October 30, 2008

Khadi Dahi: Hung Yogurt Cheese

I first heard about hung yogurt cheese whilst going through Julie Sahni's Classic Indian Vegetarian and Grain Cooking. "Hung yogurt?!" I thought. I was instantly intrigued.

Hung yogurt is made by hanging yogurt in a cheesecloth for several hours until all the whey has been drained off. The result is a thick, creamy cheese akin to Greek yogurt. (For all I know, they could be the same thing. What do I know? I've hated cheese until about two years ago.)

According to Sahni, hung yogurt in India is made from a "rich, creamy yogurt that has a distinct aroma," which is, unfortunately, not commercially available in the States. So I just used some Brown Cow plain nonfat yogurt that I had in the fridge. (Yes, I realize that's as far as you can get from "rich" and "creamy.") I tossed some onto a triple layer of cheesecloth and hung it over a bowl for eight hours. The taste? Not bad. I then added some herbs and had it on crackers with some left-over salmon. Delish.

Herb-Laced Yogurt Cheese Spread
adapted from Julie Sahni's Classic Indian Vegetarian and Grain Cooking, pg. 129-130

1 cup hung yogurt
1/2 small onion, minced
1 red chili, minced
1 green chili, minced
1/8 cup fresh dill, chopped
Salt, to taste
Lemon juice, to taste

Mix all ingredients, cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least an hour to blend the flavors. Store in fridge no longer than 2 days.

October 26, 2008

Moghlai Chanay: Chickpeas Cooked in a Moghlai Style

I couldn't decide between these two shots, so here's both of 'em:

Most of the chickpea dishes I've tried have been the ubiquitous Chana Masala and hummus, so it was refreshing to try them cooked in a different way. This recipe is pretty damn good--I love the complex blend of spices, and the cilantro gives the dish a bright piquancy. I'd also recommend removing the bay leaves, cardamom pods, and cinnamon sticks after cooking--chewing on an entire cardamom pod is NOT fun.

Moghlai Chanay: Chickpeas Cooked in a Moghlai Style
from Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian, pg. 32
serves 8

2 1/2 cups dried chickpeas, picked over, washed and drained
(feel free to use 7 1/2 cups of canned chickpeas, drained)
5 tablespoons peanut or canola oil
2 bay leaves
2 small cinnamon sticks
6 whole cardamom pods
2 medium onions, peeled and finely chopped
1 (2-inch) piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
3-4 garlic cloves, peeled and mashed
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1/2 cup plain yogurt
5 tablespoons pureed tomatoes
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons garam masala
1 1/2 teaspoons ground amchoor (or substitute 1 1/4 teaspoons lemon juice)
1 tablespoon ground roasted cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro

Soak the chickpeas overnight in 8 cups of water, then drain. Cook the chickpeas in another 8 cups of water until tender, about 1 1/2 - 3 hours. Cool in cooking liquid.

In a large pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. When hot, put in the bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, and cardamom. Stir a few times before adding the onions, frying until they turn brown around the edges, about 8-9 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic and stir for about 1 minute, then the cumin and coriander, stirring for a few seconds. Stir in the yogurt a tablespoon at a time, ensuring the yogurt is incorporated into the sauce before adding the next.

Stir in the tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes. Add the chickpeas with their cooking liquid, 2 cups of water, the salt, garam masala, amchoor/lemon juice, cumin, and cayenne. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Add the cilantro.

October 18, 2008

Chilis, ¡ay!

Normally, I'm not one for chilis, but these were so pretty that I couldn't resist buying them. I had to walk by the stall at the Union Square Greenmarket twice before temptation set in, and at $3.50 for a small pick-and-ch
oose carton, it wasn't that painful of a purchase (though my tongue begs to differ). Luckily, I've been cooking a lot of Indian food lately, and many of the recipes call for a chili or three.

October 16, 2008

Maple Roasted Parsnips

I nearly started a fire making this because I didn't pay attention to whether the oven should've been at 200° Fahrenheit or Celsius (Celsius, kids, or 390°F). At 200°F, the parsnips were still a bit tough after 45 minutes, so I cranked the heat up to 400°F...only to run to the kitchen minutes later to the smell of burning maple syrup. Hence the charred bits in the photo. Though making this in a toaster oven instead of a real one probably contributed to the fiasco too!

Maple Roasted Parsnips
from Donna Hay magazine, Issue 33

6 x 5oz parsnips, quartered
1/4 cup olive oil
sea salt and cracked black pepper
1/4 cup maple syrup

Preheat the oven to 200°C (390°F). Place the parsnips, oil, salt and pepper in a baking dish lined with non-stick baking paper and toss to combine. Roast for 30 minutes, pour over the maple syrup and roast for a further 15 minutes until cooked through and golden.

October 10, 2008

Senegalese Seafood Stew

Senegalese Seafood Stew
from Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant by The Moosewood Collective
serves 6-8

1t salt
2 green (unripe) bananas, sliced into 1/2 inch rounds
4 cups chopped onions
2 garlic gloves, minced or pressed
2 T olive oil
1/2 t cayenne or other ground dried chiles (or to taste)
1/4 t summer savory or thyme
2 potatoes, chopped
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1/4 small head of cabbage, chopped (about 2 cups)
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
4 cups chopped fresh tomatoes (or 3 cups chopped canned tomatoes with juice)
3 cups vegetable stock or water
1 pound fresh shrimp, rinsed, shelled, and deveined
1 pound fresh fish fillets, cut into chunks
salt to taste

Dissolve the salt in enough water to cover the sliced bananas. Soak the banana rounds in the salt water for about 15 minutes and then drain them and set aside.

Meanwhile, saute the onions and garlic in the olive oil until the onions are just translucent. Stir in the cayenne and summer savory or thyme and saute for a couple more minutes. Add the potatoes, sweet potatoes, cabbage, parsley, tomatoes, and stock or water. Bring the stew to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes.

Add the bananas, shrimp, and fish. Simmer gently for another 10 minutes or until the fish is opaque and the shrimp are pink. Add more stock, water, or tomato juice if the stew is too thick. Add salt to taste.