Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Nick Cooks Indian

Just when I think that this Nick-cooks-dinner-on-Monday-nights thing is getting old for him, he comes to me and wants to know what we should cook together. Tonight he was back in the kitchen, making curry. We were inspired by a recipe for vegetable curry that we saw on America's Test Kitchen, which I have adapted below. Nick has been a lover of Indian food since he was a baby, when we took him to Devon Avenue and fed him dal and rice while we feasted on tandoori and murgh masala.

Vegetable Curry

2 tablespoons curry powder (we used hot curry powder from the Spice House)
1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala
2 onions, chopped
3 potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 cloves garlic
1 Serrano chili, diced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
1 14-0z can chopped tomatoes
1 can garbanzo beans
2 cups water
1 1/2 cups frozen peas
1/2 cup half and half

Toast the spices in a dry skillet until fragrant and beginning to smoke. Remove the spices to a cool plate or bowl. In a large pot, heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and potatoes, and cook until they are beginning to brown, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Push the vegetables to the side of the pan and add an additional tablespoon of oil. Add the garlic, chili, tomato paste, and spices, and cook until fragrant, about a minute. Add the cauliflower and stir to coat with the spice mixture. Add the tomatoes and the garbanzo beans and a teaspoon of salt. Add enough water to make the mixture loose but not soupy. Cover and cook for about 20 minutes, or until the cauliflower is crisp-tender. Add the peas and the half and half, and stir to combine. Serve with hot basmati rice.

This is a fairly simple recipe, and it gave Nick a chance to practice his knife skills, chopping onions, potatoes, garlic, chilies, and cauliflower. He also learned how to peel ginger root with a spoon and grate it with the ginger grater. I am learning how to stay on the "other side" of the kitchen island and let him do his thing.

The final dish was quite spicy. We agreed we might cut back on the chilies next time, or perhaps use a sweet curry powder instead of the hot one.

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