Spice up your dinner table and cook up these simple and delicious favorites from Anupy Singla’s INDIAN FOR EVERYONE.
Yield: 8 servings
Tools: You’ll need a powerful blender.
Note: You can also make this lassi an “adult” drink by adding 2 to 3 ounces / 60 to 90 mL of vodka or rum.
I love lassi. It’s a delicious drink that is at once tart and refreshing. Though most Indian home cooks make theirs as a thin and savory drink, many restaurants offer this sweeter version.
2 cups / 470 mL plain, unsweetened yogurt
1 cup / 240 mL milk
3 cups / 500 g fresh or frozen mango, diced
1 teaspoon cardamom seeds
1–3 cups / 140–420 g crushed ice (as needed)
2–3 tablespoons granulated or raw cane sugar, such as Sucanat, or agave nectar
8 mint leaves, for garnish
1 teaspoon ground pistachios, for garnish
1. In a powerful blender, combine all the ingredients except the mint leaves and pistachios in the order listed above. Process at the highest setting for 2 to 3 minutes, until completely smooth and slightly frothy.
2. Transfer to 8 glasses and garnish each with a mint leaf and a pinch of the pistachios. Serve immediately.
North Indian Chicken Curry
Yield: 8–10 servings
Tools: You’ll need a food processor; a large and a small mixing bowl; a whisk; a fork; a heavy-bottomed, 6-quart / 6-L sauté pan with a lid; tongs; and a large plate.
This is like no other chicken curry you’ve ever had. It’s at once thick, rich, and utterly comforting. The yogurt adds just the right amount of tartness balanced with the spices. Make extra for leftovers. Your family will thank you.
1 medium yellow or red onion, roughly chopped
1 (4-inch / 10-cm) piece ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
10 cloves garlic, peeled
2 cups / 470 mL plain, unsweetened yogurt (whole, low-fat, or nonfat)
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon plus
1 pinch salt, divided
1 tablespoon turmeric powder
1 tablespoon Garam Masala
1 tablespoon red chili powder or cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons roasted cumin, ground
1/3 cup / 10 g kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves), lightly hand crushed to release flavor
4 pounds / 1.81 g skinless whole bone-in chicken, cut into 8–10 pieces (including cutting each breast in 1/2), or 2 pounds / 910 g boneless chicken
6 tablespoons / 90 mL ghee or vegetable oil, divided
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 (3-inch / 8-cm) sticks cinnamon
5 whole cloves
5 green cardamom pods, lightly crushed
2 black cardamom pods
1 large yellow or red onion, thinly sliced
3 large tomatoes, diced
2–4 fresh Thai, serrano, or cayenne chilies, stems removed and thinly sliced
2 heaping tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
Brown or white basmati rice, Roti, or Naan for serving
1. In the bowl of a food processor, grind the chopped onion, the ginger, and the garlic into a smooth paste. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and add the yogurt, the 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of the salt, the turmeric, the Garam Masala, the red chili powder, the coriander, the cumin, and the kasoori methi. Whisk until well blended. Kasoori methi can be found in Indian grocery stores. Omit if you cannot find it. Do not use fresh leaves or fenugreek seeds, as they will alter the taste.
2. Prepare the chicken by poking holes in it with a fork to help it absorb the yogurt marinade. Carefully add the pieces of chicken to the large mixing bowl and gently stir until all the pieces are evenly coated. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours to overnight.
3. In a heavy-bottomed, 6-quart / 6-L sauté pan over medium–high heat, warm 3 tablespoons / 45 mL of the ghee. Using tongs, carefully transfer the pieces of chicken to the sauté pan, reserving the marinade for later use. Cook, turning once to ensure even cooking, for a total of 4 minutes. Transfer to a large plate, and transfer the remaining liquid in the pan to a small mixing bowl for later use.
4. Return the sauté pan to medium–high heat and warm the remaining 3 tablespoons / 45 mL of ghee. Add the cumin seeds, cinnamon, cloves, and green and black cardamom and cook for 2 minutes. Add the sliced onion and the remaining pinch of salt and cook, stirring constantly and scraping the pan to prevent burning, for 3 minutes, until the onion is slightly browned.
5. Add the tomatoes to the sauté pan and cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally (breaking down the tomatoes with the back of the spoon), for 11 minutes, until they are fairly smooth. Add the reserved marinade and cooking liquid from Step 3 and the fresh chilies to the sauté pan and cook for 2 minutes.
6. Reduce the heat to medium–low and slowly, carefully return the chicken to the sauté pan. Partially cover the pan and cook, stirring occasionally to ensure even cooking, for 35 to 40 minutes (20 minutes if using boneless chicken), until the chicken is cooked through. Be sure not to overcook the chicken. Remove from the heat.
7. Transfer to a serving bowl. Garnish with the cilantro and serve with the brown or white basmati rice, Roti, or Naan.
Tools: You’ll need a heavy-bottomed, 6-quart / 6-L stockpot or Dutch oven with a lid and an 8-inch / 20- cm sauté pan.
Palak Dal Yellow Dal with Spinach Yield: 12 cups / 2.8 L
Note: If you love tomatoes, add 1 diced tomato with the spices in Step 5. This is a very basic recipe for dal; really, you can substitute any fast cooking bean or lentil for the duhli moong dal, including masoor dal (split and skinned red lentils).
3 cups / 640 g duhli moong dal (dried, split, and skinned green dal), picked over and washed (they look yellow)
9 cups / 2.1 L water
3 tablespoons / 45 mL ghee or vegetable oil
½ teaspoon hing (asafetida)
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 medium white or red onion, finely diced
2–3 teaspoons plus 1 pinch salt, divided
1 ½ inch / 4-cm piece ginger, peeled and minced or grated
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2–3 fresh Thai, serrano, or cayenne chilies, stems removed and finely chopped
1 tablespoon Garam Masala
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1–2 teaspoons red chili powder or cayenne pepper
6 ounces / 170 g fresh spinach, roughly chopped
1 heaping tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
Brown or white basmati rice, Roti, or Naan, for serving
1. Combine the duhli moong dal and water in a heavy-bottomed, 6-quart / 6-L stockpot or Dutch oven over medium–high heat and bring to a boil.
2. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes. I cook mine uncovered and keep an eye on it to make sure it does not overflow. At first, you’ll see a white film form over the duhli moong dal. Just skim it off and discard, and continue to boil until the dal is soft. Remove from the heat, cover, and set aside to cool slightly while you prep the remaining ingredients. This will end up a little thick, but will loosen up after the following steps. If you want to thin it out a bit, just add a little more water until it’s at the preferred consistency.
3. In an 8-inch / 20-cm sauté pan over medium–high heat, warm the ghee. Add the hing, cumin seeds, and turmeric and cook for 40 seconds, until the cumin seeds sizzle and turn reddish-brown.
4. Add the onion and the pinch of salt to the sauté pan and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 to 3 minutes, until the onion is slightly browned. Add the ginger, garlic, and fresh chilies and cook for 2 minutes.
5. Add the Garam Masala, coriander, and red chili powder to the sauté pan and cook, stirring well, for 20 seconds or so. Be careful not to burn the spices. Add the spinach and cook for 1 minute, until just wilted. Remove from the heat and transfer the contents of the sauté pan to the stockpot containing the duhli moong dal.
6. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons of salt and the cilantro to the stockpot and stir well.
7. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve ladled over the brown or white basmati rice or with the Roti or Naan. This is delicious as a soup as well.
Kulfi Indian Ice Cream
Yield: 10–12 cones
Tools: You’ll need a heavy-bottomed, 4-quart / 4-L stockpot (preferably nonstick); a slotted spoon; a strainer; and a freezer container or kulfi or Popsicle molds.
In India, we love kulfi. It’s similar to ice cream, but denser, creamier, and chewier. Unlike the ice cream you are probably used to eating, kulfi is not whipped, so it’s more solid than ice cream. It’s simple to make and decadent to eat. It’s especially fun to freeze kulfi in cone-shaped, stainless steel kulfi molds, which you can find at any well- stocked Indian home goods store, or simply use Popsicle molds instead. Thanks to my dear friend Masha for lending me her kulfi molds from her hometown of Patiala, India.
8 cups / 1.9 L whole milk
10 green cardamom pods, crushed lightly
6 tablespoons / 75 g granulated or raw cane sugar, such as Sucanat
2 tablespoons blanched almond slivers, finely chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted pistachios, finely chopped, divided
1. In a heavy-bottomed, 4-quart / 4-L stockpot (preferably nonstick) over medium– high heat, combine the milk and the cardamom pods. Bring to a boil.
2. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, for 2 hours. Repeated stirring is very important, or it will stick to the bottom of the pot. If a light film or skin forms on the milk, collect it with a slotted spoon and discard it or stir it back into the mixture. After the cooking time is complete, the reduced mixture will yield about 3 cups / 710 mL. I find cooking milk to be tricky, as it can burn easily. Keep the heat very low and stir often and well.
3. Add the sugar to the stockpot, stir well, and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, until the sugar dissolves into the milk. I find that regular granulated sugar works best; no need to grind it to superfine. Remove from the heat.
4. Pour the mixture through a fine strainer into a freezer-safe container with a very tight seal. Add the almonds and 1 tablespoon of the pistachios. Place in the freezer to chill for 40 minutes and also place kulfi or Popsicle molds in the freezer to chill.
5. Remove the kulfi from the freezer and mash it with a fork to break up any ice crystals that have formed. Return to the freezer for 20 minutes.
6. Repeat Step 5 at 20-minute intervals until the kulfi has stiffened. At that point, transfer it into the chilled molds and freeze for at least 3 to 4 hours, until it has hardened completely.
7. Remove the molds from the freezer and transfer each kulfi to a dessert plate. Garnish each with the remaining pistachios and serve immediately. You may need to run the molds under hot water for a moment to release the kulfi.
Reprinted with permission from Indian for Everyone: The Home Cook’s Guide to Traditional Favorites by Anupy Singla, Agate Surrey, October 2014.