Thursday, March 1, 2012

Recipe Thursday: Indian Cuisine makes its way into the Bussells Household

I've talked before about my deep, undying love for Indian food. These past few weeks have been relatively craving-free but finally Sunday I woke up and couldn't stop thinking about Nirlep's Sunday lunch buffet. Carl and I went grocery shopping that afternoon and I found myself lingering in the fake meat/frozen health food section of Publix when my eyes locked in on this little gem:

Aside from the occasional Amy's entree I haven't seen anything like this before. I scanned the ingredients and was oh, so pleased to find a very short list of normal foods. I snuck it into our cart before Carl could see the price and it made its way home with us and onto our plates for dinner. YUM!! I'm not ashamed to say that I licked my plate. And Carl's plate. And the container that it cooked in. If I could afford to eat this for every meal I most definitely would. I was a little bummed because Publix only carried this and one other chicken variety, and judging by their website they have quite an expansive product line that Publix is holding out on for whatever reason. Hopefully more people will start buying them up so they'll sell all the other kinds!

Inspired by the relative simplicity of the ingredients on the packaging I started to wonder if I could make my own budget-friendly Channa Masala that was just as delicious. I followed this recipe somewhat loosely, adding a few diced tomatoes to the chickpeas near the end and omitting the coriander that I mistakenly thought we already had but didn't. You start by blending the tomato, onion, garlic, and ginger into a thick paste and then sauté it for several minutes. Here's my curry starting to bubble:

Then you add the rest of the spices and the chickpeas and continue sauteing a little longer. Doesn't get much easier than that! I'd say the hardest part is shopping for/locating some of the more obscure spices. We actually had most of them already, except Garam Masala which is a delicious blend of spices commonly found in Indian cooking. Here's the final product on a bed of rice alongside some curry potatoes and broccoli:

In the top right hand corner you'll also see my dairy-free attempt at Raita, normally a yogurt-based cucumber sauce served to help counter the spiciness of the curry (similar to the Greek Tzatziki sauce). My recipe needs a little tweaking, but all in all it wasn't bad! Once I get it to taste closer to the real thing I'll share it. 

I was pretty pleased with my first stab at Indian cooking. I even brought the leftovers for my lunch the next day and ate them cold served over lettuce... just like they do in India, I'm sure. I hate to say it, but I think Tandoor Chef wins this round- although Nirlep still wins every round. I wish it was acceptable for me to go to the restaurant and poke around the kitchen and watch them cook for a few days. Maybe they'd accept me as an apprentice?  


  1. YAY for indian food. I would recommend cumin in your recipe. it adds a lot of flavor and you just have to brown the seeds with a little bit of oil before hand. curry powder is a STAPLE for most meals too, just a tablespoon goes a long way, and it normally has the spices you need in it. i can pick up some for you up here!

    1. Ooh, thanks for the tips! I would LOVE some curry powder. Also, I realized that we have an Indian specialty store by our house so I might make you come with me and tell me what I should get when y'all are here!