Saturday, November 1, 2014

The Loose Fish cooks Indian food!

Decided to make an Indian dinner for guests, and prowled the internet for recipes. I kept coming up with the identical recipe on several different websites, so I went with it; they didn't give credit to any other website, so neither will I. Decided on the following menu:

Had a heck of a time finding ingredients, so I ordered the masalas and cardamon pods online and finally found canned lychees in Whole Foods.

Butter Chicken (slow cooker recipe)
Cucumber Raiti
Coconut Rice
Lychees with Ice Cream

Butter Chicken over rice: (with naan flat bread to wipe the plate with that sauce)

Photo from

-4-6 boneless chicken thighs cut into bite-sized pieces
-1 onion diced
-3 cloves garlic minced I used a press
-2 tbsp butter
-2 tbsp oil
-15 green cardamom pods (I put these in a tiny plastic ziplock bag and poked holes in it. I had no muslin to tie them in)
-2 tsp curry powder
-1 tbsp curry paste
-1 tsp cayenne powder (this was not in my original recipe. Definitely needed for heat!)
-2 tsp tandoori masala
-1 tsp garam masala
-1 can coconut milk
-1 cup plain yogurt
-1 5.5 fl oz can of tomato paste
-Salt to taste

Saute onion, garlic and chicken pieces in large skillet until onion is just soft. Stir in tomato paste until blended. Transfer all of it into a crockpot.

Stir in spices, coconut milk, yogurt, and healthy dose of salt to taste, and cook on slow for 8 hrs. Discard cardamon pods before serving. Easy peasy (except finding the spices!) Next time I'll have some muslin or netting on hand for the pods, and will add the cayenne as it wasn't hot enough for my taste, but still wonderful! I served the butter chicken over coconut rice, but next time, I would just use plain rice. The spices killed the coconut flavor of the rice.

Cucumber Raiti

Photo from Kahakai Kitchen

I was really nervous about this dish. Didn't LOOK that particularly good, and I'd never eaten it before. But something said, go for it. IF I had used the cayenne in the butter chicken, this would be the PERFECT accompaniment to cool down the heat. It's absolutely delicious.

-2 cups plain yogurt (I used Fage 2%)
-2 cups grated English cucumber (the skinny English cuke is much easier to grate.)
-1 clove garlic, minced (I don't mince. I press.)
-4 sprigs of fresh mint, leaves only, finely minced. (Okay, once in awhile I mince.)
-1 tsp. kosher salt
-2 tablespoons golden raisins
-ground black pepper

Whisk yogurt until smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients, stir, chill until served. (can be made day before)

Okay, when I make this again, and I will, I will add even more mint and more golden raisins. This is a wonderful combo of flavors and so suits the butter chicken or any other spicy dish as a cool down. Just a great find for me! And not at all difficult to throw to together. Don't be put off by the "saucy" look of it. Think of it like chutney or potato just has a 'loose' consistency.

Lychees with Cointreau sauce over vanilla ice cream

Photo from

-1 11 oz. can litchees in heavy syrup
-2 slices of fresh orange
-2 tablespoons of Cointreau or other orange liqueur
-1 generous tablespoon of crystallized ginger
-Vanilla ice cream

Pour syrup from lychees into heavy saucepan and set lychees aside in a bowl. Add orange slices to the syrup and boil (watch it!) for about 10 minutes until syrup thickens. Pour over lychees and add ginger and liqueur. Can be made 2 days ahead. Let sit in fridge and flavors meld. Serve over vanilla ice cream.

When I make it again, more ginger and more Cointreau, I think. But it's so good. We didn't have vanilla ice cream and it was still good over another flavor. This might not be an Indian dessert, by the way, but exotic enough to entice me to use it.

The guests were enthusiastic, and I was thrilled! I have leftovers!

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