer the flesh/meat to another bowl.
6. Roughly chop so that there it is not fiberous.
7. In a pan, heat Oil.
8. Add in Asafoetida(optional) and right after that add in the Onions, Garlic, Green Chillies and Turmeric Powder.
9. Add in some Salt, mix well and allow them it to cook till the Onions get a little translucent.
10. Add in the Eggplant and allow it to heat up all the way through.
11. Add in Lemon/Lime Juice and Cilantro. Mix well.
12. Serve hot with Chapatis or Parathas.

Subru Uncle's Whole Green Moong Dal
Recipezaar - Charishma Ramchandani

1 tablespoon cumin seed
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
3 tablespoons oil
1 medium green chilies, washed,ends trimmed and finely chopped
2 medium onions, peeled,washed and finely chopped
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled,washed and finely chopped
5 cloves garlic, peeled,washed and finely chopped
2 medium tomatoes, peeled,washed and finely chopped
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 1/4 teaspoons turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon red chili powder (Use a little less than 1/2 tsp.)
4 sprigs of fresh curry leaves, washed and torn
1/4 cup water (this is added for cooking the tomatoes)
2 cups water (to boil whole green moong dal)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups water (to make gravy for the lentils this is added at the end)
1 1/2 cups whole green lentils, cleaned,washed,soaked in water for 30 minutes and drained (whole green moong dal)

1. Put the drained green lentils alongwith 2 cups of water in a large pot and bring to a boil.
2. Lower flame to medium, cover and allow the lentils to continue to cook until tender.
3. This will take about 30 minutes.
4. Do not throw out this water in which you have cooked the lentils.
5. Now, with the back of a large mixing spoon, mash the lentils.
6. Keep aside.
7. Heat oil in a large pan on medium flame.
8. Once it's hot, add mustard seeds and allow to splutter.
9. Once they start spluttering, add cumin seeds and allow to crackle.
10. Once they start crackling, add curry leaves and stir-fry for 2 minutes on medium flame.
11. Then, toss in the chopped ginger,garlic,onions and green chilli.
12. Mix well and continue to stir-fry until the masala becomes very dry.
13. Add turmeric powder, corriander powder and red chilli powder.
14. Mix well and continue to stir-fry for another 3 minutes.
15. Fold in the chopped tomatoes alongwith 1/4 cup of water.
16. This water is to be added to cook the tomatoes.
17. Mix well and cook on medium flame until the tomatoes become really soft and mushy.
18. Add salt and mix well.
19. Add the lentil-water mixture to this pot containing the prepared masala mixture.
20. Mix well.
21. Stir in 1 1/4 cups of water (so that you obtain the correct consistency of this lentil curry).
22. Remove from heat.
23. Serve hot with rotis (Indian flatbreads) or bread or cooked long-grain Basmati white rice.

Hyderabad Biryani

1 kg chicken preferably in 16 pieces and a couple of drumsticks (We used 2lbs of chicken thighs)
1 kg Basmati rice
1 cup finely chopped onions
2 tsp ginger and garlic paste
3 tsp chilli powder
½ tsp turmeric
100 g cashew nuts
4 or 5 bay leaves
4 or 5 cloves
2 cm long cinnamon sticks
6 to 10 green chiles ground to paste
3 or 4 cardamom pods
1 or 2 tsp cumin
2 cups mint leaves
1 cup coriander leaves (cilantro)
2 tsp coriander powder
½ tsp garam masala powder
1 cup coconut milk
1 lemon
1½ tsp salt (according to taste)
1 cup ghee (clarified butter)
½ cup yogurt
1 cup oil,
2 tsp dried coconut powder,
few strands of saffron,
2 cups finely sliced onions,

1. Make deep incisions on the chicken flesh - deep enough for spices to get absorbed but making them too deep could render the pieces smaller. Mix turmeric, chilli powder, salt, garlic paste, yogurt, and half-lemon's juice. Thoroughly apply this paste onto the meat flesh and let marinate for an hour.

2. Heat about 100 ml of oil. Roast cumin, cloves, cinnamon, depodded cardamom, bay leaves, ½ spoon cumin, 1 spoon coriander powder, and finally add onions(2). Wait a couple of minutes to add mint leaves. When onions turn slight brown, add marinated chicken and cook for about 20-30 min. It should NOT be fully cooked at this stage; add garam masala and coconut powder and turn off flame when about ¾ cooked. Gravy should not be much, chicken pieces should look roasted.

3. Meanwhile, while the chicken is still cooking, prepare the biryani rice. Slightly rinse 3 cups of basmati, and add water little less than the volume of the rice itself so that its only half cooked preferably in an electric cooker. Amount of water actually depends on kind of rice at hand and your experience helps to judge it. Also add 1-2 teaspoons of salt to it. Take a few semi-cooked grains of rice and colour them with diluted saffron for garnishing.

4. You will need a utensil of about 12" (300 mm) base. Place about half of semi-cooked rice in it. Next, layer half of chicken on it again topped by a layer of rice (half of the remaining). One more layer of remaining chicken, finally with layer of rest of the rice on top ends the rice-chicken layering stage.

5. Heat oil and deep fry half the sliced onions to golden brown. Similarly fry cashew. Garnish the top layer with these two along with 100 ml ghee, coconut milk, saffron rice grains and coriander. Lid the vessel and try making it airtight (but no pressure should build up). Put on high flame for 5 min before reducing it to low flame. The flame should NOT be at the vessel's centre, but on one side of it. Wait for 2-3 min and turn the vessel to heat other next part on its circumference. This way, keep rotating the vessel every 2-3 min for about 20 min. Every time you turn it, carefully disturb the contents by a shake/jerk so as to avoid settling of ghee at the bottom.

6. Put off the flame and wait for about 10 min before opening. Before serving, mix the medley from the bottom. Serve with boiled egg halves.

Stir-Fried Banana Flower with Coconut
The Essential Kerala Cookbook - Vijayan Kannampilly

1 banana flower, chopped finely (I used 2 cans of already chopped banana flower which I chopped finely)
1 tbsp + 1 tsp coconut oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
2 tsp parboiled rice
2 shallot, chopped
1 stalk curry leaves
1 tsp salt

Ground to a course paste:
1/2 medium-sized, fresh coconut, grated (Take my word for it use the frozen stuff - about 1 C)
2 shallots, chopped
6 dry red chillies, torn into pieces (I used 3)
pinch of cumin seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric powder

1. Remove and discard all the outer petals of banana flower till the white inner petal is seen. (Canned worked fine)
2. Chop very fine and mix in 1 tbsp coconut oil. Knead gently till it loses its stickiness and becomes soft.
3. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan and sprinkle mustard seeds and rice. When mustard seeds start sputtering, add shallots and curry leaves, and fry until shallots turn brown.
4. Stir in coconut paste and salt, and fry, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes.
5. Add banana flower. Mix well and press down well with spatula. Cover pan and cook over low heat for 10 minutes.
6. Open pan and stir fry for 5 minutes longer.


  1. The leftovers did go to work. We received many complements. People especially liked the bannana flower. My colleague from Hyderabad said we used just a little too much ghee (wasn't it supposed to be 100mL?) in the biryani, but otherwise it was very authentic. Anyway, several people tried it and all said it was very good. Also, we used ~2.5lb chicken thighs chopped in half and about 650g of rice instead of the full kilo.

    Dr. Food

  2. Ha!! I love seeing this! we're going to have to film some stuff too. Love the dog lying there, it looks the same at our house. Looks like a typical Saturday around here too. I hope your Indian market is closer than my Indian market. I used to go to one in LA that was 5 minutes from my house..ahh memories.

  3. Kathy, we have an awesome Indian market about 10 minutes from here. It is the best I have ever been to including all the ones in L.A. and Berkeley.

  4. I will like to try that curry liver pate!

  5. Wow what a spread:)Looks great, can't believe you got that far before needing a glass of wine. I was exhausted just thinking about doing all of that...

  6. I am quite impressed! It all looks so delish!

  7. Thanks for sharing! Love your countertop, oven/range and your dog!!! :)

    ~Prairie Story of Alison Zulyniak

  8. Thanks for sharing! Love your countertop, oven/range and your dog!!! :)

    ~Prairie Story of Alison Zulyniak

  9. I will like to try that curry liver pate!