Made in India: Recipes from an Indian Family Kitchen

Made in India: Recipes from an Indian Family Kitchen

by Meera Sodha

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Overview

The best Indian food is cooked (and eaten) at home.

Real Indian food is fresh, simple, and packed with flavor. In Made In India, Meera Sodha introduces you to the food she grew up eating every day. Unlike the fare you get at your local Indian takeout joint, her food is vibrant and surprisingly quick and easy to make.

Meera serves up a feast of over 130 delicious recipes collected from three generations of her family. On the menu is everything from hot chapatis to street food (chili paneer; beet and feta samosas), fragrant curries (spinach and salmon, or perfect cinnamon lamb curry) to colorful side dishes (pomegranate and mint raita; kachumbar salad), and mouthwatering desserts (mango, lime, and passion fruit jello; pistachio and saffron kulfi). Made In India will change the way you cook, eat, and think about Indian food forever.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250071026
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Publication date: 09/15/2015
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 956,794
File size: 108 MB
Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.

About the Author

When not traveling around India, collecting recipes, MEERA SODHA chefs, writes, and lives in London. Made in India is her first cookbook.
When not traveling around India, collecting recipes, Meera Sodha chefs, writes, and lives in London. Made In India is her first cookbook.

Read an Excerpt

Made in India

Recipes from an Indian Kitchen


By Meera Sodha, David Loftus

Flatiron Books

Copyright © 2015 Meera Sodha
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-250-07102-6



CHAPTER 1

STARTERS AND SNACKS


Indians are always nibbling; in fact, India has one of the biggest street-food and snacking cultures in the world. With a lot of passion for food and very little regulation about who can sell food and where, streets thrum and resonate across the country with the calls of a thousand food hawkers selling their snacks. Whether it's from bikes turned into kitchens, from bins turned into ovens or from baskets perched on heads, food is sold everywhere.

In the far north in Amritsar you'll find lines of turbaned Sikhs waiting for the legendary Amritsari fish, a spiced deep-fried kingfish, and in the winter the mustard-seed curry "sarson ka saag," topped with freshly made butter and mopped up with cornbread. Travel down to Delhi and you'll see spiced potato tikki (see here), dressed with tamarind chutney, and delicious blackened kebabs served with "roomali roti" – chapatis as thin as hankies and as big as car wheels. In Mumbai, they love pav bhaji (see here), a rich mash of vegetables eaten with bread, chicken tikka (see here), and chaat (see here). Head east to Kolkata for a "kati roll" – an egg-fried wrap of meat or vegetables; west to Gujarat for some fluffy ondwa (see here) or addictive pea kachori (see here); and south for dosas, thin crispy pancakes made from rice and lentils.

What might have started out as an idea on the street can now be found in the homes of many Indians, recreating the famous dishes they first tried on a hot, dusty street corner and adding them to the snacks already served in their homes.

My favorites are the ubiquitous samosas (see here); the chili paneer (see here), which I first encountered near my grandparents' home in Leicester; and the corn on the cob (see here), which our family has eaten in the same way in Uganda, in India, and in Lincolnshire, where it grows as tall as me.

There is so much variety, the only tough decision you'll face is what to eat first.


PEA KACHORI

Pastry-encased cinnamon-spiced peas

These delicious balls of pea-green joy are an old Gujarati delicacy. They are often served at family functions because they're very easy to wolf down when no one is looking. Baked in the oven, they are best served on a bed of sharp lime-pickled onions (see here), alongside some mint and yogurt chutney (see here).

A food processor is ideal to make the kachori mixture, but if you don't have one, you can use a mortar and pestle and a potato masher. Amazingly, pea kachori can be made almost entirely from items you'll probably already have in the freezer and pantry.

MAKES AROUND 25 KACHORI (TO SERVE 5 TO 8 PEOPLE)

For the filling

1¾-inch piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
2 fresh green chilis, roughly chopped (seeded if you prefer less heat)
1¼ pounds frozen petit pois or garden peas, defrosted
canola oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1¼ teaspoons ground cinnamon
1¼ teaspoons garam masala
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
1¾ teaspoons salt (or to taste)
½ teaspoon chili powder

For the pastry

2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus extra to dust
½ teaspoon salt
1½ tablespoons canola oil
¾ cup hot water

Preheat the oven to 350°F and lightly grease a tray with some oil.

Place the ginger and green chilis in a food processor and blitz into a paste, or bash them up using a mortar and pestle. If using a food processor, remove the paste and set to one side. Briefly blitz the peas in the food processor and set aside, or mash up using a potato masher.

Put 3 tablespoons of oil in a frying pan on medium heat and, when it's hot, add the mustard seeds. When they start to crackle, add the ginger and chili paste, stir-fry for a couple of minutes, then add the peas and cook for a further 5 minutes.

Now add the cinnamon, garam masala, turmeric, salt, and chili powder. Cook for a further 2 minutes, or until there is little to no moisture left but the peas are still bright green. Transfer to a bowl and put to one side.

To make the dough, put the flour in a bowl, make a well in the middle, and add the salt and oil. Rub through with your fingers until the flour resembles fine breadcrumbs. Pour in ½ cup of the water and add the rest little by little, kneading it into the dough until it feels nice and firm. Pour a teaspoon of oil into your hands and pat the dough with it to keep it moist.

Before rolling out the pastry, get your station ready. You will need a clean floured surface, a bowl of flour, and a rolling pin. Now pinch off a piece of dough roughly the size of a marshmallow. Dip your dough ball into the bowl of flour and roll into a circle roughly 4 inches in diameter (the size of a bottom of a mug). To speed things up, you can divide the dough into the small balls before rolling and stuffing them.

To make the kachori, pop a heaped teaspoon of pea mixture in the middle and bring the sides of the pastry up tightly around the peas. Seal the pastry at the top by pinching it closed, then pinch off any excess pastry, roll the kachori into a ball, and put it on a plate. Then make the rest. The first one you make might look a bit odd, so mark it out for tasting when it comes out of the oven.

Roll the kachori balls around on the baking tray to coat them in the oil and bake in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown.


CHILI PANEER

Every now and then, when we were growing up, Mum would find me and my sister wherever we were hiding in the house, whip us into the car, and take us to Leicester on a sari shopping expedition. Our only consolation (aside from secretly unraveling beautifully folded saris in the shops) was a dish of freshly prepared chili paneer from one of the nearby food stalls or cafés afterwards.

This dish is as popular with kids as it is with grandparents. Here's Mum's recipe for this spectacular street food.

SERVES 4

1½ teaspoons cumin seeds
14 ounces paneer
canola oil
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 fresh green chili, very finely sliced
¾ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon tomato paste
½ teaspoon sugar
4 scallions, finely sliced into rings
lemon wedges, to serve

Throw the cumin seeds into a mortar and pestle and roughly grind them to a coarse powder. Next cut the paneer into ¾-inch cubes. Pour a thin coating of oil into a large frying pan and bring it to a high heat. Fry the paneer in batches, turning the pieces until golden brown on each side, and transfer them to a dish lined with paper towels. Watch out, as the paneer may spit; if so, half cover the pan with a lid.

Put 2 tablespoons of oil into the pan, followed by the garlic, green chili, cumin, black pepper, and salt. Sauté for around 3 minutes on a low heat, stirring occasionally. Add the tomato paste and sugar and stir, then put the paneer back into the pan along with a splash of water. Cover the pan and simmer for a further 5 minutes.

Take the lid off the pan, add the scallions and simmer until there is no water left. Serve fresh and hot with a squeeze of lemon.


FIRE-SMOKED EGGPLANTS

Ringra nu orro

I used to bake my eggplants in the oven for this recipe, but after seeing my aunt smoke hers to perfection over a direct flame in her kitchen in Porbandar, I can't go back to my old ways. She holds the eggplant by its green stalk over the stove until the skin chars and the soft, creamy white flesh begins to peek through. Then she peels off the blackened skin and cooks the eggplant in a garlic and tomato sauce.

It's a gorgeously rich, smoky mash of flavors and one of my all-time favorite dishes. I eat it hot or cold with chapatis, chapati chips, or fresh naan.

SERVES 4 TO 6 AS A DIP

1¾-inch piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
5 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
1 fresh green chili, roughly chopped
salt
2 large eggplants
3 tablespoons canola oil (plus extra for brushing the eggplants with)
1 onion, finely chopped
2 medium ripe tomatoes, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
a small bunch of cilantro (½ ounce)

To serve

Greek yogurt
chapatis or chapati chips (see here)

Put the ginger, garlic, and chili into a mortar and pestle along with a pinch of salt, bash to a pulp, and set aside.

Pierce the eggplants in a few places with a sharp knife so that they don't explode when cooking, and lightly brush them with some oil. Hold them one by one with a pair of tongs over a naked flame on the stove. Keep turning them until the skin blackens and the eggplant collapses and goes floppy. This should take around 15 minutes for both eggplants.

When the eggplants are cool enough to handle, peel off the charred skin, scoop the flesh out into a bowl and mash using a fork, then set aside.

Put the oil into a wide-bottomed, lidded frying pan on a medium heat. When it's hot, fry the onion for 8 to 10 minutes, until soft and golden. Add the tomatoes, cover the pan and allow them to cook for another 4 to 5 minutes. Then add the ginger, garlic, and chili paste and leave to cook for a couple of minutes before adding the eggplant mash, cumin, ground coriander, and ¾ teaspoon of salt.

Cover the pan, and cook for a further 5 minutes until all the ingredients have come together into a lovely thick mash. Taste for salt and spice and adjust if necessary.

Chop the cilantro and stir into the mash, then serve in a large sharing bowl or in individual bowls with a dollop of yogurt on the top and some small chapatis or chapati chips on the side.


CORN ON THE COB WITH CHILI GARLIC BUTTER

Sekeli makai anna marchu

Corn has followed my family on our journey halfway across the world. It grew in Porbandar in India, where my grandma grew up; in Kampala, Uganda, where Mum grew up; and in Lincolnshire, where I grew up. We still eat it in the same way, no matter which country we're in: blistered on a fire until it becomes deliciously smoky, then slathered in chili butter with a squeeze of lime to finish. The garlic is my addition: I think it tastes great melted into spicy butter.

Try to buy your corn when it's as fresh as possible, and with husks if you're not eating it right away, as corn starts to deteriorate the moment it's been harvested. It should feel tender, bouncy to the touch, and juice easily when you press it.

SERVES 4

For the chili garlic butter

½ cup salted butter
4 fat cloves of garlic, crushed
1 fresh red chili, very finely chopped
a little salt, if need be
4 fresh ears of corn
1 lime, quartered

To make the chili garlic butter, cut the butter into cubes and put it into a small pan on a gentle heat. When it's melted, add the garlic and chili, stir, and leave to cook for around 5 minutes, then pour into a bowl. Leave to one side to cool down.

Take the corn out of the fridge around 10 to 15 minutes before cooking to get it to room temperature. Pull out any silk, as it can catch on fire when cooking.

Turn the gas burner to a medium to high flame and, taking one of the cobs, hold it over the heat with a pair of tongs. Rotate it every 30 seconds until the kernels start to blacken and char. If it starts to pop, turn the heat down a little bit and carry on. It should take around 5 to 6 minutes to cook each cob.

Keep the cooked corn warm by wrapping each ear tightly in foil until you're ready to eat. Serve with the chili garlic butter spooned over the top, a sprinkle of salt, and a squeeze of lime.

Tip: I love to make a big batch of this chili garlic butter and keep it in the fridge so I can add a spoonful to whatever I'm cooking.


ONDWA

Semolina bread with spiced vegetables

The ultimate Gujarati all-in-one snack, ondwa is a type of bread made with yogurt and semolina, studded with vegetables, and topped with a layer of glimmering mustard seeds and sesame seeds. In Gujarati households it's pretty much expected that you have a running supply of ondwa in your fridge in case friends or family pop by (although all the better for you if they don't).

This recipe benefits from the savory taste of older yogurt, to give it a slightly sour tang, so the longer you've had yours, the better.

MAKES 12 PORTIONS

For the ondwa

2 tablespoons canola oil (plus extra to grease the cake pan)
1¾ cups coarse semolina
1 cup whole-milk yogurt
1 zucchini (7 ounces), grated
2 medium carrots (6 ounces in total), grated
½ cup green peas
1 onion, finely chopped
1¾-inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely grated
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon chili powder
¾ teaspoon salt
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ cup water

For the tarka

2 tablespoons canola oil
1 fresh red chili, finely chopped
1 tablespoon sesame seeds (plus extra to sprinkle)
½ tablespoon mustard seeds (plus extra to sprinkle)


Preheat the oven to 400°F and lightly grease a 9 x 11-inch cake pan with oil.

Put the semolina into a large bowl, pour in 2 tablespoons of oil and mix together. Add the yogurt, zucchini, carrots, peas, onion, ginger, turmeric, chili powder, salt, and baking powder. Mix thoroughly.

Pour in 1/3 cup of the water, then add the rest little by little, until the batter takes on a thick, custard-like consistency. Taste the mixture – although it will be raw, it will give you a good idea of salt and chili seasoning – and adjust if necessary.

To make the tarka (the spice-infused oil), heat the oil in a pan and, when it's hot, add the chili, sesame seeds, and mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds start to pop, carefully pour into the batter and stir.

Pour the batter into the cake pan, sprinkle generously with sesame seeds and mustard seeds and bake in the oven for 35 minutes, or until cooked. The usual test applies to check if it's done: if you insert a knife and it comes out clean, the ondwa is ready.

Leave to cool before taking it out of the pan and cutting (it will be much easier). Enjoy either warmed up or cold with some cilantro chutney (see here) and a hot cup of chai (see here). Store in an airtight container in the fridge and eat within 3 days.


OVEN-ROASTED CHICKEN TIKKA

Murghi na tikka

The chicken tikka you find in restaurants is normally so luminously orange you could see it from space. Our family recipe is much tastier and nowhere near as brightly colored. We use chicken thighs, which are nice and juicy, and dress our chicken tikka with a sharp mint and yogurt chutney (see here). If you fancy something fresh on the side, my chaat salad (see here) is perfect.

If you have any leftovers, chicken tikka is great in sandwiches and wraps with a bit of cucumber, tomato, onion, and chutney. Or you could always make some chicken tikka masala. Skewers aren't necessary, but they look nice and help divide quantities. If you use them, soak them in advance to avoid burning them in the oven.

SERVES 4 TO 6

canola oil
1¼ pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs
1¾-inch piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
4 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
1 fresh green chili, roughly chopped
salt
½ cup whole-milk yogurt
½ teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
¾ teaspoon cumin seeds, crushed
¾ teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon garam masala


Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line two oven trays with parchment paper and coat them with a very thin layer of oil.

Pick the chicken thighs over to remove any excess fat, then chop into small pieces, around 1 x ¾ inch, and set to one side in a bowl.

Using a mortar and pestle, bash the ginger, garlic, and green chili with a pinch of salt until it turns into a paste. Add the paste to the chicken pieces, followed by the rest of the ingredients and 1¼ teaspoons of salt (or to taste). Mix thoroughly and cover. Leave to marinate for at least 15 minutes and up to a few hours (the longer the better).

Shake any excess marinade off the chicken (or else you'll end up with a curry) and distribute the chicken between the two oven trays, so that you don't crowd them. Cook for around 20 minutes, turning the pieces over after 10 minutes so that they cook evenly.

Serve the chicken tikka with some salad leaves or chaat salad, and drizzle with mint and yogurt chutney.


PAN-FRIED CHICKEN LIVERS IN CUMIN BUTTER MASALA

Jeeru wari kalegi

Quick to make, these utterly delicious chicken livers are a great snack or starter. My grandfather used to wash these down with a glass of local Ugandan whisky after he came back from work at the grain mill.

The key to this dish is to use a hot frying pan initially so that the livers are crispy on the outside but not overcooked; they should be just blushing on the inside. They are delicate things which absorb the buttery flavors beautifully, so be gentle with them.

SERVES 4

9 ounces chicken livers
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
½ teaspoon salt (or to taste)
½ teaspoon ground black pepper


First pick over the livers and make sure they're well trimmed. Remove any sinewy bits and pat dry with a paper towel.

Melt the butter in a frying pan on a high heat. Once it's foaming and the pan is nice and hot, add the chicken livers and sear them for 1 to 2 minutes on each side until golden brown.

Turn the heat down to medium and add the garlic, cumin, salt, and pepper. Stir-fry for a minute, then add 2 tablespoons of water. Cover with a lid and simmer for a further 2 minutes, as this will ensure the chicken livers are cooked through without burning the garlic and spices. Take the lid off the pan and allow to simmer and reduce for up to 5 minutes, but no longer.

Serve with hot chapatis (see here), tomato chutney (see here), and kachumbar (see here), or some salad leaves. Local whisky optional.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Made in India by Meera Sodha, David Loftus. Copyright © 2015 Meera Sodha. Excerpted by permission of Flatiron Books.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Introduction
A word on Indian cooking
How to use this book
Kitchen equipment
Helpful weights and measures
Eat like an Indian, think like an Indian
01 Starters and Snacks
02 Vegetables
03 Meat
04 Fish
05 Eggs
06 Legumes and grains
07 Sides
08 Breads
09 Chutneys and pickles
10 Desserts
11 Drinks
12 Housekeeping: Make your own and Leftovers
Menu ideas
Wine and Indian food
How to eat with your hands
Help
Indian ingredients
Recommended suppliers
Index
Thank you

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Made in India: Recipes from an Indian Family Kitchen 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
NellaA More than 1 year ago
I have tried several recipes that ended in a bland dish and something was missing. I think the author tried to be innovative on a type of fusion cuisine. However, for example, there is too much ground almond in the Mum's Chicken Curry that did not give any especial flavor to the dish. The Roasted Tamarind Chicken with Honey and Red Chili remained me an imitation of Mexican Fajitas, Cilantro Chutney Chicken was horrible.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
We've made a few recipes already and loved them all. My daughter said to make a double batch of the chicken & figs dish on page 89 the next time I make it.