A random Saturday night with no plans for dinner, husband suggested we make something a little more complex than we might do normally. We settled on Indian food which, as I have probably mentioned before, is one of my favorite cuisines. I blame it on the fact that eating Indian is one of those inherently British things that I do. Years ago, my mom gave me a couple of Indian cookbooks and I had always had some trouble making dishes because I didn't have all of the required spices. Since I've now found an Indian grocery store close by, I took the opportunity a while back to stock up on some of those harder to find spices and last night figured it was as good a time as any to give a couple of new recipes a try.
Patak's Vindaloo Paste, which is ridiculously simple and has easy to follow directions on the jar. I also made some curried cauliflower and a fragrant rice using recipes from the (seriously underused) cookbooks. To make the rice, I fried a cinnamon stick, 4 cardamom seeds, cloves, cumin seeds and tumeric in oil for about a minute. I added this with the rice into the rice cooker, along with a crumbled beef stock cube and some frozen peas, stirring once about half way through the cooking process. The cauliflower involved making a paste from flour, chili powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, mustard powder and tumeric. This paste was added to some curry powder (although the recipe asks for leaves) and cumin seeds being fried in oil. Then, I added the cauliflower and about 3/4 can of coconut milk. I bought this to the boil, reduced heat and covered until the cauliflower was cooked.
One very important thing that I've found with Indian spices is that they often have to be briefly fried first to release the flavor. The recipes call for ghee (a clarified butter that's really not healthy at all) but I substituted for vegetable oil in this case.
I've been working on my food presentation for photographs, and husband was pleasantly surprised by how nice the plate looked when I delivered it to him! Definitely made for a tasty and satisfying dinner. :)