Friday, February 26, 2010

The Indian Feast (and other matters)

So I logged on today and realized it'd been almost three weeks since I've posted! I do apologize, but you really don't want to know THAT much about my life, do you? It's been horribly boring. Except for my friend's 40th birthday that involved a trip to Dave & Buster's and a cake that I made with a bottle of wine on the top also made out of cake. She loved it, and that was really cool, because she had had a really rough week that involved enough meds to make a druggie blink, so she needed the outing and the cake... and the gift certificate to Williams-Sonoma and the dozen or so mini-bottles of liquor that we also got her. And the pasties, but that's a whole other story.

However!

M1's been happy with school again, and this week we've been studying India, and so, in the tradition that we have around here, that means...

FEAST TIME!!!!!

Because I am the ultimate over-achiever with a horrid Type A personality, the menu read like that of a small Indian restaurant:

1. Tandoori chicken
2. Saag paneer
3. Indian fried rice
4. Gulab jamun
5. Chai

And because I really *AM* the ultimate over-achiever with a horrid Type A personality (no, really...), and I am also incredibly lazy and didn't feel like getting out of my holey gray sweatpants to make a trip to Whole Foods to find paneer and didn't decide till today that we were even having saag paneer...

I went to the small grocery store near my house where my happy holey sweatpants are socially acceptable and bought whole milk and...

Made my own paneer.

'Twas quite simple, actually.

You start with 3 quarts of whole milk and 1-1/2 tablespoons of salt...

Bring that to a happy little boil (and watch it like a hawk so it doesn't completely boil over, kill your stove and stink to high heaven like burned milk tends to do), turn the heat down, add 5 tablespoons of vinegar or lemon juice, give it a quick stir till all the curds rise to the top, and then drain it all in a cloth draped in a colander.

After you drain it for 10 minutes, then you wrap it all up tight, squash it between two plates and stick something heavy on the top to press it all together (I happened to have a case of silverware handy, but shhhh... that's just between you and me).

And that's how you make paneer.

Having finished the paneer, it was time to make the marinade for the tandoori chicken. Lots of spices and some plain yogurt were involved with that.

It came out absolutely delicious and, better yet, wasn't dyed red!

M1 helped make the dessert. Gulab jamun, it's called - fried milkballs in simple syrup. The local Indian restaurant serves them, and I've always loved them, but I've never made them. They are also incredibly easy to make.

Mix 1 cup of powdered milk with 1/2 c. Bisquick (of all things!) and enough whole milk to make a dough. Make balls out of the dough, and fry it on as low a heat as possible. They sink when they're raw but float when they're completely cooked, and you have to turn them constantly.
M1 did the turning and cooked all of them! It was the first time he'd ever worked with hot oil, and I was a bit nervous, but he did great!

Here they are resting on the plate. After you get them cooked, you mix up 1 c. water with 2 c. sugar and a bit of cardamom, heat that till everything's all melted, and let the milkballs soak in the syrup all day. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Saag paneer, all finished.

Gulab jamun, after they've been soaking all day. Most delicious.

And because I can't resist, here's an extremely belated Valentine's Day wish for all of you.

Pavlova.

I'll be back soon! I promise!

1 comment:

Lisa said...

Wow, this is awesome!! What a great way to learn:)
Where did you find the recipes you used? If you found them on-line I would love to have the links.

I would have been nervous about the oil too, but sometimes I guess you get over it and just do it.