Tag: Indian


I love finding new produce to try!  I went to an Indian grocery store the other day, and picked up tindora.  I didn’t photograph them next to a reference, but they’re similar in size to pickling cucumbers.


I appealed to some friends from India for help in cooking the tindora, and they made some great suggestions.  I stuck to a fairly simple preparation, and sauteed them in a bit of oil and spices.  It works for almost any vegetable.

I was surprised that the tindora stayed fairly crunchy, even after almost 20 minutes in the frying pan!  The taste was mild, so the spices really made this dish.  I enjoyed them, but even more, I had fun trying a new vegetable.



2 t. oil
1/4 t turmeric
1/4 t coriander
1/2 t cumin
1 c. tindora, quartered lengthwise

Heat oil in a pan.  Add spices, and stir for 1 minutes.  Add tindora, and saute on medium-low heat for 15-20 minutes.

Indian Spiced Spinach

On the night before Christmas Eve, after our big gingerbread project, my family sat down to some Indian food.  I made Chicken Tikka Masala (replacing eggplant with chicken), homemade naan, and a spinach dish inspired by this Saag recipe.  It certainly wasn’t a traditional meal for us, but it turned out to be a great way to kick off over 48 hours of non-stop Christmas activity!

Since the chicken was a bit spicy, I kept the spinach dish fairly mild.  The ginger provided a lot of the flavor here, and the yogurt made it creamy without any additional fat.  Using frozen chopped spinach saved a lot of time.  The original recipe provides a lot of variations for this dish and it could easily be a main course with the addition of tofu or legumes.  I usually have chopped spinach on hand, so I’ll try one of those variations soon and let you know how it goes!


Indian Spiced Spinach

1 T canola oil
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
1 T minced fresh ginger
2 t minced garlic
2 t coriander
1/2 t turmeric
1 (20 oz.) package frozen spinach, thawed
1 c. water
Dash salt
1 c. nonfat plain yogurt

Heat oil in a large frying pan.  Add onion, and saute for 15-20 minutes, until browned.  Add ginger and garlic, and saute for 2-3 minutes.  Add spices, and saute for 1 minute.  Add spinach, water, and salt.  Simmer for 10 minutes, until spinach is cooked.  Add more water if necessary.  Add yogurt and stir to mix well.  Reduce heat, and cook just until heated through.

Eggplant Tikka Masala

One of my favorite non-vegetarian Indian dishes is chicken tikka masala.  I saw this recipe on Pinterest and was drooling.  But why should chicken have all the fun?  I wanted to modify the recipe and make a vegetarian version that was even better.

There are some recipes that substitute Greek yogurt for the heavy cream in a traditional masala.  The reason that heavy cream works best is because it has a high fat content, and doesn’t break down as easily when heated.  So I kept the heavy cream and used a smaller amount to reduce the amount of saturated fat in the final dish.

In the end, the eggplant was fantastic, and I didn’t miss the chicken one bit.  The marinade really does infuse the eggplant with a lot of flavor.  The masala sauce had a beautiful color and a rich taste, but it was a little too thick.  Next time, I would add some vegetarian broth to the tomato sauce for a thinner consistency.    But overall, I am calling this recipe a success!




Eggplant Tikka Masala

2 lb. eggplant, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
6 oz. plain nonfat yogurt
2 T lemon juice
3 t cumin, divided
1/8 t cayenne pepper
1 t cinnamon
1 t ground ginger
2 T oil, divided
2 t minced garlic
1 jalapeno pepper, deseeded and minced
2 t coriander
1 t paprika
1 t garam masala
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
1/2 c. heavy cream

Place eggplant pieces in a large bowl.  In a small bowl, mix yogurt, lemon juice, 2 t cumin, cayenne, cinnamon, and ginger.  Pour marinade on eggplant and stir to coat all pieces.  Place in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours.

Remove eggplant from refrigerator.   Heat 1 T oil in a large pan.  Add eggplant, and cook on medium heat until soft, about 20-25 minutes.  (In the summer, you might try to grill the eggplant in a basket.)

Heat remaining 1 T oil in a separate frying pan.  Add garlic and jalapeno, and saute for 1-2 minutes.  Add remaining 1 t cumin, coriander, paprika, and garam masala to pan, and stir. Add tomato sauce, stir well, and simmer for 10-15 minutes.  Add heavy cream and stir.  Remove from heat, and mix sauce with cooked eggplant. Serve over rice, or with naan.

-Recipe inspired by Mattawa Mum

Poached Eggs over Spiced Lentils

I have to confess….this was the first time I ever poached an egg myself.  Oh, I’ve cooked eggs a hundred other ways, but never poached them.  I was inspired by this recipe for Spiced Lentils and Poached Eggs from Cooking Light.  I am always ready for some spiced lentils, so why not put an egg on top?

I changed a few of the steps and cut out the garnish, with the goal of a simple and quick vegetarian meal.  Keep in mind that red lentils get quite soft, similar to split peas.  It was difficult to really drain them well. If you want lentils which have a little more bite, use the traditional brown ones.  But don’t hold back on the spices here; I was actually glad I used an extra dash of cayenne.  It really makes this recipe great!

To save time, you could prepare the lentils on Sunday, and then heat them up and either poach or fry a fresh egg when you get home from work.   My first poached egg was fine, but the yolk wasn’t as firm as I like.  While poaching eggs isn’t difficult, I think frying eggs is even easier.  Either way, I’ll be making this recipe again soon.



Poached Eggs over Spiced Lentils

1 c. red lentils
1 bay leaf
3 c. water
1 T olive oil
1 large Vidalia onion, chopped finely
1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes, drained
2 t minced garlic
1 t curry powder
1/2 t cumin
Dash cayenne
1 T white vinegar
4 eggs
Salt and pepper

Place lentils, bay leaf, and water in a pot.  Bring to a boil, and simmer covered for 15-20 minutes.  Drain and discard bay leaf, set aside.

Heat olive oil in a pot.  Add chopped onion, and cook on medium-low heat for 10-15 minutes, until softened.  Add tomatoes, and cook for 5 minutes.  Add garlic, curry powder, cumin, and cayenne, and stir well.  Cook for 1 minute, then add lentils to the pot and heat through.  Scoop desired amount of lentils onto each plate.

Meanwhile, fill a shallow wide pan with water and bring to a boil.  Add vinegar, and reduce heat slightly until simmering.  Pour each egg into a small cup, and then slide into the pan.  Simmer for 3 minutes, then remove eggs with a slotted spoon and serve over lentils.

-Adapted from Cooking Light

Eggplant and Mushroom Vindaloo

Another craving for Indian food led me to google new recipes.  At HolyCowVegan.net, I found great Indian recipes along with stories which inspired them.  Vindaloo is traditionally from the Goa region in western India, which was colonized by the Portuguese, so the dish has both Portuguese and Indian influences.  The two key ingredients are vinegar and garlic, and the dish was traditionally made with pork.  As the dish evolved, it was also known for being spicy, and in some cases quite hot.  To get the original recipe and read the whole story with beautiful photos of Goan beaches, head over to HolyCowVegan.  Of course, her version of the dish uses eggplant and mushrooms in place of the pork.

The recipe is long, but the combination of spices is what makes Indian dishes so good, so I wanted to follow it as closely as possible.  I had most of the ingredients in my cabinet, with the notable exception of black mustard seeds.  I took a field trip to the Indian market in Waltham and picked up a large bag of mustard seeds for just $1.49.  I assumed that I could grind the seeds in my food processor, but this wasn’t the case.  I don’t own a coffee grinder, and I actually don’t have a mortar and pestle either.  So I  ignored this issue and left the mustard seeds whole in the marinade.  I have no idea what kind of difference this made, but it was my only option at the time.

Regardless of the issue with the mustard seeds, this recipe was great.  I loved the sweet/sour/spicy flavor combination and the texture of the eggplant and mushrooms.  It actually wasn’t that hot, which might be due to my mild chili powder.  I don’t know if this recipe tasted authentic or not, since I can’t compare it to a restaurant dish.  But I can say that after eating this fabulous meal, my craving for Indian food was completely satisfied.



Chicken Tikka Masala

I’ve wanted to make Chicken Tikka Masala for a while now since it’s one of my favorite Indian dishes.  The version you get in restaurants is usually good but often very heavy.   So I started with this lighter recipe from Skinnytaste, and made just a few changes.  I kept the overall combination of spices which created a flavor that seemed authentic to me, and not too spicy.  The combination of tomatoes and spices also gave the dish a rich color.

I really wanted to see if I could prevent the yogurt from curdling, so I let the masala cool for about 5-10 minutes before stirring it in.  The yogurt still curdled a bit, probably from the acidic tomatoes.  It didn’t matter one bit though, I really liked this dish and am happy to enjoy it right at home!



Chicken Tikka Masala

1 T canola oil
1 large Vidalia onion, peeled and diced
1 T garlic ginger paste
1 T cumin
1 T garam masala
1 t turmeric
2 t chili powder
1 (14 oz.) can diced tomatoes in juice
1/2 c. water
1/2 c. skim milk
5 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite sized pieces
6 oz. plain nonfat Greek yogurt

Heat oil in a large frying pan.  Saute onion on medium-low heat until golden brown, about 15-20 minutes.  Add garlic ginger paste and stir for 1 minute.  Add spices and stir for 1 minute.  Add tomatoes, water, and milk, and simmer for 5-10 minutes.  Add chicken pieces, cover, and simmer until chicken is cooked through.  Remove from heat and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes.  Stir in yogurt and serve.

-Lightly adapted from Skinnytaste

Dal Nirvana

I was really craving some Chana Masala, but I was out of chickpeas.  However, I had a big bag of lentils and I found this recipe for Dal Nirvana.  I made a few changes in an attempt to reduce the amount of saturated fat without compromising the taste.  I replaced the butter and cream in the original recipe with nonfat Greek yogurt, which helped make the dish creamy.  There was just one aesthetic problem – I added the yogurt when the dal was very hot, and it separated.  This didn’t affect the taste of the dish, but the photo is so horrible I can’t even post it.  I also cut back the cayenne pepper so that it wouldn’t be too spicy, and added a dash of curry powder for a little more Indian flavor.

In the end, I liked this dal but it probably won’t make it into my rotation of Indian dishes.  There are just too many recipes that I like even more, like Chana Masala, Chicken Saagwala, and Red Bean Curry.  Plus, there’s plenty more Indian recipes I’d like to try.  I think Chicken Tikka Masala might be next on the list…..



Dal Nirvana

1 c. lentils
1″ piece of ginger, peeled and minced
1 t minced garlic
1/4 t cayenne pepper
Dash salt
Dash curry
1 (14.5 oz.) can petite diced tomatoes
1 (6 oz.) container nonfat plain Greek yogurt
Fresh cilantro

Place lentils in a medium saucepan and cover with water.  Simmer covered for 10-15 minutes, until lentils are tender.  Drain lentils, and return to pan.  Add ginger, garlic, pepper, salt, and curry powder and stir well.  Add tomatoes and 1 cup of water.  Simmer covered for 30 minutes.  Remove cover, and continue to simmer until the mixture is thick.  Remove from heat and allow to cool briefly.  Stir in yogurt and cilantro.  Serve with brown rice or naan.

-Adapted from Budget Bytes


Pan Fried Naan

Just about a year ago, I made homemade naan for the first time.  I was pretty excited, but the naan was missing some flavor.  So I tried again and made Roasted Garlic Naan, which had a great flavor but poor texture.  Dough can be tricky, so I tried that recipe again for some for friends last year.  The consensus was that it was good, but didn’t taste like naan.

So I went back to the kitchen this weekend for yet another try.  This time I used this naan recipe from Budget Bytes.  The dough is much richer because it contains oil, yogurt, and egg.  It was easy to work with, and rose perfectly.  To cook the dough, you roll out 6″ circles and fry them one at a time in a hot pan coated with cooking spray.  When the first one was done, I was in heaven!  The naan was soft, fluffy, and had a nicely fried flavor.  I could have eaten it by itself standing over the stove, but I happened to have a batch of chana masala ready.



I am pretty sure that this will be my go-to naan recipe now.  There are just two things left to do.  First, I want to try adding either garlic butter or butter with fresh herbs next time, which might make this naan perfect.  I’d also like to try cooking these 4 at a time in an electric fry pan, because standing over the stove to cook them one by one was a little time consuming.  And of course, I need to get some people to taste test this version!

Chickpeas and Carrots over Couscous

Just a couple of weeks ago, I made a chickpea and carrot salad which was pretty good.  Then I saw this Cumin-Spiced Chickpeas and Carrots recipe in Cooking Light, and decided that sounded even better.  Most of the comments indicated that the dish needed more sauce, so I increased the amount of liquid and made a few other changes to suit my tastes.

All of the changes worked well, and I really liked this dish.  That was a good thing since it made 5 lunches worth of food!  I also really like using whole wheat couscous as a base for the chickpeas and carrots.  It’s not always available in the regular grocery store, but I do find it at Trader Joe’s.  If you can’t find whole wheat couscous, brown rice would work well too. 




Chickpeas and Carrots over Couscous

1/2 c. vegetable broth
Juice of 1 lemon
8 oz. tomato sauce
2 (15 oz.) cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 T canola oil, divided
2 c. sliced carrots
1 t cumin
1/2 t garam masala
1/4 t salt
1/4 t black pepper
Dash cayenne pepper
4 c. cooked whole wheat couscous

Combine broth, lemon juice, and tomato sauce in a small bowl and set aside.

 Heat 1 T oil in a large skillet over high heat, and fry chickpeas for 5 minutes, or until browned.  Remove chickpeas from pan and set aside. 

Add remaining tablespoon of oil to pan, and add sliced carrots.  Stir fry for 5-10 minutes.  Add cumin, garam masala, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper and stir well.  Add in broth mixture and chikpeas.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.  Serve over couscous.



Carrot and Chickpea Salad

When you’re craving a pot of chana masala but it’s way too hot to turn on the stove, this carrot and chickpea salad just might hit the spot.  I was inpsired by this recipe with beautiful brightly colored carrots.  The original dressing was a little too tart and spicy for me but adding some honey tamed things nicely.

I took a shortcut and bought shredded carrots from the grocery store, but don’t make this mistake.  I know grating carrots is hard on your knuckles, but it will be worth it when you have sweet, tender, freshly grated carrot.  Next time I won’t be so lazy, and that will make this salad even better. 



Carrot and Chickpea Salad

6 oz. nonfat plain yogurt
1 T lemon juice
1 t coriander
1 t cumin
1/2 t turmeric
1/2 t garam masala
1/2 t ground ginger
dash cayenne pepper
2 t honey
1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 c. shredded carrots
Romaine lettuce, cleaned and torn

Mix yogurt, lemon juice, spices and honey in a small bowl and season to taste.  In a larger bowl, mix chickpeas, carrots, and enough dressing to coat.

Serve over a bed of Romaine lettuce, adding more dressing if needed.

-Lightly adapted from Caroline at “Surprised by Joy”