Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Indian snacks and simple recipe

I posted about getting some yummy Indian snacks in the last post. I thought it would be fun to share tips some in a new post.

My goal: to give you ideas for some simple snacks that you can find at an Indian/South Asian grocery store. Go to their frozen foods section. We don't have an Indian store in our town :(. We went to one in Tampa, about an hour away.

Something we loved and wish we had bought more of was called Surti Khaman (chick-pea cakes).
This is the box:Imagine soft, savory cakes made from chick pea flower with mustard seeds, coconut on top, other spices plus a delicious side sauce. Our box was only 1.99. Prices may vary. If you don't see anything called Surti Khaman, this is also called "Dhokla" a lot of the time. Give it a try! It's a common Indian snack.

Also check out frozen bags of mini samosas. They say to fry them, but we put some in the toaster oven and they were still good. We also bought frozen "Dal puri", flat bread that puffs up when fried(we don't drench them in oil, we fry one side at a time). Inside is a smear of spiced dal(softened lentils).
If you have the brand "Tandoor Chef" in the frozen section, try their food too. We have liked what we ave tried before. Their frozen samosas are also tasty.

If you want to buy some spices for Indian cooking and feel lost in the sea of spice boxes in the store, here are some suggestions.

One of my husband's favorite brands is called MDH. This is what it looks like.
Once you can actually find these boxes, grab any that look interesting to you! Some have slight different tastes while others have very different flavors. You could always google them afterward.
If you can't find MDH brand, try Shan brand.

The chicken masalas don't have chicken in them. It's just used for making that kind of chicken usually.

These above spices, tandoori and butter chicken masala, are used often in my house in all different meals. You don't need to follow the directions on the back of the box. Use these per your taste. Start with a little and add more after tasting- it can get spicy.

Buy yourself some cumin seeds, as they are the base for many dishes and so delicious. You can get those at many grocery stores, often in the Mexican food section or spices section.

If you are not sure what to try making with these boxed spices first, experiment making "Indian home fries", which is what I have nicknamed it.

  • I soften a couple large (or 4 small)potatoes in the microwave(saves sooo much time) to a firm but softened feel, then chop them up into chunks.(you know, home fry style)
  • Slice up 1/2 an onion, I use red onions.We like to thinly slice them.
  • Heat a couple tablespoons oil on a frying pan, on medium heat, and wait until it's hot. Add about a teaspoon of cumin seeds and let them sizzle(if they didn't sizzle, wait until the heat gets a little hotter before adding the onions or turn up heat a little).
  • After maybe 30 seconds of sizzling cumin seeds, add the onion, they should sizzle. Stir occasionally.
  • Once onions start softening you can add some masala and stir. It's already going to smell soooo good. Try adding a pinch at first.
  • Add the potatoes, stirring occasionally.
  • At some point you are going to want to add salt to taste. I taste things as I go along and add more spice if needed as well. Sprinkle salt, stir, taste, etc. You probably already know that!
The potatoes should remind you of the look of home fries when they are ready. Soft inside, at least one side browned a little. That is a simple way to start using the special masalas. This could be an easy version of what is called "aloo gobi" in Indian restaurants. Aloo means potato, gobhi means cauliflower and you can add cauliflower to the above recipe - but make sure you soften them before adding into the whole mixture(heat in pan to soften). Potatoes alone in the recipe idea above would be called "aloo fry".
Some picture examples:

1 comment:

JewelryWorksbyKim said...

Great post about Indian food. My husband is Indian too. We also love samosas, puri, and Shan brand masala mixes. Also love fried califlower.