Wednesday, June 8, 2011

I Wish I was a Windian

My first brush with Indian food was when I was fairly young.  A business colleague of my dad’s would send him a jar of Tandoori paste, among other things, every year for Christmas.  At one point, my mom was brave enough to use the bright orange condiment, though I forget how she prepared it.  There were most likely instructions on the jar, something about cooking chicken and adding the paste.  It did not go over well in our family.  In fact it became sort of a joke for us to receive said jar every year, and they started to accumulate in our pantry. Until my Aunt told us how wonderful Tandoori paste was and that she would happily relieve us of it.
This was my only impression of Indian food until I went to college.  And I have been happily consuming pretty much any form of Indian cuisine put in front of me ever since.  My college roommate for all four years was of Indian descent and she introduced me and our other roommates freshman year to the wonders of Indian fare by ordering a slew of dishes from a local restaurant and then sitting in a circle on the floor of our dorm room and going to it.  Of course the home cooked meals I had at her family’s house and as leftovers brought back to school were far superior, but nevertheless, I was hooked.
I managed to glean a few general recipes from friends and families along the way, but typically I rely on the ever present Indian restaurant to fulfill any cravings.  That is, until we moved to Maine.  Yes, there are some Indian restaurants in the ‘big cities’ of Portland and Bangor, but both of those are about an hour away.  And when the need for chana masala hits, it hits hard.
I do have a few Indian cookbooks in my possession, but sometimes it seems like the steps and time necessary to produce something remotely similar to what Baa (Gujarathi for Grandmother) could whip up in no time would take me days.  I found that I could easily make a version of chicken Tikka, which paired with frozen samosas and a packet or two of microwaved side dishes could fill the gaping Indian food hole in my stomach. 
But pouring packets of palak paneer into bowls straight from the microwave can only sustain a girl for so long.  I had to learn to make my own side dish.  I have the spices and I have the desire, so it should be no problem.  That is what I am going to share with you today.  My Indian side dish.  I claim no regional accuracy for this recipe, but it tastes good and can satisfy any curry craving that might creep up on you.
Indian Spiced Green Beans with Potatoes and Tomatoes
I like to use whole spices if I have them, but you can always use ground here instead.

1 ½ pounds fresh green beans, trimmed
½ pound fingerling potatoes, yellow fleshed preferred
1 pint grape tomatoes cut in half
2 Tb. olive oil
½ large onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tb fresh ginger, minced
½ tsp. coriander seeds, crushed with the back of a spoon
½ tsp. Mustard seeds
2 whole cloves
¼ tsp. ground turmeric
½ tsp. curry powder
2 Tb. Plain yogurt
Salt and pepper to taste

Slice the fingerling potatoes into coins and place in a large skillet.  Add about a cup and a half of water and boil until potatoes are soft and water is mostly evaporated.  Next, add the oil, onion, garlic and ginger and sauté until fragrant.
Add green beans, coriander, mustard seeds, and cloves tossing to coat.  Add another 1/3 cup of water and cook, covered until green beans are tender.  Then add the turmeric, curry powder and tomatoes, tossing to coat all vegetables in spices.  Cook about one minute, then add in yogurt and salt and pepper.  Stir to combine and serve. 

Serves 4 to 6 as a side dish

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please feel free to leave a comment, suggestion or question.