Spice up 2014 with some Indian dishes

Published 12:00am Saturday, January 11, 2014

In keeping with the healthy trends for 2014, one cannot forget the use of spices. If you read in any food magazine, spices such as ginger, turmeric, cumin, paprika, coriander, cinnamon and bay leaves are a great asset in many ways to a healthier you. I think we all tend to get in a rut and use the old staples such as salt, pepper, rosemary, tarragon and perhaps cilantro. It just takes a little effort to use more interesting spices and the stores (even Walmart) carry these more exotic spices. Here are two recipes

The spices put a special touch on a basic staple - chicken legs.
The spices put a special touch on a basic staple – chicken legs.

that use some of these spices and are also good cold weather dishes. One uses chicken, and one uses beef. I used grass-fed for the beef stew and organic drumsticks for the chicken. Free-range chickens are healthier if you can find them. One of my husband’s New Year’s resolutions was for me to do Indian once a week!

From ‘Food and Wine’ December 2013.

Tandoori Chicken Drumsticks with Cilantro-Shallot Relish

4 servings

1 tablespoon sweet paprika

1 tablespoon garam masala

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon ground turmeric

1 tablespoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger

4 garlic cloves, minced

¼ cup Greek-style yogurt

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

½ cup canola oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

12 chicken drumsticks

¾ cup coarsely chopped cilantro

1 small shallot, minced

3 tablespoons distilled white vinegar

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Set a rack on each of two large baking sheets. In a small skillet, toast the paprika, garam masala, cumin, coriander and turmeric over moderately low heat, stirring until fragrant, about two minutes. Transfer the spices to a medium bowl and cool slightly. Stir in the ginger, garlic, yogurt, lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of the oil and season with salt and pepper.

Make two or three slashes in each drumstick. In a large bowl, toss the chicken with 2 tablespoons of the canola oil and season with salt and pepper. Add the spiced yogurt and rub it onto the chicken. Arrange the chicken on the racks, leaving two inches between the pieces. Roast for 45 minutes, turning occasionally, until the chicken is golden brown and cooked through. Light the broiler and broil the chicken six inches from the heat for about five minutes, until lightly charred and crisp.

In a small bowl, stir the cilantro, shallot, vinegar and the remaining ¼ cup of the oil; season with salt. Serve with the chicken.

 

Taken from Madhur Jaffrey’s Indian Cooking

Rogan Josh or Beef Stew

Serves 4-6

Two (1 inch) cubes fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped

8 cloves garlic, peeled

4 tablespoons plus (15 fl. oz.) water

10 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 lb. stew beef cut into 1 inch cubes

10 cardamom pods

2 bay leaves

6 cloves

10 peppercorns

2.5 cm. (1 inch) cinnamon stick

7 oz. onions, peeled and finely chopped

1 teaspoon ground coriander

2 teaspoons ground cumin

4 teaspoons bright red paprika mixed with 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 ¼ teaspoons salt

6 tablespoons natural yogurt

¼ teaspoon garam masala

Freshly ground black pepper

Put the ginger, garlic, and 4 tablespoons water into the container of an electric blender. Blend until you have a smooth paste.

Heat the oil in a wide, heavy pan over medium-high heat. Brown the meat cubes in several batches and set to one side. Put the cardamom, bay leaves, cloves, peppercorns and cinnamon into the same hot oil. Stir once and wait until the cloves swell and the bay leaves begin to take on color. Put in the onions. Stir for about 5 minutes or until the onions turn medium-brown or about 5 minutes. Put in the ginger-garlic paste and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Then add the coriander, cumin, paprika-cayenne and salt. Stir-fry for another 30 seconds. Add the fried meat cubes and juices. Now put in 1 tablespoon of the yogurt and fry for about 30 seconds or until the yogurt is well blended. Add the remaining yogurt, a tablespoon at a time. Stir and fry for three or four minutes.

Now add 15 fl. oz. water to the beef mixture. Bring to a boil, scraping in all browned spices on the sides and bottom of the pan. Cover, turn heat to low and simmer the beef for 2 hours, or until it is tender.

Every 10 minutes or so, give the meat a stir. When the meat is tender, take off the lid, turn the heat up to medium, and boil away some of the liquid. You should end up with tender meat in a thick, reddish-brown sauce. Spoon off the fat. Sprinkle the garam masala and black pepper over the meat before you serve and mix them it. Serve with rice or some Indian naan.

I like to add some broccoli for a green side, just alone or with a little (grass-fed) butter.

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