The Main Menu: Make your own Indian food

Chicken Tikka Masala makes a warm autumn meal. PHOTO: Creative Commons

Prepare your own Indian take out with these adapted recipes from Foodland Ontario. If you are new to Indian food and concerned about the “heat” level, be assured that curries do not have to be “hot.” A curry means sauce which uses curry powder made up of a mixture of up to twenty different freshly pulverized, aromatic spices such as: cinnamon, ginger, cumin, coriander, turmeric and cloves. Curries will vary with the individual cook. It is the addition of chilies and cayenne pepper which make curry hot; simply by adding, decreasing or eliminating cayenne pepper, chili or hot peppers (as they are frequently called) controls the heat level of the food.

Go on an adventure and prepare these flavourful recipes with confidence, assured you are in for a tantalizing treat with dishes bursting with flavour yet not searing heat.

Aloo Gobi (Potato cauliflower curry)

This potato-cauliflower curry comes from the Punjab region of India but is enjoyed across the country. Be sure to prepare this simple curry now while our own cauliflower is abundant and inexpensive. Serve over basmati rice or with warm naan bread.

1 small cauliflower, (2 cups/ 500 mL) broken into florets

2 tbsp (25 mL) vegetable oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 large clove garlic, minced

1 tbsp (15 mL) ground cumin, 1 tsp (5 mL) whole cumin seed can be substituted

1 tbsp (15 mL) grated fresh ginger root (peel first)

1/2  tsp (2 mL) ground coriander and turmeric

Pinch cayenne pepper or to taste

4 cups (1 L) chopped, peeled potatoes

2 cups (500 mL) chopped tomatoes with juice

1/2 cup (125 mL) chicken stock or water

Salt and pepper to taste

1/3 cup (75 mL) chopped fresh coriander leaves

In large saucepan, add cauliflower and cover with boiling water (kettle); bring back to boil until tender crisp about 1 minute. Drain and set aside.

In same saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook covered about 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in garlic, cumin, ginger, ground coriander, turmeric and/ or cayenne pepper; cook for 2 minutes stirring often.

Stir in potatoes, tomatoes, broth and reserved cauliflower. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 10-12 minutes or until potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with coriander leaves. Makes 4-6 servings.

Chicken (Murgh) Tikka Masala

This simple yet flavourful dish is marinated first in yogurt and spices then simmered in a tomato sauce. If you like heat, add chopped green chilies such as jalapeno pepper with the onions. For a mild flavour, omit the chilies. Serve the masala over basmati rice with a simple raita salad. (A raita is a cooling salad of yogurt and chopped vegetables; it can be prepared by slicing cucumbers and chopped mint with thick, plain yogurt, salt and pepper to taste.)

3/4 cup (175 mL) plain non-fat yogurt

1 tbsp (15 mL) garam masala (a mixture of up to 12 dry-roasted, ground spices available in some supermarkets and Indian stores)

2 tsp (0 mL) paprika

1 1/2 tsp (7 mL) ground coriander

1/4 tsp (1 mL) each, cayenne pepper and pepper

1 1/2 lbs (1 kg) boneless, skinless, chicken thighs cut into 1 inch (2.5 cm) cubes


2 tbsp (25 mL) vegetable oil

1 large onion, diced

1 large clove garlic, minced

1 tbsp (15 mL) each, grated fresh gingerroot and garam masala

1 3/4 cup (425 mL) diced tomatoes

3/4 cup (175 mL) 35% whipping cream

Salt and pepper

Garnish: chopped fresh coriander leaves

In large bowl, mix together yogurt, garam masala, paprika, ground coriander, cayenne and pepper. Stir in chicken coating pieces well. Cover and marinate 30 minutes or overnight. Using tongs, remove pieces from marinade and place on foil lined rimmed baking sheet. Bake in 425 F (220 C) 0ven for 18-20 minutes or until cooked through turning and draining liquid after 10 minutes.

Sauce: In large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, cook for 6minutes or until soft. Stir in garlic, ginger and garam masala; cook for 2 minutes stirring often.

Add cooked chicken and tomatoes; cover and cook about 10 minutes or until tomatoes are tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Garnish with coriander leaves. Makes 4 servings.


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