March 21, 2009

Veggie Tika Masala

I really love Indian food. We've tested it all over the world, including India. The best I've ever had though was at some tiny little place in San Fransisco. My favorite Indian meal (and the one I almost always order) is panner tika masala, rita, plain naan, and a mango lassi. Sooooo good. About six years ago, I stopped by a small Indian market in Seattle to pick up some spices and inquired about a cooking class to learn how to make paneer tika masala. This inquiry led to an afternoon with the shop keeper's mother (who only spoke Hindi) and resulted in my happily making either paneer or veggie tika masala ever since. Panner is a mild, kind of rubbery Indian cheese. I don't use it here because I am trying to cut out the diary in my life, it's hard to find IN Madrid, and I don't want to make my own. Masala is a magical combination of eastern spices, available at most middle and far eastern food markets.

Authentic Indian food seems healthier than it actually is. Most of it has a lot of Ghee and cream hiding inside. However, it is possible to make delicious Indian foods with a lot less fat. Below is my version of tika masala - slightly altered from the Indian shop-keeper's mother. It's important to read through all the ingredients and directions before starting since it is a bit more involved than some dishes. It takes about an hour from start to finish and keeps well in the fridge for about 4 days.

This is a super meal to serve at a dinner party because it makes a lot and people love it. Serve over basmati rice, topped with yogurt, and accompanied by warm naan or chapatis.

  • 1 1/2 red onion, pulped
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds, cracked
  • 2 tablespoons gram masala
  • 6 medium tomatoes, pulped
  • 1 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 3 medium potatoes, cubed
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 1/3 cup almond milk

  1. Prep the onion, garlic, ginger, and tomatoes. I used a food processor to pulp the onions and tomatoes. Pre-cook your potatoes - either boil them for 12 minutes or microwave them for 6.
  2. Begin the rice. Cook as package instructs.
  3. Heat onions, garlic, ginger and oil on high heat in a very large pan. Saute for about 8 minutes.
  4. Add coriander seeds and gram masala. Combine well with onion mixture and heat for a minute.
  5. Reduce heat to medium. Stir in tomatoes and tomato paste and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
  6. Add paprika, salt, chili powder, cumin, and sugar. Stir well. Simmer for 5 more minutes.
  7. Add potatoes and carrots. Simmer 5 more minutes, stirring frequently.
  8. Reduce heat to low. Stir in almond milk. Simmer 1o minutes, stirring occasionally.

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