An Indian meal is often a combination of different dishes and requires a lot of preparation.
In the selection of the dishes it is important to combine dishes, not only because they taste good together, but also because they are diverse in colors.
*The main dish is 2 dorades for 2p. Make incisions at both sides of the fish. Mix ½ teaspoon of turmeric and ½ teaspoon of salt and spread over the fish. Marinate the fish with spices in juice of 1 lemon for at least 1h.
Make the chutney. Mix 4 table spoons of green pepper balls, ½ bunch of fresh coriander, 1 green chili pepper, 5 garlic cloves, ½ teaspoon of cumin, juice of ½ lemon and salt.
Spread the chutney over the fish. Cover with baking paper or banana leaves. Wet the baking paper with some vegetal oil. Bake in the oven at 180° for approx 20 mins.
*Raita is a must. This recipe is already on the blog. Search for ‘raita’.
* Smoked and spicy eggplant is a lovely side dish. Put 600 grams of halved eggplant on some baking paper (skin up). Oil and bake in the oven at real high temperature until the skin is almost burned. Cool down and remove most of the skin. Chop 1 red onion, 1 garlic clove, 2.5 cm of ginger, 1 green spicy little pepper in tiny little pieces. Fry in oil. Add ½ tea spoon of garam masala, 2 teaspoons of grinded cumin, 2 teaspoons of coriander powder, 2 teaspoons of salt, ½ teaspoon of grinded black pepper. Stir for 1 min and add 2 chopped tomatoes. Cook for a few mins and add the eggplant. Cook until the eggplant is well cooked and stir now and again. Serve with fresh coriander leaves.
*Saag paneer without paneer starts by roasting cumin, coriander and fenugreek in a dry pan and then grind to powder in a morter. Chop 5 garlic gloves, 2 cm of ginger and 1 red onion. Fry in some vegetal oil. Add the fresh spinach leaves (500g), the grinded herbs and 1 teaspoon of garam masala. Add some salt. (The original recipe also contains tomato and paneer which is a homemade cheese made of milk and lemon or vinegar.)
*To obtain a proper vegetable amount cauliflower with mustard is also a delicious side dish. Grind 2 teaspoons of yellow mustard seeds and 2 teaspoons of black mustard seeds. Mix with 1 teaspoon of turmeric, 1 teaspoon of tamarind puree and 100 ml of water. Fry 2 chopped garlic cloves, 1 small onion and 1 chopped spicy little pepper (you can use more, but then of course more spicy!) in some vegetal oil. Add the little roses of 1 cauliflower. Once everything is fried, add the herbal mixture and allow to simmer. I prefer to continue the cooking in the oven at 180°, because it is easier and it will not easily burn.
*Chole chaat or chickpea –tomato side dish starts by soaking 225 dried chickpeas in 2l of water for 12 h. Drain them, add 2l of fresh water and cook. Boil at low temperature for 1h -1 ½ h until they are soft. Drain and keep the boiled liquid. Make a puree of ½ cup of the chickpeas. Fry ½ chopped onion in some vegetal oil. Add 1 chopped garlic clove, 1 chopped spicy little pepper, 2 cm of grated fresh ginger, 1 teaspoon of coriander powder, 1 teaspoon of grinded cumin, ¼ teaspoon of turmeric, 1 teaspoon of garam masala and ½ can of tomatoes. Add the chickpeas and chick pea puree. Add salt. Cook for approx 5 mins.
The combination of the fish, the raita, smoked eggplant, saag, chole chaat and cauliflower with some bread and plain white rice is a nice picture. When we travel to India I surely need to make some space in the cupboards for the appropriate little serving dishes ;-)!!
Indian cooking is really intensive. The more I read about the diverse cooking styles the more I look forward to travel to India and eat the real thing!
Thanks Vikram, for inspiring me to continue exploring the Indian cuisine. I will start thinking of a great way to use your precious saffron gift!