Cooking Up Something New

I have a recent obsession with Indian food.  I know next to nothing about Indian food so I asked my friend to show me the ropes at the lunch buffet at India House.  It was a perfect way to sample lots of different dishes and learn what I like.  I was surprised by the flavors, I was expecting them to be more spicy.  I loved the flavors and had a few immediate favorites, samosas, butter chicken, and palek paneer.  There was also a few spinach sides that I really enjoyed, especially the corn and spinach mixture.  That was my favorite, almost like a mixture of creamed corn and creamed spinach.  I don’t know what it was called, need to figure that out.

Trader Joe’s has a small selection of pre-packaged Indian meals and another grocery store near me carries the brand Patak’s that offer some good options too.  I’ve been eating these to get more familiar with the flavors and my own personal likes and dislikes.

Now I thought I was ready to try and cook some of these dishes at home.  I read about a Indian slow cooker cookbook that looked great.  Though I really thought it would be best to understand the traditional recipe and cooking it before attempting them in the crock-pot.  I checked a cookbook out from the library, but it was on loan from another town and I could only keep for about ten days.  I never had time to make anything from it.  I looked around on the web, but ultimately decided a cookbook was they way to go.  Indian food came up in a conversation with another friend and she recommended I get this Classic Indian Cooking cookbook.  I checked it out and got it.  It is great, so much more than a cookbook.  Lots of history, stories, recipes explanations, spice descriptions, meal suggestions etc.  Pictures would have been helpful for me, but there a number of illustrations.  I picked up another cheap cookbook for the pictures, it even pictures of all the spices.  I am a sucker for the pictures.
After some pursuing I decided my first attempt would be Makhani Murgh (Velvet Butter Chicken).  The recipe calls for tandoori chicken so I made the first step was to make the marinade and get the chicken soaking so it could sit in the fridge over night.
Tandoori Marinade
2 large cloves garlic
1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger root
1 teaspoon ground roasted cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon red pepper
1 teaspoon tandoori coloring, or 1 tablespoon paprika
1/3 cup plain yogurt
Blend all ingredients in a blender until a smooth sauce.  Coat chicken and marinade overnight.  Check out the various cooking options explained on Epicurious, I opted for the oven roasting.  Though there is no mimicking the Tandoori oven at home.
The marinade was very fragrant, seriously is smelled SO GOOD when I took it out to cook. The ginger and the cumin, yummm. It was a nice rich color too, almost looked like a peanut sauce.  A little went a long way too, I was skeptical if it was enough.  It was plenty.  The original recipe calls for broiling chickens but I used chicken breast instead.
Next step, Garam Masala.


  1. LSC says:

    Remind me to tell you a story about me and Indian food. I can't even walk past an Indian restaurant without severe nausea. Good luck!

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