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HEOG Indian Cookery Demonstration - 20th November 2004

All recipes for 6 people

Curry-Laced Tomato-Lentil Broth - Tomato Rasam

This is the most famous soup of Madras, in southern India. A luscious tomato and lentil broth, it is gently perfumed with mustard seeds and curry. Because this soup is spicy and fragrant, it makes an excellent first course for a formal meal.

1 lb/500 g ripe tomatoes, fresh or canned
6 oz/75 g cooked lentils
½ pint/300 ml water
1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
¼-½ teaspoon cayenne
1 tablespoon minced onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons coarse salt, or to taste
1 tablespoon lemon juice

For Spiced Butter:
1 tablespoon usli ghee
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
8 curry (kari) leaves (fresh or dry), or 2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander

  1. Blanch, peel, and cut the tomatoes in half. Scoop out the pulp and pips. Set aside the tomato shells, and mince the pulp and pips in a blender, a food processor, or with a sharp knife.

  2. Put the lentils in a deep pot. Add 1/2 pint/300 ml water and whisk for a minute to crush some of the lentils. Add the puréed tomatoes, cumin, coriander, cayenne, onion, garlic, and salt, and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and cook at a gentle boil, partially covered, for 10 minutes. Add the lemon juice and tomato halves and continue cooking, uncovered, for 1 minute, until the tomatoes are heated and barely cooked. Turn off the heat. Keep the soup covered while you make the spiced butter.

  3. Heat the ghee in a small frying pan until very hot. Add the mustard seeds carefully. Keep a lid handy, as the seeds may fly all over. When the seeds stop spattering, add the curry leaves and turn off the heat. Pick up the pan and shake it for a few seconds. Pour the entire contents over the soup and mix well. If you are using coriander instead of curry leaves, add it now. This should be a rather thin soup. If it is too thick, add water. Serve piping hot in individual soup bowls.

Clarified Butter - Usli Ghee

Butter in India is called makkhan. Clarified butter, instead of being called makkhan ghee, is called usli ghee (usli means 'real' or 'pure', which in this context refers to the real, or original fat of the ancient Indians). Usli ghee has a light caramel colour and a heavenly aroma. Since there is no moisture present, it keeps well covered, at room temperature, for several months.

To make clarified butter (usli ghee), place 8 oz/250 g unsalted butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and put on a burner. Keep the heat low until the butter melts completely, stirring often during the process. Increase the heat to medium-low and let the butter simmer until it stops crackling, thus indicating that all the moisture has evaporated and the milk residue is beginning to fry. As soon as the solids turn brown, turn off the heat and take the pan off the stove, Let the residue settle to the bottom of the pan, then strain the clear butterfat into another container. When it is completely cool, will turn a creamy colour.

Cauliflower, Aubergine, and Potato in Herb Sauce - Sabzi Korma

Korma is the classic Moghul technique of braising vegetables in a thick, nut-rich sauce. In this process the vegetables retain their flavour and shape during cooking. Thus korma dishes are considered one of the most elegant preparations in vegetarian cooking. Here the vegetables (the cauliflower, aubergine, and potato) are cooked in a fennel-and-coriander-scented and almond-tomato sauce. The toasted sesame seed garnish adds an interesting texture and a nutty flavour to the dish.

6 tablespoons light vegetable oil
8 oz/250 g onions, finely chopped
2 teaspoons garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons grated or crushed fresh ginger
4 tablespoons minced fresh coriander
1 oz/30 g ground blanched almonds
1 tablespoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon ground fennel
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon turmeric
4 oz/l25 g tinned tomato purée
(or 2 medium-size tomatoes puréed with skin and 2 teaspoons tomato concentrate)
1 teaspoon paprika
½ pint/300 ml water
1 medium cauliflower, core and stalk removed, and cut into 1 ½ in/4 cm florets
1 small aubergine, unpeeled, cut into 1½ in/4 cm cubes
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 ½ in/4 cm cubes
1 ½ teaspoons ground roasted cumin seeds or garam masala
2 teaspoons coarse salt, or to taste
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

  1. Measure out the spices and place them next to the stove in separate piles. Heat the oil in a large heavy frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the minced onion and fry, stirring, until browned (about 10 minutes). Stir in the garlic and ginger and continue cooking for another 2 minutes. Add the minced coriander and almonds, and cook for 2 more minutes.

  2. Stir in the ground coriander, fennel, cayenne, and turmeric, and let the spices sizzle for a few seconds. Add the puréed tomatoes and paprika, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 2 minutes. Stir constantly to prevent sticking and burning.

  3. Add 1/2 pint/300 ml water, cauliflower, aubergine, and potatoes; raise the heat to high and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes or until the cauliflower is cooked but still crisp. Turn off the heat and stir in the cumin or garam masala and salt. Let stand, covered, for 30 minutes, allowing the flavours to blend, before you serve.

Serve sprinkled with sesame seeds.

Tomato Pilaf - Tamatar Bhat

An uncommonly good-tasting pilaf made with tomatoes and onions and scented with coriander, this is a speciality of Bangalore, south India.

3 tablespoons light vegetable oil
3 oz/90 g finely chopped onion
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 1b/500 g fresh ripe or tinned, drained tomatoes puréed with skin
¼ pint/50 ml water
1 ½ teaspoons coarse salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
10 oz/300 g cooked rice (preferably day-old basmati rice)
½ pint/300 ml water
3 tablespoons unsalted butter

For the fried potatoes:
4 tablespoons light vegetable oil
1 1b/500 g potatoes, diced with skin

  1. Heat the oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring until light brown (about 7 minutes). Add the tomatoes and the 1/4 pint/150 ml water, mix well, and cook over low heat, covered, for 15 minutes or until reduced to pulpy sauce.

  2. Add salt, pepper, rice, and water. Gently mix to fold the rice into the sauce. Add butter and fold to coat the rice evenly. Cover tightly and steam the rice over low heat for 15-20 minutes or until the sauce is absorbed into the rice. If you are garnishing the pilaf with fried potatoes, you can begin making them now while the rice is cooking. Turn off the heat, fluff the rice, and serve surrounded with fried potatoes or daikon radish if desired.

  3. To fry the potatoes, heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat until it is very hot. Add the potatoes and cook, turning and tossing until they are browned and cooked (20-25 minutes). Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.

Cooked Lentils, Peas, and Beans, Master Recipe - Gala Hua Dal

This is the basic recipe for cooking lentils or beans. Many southern and south-western regional recipes call for cooked lentils or beans to be stirred gently into a dish near the end of cooking. Therefore, it may be a good idea to make them a day ahead and have them ready when you begin the actual cooking.

Makes 2 Pints/1 Litre Thick Lentil or Bean Purée

8 oz/250 g yellow lentils (arhar dal), red lentils (masar dal), yellow split peas or
yellow mung beans (moong dal)
¼ teaspoon turmeric

  1. Pick lentils, peas, or beans clean and wash thoroughly in several changes of water.

  2. Put the lentils, peas, or beans in a deep pot along with the turmeric and 2 pints/1 litre water; bring to the boil. Stir often to make sure they do not lump together. Cook over medium heat, partially covered, for 40 minutes (25 minutes for red lentils and mung beans). Cover, reduce heat, and continue cooking for an additional 20-25 minutes (10 minutes for red lentils and mung beans) or until soft.

  3. Turn off heat and measure the purée. There should be 2 pints/1 litre purée; if not, add enough water to bring to that quantity. For a more ground purée, beat lentils, peas, or beans with a whisk for 3-5 minutes. Cooked dal can be kept for 3 days, refrigerated. Cooked lentils and beans thicken considerably and become gelatinous with keeping. They also reduce in volume considerably. Therefore remember to make allowance for such evaporation.

Tarica Dhal (serves 4)

175g red lentils (washed)
600 ml water
1 teaspoon ginger pulp
½ teaspoon garlic pulp
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon turmeric

1 tablespoon oil
75g butter
½ teaspoon kalonji (also called onion seeds)
3 whole garlic cloves
1 onion, sliced
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 green chilli, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves, to garnish

  • Bring lentils to the boil.
  • Add ginger, garlic, salt and turmeric.
  • Simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Mash the lentils (It should resemble a thick soup).
  • Put in serving dish.

  • Heat oil and butter.
  • Add kalonji, garlic, onion, tomato and chilli.
  • Fry for about 2 minutes
  • Pour over the dhal.
  • Garnish with coriander.

Delhi-style Coriander and Mint Chutney

140g fresh coriander (including tender stems is fine)
60g fresh mint
3 fresh green chillies
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons lemon or lime juice
½ teaspoon salt
120ml water

  • Blend everything until you have a smooth paste.
  • Best eaten the day it is made, but will keep for 2 days in the fridge.

Chapattis (makes 12)

300g flour (half plain, half wholemeal or "proper" chapatti flour)
200ml water (approx)

  • Place flour in a bowl and add water slowly to make a dough.
  • Knead for 10 minutes.
  • Cover with a damp cloth and set aside for 30 minutes.
  • Heat up a cast-iron frying pan or griddle.
  • Divide dough into 12 balls. Keep covered as you roll out each one.
  • Roll out on a floured surface into a 15cm round.
  • Shake off excess flour.
  • Cook for about 45 seconds on each side.
  • Make all the chapattis, keeping them warm under a teatowel.

Coconut Sambol

120g dessicated, unsweetened coconut
40g very finely chopped or grated onion or shallot
1¼ teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons chilli powder
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1½ tablespoons lemon or lime juice
8 tablespoons coconut milk, heated

  • Mix all the ingredients together!
  • Will keep for 3 or 4 days in the fridge.
  • Serves 8 - 10

The authentic Sri Lankan version would use freshly grated coconut (150g)

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