my only day off is saturday. i still rise at 5 just like any other day. today it was raining, which is the perfect weather to spend in the kitchen. i started pressure cooking those soaked garbanzos as i woke up, figured out what i would make, checked the spice rack & went off to the grocer.

i chose 4 indian recipes from different regions in india.

the first, since i was craving garbanzo beans, is from bengal-kala channa subzi. you must soak those beans a long time, pressure cook a long time, maybe even wait till the next day to eat it after it’s made. these beans are incredibly difficult to soften. i would also increase the spices. show me the curry is very tame. i needed to cook this twice as long as the recipe stated. keep veggie broth nearby to moisten if it dries.

the next one is from kashmir-dum aloo. it’s usually fried but this is the healthy version. again, adjust spices & keep moist w/veggie broth. these are VERY spicy. adjust to your palate.

then i wanted to do a meat dish, so i chose another bengali dish (i wanted a fish curry that bakes in the oven cause i’m limited on fry pans) bengali fish curry. this was my favorite, although not very spicy. i really love the cashews in this. i used cod & snapper-about a pound and a quarter. the fish is marinated in dijon mustard-very interesting. nice served over rice. very easy to prepare.

then i wanted to do a bread cause i have a tawa (flat pan for making indian breads) & i don’t use it enough. spinach paratha was created for kids. it’s a way to get them to eat spinach. i wanted some spinach in my meal & did not want to do the same old palak paneer. these turned out more like chappathi than paratha-more dense-but pretty nice. takes practice.

i couldn’t find garam masala at the store, so i dug out my vintage punjabi indian mom cookbook

you can almost hear the chorus as you look at it. looked up basic garam masala.

mace/cumin/cinnamon/brown cardamom/nutmeg/clove

had them all on my shelf.

all you have to do is put them in a coffee grinder. seriously-this makes a HUGE difference in the flavor. whole spices also keep much longer on the shelf. part of a smart kitchen. grind away. don’t bother washing out the grinder cause your coffee in there tastes even better with a little spice.

this was a massive undertaking. i am very slow in the kitchen, so it took 4 hours. you have to really check out the spice listings. there are things you can only get at an indian grocery & can NOT be left out because it changes the flavor too much-mace & hing are examples. hing or asafoetida is incredibly strong & must be kept in a tight glass container. mace is like indian nutmeg.

of course i have a lot of leftovers. i’m going to take the chappathi flour & stuff with leftover potatoes, make a cilantro yogurt to dip, deep-fry into samosas! woo-hoo! i don’t have to leave my house for authentic indian food! i got an indian buffet in my kitchen 🙂