Chicken Kofta Curry

April 28, 2011

Dinner

This week, I made Chicken Kofta Curry, which is a dish that consists of chicken meatballs (or 'koftas') that are cooked in a flavorful gravy. It's served over Basmati rice, and garnished with fresh cilantro leaves.

The recipe I used for this dish comes from Show me the Curry, which is one of my favorite resources for homemade Indian cuisine. I chose it because I wanted to experiment with the homemade Garam Masala that Matt and I made last week, and I wasn't disappointed. The only change I would make to the recipe is the method in which the koftas are prepared: instead of dropping them straight into the gravy raw, I feel it would improve their texture to first brown them in a frying pan. Either way, it's up to you. And either way, it'll taste amazing.

Chicken Kofta Curry

Koftas:
1 pound ground/minced chicken
1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg

Curry:
2 tablespoons oil
1/4 teaspoon cardamom seeds
3 cloves
1" stick of cinnamon
1 bay leaf
1 medium onion, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 medium tomatoes (or one 15-ounce can) processed in a food processor until liquid
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 cup plain yogurt
2 1/2 cups water
Fresh cilantro (for garnish)

Mix all of the ingredients for the Koftas in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate.

Using a mortar and pestle, lightly grind the cardamom seeds and cloves until they are crushed. Heat the oil over medium in a large heavy-bottomed pot. Once the oil has warmed, add the stick of cinnamon, bay leaf, and the ground cardamom/cloves. Quickly add the onion and salt, and stir, continuing to cook over medium heat until the onion has become dehydrated and browned (10-15 minutes).

Once the onion is ready, add the ginger-garlic paste and cook for another minute or two. Add the tomato paste and the processed tomatoes, and stir to combine. Once the oil begins to separate from the tomatoes, lower the heat to medium-low, and add the turmeric, coriander, cumin and garam masala. Cook for one minute longer.

Add the yogurt and the water, stirring continuously. Increase the heat to medium again, and allow the gravy to come to a boil. Taste and adjust the salt or spices as needed.

Remove the Kofta mixture from the refrigerator. Wet your hands with water to prevent the mixture from sticking, and form into small meatballs. Drop them into the gravy gently, making sure not to disturb them once they're submerged. (If you wish, you can brown the sides of the koftas in a frying pan before submerging them in the gravy.) Once all of the koftas are formed and are submerged, cover the pot and allow the meatballs to simmer for 25 minutes on medium-low heat.

After 25 minutes have passed, remove the lid and gently stir the mixture. Turn off the heat, and cool for five minutes. Serve over a bed of basmati rice, and garnish with fresh cilantro leaves.

Recipe from Show me the Curry.

P.S. I added 1/2 cup frozen peas the gravy, which wasn't part of the original recipe.

Wedding Wednesday

April 27, 2011

Empty

A couple weeks ago, I mentioned that I wanted to turn this old rice sack into a bucket for my flower girl, so I found a promising tutorial, cut out the pattern and pinned everything together. And then it just sat there on my desk for another week until I worked up the nerve to give it a go.



I actually think it turned out okay, but it's not exactly what I want for my flower girl. I want something taller. Luckily, I still have a few yards of burlap, so I'm going to mess around with the pattern this week until it's perfect.

Chana Masala

April 26, 2011

Chana Masala

After posting the recipe for Garam Masala the other day, I thought it'd be fun to share some of my favorite ways to use it. The first recipe that comes to mind is Chana Masala, which is one of my favorites in Indian cuisine. The main ingredient for this dish is chickpeas (or garbanzo beans), which soak up all of the seasoning, and balance the notes of citrus and spice. Served over a bed of brown Basmati rice, this dish is incredibly aromatic and flavorful.

Chana Masala
1 tablespoon oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 medium onion, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2" ginger, skinned and minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 hot green chili pepper, minced
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 1/2 cup diced tomotoes (or 15-ounce canned)
1/2 cup water
2 cups cooked garbanzo beans (or 15-ounce canned)
1/2 cup frozen peas
Salt to taste
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Cilantro (to garnish)

Heat the oil over medium heat in a large pot. Add the cumin seeds until they start to pop in the oil, and then immediately add the onions and the salt. Cook the onions, stirring frequently, until golden brown. Add the ginger, garlic and chile, and cook for another minute.

Add the ground coriander, cumin, cayenne pepper, turmeric, paprika, and garam masala, and stir into the onion mixture. Quickly add the diced tomatoes with their juices, and the 1/2 cup water. Once the mixture has returned to a simmer, add the garbanzo beans and the peas. Cover and let simmer for 10-15 minutes.

Add your desired amount of salt, and the juice of 1/2 a lemon. Serve hot, over cooked basmati rice, and garnish with chopped cilantro.

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen.

First Barbecue of the Year

April 25, 2011

The weather over the weekend was in the mid-60's and sunny, so Matt and I made every excuse to be outside. On Friday, we took a road trip to my dad's place for some dinner, a game of Pinochle, and a movie. I wish I had brought a camera so I could show you how beautiful the view is from their deck with the river flowing by.

On Saturday, we decided it was time to clean our patio, prep our garden containers, and start up the first barbecue of the year.



Soon after we lit our modest charcoal grill, we noticed barbecue smoke rising all around us from the neighboring lots. I can only conclude that barbecues are contagious, which makes sense considering how good they smell.



I made my favorite homemade burger buns again. They're so simple if you have a bread machine for the kneading, and they taste delicious. I made quite a few, and froze half the batch to have them ready for next time.



Unfortunately, the beautiful weather only stuck around 'til Saturday, and now we're in solid rain again until sometime next week. Ah well, It was really nice while it lasted.

Happy Easter

April 24, 2011



Matt brought these tulips home from the tulip farm the other day, and they're just now blooming! It makes me feel like I'm celebrating Easter along with everyone else, even though all I'm doing is drinking beer, listening to Motown on Pandora, and conducting stovetop experiments. But hey, that's the way I like it.

If you're looking for some pretty egg decorations, click here to see my favorites of the year. 

Garam Masala

April 22, 2011

Garam Masala

Garam Masala is a really basic spice mixture used for Indian cooking. It's flavorful, but not too spicy on its own, and can be added to several meat, fish and vegetable dishes. You can find it in paste or powder form at most grocery stores, but I find that it's much better to roast and grind the spices at home. The flavor is substantially more authentic and fresh.

There are many variations on the recipe for Garam Masala, but this is the formula that we've been using at home. The amount that this recipe makes will last us about a month, but you can double it if you think you'd use more, or if you'd like to give some away as a gift.

Garam Masala
1 2-inch stick of cinnamon, broken up
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon cardamom seeds
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon saffron (optional)

Preheat a dry, heavy-bottom skillet over medium heat.

Break the cinnamon stick into small pieces, and add to a small bowl or ramekin, along with the cumin seeds, coriander seeds, cardamom seeds, peppercorns, and cloves.

Spices

Add the spices in your bowl to the preheated skillet all at once. Stir constantly until the spices are several shades darker and give off a sweet, smoky aroma. This process should take 5-10 minutes.

Roasting Spices

Once toasted, remove the spices from the heat, and transfer back into the bowl to cool. Once room temperature, add the nutmeg and the saffron, and transfer to a coffee or spice blender to grind into a fine powder.

Store in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

Wedding Wednesday

April 20, 2011







I thought I'd show a few images of wedding inspiration this week since it's been awhile. I love the idea of using herbs in jars, or alongside our place settings. Anywhere I can find a place for them, really. And instead of a traditional wedding veil, I think I want to wear a crown of flowers. Something simple, or maybe crocheted?

Anyway, I hope you're all having a good week. I think it's going by a little too fast!

Masalas

April 19, 2011

Spices

Over the weekend, Matt and I made two different masalas (ground spice mixtures) from scratch, and they're so delicious and aromatic. I'm dying to share them with you.

Hello, Friday.

April 15, 2011

Homemade Pizza

Today means: sleeping in (until 10am), coffee, writing/proofing, researching, and maybe a little sewing. It also means homemade pizza for dinner! And maybe a late night movie with Matt, and a glass of wine to start the weekend. 

I feel like I've had a slow and introspective week, but I'm really glad for the balance.

Wedding Wednesday

April 13, 2011

Hello, hello! It has been a super busy week, so I thought I'd share some of the images I've taken for our wedding thus far. Seeing it all together like this is really motivating for me. There's still so much to do, but I'm totally ready to push forward.

Crocheted Bits:
Crocheted Bits

Centerpiece Ideas:
Centerpiece Ideas

Paper Garlands:
Paper Garlands

And a few others:
Other Wedding Stuffs

Have a happy Wednesday! :)

Thrifting

April 12, 2011

Thrifted

Last week, a friend of mine came home from Florida for few days, so she took me out around town for some thrifting. I'm trying to limit my spending, making sure that every purchase I make can somehow be used for our wedding (and beyond). Money spent is money spent, and it all adds up. I always make exceptions for pretty mugs, cutting boards, and wooden bowls though. I don't think I could forgive myself it I let a good find slip through my fingers.

Thrifted

I've actually done well with my rule, despite the extra thing here and there. I've been looking for second-hand linens in our wedding colors, and it's surprisingly difficult to find them in coral pink and turquoise-y shades, but I managed to return home with a decent-sized bundle last week. I also found a good apple basket, but it needs work.

We have a long list of thrifty finds to spruce up once the sun decides to stick around for awhile. I'll have to post some 'before' pictures before it's too late.

Speaking of 'before' pictures:

Empty

Matt and I finally finished this bag of brown basmati rice, and I want to do something special with the sack. I'd love to sew it into a bucket or something, but I'm still just acquainting myself with my sewing machine.

Any ideas?

Bird Catching

April 11, 2011

Bird Catching

I went through a bird-obsessed phase when I was young. It probably had something to do with my other obsession - flying. I was convinced I could figure out the impossible, and I'd spend hours constructing wings from sticks and ferns.

After begging my parents to buy me a bird, they finally taught me how to make a bird trap out of a box, a stick, a long piece of string, and some bread crumbs. I think they must have known it wouldn't work, and that the birds would only ever get close enough to tease me, but it kept me well occupied. (I'll have to remember this trick when I have kids.)

Finally I said, "Dad, the bird traps aren't working? Will you please buy me a bird?"

And he said, "Well, we can get a bird, or we can get a puppy. It's up to you."

And that was the end of my obsession with birds.

Unda-Style

April 8, 2011

Quesadillas

Have you heard about unda-style? It's where you cook an egg to one side of your flatbread (tortillas, crepes, etc). I first read about it from Heidi over at 101 Cookbooks, and decided to try it out with a couple corn tortillas for some unda-style breakfast quesadillas.

It was really good! I only wish I had salsa...

Wedding Wednesday

April 6, 2011

I've been busy making placemats for our wedding potluck. I'm making them out of muslin and a coarse yellow fabric that I found at the thrift store. The yellow fabric used to serve as curtains, but that's all I really know about it.

Making Placemats

Making Placemats

I'm still not quite finished with them, which you can see from the bits left unsewn, but I like their overall look. I consider this my first real sewing project, so I'm really happy that it wasn't a total disaster. I was nervous, I'll admit.

I still have quite a few more of these to make, but I think I'll switch to some of our other wedding colors. It might be fun to give each table its own theme. Once I figure out the dimensions of our tables, I'll be sewing table linens and runners as well. Lots to do, lots to do.

As for Matt, he is making plans for a trellis. He sent me this picture to give me an idea of how he wants to build it:
















I think it's going to be perfect.

Buying Seeds

April 5, 2011

SSE Catalog

We don't have much planting space at our apartment, but we have a decent sized patio for container gardening, and a little dirt patch where we can plant some herbs. I ordered a few things from the SSE catalog last week, and they just arrived:

Cilantro
Chives
German Chamomile
Genovese Basil
Lettuce mix

I'd like to get some mint, and maybe some tomatoes, but those will have to wait until the farmer's markets start carrying seedlings. It'd be nice to grow a couple tomato plants on our own patio, but last summer was so strange - it rained and rained and rained.  Our plants grew big, but we only had a few fruits ripen before the cold set in, and they didn't taste very good. I'm hoping we'll have better luck this upcoming season, and that we might find some friends/family who will lend us a little space.

I was looking through our pantry the other day, and found some Good Mother Stallard beans from the first garden Matt and I ever grew. We only have about a pint left from the harvest, and I know I should cook them up soon, but I'll be so sad when they're gone.

Beans

It'll be nice to have a 'real' garden of our own someday.

A Little Inspiration

April 4, 2011



I found some old books on tole and folk art at the thrift store the other day. They're mostly about painting, which isn't something I'm all that familiar with, but I think they're inspirational all the same. Here are some of my favorite images:







I also found a slip of tracing paper that the previous owner left behind. I love finding treasures like this. Had to slip it back into the book after taking this photo.

There are a few more pages up on my Flickr if you're interested in seeing more.

----------

In other news, one of my favorite bloggers - Sherri from Little House in Paradise - gave me a Stylish Blogger award last Friday. Thank you, Sherri. :)

After looking up the rules, I found that I need to list seven things that you might not know about me, and then pass the award on. This kinda reminds me of those e-mail surveys my friends and I used to send to each other. I always thought they were fun, and enjoyed reading what my friends had to say. So, instead of me tagging someone specific, just feel free to answer the questions in the comment section, or on your own blog. Here are my seven:

1. I wanted to be a horse trainer until I broke my wrist, got a concussion (or two), and sprained my back. All from riding, grooming, or falling off.
2. I go a little crazy if I'm not getting enough alone time.
3. I have a frustratingly bad memory for facts.
4. I wake up super early - 6 a.m. most mornings.
5. I dislike most store bought breads, so I bake my own.
6. I've never really liked soda, though I'll drink a ginger ale now and then.
7. I'm a total bookworm.

Your turn!

Kitchen Surface Spray

April 1, 2011

DIY Cleaners

I've been using a homemade kitchen surface cleaner for about a year now, and I really love it. It doesn't make me feel like I'm poisoning myself or my food, but the kitchen stays nice and clean. Vinegar and tea tree oil act as mild disinfectants, and the tea tree oil makes the spray smell nice.

Ingredients:
1 part vinegar
1 part warm water
A few drops of tea tree oil

Pour all of the ingredients into a spray bottle and gently swirl until mixed. Spray on your kitchen surfaces, and wipe clean.

Caution: It's best to steer clear of wooden surfaces that are stained or finished when using DIY cleaners made from vinegar.