Indian Feast

My Indian Feast

I love Indian food and though I love going out to eat Indian....sometimes I love making Indian food at home just to try to recreate all those amazing flavors. I think it's fun to experiment with ethnic flavors and spices that I don't usually use at home. I catered a wedding a few months ago and the groom was Indian. They did half Indian food and half American food. It was a great wedding. The guests loved the diverse menu and I even got compliments from the Indian guests about my Indian creations. It's always a huge compliment when those who really know the food (meaning it's in their blood)....tell me that I did their food justice!

So here's a couple Indian recipes that I've simplified so that you can create similar dishes to those you love in Indian restaurants but without all the time and out though....your neighbors may come over for some dinner because the aroma from these dishes is amazing!

Easy Vegetable Biryani

1 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
1 tablespoon butter or ghee (clarified butter)
1 teaspoon red hot pepper powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic paste or powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon garam masala (an Indian spice mix that you can find in ethnic grocery stores and now even some main stream grocery stores or markets)
1-2 cups fresh or frozen mixed vegetables (depending on how many veggies you want in there)
3 1/2 cups water
2 cups uncooked rice (prefer basmati)
salt to taste
for garnish:
1/2 tablespoon fresh chopped cilantro chopped
1/2 tablespoon fresh chopped mint leaves

In a large pan heat oil and butter or ghee and add spices and saute for just a minute and add vegetables and stir well. Then add the rice and salt the mixture (at least 1 teaspoon of salt) and make sure the rice is coated with the mixture. Add the water and bring to a boil and mix one last time. Cover and lower the heat to a simmer. Let the rice absorb all the water and do not take off the lid to check for at least 15-20 minutes. If your rice is still too hard, turn off the heat and let the rice sit for another 10-15 minutes. Garnish with chopped cilantro and mint leaves.

Vegetable Biryani

Indian Butter Chicken (Chicken Makhani)

For Chicken:
1 1/2 pounds chicken (on or off the bone)
1/2 cup plain yogurt
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 teaspoon garam masala
salt and pepper to taste

For Sauce:
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 tablespoons ghee or butter
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 bay leaf
1 cup heavy cream or half n half
1 can chopped tomato (including liquid)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon red hot pepper
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup ground unsalted cashews or almonds
1/4 cup water

Salt and pepper the chicken then marinade in the yogurt, lemon juice and 1 teaspoon of the garam masala, garlic and ginger for at least one hour but prefer 6-12 hours.

To make sauce, heat 1 tablespoon oil and the ghee or butter in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Saute onion until soft and translucent. Add tomato paste and stir, and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently then add chopped tomatoes, stir and cook for another 2 minutes. Stir in cream or half-and-half. Reduce heat to low, add rest of spices, stirring frequently. Season with salt pepper and simmer on very low heat for about 5 minutes then turn off heat.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add chicken. Brown the chicken until golden add 1/4 cup water, reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes. Then add sauce and ground nuts, simmer until liquid has reduced and thickened, and chicken is completely cooked. If sauce thickens too much add a little water until the chicken is cooked through.

Serve with a drizzle of cream or what I like to drizzle on top is what is called Crema Mexicana. It tastes in between a heavy cream and a sour cream. I know it's not Indian but it really does taste so good drizzled on Indian food! Trust me....try it! Don't eat with a fork...scoop it up with some Indian Naan instead!

I like using a little bit of boneless skinless chicken thighs cut up and some chicken legs. But you can use breasts if you'd like.

As the chicken simmers it soaks up all the yummy flavors of this amazing sauce!
They sell this near the queso cheese and the tortillas in the dairy aisle. I always have some of this in my fridge.

Mmmmmm.....this was so good!!!!