Monday, April 9, 2012

I-Indian Food

My husband has been craving chicken makhani and other Indian foods.  So I decided to try my hand at making my first ethnic dishes and a few of our favorite Middle Eastern dishes for a delicious, if somewhat unorthodox, Easter dinner.  The links are to the recipes I referenced, I will give a blow-by-blow of how I actually made it...because for those of you that know me, I do not follow recipes...I use them as guidelines :D


  • 1 16 oz can of chickpeas/garbanzo beans (they are the same thing!)
  • 1/4 cup liquid from the can of chickpeas
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

1.  Put all of the ingredients into a blender.

Blend! (I used my lowest setting until the beans were all ground up)

Pour into container and enjoy! (or store and refrigerate)



  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water (I use really hot tap water)
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic (optional)
  • 1/4 cup melted butter (this was WAY too much butter, I would say 2 tablespoons would be plenty)

In a large bowl mix the yeast and the warm water.  Let sit for ten minutes until it is bubbly (mine only got a little frothy, so do not worry too much if yours is not super bubbly)

Add sugar, milk, egg, salt, and flour and stir in.
Knead dough for 5-10 minutes on a lightly floured surface (the dough should be soft...the recipe said that, but I did not know quite what it meant until I was actually kneading it and it felt...soft!).
Put the dough in an oiled bowl, lay a dish towel over the top, and let it rise for an hour or until doubled in size.

Pull off golf ball sized bits of dough, roll them into balls, and place them on a cookie sheet.  Cover them with a dish towel and let rise for thirty minutes, or until doubled in size.

Put skillet on medium heat, roll the dough balls flat (you can do this by hand or with a rolling pin), baste the flat dough with the melted butter (if you do not have a basting brush, you can tear off a bit of paper towel and dip it in your butter and lightly brush the dough), and drop the buttered side in pan.  Butter the side that is up and after about a minute (the dough starts to get fluffy) flip it.

Just like with pancakes there is a bit of a learning curve...I burnt the heck out of the first one, but quickly got the hang of it!

Palak paneer

  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped white onion
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 3/4 cup low-fat sour cream
  • 22 oz fresh spinach, chopped in blender
  • 2 small tomatoes, quartered
  • 4 shakes dried cilantro
  • 8 ounces ricotta cheese 
  • coarse sea salt to taste


In a large saucepan heat three tablespoons of olive oil and saute garlic and onion until brown.

Mix in the cumin, coriander, turmeric and sour cream.
Add the spinach, one handful at a time, until it is all cooked down.

Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly (this is a must, you do not want to break your blender if your mixture is too hot!).
Pour spinach mixture into a blender: add the tomato and cilantro, blend until the spinach is finely chopped. Pour back into the saucepan and keep warm.
In a medium frying pan heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat and fry cheese, add to spinach mixture, and cook for ten minutes on low heat. Season with coarse sea salt to taste.

Chicken Makhani
Ingredients: (no picture for this one, hand were too busy and dirty)

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chives, finely chopped
  • 1/4 white onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon crushed garlic
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 shakes dried bay leaf
  • 12 oz low-fat plain yogurt
  • 1 cup tomato puree
  • 1 dash cayenne pepper
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1/4 cup water

Heat one tablespoon of oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add the chopped chives and onion and saute.  Add the butter, lemon juice, crushed garlic, garam masala, chili powder, cumin, and bay leaf. Puree tomatoes (I did two medium tomatoes) and add to pan.  Stir and cook for two minutes.
Stir in yogurt. Reduce heat, and simmer on low for ten minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt pepper. Remove from heat and set aside.

Heat one tablespoon oil in a skillet.  Add chicken and cook over medium heat until lightly browned. Add one teaspoon garam masala and a dash of cayenne.

Stir in a few spoonfuls of the sauce and simmer until the liquid has reduced and the chicken is fully cooked. Add chicken to sauce.  Mix together flour and water and stir into the sauce. Cook until thickened.

Bon appetit
Time to eat and everything looks and smells wonderful.  Apparently the makhani chicken was not what my husband was expecting (there were a lot of variations on the recipe that I saw online, and I had my own changes as well), but everything else tasted fantastic!  I cannot wait to eat leftovers :D

What about you?  What is your favorite Middle Eastern dish?  Have you ever tried to make ethnic dishes?


  1. looks wonderful, but lots of work--wish i was there:)

    1. It was wonderful, and let to lots of leftovers lol. It took a lot of work especially because they were all new recipes and everyone knows it takes at least twice as long the first time :D

  2. I like Indian food but my wife refuses to try it so therefore we never have it. I've made Mexican and Italian food but that's about as far as I've gone.

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