Tandoori Spiced Cauliflower "Steaks" with Cashews & Creamy Makhani Sauce

I often make Makhani Paneer, a vegetarian version of the popular dish Butter Chicken which tends to be a 'treat' reserved for a special meal.

I realized the Creamy Makhani Sauce could be drizzled on any steamed or roasted vegetables for a decadently, delicious veggie main that's both filling and satisfying because of all the fibre content vegetables possess. 

For this recipe, I cut the cauliflower into "steaks" or thick slices and rubbed on Arvinda's Tandoori Masala with olive oil. It's optional, but you can add a squirt of lemon on the cauliflower before baking it. 

Add for the garnish, coarsely chopped cashews add a nice crunch and texture, elevating this main to a five star level!


TANDOORI SPICED CAULIFLOWER "STEAKS" with CASHEWS & CREAMY MAKHANI SAUCE

Method of Preparation:

1) Preheat oven to 425F. Mix olive oil with ARVINDA'S TANDOORI MASALA. Brush onto cauliflower on both sides and place on a baking sheet. Bake in oven for 20 minutes. Flip over and bake for another 10 minutes. Remove from oven to slightly cool.

2) CREAMY MAKHANI SAUCE: Heat oil on medium-high heat. Stir in crushed tomatoes and sift in chick pea flour. Whisk to create a smooth paste. Add ARVINDA'S BUTTER CHICKEN MASALA, sea salt and sugar. Stir and cook for a couple of minutes.

3) Stir in cream and thin out with water to desired consistency (if required).

4) Arrange cauliflower on plate and drizzle on Creamy Makhani Sauce. Garnish with cilantro and cashews.

Ingredients:
1 cauliflower head, trimmed and cut into "steaks" (slices)
2 TBSP. olive oil
1 TBSP. ARVINDA'S TANDOORI MASALA
sea salt, to garnish
1 TBSP. cilantro, to garnish
2 TBSP. raw cashews, coarsely chopped

CREAMY MAKHANI SAUCE:
1 TBSP. oil
¼ CUP crushed tomatoes
2 TBSP. chick pea flour
2 TSP. ARVINDA'S BUTTER CHICKEN MASALA        
½ TSP. sea salt
1 TSP. sugar
¼ CUP half-and-half cream
½ CUP water (optional)

Kale Onion Pakoras (gluten-free & vegan)

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I'm not quite sure why one would buy frozen Pakoras when you can easily make them in less than 20 minutes! You heard me right. 20 minutes (or less!).

The ingredients are simple and you may already have them in your pantry. All that's required is a mixing bowl, then add the dry ingredients, kale and onion and a bit of water to create a thick batter, then shallow deep-fry...and voila, you have steamy hot Pakoras ready to be eaten, hot on the spot!

This is the only way to eat them in my opinion. Hot. Fresh. And right out of the fryer!

If you're looking for something to pair with your beer this St. Paddy's Day, this is your shortcut to something mouthwatering, homemade and loaded with flavour. And the bonus is that it's quite beautifully green too!


KALE ONION PAKORAS

Method of Preparation:

1) In a mixing bowl add chick pea flour, ARVINDA'S CURRY MASALA, sea salt, fennel seeds from ARVINDA'S ESSENTIAL WHOLE SPICES KIT and baking soda. Whisk together to get rid of any lumps.

2) Add water to create a smooth batter. Mix in onion, kale and cilantro (optional). 

3) Line a plate with paper towel and set aside. Heat 1 cup of oil for frying in a small wok or deep frying pan on medium-high heat. Fry pakoras a few at a time for a few minutes, turning to cook evenly until golden brown in colour. Drain on paper towel and serve hot.

Yield = 12-14 medium sized pakoras.

Ingredients:
1 CUP chick pea flour, sifted
2 TSP. ARVINDA'S CURRY MASALA
½ TSP. sea salt
¼ TSP. fennel seeds from ARVINDA'S  ESSENTIAL WHOLE SPICES KIT
¼ TSP. baking soda
¼ CUP water, add extra 1 TBSP. if necessary
1 CUP green kale, finely chopped
½ small onion, finely chopped
2 TBSP. cilantro, finely chopped (optional)

 

 

 


These Kale Onion Pakoras also serve well with a cup of Masala Chai. Enjoy and wishing you much luck on this St. Patrick's Day! :)

Tandoori Spiced Taro Root "Fries"

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Recently, I've been hooked on taro root. Upon most of my visits to the Asian supermarket, the humble root always seems to make it into my shopping basket. Maybe that's because there's always such a large display in the produce section being a conspicuous root itself -- and large in size and hard to miss, it raises a certain level of curiosity. It's a 'curious' vegetable one could say!

As I was rummaging through the taro root pile in the Asian store last week, a curious woman asked me why I was buying it (meaning, what was I planning on doing with it!). She didn't know what it was or how to cook with it, so I explained I was making taro 'fries", cooking it just like a potato.

I actually didn't realize taro root is native to India (and parts of Southeast Asia), but recall seeing it in the markets in South India, as pictured below. Taro has a beautiful nutty flavour, a soft, creamy texture and takes in flavour quite nicely. I selected Arvinda's Tandoori Masala to add a bite of heat and fantastic spice flavour.

I discovered the taro root is high in fiber, lowers blood sugar levels and is high in vitamin C. Prepare the taro root by peeling it, chopping it and boiling it - just like a potato! Easy.

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TANDOORI SPICED TARO ROOT "FRIES"

Ingredients:
1 LB. taro root, cooked and julienned
1-2 TBSP. oil
1 TSBP. ARVINDA'S TANDOORI MASALA
2 TBSP. cilantro, finely chopped, to garnish
sea salt, to garnish

 

Method of Preparation:

1) Heat oil on medium-high heat. Add ARVINDA'S TANDOORI MASALA and blend well.

2) Add cooked taro "fries", coat well and cook for a few minutes until crispy.

3) Garnish with cilantro and sea salt.

Indulgence Curry: Shahi Paneer

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It's only been two days since the closing ceremony of the 2018 PeyongChang Winter Olympics, and I must admit I'm two days longing to bring back the emotions and exhilaration these games brought into our very cold month of February. A true form of escapism, I diligently tuned into the CBC live coverage and highlights each and every day, to be gently slipped away to the other side of the world where so much activity and excitement was happening, watching with anticipation and cheering on all the Olympians who worked so hard for years.

The feature event for me was watching our country's darling ice dancing favourites Tessa & Scott inspire and warm our hearts once again. Yes indeed, this free dance was inspiring and just plain beautiful.

And we had plenty of other great triumphs and moments to celebrate, marking this one victorious Olympics to remember.

Many athletes leave with medals in hand, ready to celebrate their victories and losses. After all that grueling training and months of hard work they definitely earn their fair share of an indulgent meal--or indulgent curry, shall we say!?

We have the perfect indulgent curry for a 'treat day', trust me to look no further! This would be Shahi Paneer which is almost like a double decadence. First there's the smooth, silky and creamy curry sauce laced with aromatic spices, cumin and chilies with bites of fresh ginger shreds. This is a curry sauce that can stand all on its own and will have you licking your plate at least twice - it's that good! But then comes the paneer.  Bits of soft, creamy paneer have a melt-in-your-mouth-feel after simmering away in the curry sauce. Another bite with some cumin scented basmati rice and you may just be able to take away the winter blues.

The word Shahi means royal and this is considered an indulgent dish that could be served on a special occasion. Here's a couple of tips: 

1) It's tradition to cut the paneer into triangles (instead of cubes), as at banquets or buffets guests will be able to identify this dish as Shahi Paneer and not a different paneer curry such as Matter Paneer.

2) Be sure to finely julienne ginger into shreds for a beautiful garnish. 


SHAHI PANEER

METHOD OF PREPARATION:

1) Boil onion in water until softened and cooked. Drain and purée in a food processor until smooth. In a heavy-based pan, heat oil on medium-high. Add onion and cook until caramelized, approximately 10 minutes. Stir in crushed tomatoes and cook for one minute. 

2) Add ARVINDA’S PANEER MASALA, garlic paste and salt. Mix well and cook for a couple of minutes to make a thick
paste. Add water and mix to create a sauce. Add ginger, sugar and lemon juice.

3) Gently stir in cream and stir. Delicately fold in paneer and cook on medium heat for a few minutes. Add a little
water to get desired sauce consistency. Simmer for a couple of minutes. Remove in a serving dish and garnish with cilantro and a sprinkle of ARVINDA’S GARAM MASALA. Serve with basmati rice and chappatis. 

INGREDIENTS:

¾ CUP PANEER, cut into triangles
1 LARGE ONION, cut into quarters
3 TBSP. OIL
2 BAY LEAVES
½ CUP CRUSHED TOMATOES, canned, unsalted
2 TSP. ARVINDA’S PANEER MASALA (use 1 TBSP. for hotter and added flavour)
1 TSP. GARLIC PASTE
1 TSP. SALT (or to taste)
1 CUP WATER (add extra if needed)
1 INCH THIN SLICE GINGER ROOT, cut into shreds
1 TSP. SUGAR
½ CUP HALF-AND-HALF CREAM (10% M.F.)
½ TSP. FRESH LEMON JUICE
2 TBSP. CILANTRO, finely chopped, to garnish
¼ TSP. ARVINDA’S GARAM MASALA, to garnish

Printable full recipe is here.

Cauliflower & Mixed Vegetable Biryani ~ Layered Basmati Rice with Saffron

There are many ways to make a Biryani, a layered basmati rice dish scented with whole spices like cardamom, cloves and bay leaves, laced with saffron, sprinkled with nuts, cilantro and a generous amount of garam masala.

This week one of our customers, Jay was looking for a recipe to prepare Biryani, the vegetarian way which actually reminded me I haven't made Biryani in a very long time. I always prepare my Biryanis vegetarian, and this was a great chance for me to make it and post the recipe -- especially since my mouth was kinda watering while reading the request!

This recipe makes a modest sized portion, serving 4-6 people (opposed to 8-10 people like the other Biryani recipes I have on file). It's a nice recipe to make on the weekend and can be enjoyed for a couple of extra meals during the week. Any curry will go nicely with it and serve it with plain yogurt on the side.

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As for the veggies, I used a combination of carrots, mushrooms, green beans and yes, cauliflower all chopped up quite finely and nicely. I love how the cauliflower soaks in the flavours of the Biryani Masala lending the vegetable mixture a bit of density.

I must say a good rule of thumb for any Biryani preparation is to select and choose a top quality basmati rice, which will take the dish 'over-the-top'!


CAULIFLOWER & MIXED VEGETABLE BIRYANI

Method of Preparation:

1) VEGETABLES: In a skillet, fry onions in 2 tsp. of ghee on medium heat until slightly brown. Mix in crushed tomatoes and ARVINDA'S BIRYANI MASALA and salt. Add mixed vegetables, nuts and 1/4 tsp. ARVINDA'S GARAM MASALA. Stir to combine and cook for a couple of minutes. Set aside. 

2) In a small bowl add 2 tbsp. of water with saffron. Set aside to soak.

3) RICE: Wash and rinse rice in a couple of changes of water and soak for 15 minutes. Drain. 

4) In a large pot, add soaked rice, ARVINDA'S WHOLE SPICES, salt and cover with plenty of water. Cover with lid and bring to boil until rice is nearly cooked (al dente). Strain rice.

5) In a skillet, fry sliced onion in 1 tsp. of ghee until slightly cooked. Set aside.

6) ASSEMBLY: Grease a medium sized casserole dish with ghee or oil. Spread half the rice evenly on bottom of dish. Sprinkle in half of soaked saffron (with water). Sprinkle with half the amount of cilantro. Add all cooked vegetable mixture and spread out. Add remaining cooked rice, sprinkle with remaining saffron (in water). Top with sliced onions.

7) Cover with foil and bake in a 350F preheated oven for 15 minutes. Garnish with remaining cilantro and sprinkle of ARVINDA'S GARAM MASALA.

Ingredients:
1 CUP mixed vegetables, finely chopped (cauliflower, carrots, mushrooms, green beans)
1 large onion, finely chopped
¼ CUP crushed tomatoes, canned
1 TBSP. ghee
1½ TSP. ARVINDA'S BIRYANI MASALA
2 TBSP. cashews or pistachio nuts, halved
¼ TSP. salt
½ TSP. ARVINDA'S GARAM MASALA
¼ TSP. saffron, soaked in water
1 medium onion, peeled and thinly sliced, to garnish

Rice:
1 CUP premium basmati rice
2 EACH cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks, cloves, star anise & peppercorns from ARVINDA'S WHOLE SPICES
½ TSP. salt or salt to taste
1 TSP. ghee
¼ CUP cilantro, chopped to garnish
 

"Master Curry Sauce": 3 curries to warm up for winter

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Back in December, one of our customers inquired about Arvinda's Curry Powder, mentioning they were planning to try the "Master Curry Series" over the holidays. Master Curry Series?!?! Sounds fascinating! We were intrigued as this was something we wanted to try!

We later found out, LCBO Food & Drink Magazine writer Eric Vellend, published a "Master Curry" series of three recipes using a "Master Curry Sauce" in the coveted Holiday 2017 issue using Arvinda's Curry Powder and Arvinda's Garam Masala. Curries don't typically come first to mind during the festive time of year but of course it makes perfect sense! Post Boxing Day, after all the traditional holiday recipes are tested, tasted, eaten (and exhausted!), it is the perfect chance to try new recipes to share with family and friends.

Although I didn't get a chance to try the "Master Curry" recipes over the holiday season, I pulled out the magazine to try them this January. With all the cold weather and snowy conditions we're experiencing (not that I'm complaining), it's curries I crave and what I cook to keep warm. Chilies find a way to comingle with the fragrance of cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom and turmeric, which does a thing or two to help warm the body up. It really is the a perfect food for some of the coldest days of the year.

The Master Curry concept is genius - you make one master base sauce using a high quality curry powder to create the base flavours and use it to create three completely different curries. In this case, the recipes featured in Food & Drink are as follows:

  • Master Curry Sauce Tofu & Peas (I made it with paneer instead of tofu);
  • Master Curry Sauce Shrimp and
  • Master Curry Sauce Chicken

Recipes available on page 222, LCBO FOOD &DRINK HOLIDAY 2017.

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We found the curries to be delightful! Once the Master Sauce is created, making one of the curries takes only 10-20 minutes (less time for the tofu and shrimp curries, more time for the chicken curry). Making the Master Curry Sauce is the perfect task to take on over the weekend when you have a bit more time. In that way it will be easy to create various curries--each different--during the week when dinner needs to get on the table quickly! In addition, it's a great way to add some turmeric to the daily diet.

If you prefer more intensity, you can make the recipes using Arvinda's Curry Masala

If you have a chance to try out the recipes, please share your photos and comments. We'd like to say thank you to Eric Vellend for the Arvinda's Curry Powder mention - many thanks for the lovely recommendation which is much appreciated! :)

Christmas Chai Snow Crescents (Eggless & Gluten-Free)

This year we made most of our Christmas cookies gluten-free. We love them because they're light and crispy, and they've been a hit amongst all our guests so far.

This season we doubled the batch, stored the dough in the freezer and baked these cookies as we needed them so they're always fresh and crispy on the day of serving them.

If you haven't done your holiday baking as of yet, try making these Christmas Chai Snow Crescents which are easy, delicious and festive to cheer up any Christmas dessert table!

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CHRISTMAS CHAI SNOW CRESCENTS (EGGLESS & GLUTEN-FREE)

Method of Preparation:
1) Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 325F.

2) In a large bowl, cream butter with sifted icing sugar. Add ARVINDA'S CHRISTMAS CHAI MASALA (or ARVINDA'S CHAI MASALA) and almond extract and mix. Sift in flour and mix. Fold in ground almonds.

3) Take a small ball of mixture and roll between palms of the hand to form a cresent. Continue with remaining mixture.

4) Bake for 15 minutes in the oven or until slightly golden brown. Cool on wire rack. To garnish cresents, dip into icing sugar to create a festive snow finish.

Ingredients:
½ CUP butter
½ CUP icing sugar + extra for ‘snow’ finishing
1 TSP. ARVINDA'S CHRISTMAS CHAI MASALA (or ARVINDA'S CHAI MASALA)
1 TSP. almond extract
1 CUP gluten-free flour mix
½ CUP blanched almonds, finely ground

CURRIED MASHED SWEET POTATOES

Add more fibre to your diet by subbing out potatoes for sweet potatoes. Rather than mashed potatoes, this side will be on our holiday table this season! It's sweet and delightful with a hint of curry spices.

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CURRIED MASHED SWEET POTATOES

Method of Preparation:

1) In a pressure cooker, add sweet potatoes, potatoes and salt. Cover with water and cook for 10 minutes until they are tender enough to mash. (If you don’t own a pressure cooker, boil on stovetop – this should take around 20 minutes).

2) Drain water. Using a potato masher (or fork) mash sweet potatoes and potatoes.

3) In a large skillet, melt ghee on medium heat. Add ARVINDA'S CURRY MASALA and mix. Fold in mashed sweet potatoes and potatoes and coat with masala. Fold in heavy cream.

4) Serve in a bowl and garnish with ARVINDA'S GARAM MASALA. Serves 2-4.

Ingredients:
1 LB. sweet potatoes (4 small), peeled and cubed
½ LB. potatoes (2 medium), peeled and cubed
1 TSP. salt
2 TBSP. ghee or butter
1-2 TBSP. ARVINDA'S CURRY MASALA
1/8 CUP heavy cream
sea salt, to taste
¼ TSP. ARVINDA's GARAM MASALA , to garnish

Garlicky! Curried Carrot & Garlic Soup

Once I made this Curried Carrot & Garlic Soup three times in one week. I must have been addicted to it at the time. Although these days I'm not making it that often, I still make it at least once per month (it's that good!).

The key to getting the flavour right for this soup, is to use a locally grown garlic that is fresh and full of flavour. I use fresh Ontario garlic bulbs, "Music" variety in particular which is mild and sweet.

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CURRIED CARROT & GARLIC SOUP

Method of Preparation:

1) Boil carrots with water and 1/2 tsp. salt. Cook until carrots are tender. Using a hand blender, purée until smooth.

2) In a pot, gently heat olive oil and fry chopped garlic until it is fragrant. Add turmeric or ARVINDA'S CURRY POWDER. Stir for a minute on medium heat. Mix in pureed carrots. Add salt to taste. Simmer for 10-15 minutes. Mix in parsley. Serve in soup bowls.

Ingredients:
4-5 large carrots, peeled, washed and cut into small pieces
4 CUPS water
1/2 TSP. salt
3 garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 TBSP. olive oil
2 TSP. ARVINDA'S CURRY POWDER
1 TSP. parsley, chopped or parsley flakes
salt to taste