Tonight’s recipe is our second effort from Plenty, by Yotam Ottolenghi. Our first attempt was the super unique Eggplant & Mango Soba Noodles, which we loved! I love all things carbs, so a dish of not one, but two types of potatoes is right up my ally. We enjoyed cooking with curry leaves for the first time – so fresh and almost citrus-y! We got to explore a nearby Indian grocery a little more for some of these ingredients too, so that was fun! I expected this dish to be a little spicier (that’s what I think when I hear “vinadloo”), but it only has a mild spice to it. It is very spicED, but not spicY. So this lead me to research vindaloo a little bit. Turns out that ‘vindaloo’ comes from the Portuguese ‘carne de vinha d’alhos,’ which translates to ‘meat in garlic wine.’ This was a dish eaten by Portuguese sailors on the voyage to India because the meat was preserved. In India, the wine was replaced with vinegar, spices were added, and the name evolved to ‘vindaloo.’ So cool! I love the history of food!
We enjoyed this as a side dish (with scallops, so probably not a super common pairing 😂), but certainly it is meant to be a vegetarian main dish.
(Adapted from Plenty by Ottolenghi)
- 2 tbsp neutral oil
- 2 shallots, diced
- 1/2 tsp brown mustard seeds
- 1/2 tsp fenugreek
- 1 tsp cumin
- 2 tsp coriander
- 1 1/2 tsp cardamom
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1 tsp paprika
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 dried red chilli
- 2 tbsp fresh ginger, grated or chopped
- 25 fresh curry leaves
- 3 medium tomatoes
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 large red bell pepper
- 1 large Russet potato, diced
- 1 large sweet potato, diced
- Fresh cilantro
- Heat the oil in a large heavy pan or a dutch oven. Cook the shallots, mustard seeds, and fenugreek over medium-high heat, for 4-5 minutes, until shallots are browned and seeds are popping.
- Add the next nine ingredients (spices through curry leaves) and cook for another 3 minutes.
- While those are cooking, blitz the tomatoes in a food processor. Next, add the tomatoes, along with the vinegar, stock, sugar, and salt to the dish. Bring to a boil.
- Lower heat and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Add the potatoes and peppers and continue cooking at a simmer, covered, for 45 minutes (or more, until potatoes are tender).
- Once the potatoes are tender, remove the lid and simmer for another 10 minutes so the sauce thickens.
- Remove the chili pepper and cinnamon sticks. Serve topped with fresh cilantro.
Serves 2 for dinner, 4 as a side
Tonight we made our second recipe from October’s cookbook club selection – Indian-ish! Participating in the cookbook club has already expanded our cooking horizons and we’ve only been doing it for about 6 weeks. The first one this month was Indian-ish Chicken Breasts. We tweaked this recipe a little, but the Indian(ish) flavors are definitely still there. This side dish is definitely spicy and full of flavor. It was close to being too spicy for me, so if spice is intimidating, maybe cut down to one serrano pepper or eliminate altogether. We also cooked with chaat masala for the first time here, which is always fun! We love trying new (to us) ingredients! Selim grew up eating a lot of Indian food, but I didn’t so these were different flavors for me especially. Side note, the original recipe called for topping the potatoes with fresh chopped cilantro. We (cough, Selim) may or may not have accidentally bought parsley instead of cilantro, but we think it’s probably great here, so we left it in the recipe even though we didn’t taste it that way.*
Chaat Masala Smashed Potatoes
(Adapted from Indian-ish)
- 1 lb baby red potatoes
- Kosher salt
- 1/4 cup plain yogurt
- 1 tbsp minced/grated fresh ginger
- 1/2 small onion, diced
- 2 Serrano peppers, diced
- 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
- 2 tsp chaat masala
- Fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped*
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Bake potatoes on a cookie sheet for ~45 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare the toppings. After dicing the pepper and onion, place them in a bowl and cover with the vinegar to macerate for at least 15 minutes.
- Once cooked, pierce each potato with a knife and then smash each with the back of a large utensil.
- Top the potatoes with a sprinkle of salt, then a dollop of yogurt on each potato, and evenly divided portions of the ginger, peppers, and onions. Then sprinkle with the chaat masala and generously top with cilantro.
Our first month of participating in the Kitchn’s Cookbook Club was a resounding success! We impressed ourselves by making several things out of September’s selection – Salt Fat Acid Heat. [See: Pasta with Clams & Sausage, Chocolate Cupcakes with Rosewater Cream, and Sausages & Roasted Veggies in Agrodolce] For October, the book selected is Indian (-ish): Recipes and Antics from a Modern American Family, by Priya Krishna. I’m super excited about this selection because this is exactly why we joined the cookbook club… this is not a book I probably would’ve picked up on my own. It’s apparently pretty popular though (or tons of people in this city are doing the cookbook club too), because all of the copies are checked out at my local libraries. Henrico County Public Library has NINETEEN holds ahead of me! Luckily, I’m in decent position on the e-book wait list. But until I get a hold of the actual book, we’re going to give some of the recipes from the book that are published on the internet a whirl.
This first choice turned out to be a good one. The marinade is easy to make, though with a one new-to-me ingredient (amchur powder). We loved the flavor and the method of cooking the chicken kept it moist. We made a few adjustments, but didn’t want to experiment too much since we’re not Indian cooking experts by any means!
Indian-ish Chicken Breasts
(Adapted from Indian-ish, via Today)
- 8 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- Fresh mint
- Fresh cilantro
- 1 tbsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp amchur
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 2 large boneless chicken breasts
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- Combine all ingredients (including 1 tbsp of chopped mint and 1 tbsp of chopped cilantro) except the chicken and coconut oil to form marinade.
- Add the chicken to the marinade in a large plastic bag or in a glass dish. Refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours. (We did ours overnight.)
- Heat the coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the pan is hot and oil is liquified, cook the chicken for 2 minutes on each side.
- Then turn the heat to low, cover, and cook for another 10 minutes. Then turn the heat off, (remove from burner if electric stove), and keep the lid on for another 10-15 minutes.
- Ensure doneness (165 internal degrees) and then slice. Serve topped with more torn cilantro and mint if desired.
The slow cooker seems to fall out of popularity in the summer, I guess because most of the recipes you think of as traditionally going in a slow cooker are more “fall” or “winter” recipes. But it’s really perfect for summer! Just think, you don’t have to turn on the oven and heat up your house – your cool haven from the heat. I decided last night that I want to make something in the slow cooker for that reason and because I had some things to do today and wanted us to be able to eat whenever Selim was home and ready.
As you may have noticed, we like to share recipes from all different parts of the world. As I’ve said before, I’m not swearing to the authenticity of any of these, as my family has been in the US for a few hundred years and long ago lost whatever culture we may have had. But we love to try anything with a lot of flavor. Selim has a special attachment to Indian flavors, as he grew up eating real Indian food, homemade by a real Indian grandma. I had no illusions of making food that even slightly compares, but decided to give it a whirl.
Selim’s Take: My wife isn’t good at surprises. She tries, but either she’s not good at them or I’m good at ruining them. (Ally: He’s good at ruining them.) I was in the OR all day with a couple challenging cases, from an anesthesia stand-point, but I knew that Ally would be trying to make something new for dinner tonight. While grabbing a quick lunch break, I saw a snapchat from her with some onions and garlic in a pan. Not exactly a divulging picture, as most great meals start with those classic ingredients. We both really like Indian food and we often dabble with the spices, sauces, and flavors that are characteristic of the diverse food from that country. The house smelled delicious when I got home, but I couldn’t quite put me finger on what exactly we were having for dinner. To tell the truth, I didn’t figure out what was in the slow-cooker until I saw the naan on top of the refrigerator. I really wanted to take a peek/taste, but I resisted. I know it’s tempting, but you should never (or rarely, maybe, possibly only once to turn/stir) because it will add ~20 minutes to the cooking time every time you lift that lid off. Luckily, it was worth the wait. There are a lot of amazing flavors and spices in this dish, although it is really not spicy at all. We might need a little more heat next time.
PS: You should also make raita to go with this!
Slow Cooker Chicken & Cauliflower Tikka Masala
(Adapted from this recipe from Wanderlust Kitchen)
- 2 tsp oil
- 1 medium onion, sliced
- 6 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 inches of fresh ginger, grated
- 2 large (~10-12oz) chicken breasts
- 1/2 of a large head of cauliflower
- 1 can (13.5oz) light coconut milk
- 1 can (13.5oz) crushed tomatoes
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 1 tbsp garam masala
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp coriander
- 1/2 tsp cardamom
- Heat oil in a pan. Once the oil is hot, add the onions. Saute for ~8 minutes, until the onions are soft and fragrant.
- Add the garlic and ginger and saute another 3-4 minutes. Afterwards, add these to the slow cooker.
- Cut your chicken and cauliflower into bite-sized pieces. Add these and all of the rest of the ingredients into the slow cooker. Stir everything up so well combined.
- Set your slow cooker to low and cook for 5 hours. At this time, remove the lid and stir a few times. Leave the lid off and turn slow cooker up to high. Cook like this for another hour to thicken the sauce some.
- Serve over rice and/or with warm naan.
Makes 4-6 servings.