We just returned from a trip to England where there is a very large Indian population. But alas, we didnâ€™t eat any Indian food while we were there. But it definitely got us thinking about this cuisine. I couldnâ€™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 â€“ it smelled like every Indian restaurant weâ€™ve ever been in. And it tasted fantastic, if I donâ€™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 Iâ€™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 canâ€™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 â€“ but it was a pretty involved process and I didnâ€™t start it in time, so I didnâ€™t bother.
I really should say (from here on) that we (my husband and I) can or canâ€™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 wasnâ€™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 â€“ 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 hasnâ€™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, Iâ€™ll get off my soapbox!
So, here are the recipes. I would strongly recommend anyone reading this to consider exploring ethnic cuisines â€“ it completely opens up your culinary horizons and is fun and delicious!
Adapted from the book â€œbest-ever Curryâ€ by Mridula Baljekar
1 tbsp tomato paste
Â¾ cup plain yogurt
1 tsp Garam Masala (I used Meat Masala, a spice concoction from a company called Bombay Original)
Â¼ 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 didnâ€™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 wasnâ€™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 didnâ€™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 wouldâ€™ve liked it a bit spicier.
Chana Dal Pilaf (found this online and modified it)
Â¼ cup vegetable oil (recipe called for Â½ cup oil, but I felt that Â¼ was plenty)
2 bay leaves
6 black cardamom pods (I used green as thatâ€™s all I had)
6 whole cloves
1/3 cinnamon stick (1â€)
1 Â½ tsp. cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 tsp. fresh ginger, minced
1 Â½ cup chana dal (soaked in water for two hours and drained â€“ make sure you rinse the chana dal in several changes of water until clear, before soaking them)
2 Â½ cups basmati rice
1 tbsp salt
4 Â½ 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 donâ€™t want to let it go too much longer so if hasnâ€™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 large unripe mango, peeled and sliced
12 ounces fresh cranberries
Â½ 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 â€“ 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.