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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've looked online and am finding lots of recipes, but they either look too complicated or way too simple. I don't have much experience cooking in this genre, so I don't know what actually requires 22 ingredients to taste good, or what really can be made very simply
Can you share your favorites, and can you tell me what exactly I should stock up on when I go to the Indian grocery around the corner from us? I already have a big vat of organic mild curry powder. If anyone has a good chicken korma recipe, I'd LOVE that! My DD's not really into curry-flavored foods, but I think she'd love a good korma. And can you make any of this in a crockpot?

TIA for sharing! Thai and Indian food are two of our eating-out weaknesses. I can make just about anything else we're in the mood for, so I figured I'd better get started learning these!

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Oh me too! I would love to hear about cooking Indian/Thai food. I am hungry just thinking about making curry myself. I would really like a recipe for palak paneer.

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For korma, you need to use crispy fried onions and plenty of yogurt. I fry the onions until they're crispy, then set them aside. Then I put the meat or chicken in a pan, add yogurt, a little bit of korma spice (it's a pretty standard curry IMO), salt and some water. Cook until tender and sauce is reduced and add the crispy onions right at the end. There's also something called kewra water (???) that you can use but I don't even know what it is! Korma is pretty simple. I put tomatoes in mine too even though that's not traditional.

ETA: Oh dear Lord, I forgot to tell you, you need garlic and ginger too. D'oh!

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We love Indian and Thai food here too. This past week has been lots of yellow curry.
I used this simple recipe:
The cooking times/temps seem a little off - just simmer, that's all you really need it to do.

The first time we followed it and used potatoes with the chicken, but the next time I threw in broccoli, asparagus, carrots, green onions and cashews. Tofu would be good too, for the veggietarians. Really easy, and really yummy. I love dishes with coconut milk. You can get yellow and red curry pastes at asian markets, then just divide it up in an ice cube tray and stick it in the freezer, tossing a chunk in when you want to cook it. Very fast meal.

My favorite Indian dish is Mutter Paneer - which is homemade cheese cubes and peas in a spicy tomato-ey sauce. Serve over basmati rice.

It seems complicated, but it's not.

For example, you can have minced ginger in a jar in the fridge, or chunks of it in the freezer.

I started buying a few pounds of paneer at a time, cutting it up into cubes, deep frying them until golden brown, and then sticking them in the freezer. Then I'm always ready to make this dish! Every time I chop up 1/2 an onion, I'll chop up the other 1/2 and freeze it, then I have that ready to go, too.

Clarified butter is butter that has all the solids removed. It's easy to make at home, but you can also buy it at the indian grocery. I use it for other cooking too. It adds that nice buttery flavor, but doesn't scorch.


1 tablespoon clarified butter (Ghee)
1 teaspoon cumin seed (not the ground cumin)
1 cup finely diced onion (I use yellow, but red ones are usually used in indian cooking)
1 tablespoon finely chopped gingerroot
1 15 oz can of diced tomatoes with their liquid (you can use fresh if you want, but I'm lazy)
1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 - 1 teaspoon cayenne (1/2 for mild, 1 tsp for a bit more spiceyness)
1 teaspoon Garam Masaala*
1 bag (16 oz) frozen petite peas
2 cups of 1/2 inch fried paneer (or more if you like paneer - I do!)
1 cup water

basmati rice for serving

I measure everything out ahead of time, because it all goes pretty fast.

*A note about Garam Masaala. The Spice Island version is not spicy. But the Garam Masaala that I got at the indian grocer obviously has some cayenne in it. So that'll determine whether or not you add in more cayenne in this recipe or not.

1. Heat ghee in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add cumin seed; sizzle for 15-30 seconds to release flavor.

2. Add onion and ginger. Stir-fry 2-5 minutes or so, until onion is golden brown.

3. Stir in tomato. Cook 1-2 minutes until tomato is softened. Stir in salt, cayenne, and garam masaala. Cook 1 minute.

4. Stir in frozen peas, paneer, and water. Simmer 10-12 minutes until peas are tender and sauce thickens slightly. Stir in cilantro.

This recipe was adapted from the Betty Crocker Guide to Indian Home Cooking. I changed it up a bit to make it more saucy, because the original recipe didn't have much.

Finally, an easy Mulligatawny:

Mulligatawny from The Six O'Clock Scramble

2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 medium onions, chopped (about 3 cups)
2 tsp. minced garlic (about 4 cloves)
1 Tbsp. minced ginger (or 1 tsp. ginger powder)
1 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. garam masala
3/4 cup dried yellow or green lentils
1 can (15 oz.) diced tomatoes with liquid
1 box (32 oz.) chicken or vegetable broth (we used chicken broth)
1/2 cup coconut milk

serve over basmati rice or by itself

(If you have soaked the lentils for faster cooking, drain them before proceeding with the recipe.) Heat the oil in a stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the onions, garlic, ginger, curry powder and garam masala and sauté it, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned, about 6-8 minutes.

Stir in the lentils to coat them and add the tomatoes and chicken broth. Bring the soup to a boil and simmer it, stirring it occasionally, until the lentils are tender, about 25-30 minutes (or 10-15 minutes for presoaked lentils). Meanwhile, cook the rice according to the package directions.

Puree the soup to desired thickness in a blender or using an immersion blender right in the pot-it can be smooth or chunky, depending on your preference. (A WARNING - do NOT ever blend more than a cup of hot soup in a regular blender at one time - the steam escapes rather dramatically, and you could find yourself covered in boiling hot soup!) Stir in the coconut milk until it is heated through, and serve it over the rice.

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For those of us who are beginners at Indian cooking, I've found Curries Without Worries by Sudha Koul to be a great cookbook. (I noticed that the ony negative reviews on Amazon were from those who are experienced Indian cooks. They found the recipies not complex enough. I guess that's why they are just my speed!
) I've made some really yummy dishes from it that even my 4 y.o. has liked. My 6 y.o. isn't fond of curry at all, it turns out.
Oh, for a dish that *everyone* likes!

I haven't had much experience with Thai.

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I've made paneer once - the process was easy, but my yield from a gallon of milk wasn't that great. And the clean-up - eeesh!! Lots of crusted-on milk on my pot. Once I found it at the Indian market (and it's not that expensive), there was not much point in going through the trouble.

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: I live in Thailand and don't even make the stuff. Most of it is too labor intensive for me. OR, when in the USA, can't fine the ingredients to make it taste authentic.
to those who can pull it off.

Off to the food stall down the street to buy a bag of pad thai...

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1,617 Posts

Originally Posted by melissel
I don't have much experience cooking in this genre, so I don't know what actually requires 22 ingredients to taste good, or what really can be made very simply
Can you share your favorites, and can you tell me what exactly I should stock up on when I go to the Indian grocery around the corner from us?
I make Indian from scratch quite a lot and many of the dishes do require 15-20 or more ingredients. Some of the shorter recipes on the web use premixed spices, and this is especially true of Thai recipes (eg, red curry paste, yellow curry paste). While they may taste pretty good, the true from scratch recipes will use different ingredients to make the equivalent curry paste or curry mix.

One note with Indian cooking -- there are many styles of Indian cooking that will vary in taste and spices. South Indian style, which emphasizes rice and makes use of coconuts in cooking will taste different than say Punjabi style, which emphasizes rotis (breads). There are also other styles such as Pakistani style, which is a lot like North Indian cooking with slight nuances that make it similar to Middle Eastern cooking, such as kebabs. I have discovered through trial and error that the Indian cooking and recipes I like tend to be Punjabi and Pakistani style.

Here are a list of dry spices I stock (no particular order, or rather the order of my spice rack):
- chili powder
- garam masala (a mix of 5 or more dry spices, usually cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg or mace, black pepper and green or black cardamom)
- coriander powder (or seeds to grind your own)
- cumin
- turmeric
- cinnamon stick
- black peppercorns
- bay leaves
- cloves
- black cardomans
- black cumin seeds
- white cumin seeds
- red pepper flakes

I would say that the first 5 items in the dry spices list above are essential for making a curry. The other items I use less often and for more complicated dishes. In addition to the dry spices, you should have the following ingredients on hand, which are also quite commonly used:
- onions
- ginger
- garlic
- fresh coriander
- fresh or canned tomatoes
- yogurt

I will post a few recipes as soon as I can find them (our home server is down (DH is a geek), and I don't seem to have everything on my PC).

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Woohoo! I found one with few ingredients in my recipe drawer. Hehe didn't want to have to type out the longer ingredient recipes. This is from my Pakistani friend's mom and very different than the other Chicken Jalfrezi recipes I've found on the web:

Chicken Jalfrezi

2 breasts of bone less chicken cut across the grain into slices
2 to 3 Green, Red, and/or Yellow/Orange Peppers cut into slices
2 to 3 Tomatoes chunked
2 to 3 Medium Onions sliced
Ghee or Oil to cover the pan

white cumin seeds
3 big cloves of garlic, crushed
1/2 to 1 inch of ginger, grated
pinch turmeric (1/8 to 1/4 tsp)
1/4 to 1/2 tsp Chili Powder (depending on if you like spicy)

Mix garlic, ginger, turmeric and chili powder and a bit of water to make a paste. Set aside.

Lightly toast 1 tsp cumin seeds in pan until brown. Add to pan enough oil to cover the surface. Add spice paste carefully and stirfry a little. When hot add chicken and cook on medium heat. Turn chicken over when one side is done.

As soon as the chicken is cooked, increase heat to medium-high and add onions and stir until onions look like they are covered in the spices. Add peppers and stir for a few minutes. Finally add the tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes are a little softened and the juices are running. Veggies should still be crunchy-munchy.

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1,617 Posts

8 pieces chicken (thighs, half breasts, etc)
8 oz plain yogurt
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
1.5 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp salt
1/2 inch ginger, grated (or 1 tbsp)
3-4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp lemon juice

Skin, rinse, dry the chicken and place in large dish or bowl. Mix all other ingredients and cover chicken with mixture and let marinade, covered in the fridge anywhere from 4 hours to overnight, turning pieces occasionally.

Remove chicken from the marinade and cook either on the grill, brushing with marinade during the last 10 minutes, or in a 475 degree F oven for 45 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

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Not Indian or Thai but we had this last night and it was awesome! Lots of curry powder, coconut and peanut butter. All my favorites!

West African Beef Stew

Brown 2 lbs. stew meat (I used a small rump roast from our cow share) in some butter. Remove meat and saute 1 cup chopped oinion in buttery drippings until soft and golden. Add two tablespoons flour and 2 or 3 tablespoons curry powder with 1/4 cup of peanut butter. Slowly stir 1 cup beef stock and 1 cup coconut milk. Cook until thick then add the meat again. Simmer for two hours or so until tender.

Recipe says to add 1 lb. trimmed okra during last 1/2 hour of cooking (was looking forward to this!) but dh couldn't find the u-pick patch so I added as much frozen chopped kale as I thought they would tolerate (about a cup). Would likely be nice with green beans too.

I served this over whole wheat couscous cooked in the remaining coconut milk from the can combined with more beef stock. I had roasted sweet potato, garnet yam, and butternut cubes on the side.

You are supposed to have lots of condiments in little dishes along side but I only did tomato wedges because it was just three of us. Suggested are hard boiled egg wedges, toasted grated coconut, toasted chopped peanuts, chutney, fresh or broiled pineapple or banana, fresh or broiled mango or melon, fresh or broiled tomato, etc.

Dh said he would have loved to have some naan onhand to scoop up the yummy sauce. It's defnitely Indian-esque

This would be an excellent crock pot dish I would imagine

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Originally Posted by sugarbeth
I've made paneer once - the process was easy, but my yield from a gallon of milk wasn't that great. And the clean-up - eeesh!! Lots of crusted-on milk on my pot. Once I found it at the Indian market (and it's not that expensive), there was not much point in going through the trouble.
tofu makes a great stand in for paneer, it has a very similar taste and texture.

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I make my own paneer and it is a very satisfing experience...

1/2 gallon whole milk
2 TB lemon juice

makes enough for 3 or 4 people

Heat the milk slowly in a med sized pot making sure to stir often so as not to scorch the bottom. Once the milk is at a froothy boil pour in lemon juice, boil 1-2 mins- take off burner. Now you will have curddled milk. Take a collidar and line it w/ a double layer of cheese cloth pour pots contents in. I then tie my cheese up and hang it on the spigot in the kitchen sink to drain for 30 mins or so. Then get a large dinner plate and I usually use the bottom of the now cleaned out pot I boiled the milk in to press the excess H2O out of the cheese. I leave the pot on top of the cheese and put a few soup cans in the pot (for weight) and put it all in the fridge for a few hours. Then slice the cheese in to cubes pan sear/fry w/ EVOO and you have cheese!

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i use lots of shortcuts for indian and thai food, both of which i love -- jarred curry pastes, biryani sauce, pad thai kits, little packets from the indian grocery, etc. I
Pataks and Thai Kitchen.
the only things i make from scratch are chicken yellow curry, a curried lentil-potato dish, and satay/peanut sauce.

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I love Indian food but we dont' make much at home. We do make lots of different Thai dishes. My favorite cookbook is Hot Sour Salty Sweet

A lot of simple recipes. Our staples include a pork dish with green and red tomatoes, chiang mai noodles, simple red curry and few others. I'd be happy to send you the three I mentioned if you pm me. The simple red curry isn't entirely traditional but it comes very close to the red curries I've had in restos.
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