Want a Change of Pace? Try Indian Recipes that Require 30 Minutes or Lessby Larry Cox on Jul. 04, 2012, under Uncategorized
Quick-Fix Indian: Easy, Exotic Dishes in 30 Minutes or Less by Ruta Kahate (Andrews McMeel, $16.99)
I like Indian food but I have never really prepared it in my home kitchen. Perhaps it is because some of the ingredients are a little difficult to find, maybe the cuisine is a little too exotic, especially for casual family dining. Both of these assumptions are wrong as I quickly discovered through the recipes in this new cookbook.
Ruta Kahate, who divides her time between the San Francisco Bay Area and the coastal state of Goa, India, is a chef, author and culinary travel guide. She gained much of her reputation while running a popular California cooking school.
In her new recipe collection, Kahate makes Indian cooking accessible even for the beginning cook. The 125 recipes run from the fairly simple to the more complex but all can be made in the family kitchen in 30 minutes or less. She begins her book with a basic shopping list for such ingredients as chickpea flour, mustard seeds, coconut milk, fresh ginger, chiles, and split lentils. The shortcut shelf is devoted to directions for making such staples as ginger paste, red masala, and paneer. Don’t be alarmed when confronted with new terms since the author demystifies them.
The recipes are grouped into twelve basic chapters: Brisk Breakfasts; Lightning Lunches; Swift Soups; Speedy Salads and Raitas; Mains in Minutes; Express Veggies; Snappy Staples; Curries in a Hurry (dals, too); Rapid relishes; Zippy Snacks; Double-Quick Desserts; and Last-Minute Libations.
I tested three recipes from this cookbook and was amazed at how easy they were to prepare. As promised, they took just a matter of minutes from kitchen counter to the supper table. The three dishes tested were Stir-Fry Beef with Peppers which cooks in India describe as a “chilly fry,” a Picked Cucumber and Carrot Salad featuring serrano chiles, and a really delightful Green Mint Relish, a condiment found in almost every Indian restaurant.
This is a fun cookbook that steers a family meal in an exciting new direction.
GREEN MINT RELISH
Makes 1 cup
1 cut mint leaves, packed tightly
½ c fresh cilantro
2 medium green serrano chiles
½ c shopped tomato
½ tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp Ginger Paste
2 Tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice
Place the mint, cilantro, chiles, tomato, cumin, ginger paste, lemon juice, and salt to taste in a blender jar and puree until very fine. Scape down the sides of the jar often. Although you shouldn’t need more liquid to get the mixture going, it’s acceptable to add a tablespoon or two of water.
Taste and adjust the salt. Transfer to an airtight, nonreactive container and refrigerate until ready to use.
This relish should keep in the refrigerator for about a week.