Happily, this is no longer the case. No, a fairy-Indian godmother did not come along and waved her magic wand and poof! make me an expert. But as with all the cuisines that I didn't grow up with, studying the cookbooks and now blogs of people who did has led me to some masterly over a few dishes. My beau is a huge fan of anything Indian and proclaims my dishes equal (or better!) to what we can get at our local Indian restaurant. Maybe it's love talking, maybe it's really that good...
What I do know is it's not as complicated as it looks once you start to understand the process. Pureeing the curry base - tomatoes or steamed greens - with your aromatics like ginger, garlic, chiles, and then cooking them in deeply spiced oil or ghee leads to delicious meals.
One of the non-Indian things I'd highly recommend is substituting mashed potatoes for your rice. I know, total heresy but outrageously good!
Makhani Paneer (inspired by ECurry!)
1 Batch homemade paneer (DIY Pantry)
2 tablespoons Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon cayenne
2 teaspoons methi/dried fenugreek leaves, crushed
1 tablespoon oil
1/2 poblano chile, deseeded and deveined
4 cloves garlic, peeled
2 inch piece ginger, peeled (scrape skin off with edge of teaspoon)
32 oz diced or chopped tomatoes, drained
2 cardamom pods
2 inch piece cinnamon
1 teaspoon fenugrek seeds
1 tablespoon dried fenugreek (Methi)
1 teaspoon coriander powder
2 tablespoons high heat oil or ghee
1/4 cup cream
salt to taste
1-2 tablespoons butter
cilantro for garnish
Mix yogurt with marinade spices and oil and gently coat paneer in marinade. Set aside to marry for at least 30 minutes. Preheat broiler. Place paneer on baking sheet and broil until tops brown; flip paneer and brown other side. Remove from oven and turn off broiler and set aside.
Puree Makhani sauce until totally blended. In heave bottom pan heat oil and saute cardamom, cinnamon and fenugreek seeds until they are aromatic. Add coriander and fenugreek and saute another 3 minutes or so until aromatic. Pour in tomato puree and cook over medium heat until it begins to gently bubble. Turn down heat to simmer and cook another 15 minutes until tomato loses its raw look and begins to deepen in color. Gently place paneer in sauce and allow to heat through. Stir in cream and salt to taste and stir in butter to taste. Serve over rice or mashed potatoes or with naan.
Recipes currently inspiring me:
Kale Salad with Peach, Corn and Basil-Honey Vinaigrette at Eats Well With Others
Easiest Fridge Dill Pickles at Smitten Kitchen
Salty Sweet Roasted Cabbage at Garden of Eating