Vibrant Indian Cooking Made Simple
Enjoy your favorite Indian foods with faster cooking times, accessible ingredients and exciting flavors with this gorgeous, inspiring guide to modern Indian cuisine. Swayampurna Mishra, founder of Lapetitchef, invites you into her kitchen to share unforgettable meals made convenient for today’s busy home cook. With her poignant writing and lush photography, this cookbook will have you swooning over each pagesoon you’ll be filling your home with the comforting aromas of warm, rich spices and fragrant simmering sauces.
Master classics like Chicken Dum Biriyani, with irresistibly tender meat. Enjoy Coconut & Sesame–Crusted Shrimp for a quick, crowd-pleasing dish, and put on a pot of Creamy Black Lentils for an indulgent yet easy weeknight meal. Ma’s Lamb Curry, the pinnacle of Indian soul food, is simple to prepare in your slow cookerperfect for busy families. Discover the magic of Masala-Stuffed Flatbread and an array of surprisingly easy, charming sweet treats. This book will engage your senses and delight your palate with delicious Indian dishes that celebrate the simple joys of food and family.
|Publisher:||Page Street Publishing|
|Product dimensions:||8.06(w) x 9.03(h) x 0.56(d)|
About the Author
Swayampurna Mishra is the creator of the Indian food blog Lapetitchef. Her work has been featured by Better Homes and Gardens, Thrive Magazine, Buzzfeed, Huffington Post, Times of India, Hindustan Times, Femina magazine, Food & Wine India magazine, Indian Express and The Hindu. She is a brand ambassador for Jamie Oliver and an editor for FeedFeed. She lives in India.
Read an Excerpt
I am a born hostess. Even when I was a kid, my home used to be the adda (place) for hanging out. Was it because I had the coolest parents or a pretty room? Or was it something else in me that made people happily flock to my house, to me? Today, I know these friends might have had an alternate agenda behind coming to my house: my mother's food.
I moved into my first house as an independent adult when I was 23, right after I earned my MBA. It was a still, warm June morning. The house was in a busy market area of Hyderabad, a city that had been my home for the past two years and where I had met P. The kitchen was a joke. I had a single burner and a small gas cylinder, a refrigerator I had acquired on rent and a 3-foot (90-cm) long countertop with no storage space. Most mornings I had some cereal and milk, an apple or the odd piece of toast before heading out to work. Sometimes, if I felt like indulging, I made grilled cheese or even French toast. It was there in that kitchen I learned how to cook on my own. I bought groceries on my own for the first time in my life, and I had to learn how to cook with merely a pan and pressure cooker. The coffee pot moonlighted as a noodle maker and soup pot, and the pan was a miracle worker of sorts, as it made everything from scrambled eggs to aloo bhujia (potato fingerlings), chickpea curry to chicken stir-fry. I had one beaten up degchi (deep pot) to boil the rice in.
But in spite of these logistic hiccups, the weekends that P came to Hyderabad, our friends would join us for dinner and I would make Chicken Dum Biriyani (here) with boiled fried eggs on top, Kolkata-style. A simple cucumber raita and cola accompanied the biriyani. Looking back, it feels so strange to remember how happily we ate this simple meal from whatever mismatched plates I could find. My point is, I was a proud hostess even when my kitchen was a joke and I didn't own a proper set of plates. But even today, when I think of the moment when I started cooking, I remember that odd little single burner and that pot of biriyani, or those masala French toasts and aloo parathas I treated P with in the morning.
Call up your friends — the old ones you have lost touch with or the new ones you met last week at some nightclub — and invite them over to your place, irrespective of the size of your kitchen. The real party starts with the right people, not the kitchen or the plates. So go on, take a look at these snacks and appetizers and get cooking.
Yogurt & Saffron Grilled Chicken Tikka Coconut & Sesame–Crusted Shrimp Beetroot Croquettes with Cottage Cheese & Mint Grilled Corn on the Cob Onion Fritters Surprise Paneer Parcels Chickpea Sundal with Tamarind Sweet Potato & Pea Samosa Hand Pies Roasted Tomato Chutney Pineapple–Date Chutney
YOGURT & SAFFRON GRILLED CHICKEN TIKKA
There are few aromas as close to my heart as that of saffron. Its floral, heady sweetness ensnares the senses and makes everything seem better. Case in point: these grilled chicken skewers. The flavor of saffron merges beautifully with the cooling yogurt and helps lift the pungency of garlic and chili. Left to rest overnight in a flavor-packed marinade, the chicken breasts remain tender and juicy. Dark meat lover? You can easily swap the breasts for thighs in this recipe. Let your senses guide you. The spices and the sublime fragrance of saffron do all the work here. All you need to do is crank up the oven or fire up the grill.
Makes 4 servings
4 skinless chicken breasts or thighs
1/2 cup (120 g) Greek yogurt
1 large red onion, diced
8 cloves garlic
1 (1/2-inch [13-mm]) piece ginger
1 to 2 green chilis
8 to 10 black peppercorns
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp Kashmiri red chili powder (or more to taste)
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp roasted ground cumin Salt (as needed)
1/4 tsp saffron threads (kesar)
2 tbsp (4 g) dried fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi)
Wooden skewers Melted butter or ghee (as needed)
Cilantro-mint chutney (optional, for serving)
Pickeled onion (optional, for serving)
Clean the chicken breasts well by rinsing them under cool running water, then dry them off with paper towels. Make deep slashes in the chicken breasts. Cut the chicken into 1 1/2-inch (3.7-cm) cubes. Place the cubes in a large bowl.
In a food processor, combine the yogurt, onion, garlic, ginger, chilis, peppercorns and turmeric. Process them until the ingredients form a smooth marinade. Pour this marinade all over the chicken cubes and add the Kashmiri red chili powder, black pepper, cumin, salt and saffron. Heat a small, dry skillet over low heat. Add the fenugreek leaves and lightly toast them for 15 seconds. Crush them into the marinade. Give the chicken a stir, making sure it is well coated on all sides with the marinade. Cover the bowl and let the chicken marinate in the refrigerator overnight or for at least 4 hours.
Soak the skewers in water for 10 to 30 minutes before skewering the chicken cubes. This will prevent them from burning during the cooking process.
Preheat the oven to 425°F (218°C). Thread the chicken pieces onto the skewers, shaking off the excess marinade from each piece. Place the skewers on a grill pan and transfer the pan to the oven (or, if your oven has a grill function, grill the skewers on the middle oven rack). Grill for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350°F (177°C). Baste the chicken with some of the remaining marinade and melted butter with a basting brush. Grill for 4 minutes. Now turn the skewers over. Baste the other side of the chicken with the butter and grill for 4 minutes. Remove the skewers from the oven and tent aluminum foil over them, letting them rest for 10 minutes before serving with cilantro-mint chutney and pickled onion if you'd like.
RECIPE NOTE: This recipe is divine topped with homemade cilantro-mint chutney. Simply grind together 2 bunches of cilantro (coriander leaves), 1 bunch of mint, 1 garlic clove and 1 green chili. Mix in the juice of half a lemon, salt to taste and 2 tablespoons (30 g) of thick yogurt (optional). Serve cold with the tikka.
COCONUT & SESAME–CRUSTED SHRIMP
When I was young, I remember sitting on the bedroom balcony, reading Gone with the Wind for the umpteenth time. When I looked up from the book, re-creating the scene in my head, the shadows from the giant coconut leaves fell across the floor. At that exact moment, the crackle of the tadka and the aroma of singed curry leaves and mustard seeds permeated the air. I rushed to the kitchen to see what Mom was making and saw her pouring that tadka into a bowl of coconut chutney.
I grew up with coconut in my dishes. Usually thought to be a staple of Kerali cuisine in India, people of Odisha are just as enamored by this delicious fruit — especially since my state is a land of verdant green paddy fields, cerulean skies and proud coconut trees. We use coconut quite a bit in our preparations. From coconut milk–flavored curries to dalma (lentils) topped with coconut to sweet dishes made of coconut to coconut chutneys, my childhood was spent in the shadows of this delightful fruit. Today, I have created a dish my dad would love — I mean love. It's a simple and quick appetizer of sweet shrimp. The delicate flavor of coconut crumbs pairs with the shrimp beautifully and the black sesame seeds add a much- needed crunch to the dish. Serve a sweet and tangy tamarind dip or a spicy cilantro chutney with this delicious appetizer.
Makes 3 servings
10 large fresh shrimp, cleaned and deveined (see recipe note)
Vegetable or canola oil (as needed for frying)
1/3 cup (40 g) all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp Kashmiri red chili powder
1 large egg
1/2 cup (40 g) dried shredded unsweetened coconut
1/4 cup (30 g) panko breadcrumbs
2 tbsp (20 g) black sesame seeds
15 fresh curry leaves, finely chopped
Dry off the shrimp with paper towels. Set them aside.
Heat about 3 inches (7.5 cm) of oil in a deep, heavy-bottomed pot to 350°F (177°C). If you don't own a thermometer, the oil should be shimmering but not smoking.
In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, salt, black pepper and Kashmiri red chili powder. In a second medium bowl, beat the egg. In a shallow dish, combine the coconut, panko breadcrumbs, black sesame seeds and curry leaves.
Dip each shrimp into the flour mixture. Shake off any excess flour and dip the shrimp into the egg. Carefully roll it in the coconut mixture until it is completely coated in crumbs. Repeat this process with the remaining shrimp.
Carefully place the shrimp, 3 or 4 at a time, in the hot oil and deep-fry them for 3 minutes on each side. Do not overcrowd the pot while frying. Remove the shrimp when they are golden brown on both sides. Serve immediately with the dip of your choice.
RECIPE NOTE: You can also make this with frozen (thawed) shrimp if fresh aren't available. Be careful while deep-frying so that the oil doesn't splatter. Fried shrimp can be frozen in a sealed container for 2 months. Thaw them and reheat in a preheated 350°F (177°C) oven for 10 minutes before serving.
BEETROOT CROQUETTES with COTTAGE CHEESE & MINT
For the longest time, I detested beetroots. Not for their taste but mostly because of the wild, reddish-pink destruction they left in their wake. Of course, this was before I found solace in photography. Now the moment I buy beetroots, I run to chop them and capture the seductive pink color on film. (It's weird how age changes us. Or is it just me?) No matter what your relationship with beets, this simple dish is bound to turn it into a torrid affair.
Makes 4 servings
2 medium beets, peeled
1/2 cup (115 g) cottage cheese, ricotta or goat cheese
2 tbsp (20 g) cornstarch
1 (1/2-inch [13-mm]) piece fresh ginger, minced
1 green chili, deseeded and minced
1/4 cup (10 g) fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1 tsp nigella seeds
1/4 tsp black pepper Salt (to taste)
Vegetable or canola oil (as needed for frying)
1/2 cup (60 g) breadcrumbs, lightly seasoned with salt
1 large egg, beaten, or 1/2 cup (120 ml) buttermilk Fresh mint leaves (pudina; for garnish)
Bring a medium pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the beets, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the beets are tender, about 45 minutes. Remove the beets from the water and let them cool. Finely shred the beets using a box grater (or even a zester).
Transfer the shredded beets to a colander. Squeeze out the water from the shredded beets by pressing on them again and again with the back of a spoon. The beets should be devoid of water. Do not skip this step.
Transfer the beets to a medium bowl. Add the cottage cheese, cornstarch, ginger, chili, cilantro, nigella seeds, black pepper and salt and mash the ingredients together well. Taste the mixture and adjust the seasoning if needed.
Using a 1-tablespoon (15-ml) measuring spoon, form the mixture into smooth balls. Arrange the balls on a clean platter and put it in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
Heat 2 inches (5 cm) of oil in a deep pot until it reaches 350°F (177°C). If you don't own a thermometer, the oil should be shimmering but not smoking.
While the oil is heating, take the balls out of the fridge. Spread the seasoned breadcrumbs on a plate and place the beaten egg in a separate shallow dish. Dip the balls into the beaten egg to coat them lightly, then roll them in the breadcrumbs until they are very well coated on all sides.
Now, gently place 3 or 4 balls in the hot oil at one time. As soon as you place the balls in the oil, reduce the heat to low and let them brown on one side. Gently turn the balls over with a slotted spoon. (Make sure the spoon is completely dry or the hot oil will splatter.)
Fry the balls for 3 to 4 minutes, until they are golden brown on all sides. Remove the croquettes with the slotted spoon and place them on a paper towel to drain. Serve the croquettes immediately with mint leaves as a garnish.
GRILLED CORN on the COB
I hated corn on the cob when I was a kid. My dad loved it. As a rather willful child, I had convinced myself there was nothing to love about this grilled corn (bhutta) that made my dad so happy. For one, I was sure that the corn would stick to my teeth and I would be rewarded with a trip to the dentist (an exercise I dread even today). So I stayed away until I was twenty-one. But then P happened. He was just like my father, enamored by the sight of these golden corncobs being grilled over a bed of hot charcoal by the local vendor. The vendor would peel the corn in the blink of an eye, throw it over red-hot coals and fan it. Five minutes later, he would pull out the searingly hot bhutta, ask us, "Nimbu mirchi?" ("Lemon juice and chili powder?") and proceed to rub half a lemon all over the blackened corn and sprinkle it with a masala mix. It was wrapped up in the discarded cornhusk and handed it to us without so much as a smile before he moved on to his next customer.
It was on a rainy evening in Bengaluru when P convinced me to try the grilled corn. Given that love can twist our arms more convincingly than parents' nagging, I gave it a try. Moment of epiphany! Why had I been avoiding these all my life? The bhutta was so juicy and sweet. Nothing stuck to my teeth and the tang from the lemon and chili powder made my mouth pucker up in the most delicious way. From then on, people have been known to find me randomly jumping out of the car and racing to a bhutta wala (corn vendor) the minute I see one. Such is the beauty of this dish. You know you have to make this one.
Makes 2 servings
2 large ears sweet corn, husk and silk removed
1 large Indian lemon (or more to taste)
Salt (to taste)
1/4 tsp Kashmiri red chili powder (or to taste)
Chaat masala (to taste, optional)
Preheat the grill to high or, if using a gas stove, turn the flame on high. Now place the corn on the grill or flame and cook, turning every 2 minutes. The corn should be well charred in about 5 minutes.
Rub half a lemon (or more) all over each ear of hot corn. Sprinkle it with the salt, Kashmiri red chili powder and chaat masala (if using) and serve.
Pages strewn across the work desk. Little feet running to and from me. Sun breathing its last through the window. A slice of rosy sky. Memories of home, of evenings clamoring for onion bhaji, of devouring them feverishly.
That's how these crispy onion fritters came to be. They are the products of a rather nostalgic mind and a growling belly. Well, and wine. But that's what you expect to happen on a Friday evening, right? Eat something guilty and fried and do not care about it!
These onion fritters are like onion rings, except more flavorful. More familiar and spicier — all big ticks on my list. I serve these beauties with a lovely tamarind dip. So go ahead and whip up a batch of these, pull out the blankets and get cozy, because you, my dear friend, won't want to share them.
Makes 4 servings
1/2 cup (65 g) raw chickpea flour (besan)
1/2 tbsp (4 g) dried mango powder (aamchoor)
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/4 tsp Kashmiri red chili powder
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp baking powder Salt (to taste)
1 tbsp (8 g) fennel seeds
1/2 tbsp (5 g) minced fresh ginger
2 green chilis, deseeded and finely chopped
1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp (95 ml) water
2 large onions, halved, thinly sliced and separated into individual slices
2 tbsp (6 g) fresh cilantro, finely or coarsely chopped Vegetable oil (as needed for frying)
Tamarind dip (for serving)
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, dried mango powder, turmeric, Kashmiri red chili powder, cumin, coriander, baking powder, salt, fennel seeds, ginger and chilis. Add the water a little at a time to check the consistency. It should be thick enough to coat the onions, but not runny. Now add the onions and cilantro and mix very well. Set the mixture aside for 10 to 15 minutes. Make sure the batter sticks to the onions and isn't too thin. If you feel it's too thin, add a little more flour.
Heat about 3 inches (7.5 cm) of oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot. Once the oil is shimmering (not smoking), add a few spoonfuls of the battered onion rings at a time. Don't overcrowd the oil. Fry the fritters for 2 minutes on both sides, until they are golden brown and crisp. Remove the fritters with a slotted spoon and set them on paper towels to drain for 2 to 3 minutes. Serve immediately with a tamarind dip.
SURPRISE PANEER PARCELS
As a mother to a rather fussy, almost vegetarian kid, you tend to do whatever it takes to feed the child. It is a tough job. However, my daughter loves paneer. Since it is made of whole milk and is a great source of protein and calcium, I let her have it once daily. The result? A happy child and a happier mom.
Thankfully, paneer is now widely available in all parts of the world. As much as kids love to eat the same food, we adults are more complicated and we need variety in our lives. After having tried many ways of dressing up this simple cheese, I chanced upon some gorgeous herby paneer parcels by Anjum Anand, which inspired this recipe. I made changes of my own to suit my family's tastes, but this is an incredibly versatile recipe. You can swap the paneer for mushrooms, tofu or even chicken and treat yourself and your guests with a delightful surprise. These paneer parcels are fresh and fragrant from all the herbs, tangy and spicy all at the same time. You will get over your ennui of paneer with this special dish.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "My Indian Kitchen"
Copyright © 2018 Swayampurna Mishra.
Excerpted by permission of Page Street Publishing Co..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Foreword by Amandip Uppal,
Before We Begin,
Yogurt & Saffron Grilled Chicken Tikka,
Coconut & Sesame–Crusted Shrimp,
Beetroot Croquettes with Cottage Cheese & Mint,
Grilled Corn on the Cob,
Surprise Paneer Parcels,
Chickpea Sundal with Tamarind,
Sweet Potato & Pea Samosa Hand Pies,
Roasted Tomato Chutney,
IN MY BOWL,
Pepper & Garlic Chicken Curry,
Chili Chicken Bowls,
Royal Shahi Paneer Kofta,
Potato Stir-Fry in Pickle Spices,
Creamy Black Lentils,
Poached Fish in Mustard Gravy,
Yellow Dal Tadka,
Shrimp in Coconut Milk Gravy,
Cottage Cheese in Spinach Curry,
Mixed Raita with Roasted Garlic,
Green Pea & Potato Curry,
Ma's Lamb Curry,
Fire-Roasted Eggplant Mash,
Mixed Vegetable Stew,
Bhuna Chicken Masala,
Beetroot & Carrot Slaw,
Indian-Spiced Chicken Meatballs,
Chickpea Yogurt Soup,
Red Chili Pickles,
PULAOS AND PILAFS,
Chicken Dum Biriyani,
Mil's Green Peas Pulao,
Rice & Lentil Risotto,
Mushroom Fried Rice,
FLOUR AND WATER,
Whole Wheat Flatbread,
Fresh Fenugreek Parathas,
Spring Onion Lachha Paratha,
Chickpea Flour Parathas,
Garlic Butter Naan with Nigella Seeds,
Sweet Almond-Poppy Roti,
Garlic-Cilantro Breakfast Rolls,
Updated Bombay Club Sandwich,
Flattened Rice Stir-Fry,
Coconut Cashew Rice,
Lemon Rice with Roasted Peanuts and Cashews,
BREAKFAST AT HOME,
Stuffed Masala Paneer Parathas,
Honey & Saffron Crepes,
Chai-Spiced Cinnamon Roll,
Savory Rice Pancakes,
Steamed Rice Cakes,
Fruit Salad with Jaggery-Sesame Dressing,
Oat & Spinach Crepes,
Masala Scrambled Eggs,
MY SWEET LIFE,
Coconut Hand Pies,
Strawberry Yogurt Mousse,
Saffron & Rose Cottage Cheese Dumplings,
Almond & Peanut Butter Popsicles,
Jaggery Rice Pudding,
Salted Caramel Baked Yogurt Bowls,
Spiced Red Wine–Poached Pears with Feni Crème,
Fried Sweet Dumplings,
Mocha Kulfi with Salted Caramel,
Bread Pudding in Ghee & Saffron Clotted Cream,
Maunika's Mango Barfi,
Fried Sweet Cottage Cheese Fritters,
Granny's Turmeric Milk,
Green Mango Sherbet,
About the Author,