• Indian Food – YUM!

    by Jon on January 6, 2007 · 9 comments

    We just returned from a trip to England where there is a very large Indian population. But alas, we didn’t eat any Indian food while we were there. But it definitely got us thinking about this cuisine. I couldn’t wait to cook some of this food at home. So, tonite for dinner, we had ourselves an Indian feast. We had Karahi Lamb, Chana Dal Pilaf made in the Pressure Cooker (the pressure cooker rocks my cooking world!!!), and Cranberry-Mango Chutney made in the crockpot. It was spectacular – it smelled like every Indian restaurant we’ve ever been in. And it tasted fantastic, if I don’t say so myself. Peter loved it too. The only thing missing was that little bowl of licorice tasting seeds that many Indian restaurants have as you walk out. Of course, I couldn’t have that anyway because of the risk of cross contamination.

    The cool thing about being Celiac (can you even believe I’m saying that?) is that it gets you thinking in all kinds of different ways about the kinds of food you CAN eat. And ethnic cuisines are a great place to start. In terms of Indian food, I can’t eat the breads, or at least most of them. There was a bread recipe in one of my Indian cookbooks that had ingredients which I could eat – but it was a pretty involved process and I didn’t start it in time, so I didn’t bother.

    I really should say (from here on) that we (my husband and I) can or can’t eat this or that. Why? After my diagnosis, my kind and loving husband insisted that the entire house become gluten free. He ate gluten outside of the house. Of course, there were no kids living at home anymore, so I will admit it wasn’t as challenging as it might have been. But one of my daughters moved in with us for the last four months of my first year of living gluten-free. And she adapted willingfully – she was only too happy to help me in my efforts to get healthy, for which I will always be eternally grateful. Anyway, after my first six GF months, Peter joined me in becoming fully gluten-free. And he hasn’t complained or looked back once. He had the blood test and it came back negative. But he still wanted to see what it would be like to be completely gluten-free. And lo and behold, his daily headaches are completely gone. And his indigestion is completely gone. So while he might not officially be called Celiac, he sure has benefited by it. I think that speaks volumes about all the people who would benefit by eliminating gluten from their diets. Ok, I’ll get off my soapbox!

    So, here are the recipes. I would strongly recommend anyone reading this to consider exploring ethnic cuisines – it completely opens up your culinary horizons and is fun and delicious!

    Kahari Lamb
    Adapted from the book “best-ever Curry” by Mridula Baljekar

    Serves 4

    1 tbsp tomato paste
    ¾ cup plain yogurt
    1 tsp Garam Masala (I used Meat Masala, a spice concoction from a company called Bombay Original)
    ¼ tsp cumin seeds
    1 tsp salt
    1 tsp crushed garlic
    1 tsp grated fresh root ginger
    1 tsp chili powder
    1 lb. lean spring lamb, cut into strips or cubes
    2 tbsp vegetable oil
    2 onions, finely sliced
    1 oz ghee, butter or margarine (I used oil)
    1 in piece of cinnamon stick
    2 green cardamom pods
    5 dried apricots (I didn’t have any so I used the equivalent amount of golden raisins)
    1 tbsp chopped cilantro

    In a bowl, blend the tomato paste, yogurt, Garam Masala, cumin seeds, salt, garlic, ginger and chili powder. Add the lamb and marinate for one hour in the refrigerator.

    Heat 2 tsp. of the oil in a wok or large pan and fry the onions until crisp and golden brown. Remove the onions using a slotted spoon, allow them to cool and then pulse in a food processor or blender. Reheat the oil and return the onions to the pan (when I made it, there wasn’t any oil left in the pan after I cooked the onions so I had to add more another couple of teaspoons of oil).

    Add the lamb and stir-fry for about 2 minutes. Cover the pan, lower the heat and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes or until the meat is cooked through. If required, add up to 2/3 cup of water during the cooking. Remove from the heat and set aside (I didn’t have to do this).

    Heat the ghee, butter or margarine (I used oil) with the oil remaining from the original list of ingredients and add the cinnamon stick and cardamoms. Stir in the apricots (or raisins) and cook over low heat for 2 minutes. Pour this sauce over the lamb.

    Garnish with the chopped cilantro and serve immediately.

    Note: The next time I make this, I will definitely add more of the Masala spice and chili powder, as I would’ve liked it a bit spicier.

    Chana Dal Pilaf (found this online and modified it)

    ¼ cup vegetable oil (recipe called for ½ cup oil, but I felt that ¼ was plenty)
    2 bay leaves
    6 peppercorns
    6 black cardamom pods (I used green as that’s all I had)
    6 whole cloves
    1/3 cinnamon stick (1”)
    1 ½ tsp. cumin seeds
    1 tsp coriander
    1 large garlic clove, minced
    2 tsp. fresh ginger, minced
    1 ½ cup chana dal (soaked in water for two hours and drained – make sure you rinse the chana dal in several changes of water until clear, before soaking them)
    2 ½ cups basmati rice
    1 tbsp salt
    4 ½ cups water

    Heat oil in pressure cooker on medium high heat. Add bay leaves, peppercorns and cardamom pods, cloves, cinnamon stick, cumin seeds, and coriander. Stir for a few seconds till cumin seeds darken a few shades. Add garlic and ginger. Add drained chana dal. Stir fry about 3 minutes. Add rice. Stir fry until rice turns opaque, about 3 minutes. Add salt and water. Stir.

    Put the lid on the pressure cooker and lock. Bring to full pressure over high heat. Reduce heat and cook 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Cool naturally for about 5 minutes. You don’t want to let it go too much longer so if hasn’t come down, manually help it along so that all the pressure is released. Remove the lid. Fluff the pilaf with a fork. Discard bay leaves, cardamom pods, and cinnamon stick.

    Cranberry-Mango Chutney (adapted from Slow Cooker Cooking by Lora Brody)

    1 navel orange
    1 lime
    1 large unripe mango, peeled and sliced
    12 ounces fresh cranberries
    ½ cup raisins
    2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
    1 medium onion, peeled and finely diced
    1 small green apple, cored and cut into 1 inch cubes
    1 1×3 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
    1 cup packed brown sugar

    Rinse the orange and lime in several changes of boiling water to remove the wax. Cut each in half, and then into very thin slices. Place the orange and lime slices, mango, cranberries, garlic, onion, apple, ginger, and brown sugar in the insert of the slow cooker. Cover and cook on High for 4 – 6 hours, or until the cranberries have burst and all the ingredients are soft. Turn the slow cooker off, remove the cover, and let the chutney cool in the insert.

    Store the cooled chutney in a tightly covered sterilized container in the refrigerator for up to 6 months. Serve chilled or at room temperature as a condiment for poultry or meat.

    NOTE: Every slow cooker is different. I started this chutney on a high setting, but it was bubbling too fast for my liking, so after about an hour, I turned it down to low for the duration of the cooking.

    { 9 comments… read them below or add one }

    Lynn Barry January 7, 2007 at 11:04 pm

    AMEN…that is the same for me…I did not test positive for celiacs but no more headaches and intestinal problems and itchy rashes and depression.
    You posting is inspirational.


    Ellen January 7, 2007 at 11:13 pm

    Hi Lynn,

    It’s SO good to know there are others who experienced the same thing as my husband. I’ll bet within the next ten years, if not sooner, there will be all kinds of evidence about the “evils” of gluten! Anyway, glad my posting was inspirational. I had the leftovers for dinner tonite and they were even better second time around:).


    GrewUpRural January 8, 2007 at 1:07 pm

    I just recently discovered Indian food on our trip up to Trader Joe’s in Shrewsbury a few months ago. I can’t remember the place, but the Indian restaurant is in the same plaza as Trader Joe’s. I was hooked on this food.

    You are definitely right about trying ethnic foods. I just recently tried sushi for the first time, gluten free of course.

    Thanks for the recipes.


    Ellen January 8, 2007 at 9:32 pm

    Hi grewuprural,

    You’re from the Worcester area? Do tell!!!!

    and thanks for stopping by my blog!


    Mike Eberhart January 10, 2007 at 9:56 am

    I love good Indian food, but I am just so worried that if I eat Indian out at a restaurant, I’ll be acidentally fed gluten in one way or another. I’ll have to see if Laura will try cooking me up a batch of that Chana Dal – looks wondeful from the ingredients list! mmmmm!


    Ellen January 10, 2007 at 5:46 pm

    Me too, Mike. My husband and I totally adore good Indian food. But we hadn’t had it since I was diagnosed a year ago. After returning from London at the end of December, and seeing the enormous number of Indian restaurants there, I decided to make it at home. It was fairly easy, so delicious, and worth every bit of time I put into it.

    Hey, thanks for sending the cookbook so quickly – I got my copy within a week of ordering it. I can’t wait to try every single recipe in it. And you can be sure I will order your next one as well.



    Mike Eberhart January 11, 2007 at 10:46 pm

    Ellen, your Chana Dal recipe is printed out and waiting for us to round up the ingredients and give it a try. It may take a while (my recipe-queue is growing), but we will get to it. We have everything to make it aside from the main ingredient: the chana dal. But, we have an Indian grocer not even a mile away. Looking forward to it.

    Glad you got the cookbook quickly. I never know how long they will take using USPS snail-mail. Some I hear make it in a couple days, others 2 weeks.

    As for the next book,… oh, the pressure. he he he. Actually, the big factor on that one is that my daughter started the recipes last year, and made good progress, but has been rather busy getting her grad-school applications in, taking the GRE’s, and all that “fun”. So, I have this feeling that my wife and I are going to have to get a bit more involved to get it done on time. If for any reason we can’t make a reasonable release date to print it, we’ll just put all the content online for people. I do want to complete it, especially since I have a growing list of persons that told me to put them on the waiting-list.

    Can’t wait to hear how the desserts turn out for you. Every single one!? My gosh — I know what that takes, having been through each recipe in there multiple times. And, I also know how much exercise it takes to burn all those calories off! 🙂 Happy baking!


    ana montero January 12, 2007 at 5:18 am

    Congratulions for your blog. If you want include a link of my spanish blog about celiac disease, I send you my link http://www.soloceliacos.blogspot.com. I can include your link.
    Ana Montero


    Jeena May 14, 2007 at 5:28 pm

    Hi there, I like your blog! Nice recipes 🙂 Feel free to visit my blog too 🙂

    Click here for jeenas food recipe blog 🙂


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