‘High Tea’ Cucumber-Chutney Sandwiches

I grew up eating these delicious, light, fluffy sandwiches. My fondest memories of my summer days when I was in school include going for a rigorous swim, after which my mom would whip up these sandwiches for a light snack. These are often served in homes in India, and my guess is that this was India’s version of the British ‘tea sandwiches’. In India, they slather on butter instead of cream cheese, but I prefer the lightness (and lower calories) of using a light whipped cream cheese.

If you are making these for a party and want a sleek presentation, cut off the ends of the bread slices before cutting them into thirds for bite-sized sandwiches. When making these at home, I prefer not wasting the ends of the bread, and quite frankly, I love the rustic look! πŸ™‚

Enjoy this airy (and deliciously vegetarian) recipe from my childhood days. Share them with your kids, family, and friends and pair it with a delicious cup of cardamom tea to feel like royalty and have high tea! πŸ˜‰

Love,
Priyanka

Cucumber and Chutney Sandwiches PK
Yields: 1 beautiful sandwich
Ingredients
2 slices of white or buttermilk bread (or any other bread you enjoy)
1 tablespoon of light, whipped cream cheese
2-3 tablespoons of cilantro-mint chutney
1/4 cucumber, thinly sliced into disks
salt, to taste
black pepper, to taste
Fun idea: Stuff these sandwiches with some crispy chips like doritos for an added crunch!

Directions
Spread the cream cheese on one slice of bread. Now lightly salt and pepper this piece of bread. Now spread the chutney over the cream cheese (this minimizes the bread getting soggy from the chutney). Now arrange the slices of cucumber on top of either side (you can add less or more cucumber according to taste).

Serve immediately and enjoy!

Spicy & Crispy Indian Fish

A dear family friend of ours is an AMAZING cook and she recently made her specialty fish dish for my mom when she was recently unwell. This is my attempt to recreate it from what I remember, but this is an adaptation since I have added coriander powder and tested my own variation on how much of each ingredient goes into the paste. My favorite part of this dish is the crispy exterior and succulent interior combined with the spicy, garlic paste that the fish is coated with.

Pair this with rice, bread, tortilla, or eat it by itself withs one veggies for an absolutely gorgeous weeknight (or weekend!) meal. πŸ™‚

Enjoy!

Love,
Priyanka

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Ingredients

6 white fish filets of your choice (tilapia works really well as it is flat and crisps beautifully!), but you can use other fish
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon turmeric
1.5 teaspoon red chili powder (you can reduce or increase this based on your spice preference or to make it more kid-friendly)
6 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon of ginger paste (or finely minced ginger)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
the juice of one lemon (or 1 tablespoon of lemon juice)
Optional garnish ideas: fresh cucumber, red onion, avocado

Directions

In a blender, pureΓ© all of the marinade ingredients until well-incorporated. Using gloves (to avoid smelling like fish as well as saving yourself from the hot chili powder), spread the marinade paste all over both sides of the fish filets. If you have a few minutes to spare, let them sit in the marinade for 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, heat up your skillet over medium-high heat.

Once the skillet is hot, turn down the heat a notch and add the filets.

Cook for approximately 4-5 minutes (depending on the thickness of the fish you are using), undisturbed so you get a nice crispy crust. Flip the fish and cook the filets until cooked to your liking.

[Note: when I am using tilapia, I cook the first side for about 4 minutes, and the other side for approximately 3 minutes for a total of 7 minutes.] Plate the fish, sprinkle it with Kosher salt, drizzle fresh lemon juice on it, and enjoy fresh & hot! πŸ™‚

Easy Butter Chicken

It’s amusing how when people find out I’m an avid cook and have a food blog, they naturally assume that my blog features Indian recipes (if not 100%, at least a majority of the recipes). And if you’ve been reading my blog, you know that I’m almost doing the opposite! I’ve been sharing mostly non-Indian recipes with a few, fun, and homey Indian recipes here and there. But, when I ask people what their all-time favorite Indian dish is, the majority exclaim ‘BUTTER CHICKEN’!! No kidding, I would probably say the same thing, although you and I both know that butter chicken is not the healthiest of Indian recipes. However, for the occasional time that you want to indulge in some authentic, North-Indian cuisine, this is an amazing, EASY recipe for butter chicken! Don’t remember to pair it with simple basmati rice for an explosion of flavors!

PS – I have previously blogged my recipe for Priyanka’s Butter Chicken, but this one is more authentic (no spinach in this one!) πŸ™‚

Enjoy πŸ™‚

Easy Butter Chicken PK

Yields: 6-8 servings
Ingredients
3/4 cup butter, divided
2 onions, minced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 (approximately 25 ounce) can of tomato sauce (or peeled and diced tomatoes)
2 cups heavy cream
2 teaspoons Kosher salt, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1.5 teaspoon garam masala
2 tablespoons tandoori masala
1.5 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast or thigh, cut into bite-sized pieces

Directions

Melt a few tablespoons of butter into a saucepan over medium heat (be careful to not burn the butter!). Stir in the onion and garlic, and cook slowly until the onion caramelizes to a dark brown for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Melt the remaining butter, and once melted, add the garam masala, tandoori masala, and cayenne pepper and cook, stirring for about 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Now, add the tomato sauce, heavy cream, salt. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to lowest setting on your stove; cover, and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then, add the cubed chicken into the sauce and continue to simmer for an additional 25 minutes on low heat.

Once you have checked the chicken has been cooked through, garnish with fresh cilantro and serve hot alongside Indian bread and hot basmati rice. Enjoy! πŸ™‚

Aloo Gobhi Muttar (Potato-Cauliflower-Pea Stir-Fry)

This is a traditional North Indian dish that is an incredible staple in our cuisine. It’s rich, beautiful, and super tasty. Pair this dish with some naan (or store-bought pita bread would work just fine!). Alternatively, make some simple white or brown steamed rice and you have a complete meal! If you serve this alongside some fresh greek yogurt or ‘raita’ , also known as Indian yogurt with cucumber and/or cooked potato, you have a seriously gourmet Indian spread going on!

The garam masala (available at your local grocery store) is not spicy, and the chili powder is really not noticeable unless you are extremely spice-averse. It just adds to the flavor, rather than increasing the heat factor. Do note, though, that you should feel free to increase the chili powder at the end of cooking if when you taste the dish, you desire more heat!

This dish is extremely traditional, barring my non-traditional addition of the paprika, which I just LOVE! Paprika adds not only a subtle flavoring to the dish, but also a beautiful reddish hue that it adds so much visual appeal that I do think the traditional dish lacks. Normally this dish would be yellow (from the use of turmeric). However, if you cook it my way, it’s a beautiful red-orange. I love beautiful food and I hope you enjoy it too! πŸ™‚


Ingredients

1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon of freshly minced ginger
3/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon coriander powder
4 medium russet potatoes – washed and scrubbed, peeled, and chopped into small cubes
1 head of cauliflower, stalk removed and florets cut into pieces
1 1/4 cup frozen peas
1 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoon garam masala

Garnish ideas: chopped cilantro, diced red onion

Directions

Note: Keep the prepped vegetables in a bowl of cold water to ensure freshness while you cook the onions below

Heat the vegetable oil in non-stick pan.

Once your oil is hot, add your sliced onions and fry for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Now add your fresh ginger, cumin powder, paprika, chili powder and coriander powder. Stir to incorporate.

Now add your chopped potato, cauliflower, and frozen peas. Stir to incorporate.

Add the water, cover, and cook on medium heat for approximately 20-25 minutes until vegetables are tender.

Uncover and continue to cook until the vegetables are to your desired doneness. (I prefer my vegetables more tender, but some like them on the crispier side, or al dente).

Add garam masala, stirring to combine.

Taste for seasoning, and adjust salt according to taste. Top with freshly chopped cilantro and red onion if desired, and serve hot! πŸ™‚ Serve alongside fresh Indian bread or steamed rice for a complete meal!

South Indian Fish Curry with Coconut

I come from a North Indian, VEGETARIAN family – however, I am blessed to have been brought up in a family that is accepting, flexible, and adaptable. Growing up, my parents never forced their vegetarianism on myself and my brother, and I am incredibly thankful for that. As fate would have it, I ended up marrying a wonderful South-Indian man, whose family eats lamb, goat, and more importantly – fish! πŸ™‚ His family resides in Chennai, India, which is a coastal city in India where you can go to the fish markets in the morning and buy freshly caught fish from THAT morning! Reminds me so much of Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco :).

Since I love eating fish (and my husband grew up with it), this is my go-to quick fix recipe for firm white fish when we’re craving something traditional. This is a Tamilian recipe (for those of you who are familiar with the various regions of South India). However, I name this dish ‘South Indian’ since I do believe you could find this recipe in most households in the South. I love the coconut, curry leaves, cumin, turmeric (which has amazing health benefits too!), and of course, the garlic, onion, and garlic which are like the holy trinity of Indian cooking. πŸ™‚

The leftovers get even better since the flavors really soak in overnight, and I love serving this as a rice bowl the next day for lunch with steaming basmati rice covered with this delicious, fragrant fish curry.

Everything in this recipe (spices and all) can be found at your local Asian supermarket. Enjoy! πŸ™‚



Ingredients

2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon black or brown mustard seeds
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
10 garlic cloves, crushed and chopped
15 fresh curry leaves
1/2 cup chicken or fish stock
2 medium fresh green chillies, seeded and finely diced
1 teaspoon minced ginger
~1.5 lb white fish filets, cut into 2-3 inch pieces (I love using black cod, but you can use tilapia, sea bass, or any firm white fish)
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1.5 teaspoon cumin seeds (or ground cumin)
2/3 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 15 ounce can coconut milk
1/4 cup freshly grated coconut (optional) – available frozen at Indian supermarkets
Kosher salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions
Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the mustard seeds and cook for 30 seconds or until the seeds begin to pop.

Add the onion, garlic, curry leaves and stock to the pan. Cover and bring to the boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for approximately 5 minutes or until the onions are soft.

Stir the green chili, ginger, coriander, cumin, grated coconut, and turmeric into the onion mixture and cook, stirring, for about 1 minute and aromatic.

Stir in the fish and coconut milk, and bring to the boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and cook covered, stirring gently occasionally, for 5 minutes or until the fish just flakes when tested with a fork.

Taste and season the fish curry with salt and pepper, per your taste. Serve immediately with sliced red onion, fresh Indian bread, basmati rice, yogurt, and sliced cucumber.

Kulfi: Indian Ice Cream

Oh kulfi (KUL-FEE), how I love thee! Ice cream has always been one of my favorite desserts, but Indian ice cream is on a whole different playing field. If any of you have had the opportunity to visit India, you can attest to the fact that milk in India is much more rich in both flavor and fat content. This translates to creamier, and more decadent ice creams served there! Mix a higher fat milk with delicious saffron, cardamom, and almonds, and you have an addictive and heavenly home-made ice cream!

Being in the US we do not have access to what I believe to be 8% fat milk (Vitamin D milk sold in the US is 3%), however using half and half and condensed milk does the trick and your result is a delicious frozen treat!

Kulfi or Qulfi is enjoyed street side by millions in the Southeast Asia region. In the above picture you can see stainless steel containers that the ice cream is frozen into. When served, they slice up the ice cream and you eat with a wooden stick! Kulfi is served in so many different ways, sometimes with sweet noodles cooked in sugar syrup called ‘falooda’, or with a healthier twist with some cut fresh fruits. You can be more modern about it and instead of slicing it up in pieces and eating it with a spoon like we do in India, scoop it up and put it into a cone and enjoy like regular ice cream! πŸ™‚

I hope you get to try this recipe – it’s my mom’s signature kulfi recipe that she is so excited to share with all of you! πŸ™‚


Ingredients

1 14 or 15 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 14 or 15 ounce can evaporated milk
1 cup of half and half (regular milk will not work!)
1 cup almonds, soaked in hot water and peeled

2 slices of white or buttermilk bread, crusts removed

Spice Grinder Ingredients
a pinch (approximately 7-10 threads) saffron
5-6 pods of cardamom, peeled (you need to peel the green skin off and use only the black/brown seeds! [Note: they are the best and most fresh when they are black]
1/4 cup of granulated sugar

Directions

Put condensed milk, evaporated milk, half and half, and almonds into a blender. Blend for approximately 20-30 seconds until smooth (do not over-blend!)

In a spice grinder, add the saffron, cardamom and ginger and grind for approximately 20-30 seconds until a powder is formed.

Add these ground spices into the milk mixture and stir. Now add the two slices of crustless bread and pulse the blender a few times only to break up the bread a little (do not liquefy!)

Pour mixture in the ice cream machine (manual or electronic) and make ice cream according to manufacturer’s instructions.

If you do not own an ice cream maker, pour the mixture into a suitable container or ice cube tray with sticks in them, and place it in the freezer.

Garnish with sliced pistachio, if desired! Other fun garnish ideas are shredded coconut, mango slices, and sliced pineapple and strawberries!

Machli Kabab Tikka (Fish Kebabs)

This recipe is in honor of the opening of our newest restaurant, Amber Dhara on Valencia Street in the Mission District of San Francisco TODAY! (www.amber-india.com) πŸ™‚

This recipe is not on our menu nor an ‘Amber’ recipe by any means, but I thought I would post one of my most versatile Indian-style fish kebab recipes for all of you to enjoy on this special day. πŸ™‚

This is the perfect weeknight meal that you can put for marination in the morning, and come evening, you can grill it on a grill pan, on a BBQ, or even roast it off in the oven! Or if you want to impress your friends, grill this up at your next weekend party! It’s healthy, delicious, and unbelievably easy to put together!

This is a spicy recipe, so if you want to tone down the spice factor, cut out one (or both!) of the green chilis from the marinade!

Last but not least, for my lovely vegetarians out there, try this with TOFU instead of fish, and you will have yourself a delicious tofu kebab! πŸ™‚ Use firm tofu, make shallow slits in the tofu pieces to allow the marinade to soak in, and follow the same exact directions!

Enjoy πŸ™‚

Ingredients

1 lb of firm white fish, such as cod, halibut, or sea bass, cubed (make sure the fish is de-boned and fresh!)

Marinade
1/4 cup of yogurt, plain
2 green chilis, ends cut off but whole
1 inch piece of fresh ginger root, peeled
1 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil or vegetable oil
Optional: 1 tablespoon melted butter, for basting

Directions

Make the marinade by putting all the marinade ingredients in a blender. Pulse/blend until well-incorporated into a liquid marinade.

Place the marinade in a glass bowl with the fish cubes. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator for 4-8 hours. [Note: make sure the plastic wrap is on tight so that the fish does not send odors into your other foods in your fridge, or use a tupperware set that has a tight closing lid!]

Thread the ingredients onto oiled skewers (metal or wood), and barbecue or grill for about 5-7 minutes until the fish is cooked through. [If you don’t mind a few extra calories, use the melted butter and brush the cubes with butter frequently to prevent the fish from sticking].

Finish by sprinkling with Kosher salt, to taste.

Serve hot with lime or lemon wedges. I highly recommend serving it with hot naan as well and a cucumber salad! πŸ™‚