What a feast we enjoyed last night. The food and company were perfect antidotes to a trying week.
A leisurely meal enjoyed over 6 hours.
For starters: aloo bonda, samosa, pakora and sambal.
Then we rolled our own chapatis, and to my surprise, most were perfect circles. There was one heart-shaped, very pretty, but it didn't puff up as nicely over the flame.
We sat down to a very colourful table. For the main Caroline brought lamb kabob with a pomegranate reduction, raita and homemade spinach paneer (including paneer from scratch). This complemented the curried vegetable, chicken biryani and red lentil spinach dal. Every dish had a unique flavour and texture and yet it all seemed to go together.
Sweets from BJ Supermarket in Little India for dessert.
Shiraz, Gerwurtztraminer and Kingfisher beer paired well with this meal.
My recipes came from Mangoes and Curry Leaves, one of my favourite sources for Indian recipes and gorgeous photographs of the subcontinent. 'Indian food' spans a vast territory of unique regions and our dinner represented several: Bangladesh (veg curry); Afghanistan (dum-style biryani); and Punjab (spinach paneer) to name a few. Rice is typically served in the south and dal in the north, driven by sources of local agriculture.
Red Lentil Spinach Dal
The red lentil dal recipe is one I picked up from Marion Kane, 2005 in the Star. I didn't pre-cook the spinach, just added to the bubbling tomatoes as I figured they'd wilt nicely there and not overcook. It worked out just fine skipping the extra step.
A superb meatless, protein-packed dish inspired by Jill Dupleix, British-based food writer for The Times. Red lentils are easy to find, cook quickly and turn gorgeously pink when cooked. You could use green or yellow lentils; just cook them longer.
1 cup red lentil rinsed and drained
3 cups water
1 can diced tomato
1 bunch fresh spinach (stems removed, washed)
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion chopped
1 tbsp fresh ginger root
1 jalapeno or Serrano chili
1 tsp each: ground cumin, ground coriander, salt, garam masala
1/2 tsp hot red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp cayenne
chopped fresh coriander
In medium saucepan, bring lentils and water to boil, reduce heat to low & simmer (skim off scum) 15-20 minutes or until soft
In skillet or saucepan, cook spinach over medium heat in water until wilter, 3-4 minuts
In large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and ginger; cook about 5 minutes.
Add chili, cumin, coriander, tumeric, pepper flakes and cook about 3 minutes
Add tomatoes cook about 3 minutes
Stir in cooked lentils, garam masala & chopped spinach.
Cook until heated through.
Garnish with coriander