Sunday, October 31, 2010

Day 74! India...Fish Curry and Pindi Chole - Rockin' Lunch! Up Next, Indonesia

In my experience, you either love Indian food, or you just can't take the heat. Personally, I love, Love, LOVE the heat (pretty good for a white girl, right?!) and the exotic Indian spices filling my house with the hint of this distant and beautiful country is truly trans-formative.  Today's Sunday lunch features, Indian Fish Curry, Pindi Chole (Chick Peas) and Tandori Naan.

But,  it's not just the smell of the spices that sends me into sensory nirvana. The colors of cumin, coriander, turmeric and garam masala are so deeply beautiful. Let me clarify - I don't mean "deep" in a groovy, 'that's really deep, man' kind of way - I mean the richness and depth of the spices are breathtaking.

Like so many countries, India's long and complex history could fill 15 blogs, so you'll be getting the abbreviated version today and I apologize in advance if anyone feels cheated. Located in South Asia, India is the 7th largest and most populated democracy (1.18 billion people) in the world. India's neighbors include Pakistan, Bhutan, China, Nepal, Bangladesh and Burma.

India's cooking traditions date back about 5,000 years and vary widely from region to region. Vegetarianism is widely practiced through out the country and reflects a long history of spice trade as well religious, spiritual and cultural beliefs. Staples, ingredients and spices typical to India include but are not limited to: rice, red lentils, pigeon peas, chick peas, tomatoes, potatoes, chilli pepper, cumin, turmeric, ginger, coriander, cloves, cardamom and nutmeg.
I used Basmati rice for this meal-it's got a wonderful taste and texture that off-sets the heat of the accompanying dishes
 HOT peppers - I used a whole pepper in the pindi chole, but my friend Sangeeta would have used 2 - go for it if you like really, really, hot!
 Garlic, ginger and hot peppers give the pindi chole zip and a kick - two things I enjoy and seek in both food and life.
 Cilantro and ginger flavor the vegetable dish - a fine vegetarian main course served up with rice
 Once in a while you get lucky when taking a picture. My kitchen is flooded with natural sunlight most of the day. The light filtering through the windows back-lit the papery onion skin and shown the texture of the ginger in a way that artificial lighting never could have captured.
 I chose Talapia for this dish because it holds up well, and - yeah, it's pretty cheap and sometimes you just gotta work with what you've got - or don't got - in your wallet.
 Ground Turmeric - such a beautiful spice

Tandori Naan, a lovely Indian bread accompanied the meal. I have made it from scratch before, but it hasn't been nearly as good as the store-bought brand I like best: Fabulous Flats, which is available in most supermarkets
And there you have it. A beautiful and spicy Sunday lunch!

Pindi Chole (Chick Peas) -(Recipe's original source unknown)

  • 1 can chick peas
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 1/2 inch piece of ginger, 3/4 shredded finely for garnish
  • 2-3 Tbsp. oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 tsp. garlic, freshly crushed
  • 2 green chilies, sliced (I used 1)
  • 3 medium sized tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1//2 tsp. red chili powder (or to taste)
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. garam masala
  • finely chopped coriander leaves

  1. Finely chop ginger. Heat oil and saute onions until golden, then add garlic and chopped ginger and green chilies. Saute for 5 minutes.
  2. Add tomatoes, coriander, cumin, turmeric and chili powder and saute over low heat until the oil separates.
  3. Add chick peas, about a cup of water, salt and half the coriander leaves. Simmer, uncovered until the liquid has been absorbed (but do not dry out)
  4. Add a pinch of garam masala and serve pindi chole sprinkled with remaining coriander leaves and shredded ginger.

Indian Fish Curry

  • 1 1/2 lbs. white fish (I used Talapia)
  • 2 medium onions
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. ginger, minced
  • 4 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 2/3 cup of water
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp. white cumin seeds or powder (I used powder)
  • 1 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp. garam masala powder

  1. Cut the fish into medium sized pieces.
  2. Heat the ghee (clarified butter) in a frying pan and fry the fish pieces gently for 5 minutes. Drain the fish on kitchen paper towels and set aside.
  3. Chop one onion finely and grate the other one.
  4. Add the chopped onion to the ghee in the pan and fry until golden.
  5. Add all spices and cook stirring for 10 minutes
  6. Now add the grated onion, garlic, ginger and tomato puree. Fry the mixture until the ghee starts to separate.
  7. Add the water and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil. Add friend fish pieces. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.
  8. Serve over hot rice or roti.

Final Assessment:  We all loved this meal!  It was hot, spicy, light and beautiful to look at. A perfect Sunday lunch that I'll definitely make again.


KK said...

wow, that looks amazing...wish my guys liked curry !

Young Werther said...

Your nans sure look fluffy!

megan @ whatmegansmaking said...

This is my first time to your blog - what a unique idea! I love it :)

sadie said...

Thanks, Megan! Thrilled to have you join the adventure!

radha said...

That is a lovely Indian meal you cooked!! Absolutely great.

sadie said...

Thank you Radha! It was so delicious!

SimplyMe said...

I simply love your photographs...

Indian of my most favorite cuisines.

sadie said...

Thank you, SimplyMe - this was a wonderful dish! xox