India is no doubt a country of striking contrasts. This is evident in its cuisine, as it is in its climate, geography, culture, and customs. India’s food reflects the colorful and varied life led by its people, as well as the external and internal influences that have shaped its style of cooking.
The Mughals invaded India from their homeland in Afghanistan and the Middle East, bringing with them exotic spices and dried fruits; which; when combined with ingredients create the rich ‘Mughlai’ dishes.
Indian recipes are generally handed down from one generation to the next. Weights and measures were never used, and the quantities of ingredients were estimated. Cooking and feeding people is a passion for me; and I do it with my heart rather than my mind; as I do everything in my life. Hence, it is difficult for me to formalize my recipes.
I have made an attempt to write recipes for my cooking class; and I apologize for what may seem an abstract and unorganized method of teaching.
(a fragrant and delicious chicken and rice casserole.)
Chicken: 6 medium size pieces (traditionally it is used with bone, as it increases the flavor.)
Yogurt: 1 cup
Onion: 1 (large)
Garlic: 6-8 cloves
Ginger: 1 small piece
Rice: 1 cup (soaked and washed)
Saffron: 5-6 strands
Lime/Lemon Juice: 2 limes/lemons
Spices: salt (to taste), turmeric (1/2 tsp.), red chilli powder (1/2 tsp.), clove powder (1/2 tsp.), cardamom (2), cinnamon (1), coriander powder (1 1/2 tsp.), garam masala (1 tsp.)
Herbs: cilantro and mint (chopped fine)
Oil/Ghee: 3-5 tbsp (depending on how you want to make it and if you use oil or ghee)
Milk: 6-8 tbsp. (to soak saffron)
Method: Fry onion,ginger and garlic in 1 tbsp oil and then grind in blender
Marinate chicken in ground mixture,yogurt and spices except cardamom and cinnamon either overnight or for a few hours before cooking.
Take 2-3 in oil in a big pan.Add coarsely ground cardamom,cinnamon stick,bay leaf (cumin seed is optional).Put Marinated chicken and cook until almost tender and set aside.
Take a deep pan and fill with water.Bring to boil with salt,cardamom and cinnamon stick.Add drained rice and cook till al dente.
Take heat proof dish and coat bottom with oil/ghee.Layer with rice and then with chicken mixture,sprinkle with saffron milk ,lime juice and chopped cilantro and mint.Repeat layers following same method
Close lid tightly over dish(cover securely with foil first to ensure it is air tight) ann low heat for then cook on low heat about 30 minutes.
Sprinkle with lemon juice and garam masala and serve hot with raita
optional;you can add raisins and almonds which have been browned in ghee on every layer or just on top if you choose.
Blend yogurt with hand whisk or fork with salt ,cumin powder and pinch of sugar.Add chopped cucumber,tomato and onion,stir well.Sprinkle with with paprika,cumin powder and chopped mint!!
OUR NEXT FOOD,FITNESS AND FAITH CLASS WILL ON SEPTEMBER 11th FROM 11 A.M.
WE WILL COOK CHANNA MASALA(A GARBANZO BEAN CURRY COOKED WITH SPICES)PARATHAS(TORTILLAS COOKED WITH GHEE AND HERBS)KADHAI PANEER(CHEESE WHICH IS COOKED WITH TOMATOES ,ONIONS,CAPSICUM AND MILK) FROM THE NORTH WEST OF INDIA AND DISCUSS PANCHAKARMA-THE TRADITIONAL METHOD OF THERAPY AND DETOXIFICATION IN AYURVEDA(I HAVE JUST ADDED TO MY AYURVEDA TRAINING IN INDIA STUDYING UNDER VERY EXPERIENCED TEACHERS)AND TAKING APPOINTMENTS FOR POUTLI TREATMENT(AN AYURVEDIC THERAPEAUTIC MASSAGE DONE WITH A WHICH HAS BEEN MADE WITH A VARIETY OF WARM HERBS,THEN DIPPED IN WARM OIL AND MASSAGED OVER THE BODY.THIS MASSAGE IS ESPECIALLY USEFUL IN TREATMENT OF ARTHRITIS BESIDES BEING VERY REJUVENATING)
COST:$55 FOR THIS CLASS
FYI;AYURVEDIC AND SATTVICK COOKING IS BECOMING A PART OF THE CUISINE IN THE WHITE HOUSE!!!!!!!YAY TO THAT AND CONGRATULATIONS TO US FOR BEING AHEAD OF THE OBAMAS!