Longing for Delicious Creamy Butter Curry Sauce?

Healing with foods, herbs, and spices is nature’s gift to everyone.  Growing up in India, my mother always impressed upon us, “Remember that spices and herbs have medicinal properties and are the heating and cooling energy specialists of the body.  They aid the digestive process and provide heat to the body and cool it.”

Taste and savor my unforgettable curry recipes and sauces.  My cookbooks Feast of India: A Legacy of Recipes and Fables and Editor’s Choice India’s Unsurpassed Cuisine will provide you with easy-to-understand instructions on how to make different curry powder blends, pastes, and sauces for your family and friends.   The anti-oxidant turmeric and a combination of twelve or more different healing spices give curry its delicious and distinctive flavor.  Remember the magic of curry is in the blending and sautéing of spices.  Practice makes perfect.  Once you master this you can create your own repertoire of marvelous dishes that are conversation pieces with your guests.

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Creamy Butter Curry Sauce  (Makhani Masala)
Serves 6

This is a creamy butter-spice curry sauce from my second cookbook Editor’s Choice India’s Unsurpassed Cuisine used mostly for Mughal-style chicken dishes. Make this sauce a day ahead and refrigerate overnight for use the next day.

2 pounds tomatoes, chopped
4 cups water
1¾ teaspoons Ginger Paste
1¾ teaspoons Garlic Paste
3 green chilies, chopped fine
½ teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
10 cloves
8 green cardamom pods
Salt to taste
2/3 cup unsalted butter
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons fresh fenugreek leaves, chopped fine
1-inch piece fresh gingerroot, peeled and sliced

Heat the wok over medium heat.

Add the tomatoes, 4 cups water, ginger and garlic pastes, green chilies, chili powder, turmeric, cloves, cardamom, and salt. Cover and stir occasionally, for 20 minutes until tomatoes are soft.

Strain through a sieve and set sauce aside.

Heat the wok over medium heat.

Add the strained tomato sauce, stirring for 3–4 minutes while bringing to a boil.

Add the butter and cream and stir for 1–2 minutes.

Add the brown sugar, fenugreek, and fresh ginger. Mix for 2–3 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Refrigerate.

The next day, remove the sauce from the refrigerator one hour before cooking.

Heat ½ cup corn oil in a wok over high heat.  Reduce heat to medium.  Add the creamy butter curry sauce and mix thoroughly, stirring occasionally for ten minutes.  Add the boneless chicken pieces and mix thoroughly.  Cover and simmer for forty minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure ingredients do not stick to the bottom of the wok.  Remove and serve hot with plain basmati rice, roti, and fresh salad.

 

 

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Highly Nutritious Legumes, or Dals

Legumes or dried beans and peas have been a part of the ancient Indian culinary tradition and the generic name for all members of the dried pea and bean family is dal.  Containing enzymes, fiber, minerals, and vitamins, dal is easily digested and highly nutritious, and is an accompaniment of almost every Indian lunch. The repertoire of dal dishes is indeed extensive, from liquid soups and thick purees, stews, fried appetizers, crispy pancakes and crepes, sauces, and chutneys to sprouted salads and delicious sweetmeats.

Dal is always prepared in combination with pungent herbs and spices, such as garlic, ginger, onion, black pepper, chilies, mustard seeds, asafoetida, cumin, coriander, turmeric, fenugreek seeds, onion seeds, salt, and oil or clarified butter.

The seasoning technique (baghar or tarka) is always the same: In a small pan, heat some oil or ghee and add the required amount of cumin and mustard seeds. When the seeds start popping, add the chopped onion, ginger, garlic, crushed red dried chilies, and a pinch of asafoetida. Stir and cook for a minute, removing the pan from the heat. This blend of seasoning is used to garnish cooked lentils served with rice or chapatis.

To tenderize and save cooking time, it is a good idea to soak kidney beans, black-eyed peas / cow-pea, garbanzo/chickpeas overnight in cold water with ¼ teaspoon baking soda. Other legumes and beans can be soaked in cold water for 20 minutes before preparing.

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Spicy Legumes (Masalawale Dal)
Serves 6

½ cup pigeon peas
½ cup pink lentils
½ cup split green peas
½ cup split yellow peas
½ cup split black beans
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
10 cloves garlic, peeled
1-inch piece fresh gingerroot, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons water
¼ cup corn oil
1 large onion, peeled and sliced fine
1 tablespoon ground coriander
¼ teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
8 cups water
Salt to taste
1 fresh green chili, chopped
½ teaspoon roasted ground cumin
½ roasted basic garam masala
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped fine

Soak the beans and lentils together overnight in a pot of cold water. Rinse and drain the beans.

In a food processor, puree the chopped onion, garlic, ginger, and 2 tablespoons water.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the sliced onions and sauté for 5–6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden brown.

Add the onion paste, coriander, chili powder, and turmeric, stirring constantly for 4–5 minutes, until the mixture turns brown and the oil separates.

Add 8 cups water. Stir and boil.

Add the beans and salt, and mix. Cover and simmer for 30–40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender and the liquid is of a thick consistency.

Add the green chili and cumin, and mix. Cover and cook for another 10 minutes.

Add roasted garam masala, lemon juice, and fresh cilantro leaves. Cover for 5 minutes.

Serve hot with basmati rice, vegetables, chicken curry, and yogurt salad.

Curry Power Beckons!

The preparation of Indian foods is not as complicated as most people make it out to be. All you need to do is follow the basic techniques, and even the most hard-to-understand recipe becomes quite simple to prepare. Share the joys of good health and nutrition experienced by many in the world of sensuous culinary delights residing within the pages of my cookbooks Feast of India: A Legacy of Recipes and Fables and Editor’s Choice India’s Unsurpassed Cuisine. Masterfully adapted for use in any kitchen, ‘How To’ instructions are simple and easy to understand.  Taste a dazzling repertoire of authentic, delicious and easy-to-prepare healthy recipes of diverse flavors from India’s ancient and distinguished culinary heritage.

Garlic, Ginger, Green Chili, Onion

Cilantro or fresh coriander (dhaniya patha): Coriander seeds and leaves are the secret to delicious, mouth-watering dishes and chutneys. Coriander causes sweating and is considered a diuretic.

Garlic (lahsun): A major seasoning (gingerroot and onion being the other two) in Indian cooking, garlic is used in almost every regional curry, legume (dal), and vegetable dish. In India, garlic is used for many purposes including aiding digestion and absorption of food, and is considered a diuretic and gentle laxative. Its rejuvenating properties help prevent decay, postpone aging, and revitalize tissues. As a natural anti-biotic, it destroys and inhibits the growth of bacteria and other microorganisms, heal wounds, and protects against infection.

Ginger (adrak): Known as the spice that keeps out the biting cold, its Sanskrit name is singabera. Gingerroot has been grown in India and China since remotest times and was among the first spices to make their way to ancient Alexandria and from that great harbor city to Greece and Rome. For many years ginger was considered the rich man’s spice and often worth its weight in gold. Like garlic and onion, it is one of the three major seasonings used in almost every curry, legume, and vegetable dish.

Green Chili (hari mirch): Fresh green chili peppers are an important ingredient of Indian cooking and come in hundreds of varieties. Used in almost every chutney, vegetable snack, and curry, vegetable and legume dishes, they make a dish palatable. Chili is excellent for the skin because it opens up clogged pores and expels toxins.

Onion (pyaz): Cooks everywhere agree that an onion makes every dish tastier! Like garlic and ginger, onions are an important ingredient in curries and determine the consistency of the curry sauce. Onion helps kill germs, destroys bacteria and infection-causing microorganisms, and is considered a diuretic.

Sweet Cilantro* Chutney

(Meethi Dhaniya ka Chutney)

Chutney

1 bunch fresh cilantro leaves, stems removed and discarded
1 cup fresh grated coconut
2 small onions, peeled and sliced
2 fresh green chilies
4 medium garlic cloves, peeled
1/2-inch piece fresh gingerroot, peeled and chopped
Juice of 1 medium lemon
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup water
Salt to taste

Wash and drain the cilantro leaves.

In a food processor, puree all ingredients with 1/4 cup water.

Serve with kebab or your favorite snack and hors d’oeuvre.

 *You can also add a cup of fresh mint leaves.

Much More to Curry than Meets the Eye

“There is more to Curry than meets the eye… Over the centuries in the East, eating and conversation have developed into cultivated arts. The aim is not to devour food but to taste it, savor it, and enjoy it because food has a stronger psychological bearing on health than most of us realize. Based on sensible beliefs more than 3,000 years ago, and over centuries of study, testing, and observation, nourishment of the body and contentment of the mind proved vital to the eating habits of the people of the Indian subcontinent. The precepts of the six rasas, or flavors developed and became part of every meal. Each flavor is believed to have its therapeutic health remedy and was prescribed in a particular proportion to the others. Since food was believed to influence behavior as well as physical well-being, these beliefs were taken seriously, evolving through time…” From my first book Feast of India: A Legacy of Recipes and Fables* (1991)

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*Reprinted in 2016 by iUniverse as An Author’s Guild BackinPrint.com Edition

The fame of Indian spices is older than recorded history and the cuisines of India are as mixed as its culture, racial structure, and geography. Characteristic of all Indian cooking, however, is the blending of spices. Great care is taken not only to ensure that spices enhance rather than dominate the basic flavor of the meal but also to retain their innate nutritional and therapeutic value. For centuries many of these spices and herbs have been used to stimulate the taste buds and increase the flow of saliva, relieve gas, and reduce nausea, soothe the nervous system, increase internal body heat to relieve chills, and strengthen and promote digestion, absorption, metabolism, and circulation.

For example India’s ancient yellow colored curcumin or turmeric powder, used in many curry recipes ‘is arguably the most potent anti-cancer nutrient in existence.’  Today western research suggests that curcumin regulates inflammation that “plays a major role in most chronic illnesses, including neuro-degenerative, cardiovascular, pulmonary, metabolic, autoimmune and neoplastic diseases and aids in healing by ameliorating the chronic inflammation associated with a multitude of ailments and illnesses, from toothaches to cardiovascular disease.”

We are what we eat. Discover and share my dazzling repertoire of authentic, delicious, healthy, and easy-to-prepare recipes of diverse flavors with your friends from my new book Editor’s Choice India’s Unsurpassed Cuisine to stay healthy.

Sautéed Curried Okra
(Bhindi Masala)

Serves 6

Okra

3 pounds fresh okra
1/4 cup corn oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 large onion, peeled and chopped fine
8 medium cloves garlic, peeled and sliced fine
¾-inch piece fresh gingerroot, peeled and chopped fine
1 fresh green chili, chopped fine
2 sprigs fresh curry leaves
¾ teaspoon ground turmeric
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 medium tomato, chopped fine
Salt to taste

Wash and drain the okra. Cut the ends and discard. Slice the okra into ½-inch pieces.

Heat the oil in a wok over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and sauté for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly, until they change color to a darker shade.

Add the onion, garlic, ginger, green chili, and curry leaves, and sauté for 5-6 minutes, stirring constantly, until soft and golden brown.

Add the turmeric, coriander, and cumin, stirring constantly for 3–4 minutes.

Add the okra, tomato, and salt, and mix for 1–2 minutes.

Cover and simmer for 8–10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent the ingredients from sticking, until okra is tender and golden brown.

Serve hot with rice, lamb curry, legumes, Indian salad, and mint chutney.

Discover the Health Benefits of Curry

The curry spices and herbs utilized in my delicious recipes in Editor’s Choice India’s Unsurpassed Cuisine have extraordinary health benefits.

  • For example India’s ancient yellow colored curcumin or turmeric powder, used in many of my curry recipes (Chapters 4 – 15) is arguably the most potent anti-cancer nutrient in existence.  Curcumin, which gives curry its golden color is the main biologically active phytochemical compound of turmeric.  Long believed to benefit general health, today western research suggests that curcumin  regulates inflammation that “plays a major role in most chronic illnesses, including neurodegenerative, cardiovascular, pulmonary, metabolic, autoimmune and neoplastic diseases” and aids in healing by ameliorating the chronic inflammation associated with a multitude of ailments and illnesses, from toothaches to cardiovascular disease.
  • “There is definitely no shortage of scientific evidence these days to show that curcumin, the believed to be primary active ingredient in the spice turmeric hold incredible therapeutic value, and just might be the most advisable medicinal spice of our day.  Besides quelling anti-inflammatory pain and promoting wound healing, turmeric is a seemingly miraculous anti-cancer nutrient of the highest order.  Curcumin is an all-round health agent that promotes vibrant health…” http://truthisscary.com/2013/03/curcumin-vs-cancer-the-scientific-evidence-continues/
  • According to Bharat Aggarwal, PhD, Professor of Cancer Medicine at the University of Texas, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, “curcumin is unique and versatile as an anti-cancer agent because it can attack multiple targets linked with cancer promotion at one.  Hundreds of cell and animal studies suggest that curcumin inhabits the development of many cancers, including pancreatic, colon, prostrate, liver, esophageal, and multiple myeloma.” http://preventcancer.aicr.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=17275&news_iv_ctrl=0&abbr=res_

We are what we eat.  My ‘gift of good health’ came from a spiritual reawakening through Indian food because it promotes creativity, life, vitality, strength, health, laughter, joy, and cheerfulness.

Chicken Curry

Hyderabad-Style Chicken Curry

(Hyderabadi Murgh Korma)

Serves 6

2½ pounds chicken pieces
1 cup plain yogurt
1-inch piece fresh gingerroot, peeled and chopped
10 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon chili powder
¾ teaspoon ground turmeric
½ cup fresh coconut
½ cup unsalted cashew nuts
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
Salt to taste
4 tablespoons sesame seeds
4 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
¾ cup corn oil
7 green cardamom pods
2 black cardamom pods
2 cinnamon sticks
2 bay leaves
¼ teaspoon ground mace
3 cups water
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
½ cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped fine

Remove the skin and fat from the chicken, wash and drain the chicken, and set aside in a large bowl.

In a food processor, puree the yogurt, ginger, garlic, onion, chili powder, turmeric, coconut, cashew nuts, nutmeg, and salt.

Combine the yogurt mixture and sesame seeds with the chicken. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Wash the potatoes and drain.

Heat the oil in a wok over high heat and sauté the cardamom, cinnamon, bay leaves, and mace for 1–2 minutes, stirring constantly, until the spices change color to a darker shade.

Reduce the heat to medium, add the chicken and marinade, and stir for 5 minutes until boiling.

Add 3 cups water and mix. Cover and cook for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent ingredients from sticking, until chicken is tender.

Add the potatoes and lemon juice, and mix. Cover and simmer for 7–8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are cooked.

Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves and serve hot with rice, roti, vegetables, legumes, and tossed salad.

Why Should You Eat Curry?

All the spices and herbs utilized in my new cookbook India’s Unsurpassed Cuisine have enormous health benefits. For example the yellow colored curcumin or turmeric powder, used in my curry recipes (see Chapters 4 – 15) is arguably the most potent anti-cancer nutrient in existence. “There is definitely no shortage of scientific evidence these days to show that curcumin, the believed to be primary active ingredient in the spice turmeric hold incredible therapeutic value, and just might be the most advisable medicinal spice of our day. Besides quelling anti-inflammatory pain and promoting wound healing, turmeric is a seemingly miraculous anti-cancer nutrient of the highest order. Curcumin is an all-round health agent that promotes vibrant health…”

Curry Whole Spices

I teach my grandkids (ages 20-10 years) how to cook their favorite curry recipes to create understanding and awareness that:

  • The spices utilized in Indian cuisine are healthy because they are major sources of vitamins and minerals needed to preserve human life
  • The magic of curry is in the blending and sautéing of spices (masala)
  • Legume and bean dishes are always seasoned with asafoetida, coriander, cumin, fenugreek, garlic, ginger, onion, and turmeric to reduce gas and make food light to digest
  • Vegetables always need coriander, cumin, garlic, ginger, onion, and turmeric
  • Certain spices such as bay leaf, black pepper, cardamom, chili pepper, cinnamon, clove, coriander, cumin, garlic, ginger, nutmeg, onion, and turmeric work well together for meat and vegetable curries. Cardamon, cinnamon, and nutmeg are natural astringent substances that help to tighten and firm tissues, organs, and skin and rejuvenate the body. Black pepper is a heating agent or ‘fire’ that increases internal heat and opens up congested sinuses and aids digestion
  • Simple utensils and tools are used to prepare your favorite Chicken Curry, Basmati Rice, Sweet Mint Chutney, Grilled Salmon with Herbs, Butter Chicken, and Curried Chickpeas with Poori Bread
  • Most importantly, Indian cuisine is an inexpensive way to stay healthy

We are what we eat. My ‘gift of good health’ came from a spiritual reawakening through Indian food because it promotes creativity, life, vitality, strength, health, laughter, joy, and cheerfulness. Make the connection today to stay healthy and remain healthy with Editor’s Choice India’s Unsurpassed Cuisine and Feast of India: A Legacy of Recipes and Fables.