Sunday, March 4, 2007

Indian food

We seem to go in waves of wanting and making Indian food all the time to wanting nothing to do with it at all. I guess we get our fix and then we are good for quite a while. When I was 12, my parents bought a house that was previously owned by an Indian family. I remember when we were unpacking the kitchen, there was this odor that made me want to gag. We had no idea what it was. We would try to pinpoint it. "It's like honey mixed with soy sauce and spices". It was a distinct smell. In the last several years as my tastebuds have changed, I discovered the joys of cooking my own Indian food. We have a tasty Indian restaurant here called Bombay House. Anyway, I went to an International market to get Indian ingredients and I smelled this scent from this house we had lived in so long ago. I was sniffing like a dog on all the packaging until I found it. It was fenugreek seeds. They have quite an odor, except this time, I found it sweet, exotic and it was cool to experience the whole "the smell took me back in time to another place". That house will probably always smell of fenugreek seeds and other Indian spices no matter who lives there. Amazing stuff.

We tried Chicken in a Cashew Nut Sauce with some friends before they moved away to Arizona. I think we were all quite pleased. This recipe is from one of those Barnes and Noble or Borders $5.00 cookbooks. They are actually really good books. We have Indian, Healthy Indian Cooking, and Best-Ever Curry Cookbook.

Chicken in a Cashew Nut Sauce
2 medium onions
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1/3 cup cashew nuts
1½ tsp. garam masala
1 tsp. garlic pulp
1 tsp. chili powder
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
¼ tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. natural (plain) low-fat yogurt
2 Tbsp. corn oil
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)
1 Tbsp. sultanas (golden raisins)
3¼ cups chicken, skinned, boned and cubed
2½ cups button mushrooms (we leave these out)
1¼ cups water
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)

Cut onions into quarters and place in a blender or food processor. Process for 1 minute. Add the tomato paste, nuts, garam masala, garlic, chili powder, lemon juice, turmeric, salt and yogurt to the processed onions. Process all the ingredients for a further 1-1½ minutes. In a saucepan, heat the oil, lower the heat to medium and pour in the spice mixture from the food processor. Fry for about 2 minutes, lowering the heat if necessary. Add the fresh cilantro, raisins, and chicken and continue to stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the mushrooms, pour in the water and bring to a simmer. Cover the saucepan and cook over a low heat for about 10 minutes. After this time, check to see that the chicken is cooked through and the sauce is thick. Cook for a little longer if necessary. Serve garnished with chopped fresh cilantro.

We tried this recipe once with the mushrooms and once without. We definitely like it without. I like mushrooms, but for some reason, the mushrooms just tasted really bad to us in this recipe.

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