It’s a common belief that a dish with coconut milk is always Thai. In fact, the practice of using coconut and its milk in cooking is very traditional in all the tropical and sub-tropical countries that have a shoreline where coconut is grown in abundance.
It’s believed that the light, fibrous coconuts fall into the sea and floats in the water, traveling to other areas of temperate climate. Early voyagers carried it with them to far lands and thus the coconut became a widespread popularity!
Although we see coconuts in many cuisines, there are a variety of regional recipes evolving from the use of a wide array of spices that complement the rich taste of sweet coconut milk. In India, you will see numerous ways in which a home cook or a trained chef uses coconut milk in creating a variety of delicacies. They use this divine natural food in cooking vegetables, eggs, meat, seafood, and various dessert items. Here's a very simple dish of fish cooked in coconut milk using some Indian spices.
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, grated
½ tsp green chili, chopped (optional)
1 tbsp garlic, minced
2 tsp ginger, minced
2 small tomatoes, chopped
½ tsp Curry Powder
½ tsp paprika
Salt to taste
½ lb tilapia fillet, raw king shrimp, or any such light fish
½ can of 15 oz coconut milk
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp Garam Masala
1 tbsp coriander leaves, chopped
1 Heat the oil in a large, heavy-base saucepan and fry the onions, garlic, and ginger over a high heat for 5-7 minutes until softened and slightly brown in color. Browning develops a nice aroma of curry.
2. Stir in the tomatoes and cook until it becomes mushy and forms a paste-like consistency.
3. Add the Curry Powder, paprika powder, chopped chili (if using), salt, sugar, and Garam Masala and cook for 2 minutes until the mixture blends well.
4. Add ¼ - ½ cup hot water (depending on the thickness of the gravy you desire) and the coconut milk. Stir well and bring it to a boil.
5. Reduce the heat and add the fish of your choice, cover, and simmer for 5-7 minutes based on the type of fish you are cooking or until the gravy becomes nicely thick in consistency and the fish is cooked.
6. Remove from the heat, adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper if required and stir in the coriander leaves. Serve over plain cooked rice.
Prepared mustard is very rarely used in my family, although ground (fresh or store bought) mustard powder is a very common ingredient in my kitchen. In many regions of India, freshly ground mustard and mustard oil are popular for their pungent taste. It creates an interesting flavor combination together with the zesty heat of green chili, which is a must in gravy made with mustard powder because it cuts back the slight bitterness of the mustards. Freshly ground mustard is commonly used in India to make many flavorful dishes like steamed fish, chicken curry, potato gravy, and many types of vegetables curries.
That being said, prepared mustard is definitely a good addition for snacking. It’s really impressive to see so many unique flavors that are now available in the market. I am not a very big fan of pretzels but I was kind of hooked to these slender sticks when I ate them dipped into Chipotle Honey Lime Mustard when I was in a demo at City Olive in Roscoe Village. I was really impressed by the taste of the prepared mustard because it did not have any vinegary taste that is always present in common mustard jars. Moreover, I liked the heat from the chipotle chili, which was quite prominent but mild enough to enjoy the pungent mustard taste. I was sure that I was going to buy one jar before I left City Olive that evening.
Afterwards, I kept thinking about how to use this mustard to bring a new twist to my usual cooking. So, this recipe was evolved and was accepted by everyone in my family. We really liked the taste of this mustard with our chicken and also did not miss the green chili that we use invariably with our mustard gravies. I used 2 tbsp. of the mustard and it was perfectly spicy to our liking. However, I would suggest you use 1 tbsp. of the mustard to start with and taste its spicyness. If you need more you can always add later but it will be difficult to mellow down the heat of the chipotle in the mustard once it's already added. The Garam Masala I used in this recipe also came out very well and complemented the zesty flavor of the mustard.
3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
Pinch of salt and black pepper powder
2 tbsp oil, divided
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 - 2 tbsp Chipotle Honey Lime Mustard from Earth and Vine Provisions
1 tbsp Curry's Garam Masala
1 ½ tsp sugar or other sweetener
Salt to taste
2 cups half and half
Fennel fronds for garnishing
1. Heat the oven to 375 degree F.
2. Wash and pat dry the chicken breasts.
3. Season the breasts with salt and pepper powder.
4. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a cast iron skillet or any pan that is oven safe.
5. Sauté the breasts until it is lightly brown on both sides.
6. Remove the breasts and heat remaining oil.
7. Sauté minced garlic until it is fragrant.
8. Add the other ingredients except the fronds and sauté for another 1-2 minutes
9. Add the half and half and cook for another minute.
10. Add the chicken breasts and coat them nicely with the sauce.
11. Put the skillet in the oven and cook for about 4-5 minutes or until the chicken is cooked and the sauce is slightly thickened.
12. Remove the pan from the oven and cover it to rest for about 5 minutes before you serve it warm.
13. Garnish with the fennel fronds.
This is a recipe suitable for any backyard cook off party - simple, flavorful, and tasty chicken! The citrus beer marinade does all the magic and the resulting chicken is juicy and tender down to the bone.
¼ cup lemon juice
½ - 1 tsp. chili powder (optional)
½ tsp. sea salt
1 chicken, cut up into pieces (8-10 pieces)
1 bottle (12 oz.) Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy Beer
1 ½ tsp. sea salt or to taste
¼ cup sugar, plus extra
1 tsp. black pepper
2 tbsp. Curry's Tandoori Spice
¼-1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper powder (optional)
2 tbsp. vegetable oil, plus extra for sautéing
1. In a large bowl, whisk together lemon juice, chili powder (if using), and salt.
2. Marinate the chicken pieces in this marinade for 30 min.
3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl whisk together beer, salt, sugar, pepper, Tandoori Spice, and vegetable oil.
4. Remove 1 cup of this marinade and keep it aside.
5. Remove the chicken pieces from the first marinade and add it to the beer marinade. Cover the bowl and keep it in the refrigerator and marinate it for 12 to 24 hours. Turn the pieces of chicken several times.
6. Cook the remaining marinade over medium high heat and keep stirring until it reduces to half. Add some more sugar to balance the seasoning as reducing may make it savory. Keep it aside for glazing the chicken while roasting.
7. Remove chicken from refrigerator and bring it to room temperature. Drain chicken from the marinade.
8. In a hot sauté pan over high heat, brown the chicken pieces on both sides.
9. Transfer the chicken to a baking sheet. Brush the pieces with the glaze and bake at 400 F oven for about 20 minutes. Brush the chicken with the glaze two more times. The chicken is done when the internal temperature registers 165° F and it is nicely brown with a few char spots.
Do you like Indian curries? Many people would nod their heads but would also give a skeptical look when it comes to cooking those mouth-watering, highly-aromatic dishes. It is a common myth that all Indian dishes are time-consuming, laborious, and takes a whole lot of time to prepare. Anyone would agree to the suggestion that it's much easier and relaxing to go out and enjoy a scrumptious Indian meal at a restaurant.
This is a crockpot recipe that I developed to make it easy for you to pull together quickly before you leave for work and come back to a pleasant aroma in your home. Do not get apprehended by the long list of the ingredients! The ingredients listed in this recipe are easily available and most of them are probably in your pantry.
Now let's get started!
2 legs of lamb, with bone
2 tbsp lemon juice
½ cup plain yogurt
1 small onion, grated
4 garlic cloves, crushed
½ inch piece of ginger, minced
½ tbsp fresh mint, chopped
1 tbsp Curry’s Meat Spice Rub
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sugar
1-2 tsp coarse salt, to taste
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
¼ - ½ tsp cayenne pepper powder, optional
½ tbsp dried fenugreek leaves (available in ethnic stores), optional
2 medium potatoes cut into large cubes
2 medium carrots cut in medium sized chunks
½ cup water
Pat the lamb legs dry with paper towels and sprinkle some salt and black pepper powder on both sides.
Heat a large, heavy skillet with a drizzle of oil over medium-high heat and brown the lamb on all sides.
Arrange the potatoes and carrots at the bottom of the slow cooker. Transfer the lamb legs and put them on top of the vegetables.
Mix all the other ingredients (except water) in a small bowl to a smooth paste and pour it evenly over the lamb and the vegetables. Spread it on all sides.
Pour the water and cook it in the slow cooker on low for 8 hours.
Serve with plain rice or any kind of bread.
Eggs are not only for breakfast! They are equally delicious as an entree or a side dish to plain rice or crusty bread. Try this simple recipe for your next meal!
¼ cup plus 1 tbsp cooking oil, any kind
2 potatoes cut into 1" cubes (optional)
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 medium sized tomatoes, cut into quarters
1 green chili, chopped (optional)
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ inch piece of ginger, minced
1 tsp Curry’s Curry Powder
½ tsp turmeric powder
¼ tsp cayenne pepper powder (optional)
1 tsp tomato paste
2 tbsp thick plain yogurt, beaten smooth
1 tsp Curry’s Garam Masala
Salt to taste
½ tsp sugar
1 cup water
4 hard-boiled eggs
Fresh coriander leaves for garnish, chopped
1. Heat 2tbsp oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the potato cubes and cook until three fourths of the cubes are cooked and nicely browned on all sides. Remove and keep aside.
2. Heat 1tbsp oil in the skillet. Add the chopped onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion turns golden brown. Grind the cooked onion, tomato, and green chili (if using) in a food processor into a smooth paste.
3. Heat 1tbsp oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion-tomato paste and sauté for 2-3 minutes.
4. Add the minced ginger and garlic, and sauté for 2 more minutes.
5. Add the curry powder, turmeric, cayenne (if using), and tomato paste. Cook, stirring frequently, for about one or two minutes or until the mixture turns dark and highly fragrant.
6. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix Garam Masala spice with the yogurt until you have a smooth mixture.
7. Reduce heat to low and, while whisking continuously, add the yogurt-spice mixture to the curry. Cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture is smooth and slightly thickened.
8. Add the water, salt, and sugar, and increase the heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat again to low and simmer the sauce to thicken.
9. While the sauce is simmering, heat the remaining oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Make four fine slits on the eggs with a sharp knife so that the eggs absorb the flavor from the sauce.
10. Fry the eggs in hot oil. When they begin to turn golden brown in color, remove, and add to the sauce along with the potatoes.
11. Simmer the sauce for 3-4 minutes to allow the flavors to meld and for the eggs to heat through.
12. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve with plain rice or grilled flat bread.
Delicious roasted chicken that is tender, juicy, and full of flavors!
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tbsp. oil
Salt to taste
¼ cup light brown sugar
1½ tbsp. Curry’s Tandoori Rub
½ tbsp. smoked paprika
½ tsp. cayenne pepper powder
1 whole chicken
Heat the oven to 450 F.
In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients for the marinade. Put the chicken in the marinade and leave it for at least 2-12 hours, turning the chicken from time to time for better flavor incorporation.
Remove the chicken from the marinade and shake off all the marinade from its surface. Put the chicken on a roasting pan.
Meanwhile, cook the remaining used marinade until it is reduced to one third and nicely thickened. Brush the chicken with this glaze before putting the pan in the oven.
Roast for 15 minutes then reduce the heat to 375 F. Keep basting the chicken with this glaze several times for a nice golden brown color. Roast the chicken for about 1 hour or until it is fully cooked and browned on all sides with a crispy skin.
Note: Don’t worry about making the glaze out of the used marinade. It’s just like making gravy from the pan jus that is collected during roasting. The marinade will be cooked until it is reduced to one third of its original quantity and it will continue to be cooked again when it is used as a glaze during roasting the chicken. If you are still in doubt, then make two batches of the marinade. Use one part to marinate the chicken and cook the second part for the glaze.
Dr. Gayatri Borthakur, a nutritionist turned entrepreneur, has a PhD in nutrition and a passion for delicious but healthy foods.