Posted by fourclankitchen on October 26, 2016
My mom made the best Indian pickles in the world. Before she died, I transcribed some of her recipes (minimal as they were) onto my iPhone Notes. Unfortunately, when I bought a new phone, these files did not survive and now these recipes are nothing but a memory on my tongue. So I was delighted to come across some recipes on the website called Indian Simmer. I adapted and annotated the simplest one and used the last of my garden’s serranos to make a pickle you can prepare in just a few minutes and eat within a few hours.
- 250 gm chili peppers, any combination. I used a mix of red fresno and serrano peppers, but Thai bird peppers are traditional and much, much hotter.
- 4 tbs. brown mustard seeds, coarsely ground in a coffee grinder.
- Generous pinch of Asafoetida (Hing). Skip if you cannot find it, but this is like fish sauce and adds a lot of umami, although it would taste awful if you placed a pinch on your tongue.
- 5-6 tablespoon oil, preferably mustard oil (this oil really lends the distinct Indian pickle flavor, but swap with other unflavored oils if you have to). There should be enough oil to fully coat the peppers. This is the second preservative.
- Salt to taste (1 used 3 tsp- this acts as a preservative, so don’t skimp.
- 1/4 teaspoon sugar (optional)
- 1/2 tbs. Lemon juice
- 1 tsp. Turmeric powder
- Stem the chillies and pulse them in a food processor to get smallish pieces (this will only take a few pulses) . You can also cut these by hand which is traditional.
- Place the chillies in a medium sized bowl and add salt. Dry brine the chillies for 1/2 hour (or longer).
- You can drain the water from the chilies if you want to reduce the heat after the brining.
- In a small bowl, combine the ground mustard, asafetida, oil, salt, sugar, lemon juice and turmeric powder. Mix thoroughly.
- Toss the spice mix with the chillies.
- Taste and adjust the salt and lemon to taste.
- Transfer the pickles to a glass jar. You should probably sterilize the jar or run it through the dishwasher.
- Let the pickles sit on the counter for a day and then store in the fridge. These should keep for a long time.
- The pickles will taste better after a few days, although they can be used right away if you cannot wait.
- The pickles will also lose some of their heat over time.
- These pickles can be used as an accompaniment to any Indian meal, but are also great on buttered toast, on eggs, you name it!
Posted in Asian, condiments, Indian Food, Uncategorized, vegan, Vegetarian | Tagged: achar, chilli pickles, condiments, mirch ka achaar, Pepper pickles, quick Indian pickles | 1 Comment »
Posted by fourclankitchen on November 28, 2015
Naan as anyone who has made a trip to an Indian restaurant knows is an Indian leavened flat bread (most Indian breads are unleavened). Given their high cost at the grocery store, I decided that I would try my hand at making these at home. I found a recipe that uses Indian whole wheat (atta) flour at a website called Monsoon Spice. While atta is technically a whole wheat flour, this variety of wheat has been bred over millennia to have very little bran and thus a relatively high glycemic index. Regular whole wheat is not a great option for naans either since it is tough-tasting and not at all delicate like a naan, typically made with all-purpose flour, is supposed to be. I had read some place that whole wheat pastry flour, which is whole wheat flour ground superfine, was a very good whole-wheat flour to use in breads, pizzas and even pastries (!) so I decided to give it a shot. I was very pleased with the naans this produced, very supple and delicate. So here is the recipe with a small number of adaptations from the original.
2½ cups Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour (I am guessing that this can also be substituted by whole what pastry flour)
¼ cup warm milk
¾ – 1 cup Yogurt (I used 1 cup)
1 packet Yeast
½ tbsp Sugar
¼ tsp Baking Powder
1-1½ tsp Salt
2 tbsp Oil
Warm water for kneading
Flour for dusting and rolling the naan.
Ghee/butter for frying and for brushing on top.
Toppings: anything you like. I used: Nigella seeds (kalonji), garlic & chopped cilantro.
1. Dissolve sugar and yeast in warm milk (110˚F).
2. Mix flours, baking powder and salt. Using a stand mixer with a dough hook, slowly add yogurt, oil and yeast. Add little warm water as needed. Continue to knead till you get a soft pliable dough, about 7-10 min. You can also make your dough in a high-end blender or food processor or you can knead by hand.
3. Make a smooth round dough ball and coat with a thin film of oil. Cover the dough with a cheese cloth or plastic wrap and keep it in a warm place for 1½ to 2 hours till the dough doubles in size. I turn my oven on at the lowest setting for 5 min and then turn it off and let the dough rise in the oven.
4. Punch down the dough to release air and divide it into 8-12 equal sized balls.
Cooking the Naan:
There are several ways to cook the naan: in the oven, on a grill and on a griddle on a stove top. The recipes for all of these are available on various websites. I used a Lodge cast-iron griddle on the stove as follows:
1. Heat the tawa/griddle till quite hot.
2. While the griddle is heating, roll or stretch the dough into a round or tear-drop shaped flat bread about 1/4 inch thick. Sprinkle your toppings and gently press them into the dough using a rolling pin. I pressed a few Nigella seeds on both sides.
3. Flip the naan and sprinkle a little water and place the water side down on the heated griddle. Cook for a minute or so until you see a few bubbles form and then flip. The naan should have brown blisters/spots on the side that was down.
4. Cook the second side for a minute or so as well. If desired, smear some ghee/butter to the top of the naan before serving.
Serve with curries, pickles or any Indian meal. Naans also make a great pizza base.
Flavoring/Tempering the ghee (tadka): Optional
As an alternative to smearing ghee alone on your cooked naan, you can temper the ghee with nigella seeds, minced garlic and cilantro and smear this concoction on the naan right before serving. Simply heat 2 tbs of ghee in a small sauce pan, add the nigella seeds, minced garlic and chopped cilantro till the ghee turns aromatic, a matter of few seconds. Take the ghee off the fire and your schmear is ready.
Posted in Asian, Breads, Breakfast, Brunch, Indian Food, Vegetarian | Tagged: middle eastern flat bread, naan pizza, noon, quick flat bread, stove-top naan, vegetarian | Leave a Comment »
Posted by fourclankitchen on April 19, 2015
I love the Asian chili garlic sauce because it goes with everything from a samosa, to noodles, to empanadas to a marinade for chicken or fish. It can make your whole day if you have this around. I have looked at a lot of these recipes and wanted to make one that did not have dried shrimp (I am allergic) or fish sauce. A common complaint about the home-made versions is that using corn starch just not give it the gel-like constancy of the commercially available sauces. To sort this problem out, I liberally adapted this recipe from the hot pepper jam recipe on the Kraft Sure-Jell website. I use only hot peppers, I added salt and I drastically reduced the amount of sugar. With the pectin being boiled with the peppers, this is a one-pot deal and literally takes 5-10 min to be ready.
I always make jams in small batches so I don’t have to be bothered with canning. I freeze whatever I don’t use and the frozen stuff seems to be good for a year or so. But if you make a larger batch, please play it safe and learn how to can from any number of websites.
1 cup chopped red, hot peppers (I used cascabels, but fresnos, serranos or jalapeños are other choices; if you cannot tolerate heat, substitute some of these peppers for red bell peppers).
1/2 cup cider vinegar (This really is part of the flavor so try to stick with this vinegar. I would guess that if you needed to substitute this, the best option would be rice vinegar or some other mild vinegar).
1 pkg. powder Fruit Pectin (I used Sure-Jell)
Salt to taste
2 cups sugar (or a little bit less)
1. Coarsely pulse your peppers in the food processor and place them in a medium sized pan. Add vinegar and salt. Stir in pectin. Bring mixture to a boil on high heat, stirring constantly.
2. Stir in sugar. Return to full rolling boil and boil exactly 1 min., stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim off any foam.
3. Taste and adjust the salt.
3. Ladle into clean jars. Let the jars sit on the counter for several hours. You will get 2 jars out of this. Put one in the fridge and the other in the freezer.
Posted in Asian, condiments, vegan, Vegetarian | Tagged: asian chili sauce, chicli sauce, chili garlic sauce, hot pepper jam, hot pepper jelly, small batch hot pepper jam | Leave a Comment »
Posted by fourclankitchen on March 28, 2015
I frequently mean to make granola and it seems relatively easy. It’s the ingredient list that is daunting and causes me to move on to other dishes. This time I decided to go with what I had by liberally adapting a granola recipe (Melissa Clark) from the New York Times. I reduced the amount of oatmeal, swapped most of the maple syrup with honey and changed the type and the proportion of nuts based on what I had on hand. I omitted the dried fruits entirely (these are basically candy) and did not find this to be a glaring omission.
1. 2 cups oatmeal (I used McCann’s quick cooking oatmeal).
2. Total seeds (3.5 cups) as follows:
a. 1 cup pistachios
b.. 1/2 cup cup slivered, blanched almonds
c. 1 cup sesame seeds.
d. 1 cup pecans
3. 1 cup desiccated, shredded coconuts (flakes would have been nicer).
4. 1/2 cup olive oil
5. Sweetners: honey, maple syrup, brown sugar
a. 1/2 cup honey
b/ 1/4 cup maple syrup
c. 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
6. 1 tsp Diamond kosher salt (1/2 tsp is using regular table salt or other kosher salt)
7. 1/2 tsp cinnamon, ground
1. Preheat oven to 300˚F.
2. Coat the bottom of a 18×12″ jelly roll pan with oil (I regretably did not do this).
3. Mix all ingredients and spread evenly in the pan.
4. Cook, uncovered for ~45 min (start checking at 30 min, when the granola tastes toasty and starts to clump).
5. Allow granola to cool for a 10-15 min in the pan. Break into lumps before the granola hardens further and store in an air-tight container.
Note: You could add dried fruits (apricots, raisins) to this, but should do it after the baking process.
Posted in baked, Breakfast, Brunch, vegan, Vegetarian | Tagged: breakfasst, granola, home-made cereal, honey, nuts, whole grains | 2 Comments »