Sunday, November 18, 2012

A Night in Delhi

Our final Gourmet Club dinner of 2012 was on November 15th.  It was amazing.  Our hosts were Brenda, Alyssa and Corinne.  They did the perfect job of transporting us to a far away land with the food, decor, lighting and music.   We received these scroll invites wrapped up in a box a few weeks before the big event "A Night in Delhi".

 Our hard working hostess' for the evening.  Along with Corinne's daughter Lily who I am so upset I didn't get a pic of!  She did a great job of helping serve that night.

The ambiance was serious amazing.  The dining area had a gorgeous canopy over it with lights, there was Indian music playing and they had even moved out a bunch of furniture and made a little lounge area for appetizers.  I loved the decor over the light made with ribbons!

First we had appetizers in the lounge.  There were samosas which are fried chickpea and sweet potato dumplings with three difference types of chutney; ginger pear, sweet tomato, and coconut mint.  All three were delish!  We also had Rotis which is unleavened flatbread and a refreshing raspberry mint spritzer.

After appetizers we headed over to the dining area for dinner.

The soup and salad course was so good!  Spicy Mushroom Soup and Sweet Hot Cucumber Salad.  They went together perfectly.

Then it was onto the main course which included Chicken Tikka Masala (chicken pieces in a spiced yogurt sauce), Lamb Kofta Curry (lamb meatballs in a tomato curry), Gobhi Alu (curried cauliflower and potato medley), Cucumber Raita (spiced cucumber yogurt), Naan (leavened flatbread) and Coconut Basmati Rice.  They also served a Mango Lassi (smoothie/drink) with our meal.  Everything was so good.  The Tikka Masala was a favorite for sure. 

The top picture isn't as lovely because I had already taken a bite but I wanted to include the flatbread in the picture when it arrived. The second pic shows their beautiful presentation but is missing the Naan.

Last but most certainly not least was dessert.  Three of them and all were amazing.  Coconut Kheer (coconut vanilla bean rice pudding), Figgy Bread Pudding with Coconut Ice Cream, and Mango Cheesecake.  Really all three were out of this world, we were all so sad that we couldn't eat it all and wished we had to go boxes (next year for sure!).

For take home gifts they really went all out with a gorgeous turquoise flower on a clip that had served as a napkin ring, turquoise bangle bracelets, clay oil lamps that CAME FROM ISRAEL!!!, and a jar of homemade Garam Masala which is a spice mix frequently used in Indian food.

Brenda, Alyssa, and Corinne that you so much for such an amazing evening and experience!


Homemade Garam Masala
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
¾ tsp. ground cloves
¾ tsp. ground black pepper
⅓ tsp. ground cardamom
1 ½ tsp ground cumin

1 Tbs oil (not olive)
1 Tbs medium curry powder
1 tsp amchoor, or dried mango powder
¾ pound sweet potatoes, boiled and roughly mashed
1 c chickpeas, mashed
3 Tbs cilantro, finely chopped
½ onion grated
1 pkg of small wonton wrappers (can also use filo dough)

Heat oil in a large nonstick frying pan and when hot add the curry and mango powder. stir-fry for 10-15 seconds and then add the potatoes and chickpeas. Stir and cook for 3-4 minutes, remove from the heat, stir in the chopped cilantro, season and set aside to cool.

Place one wonton wrapper on flat surface. Place a teaspoon of the samosa filling in the middle of ech wrapper. Dampen one side of the wonton wrapper with a wet finger and then fold the wrapper diagonally to enclose the filling and form a triangle. Repeat until filling is all used. Makes 15-20 samosas.

Place the samosas in a deep fryer until golden brown OR bake for 15-20 minutes in a 375F preheated oven. Serve immediately with tomato sauce or chutney.



2.5 C Pears
1C Sugar
¼ C raisens
¼ C Crystalized Ginger or 2 tsp Fresh
¼  C Cider Vinegar
¼ tsp Salt
¼ tsp Cinnamon
⅛ tsp allspice
⅛ tsp Cloves

1. In Pot combine all ingredients and bring to a boil, Stirring frequently
2. Reduce heat to a simmer, uncovered, for about 2 ½ hours, continuing to stir occasionally
3. Serve warm or cold
4. Take out half chutney and puree, Drain the liquid off the other half and add the chunky chutney to the pureed one. This will thicken it into a better dipping consistency.


1 (29 oz) can diced tomatoes, drained
1 Tbs vegetable oil
1 Tbs panch puran
8-10 whole kari leaves or curry leaf
1-2 serrano chilies, or chunked jalapeno
¼ c sugar
2 oz jaggery (1/2 palm sugar block)
1-1/2 Tbs white vinegar

Using a non-reactive 1-quart saucepan, heat the oil over high heat. Have a lid handy. Carefully add the panch puran, green chilies, and kari leaves and cover immediately to avoid spattering. Lift the lid after the sizling subsides, about 30-45 seconds. Saute until the chilies blister, about 1 minute.

Stir in the tomatoes, sugar, and jaggery. Cook over low heat until the jaggery melts and the liquid has reduced, about 25-30 minutes.

Cool, stir in the vinegar and refrigerate in a clean airtight jar.


1 bunch cilantro leaves
½ c mint leaves, chopped
¼ c coconut, freshly & finely grated
1 tsp ginger root, finely grated
2 cloves garlic, crushed
4-6 whole jalapenos, seeded, chopped
2 Tbs cashews, ground
1 tsp amchoor, or dired mango powder
½ lemon, juiced
1-2 tsp raw sugar (or jaggery)
½ c plain yogurt
salt to taste

Place all the ingredients in a food processor and blend for 3-4 minutes until smooth. Season to taste and pour into a jar or bowl, cover, and chill until ready to use.

Spicy Chicken and Mushroom Soup
We left the chicken out to make this more suitable for a soup/salad course.   We made other changes as well.  This is the recipe as we prepared it for gourmet club, only without the chicken.

Ingredients -
8 ounces chicken breast
6 Tbsp unsalted butter
½ tsp garlic pulp (we used minced garlic)
1 tsp garam marsala
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp nutmeg
1 medium leek, sliced (We did not use the green tops.)
1 cups mushrooms, sliced
⅓ cup sweetcorn (We used frozen corn kernels)
1 ½ cups water
1 cup light cream
1 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

Method -
1.  Cut chicken in fine strips.
2.  Melt the butter over medium heat.  Lower the heat slightly, and add the black pepper, salt and nutmeg.  Finally, add chicken strips and mushrooms.  Cook for 5-7 minutes till chicken is cooked.  Remove chicken and mushrooms with slotted spoon.  Add and saute leeks, and corn.  3.  Remove leek, corn and spices from heat.  Transfer to a food processor or blender.  Add the water and process for about 1 minutes.
4.  Pour back into saucepan along with chicken and mushrooms.  Bring to a boil over medium heat.  Lower heat and add the cream.
5.  Add the fresh cilantro, and taste for seasoning.  

Sweet Hot Cucumber Salad
1 cup apple cider vinegar
¾ cup water
¾ cup white sugar
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
dash of parsley
⅛ tsp black pepper
dash of basil

3-4 sliced cucumbers

Heat to boiling all ingredients except cucumbers.  Pour over sliced cucumbers in a bowl.  Chill in refrigerator for several hours.  Serve chilled.

Kheera Raita from “From Mom with Love... Complete Guide to Indian Cooking & Entertaining”
Serves 4
Serve as a refreshing side dish.  Cucumber soup, delicious to pour over the spicier dishes.

1 c plain yogurt
¼ c milk
⅛ c water
½ tsp salt
⅛ tsp black salt (optional)
¼ tsp red chili powder
¼ tsp cumin, roasted and ground
1 cucumber

Mix yogurt, milk, and water in mixing bowl until smooth. Add salt and spices and mix again. Peel and grate cucumber and squeeze out water. Add grated cucumber to yogurt mixture. Refrigerate overnight.

Gobhi Alu from “From Mom with Love... Complete Guide to Indian Cooking & Entertaining”
Serves 4

5 Tbs oil*
¼ tsp cumin seeds
Pinch of asafetida
¼ tsp turmeric powder
1 Tbs ginger, finely chopped (optional)*
1 cauliflower, cut into two inch pieces
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into one inch pieces
1 tsp salt*
½ tsp red chili powder
2 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp dry mango powder (amchur)
½ tsp garam masala
2 Tbs coriander, chopped

Heat oil in pan over medium heat, add cumin seeds, asafetida, turmeric powder and ginger. When cumin seeds start to pop, add cauiflower, potatoes and salt. Stir and cover. Cook until cauliflower and potatoes get soft, stirring occastionally. Add rest of the spices, reduce heat to low and let cook for another 5 minutes. Garnish with chopped coriander.

Naan bread
2 tsp active dry yeast
4 tbsp warm milk
2 tsp sugar
4 cups plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
⅔ cup milk
⅔ cup low fat natural plain yogurt, beaten
1 egg, beaten
1 tbsp oil (I used olive oil)

1.  Mix the yeast, warm milk and sugar and leave to become frothy.  Sift the flour, baking powder and salt.  Make a  well and fold in the yeast, milk, yogurt, egg and oil.  

2. Knead the dough well.  Place dough in a greased bowl, tightly covered in a warm place till double in size.  This dough takes a LONG time to rise.  

3.   Roll out on a floured surface into large slipper shapes about 10 inches long.  

4. Spray a HOT fry pan with cooking spray and cook on each side for a minute or two.  

These can be frozen. We froze ours, then took them out, brushed on garlic butter, sprinkled on chopped cilantro then warmed on a silpat in a 400 degree oven for 4 minutes.

Coconut Basmati Rice
Yield 6 servings            from Cooking Light May 2008
1 ¼ cups water
1 cups uncooked basmati rice
1 cup light coconut milk
¼ tsp salt

Rinse rice, then add together all ingredients in a saucepan.  Bring to boil then turn heat down to low.  Cover and simmer 18 minutes.  Remove from heat and let sit for a few minutes.  Fluff with fork.

Chicken Tikka Masala
1 ½ pounds chicken breast cut into 1 inch pieces
6 tbsp Tikka Paste *** (recipe to follow)
½ cup natural low fat plain yogurt
1 tbsp oil
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 green chili, seeded and chopped
1 inch piece root ginger, grated
1 tbsp tomato puree (we used canned tomato sauce)
1 cup water
1 tbsp lemon juice
serve with naan bread and rice

1.  Mix chicken pieces with 4 tbsp of yogurt and 3 tbsp of tikka paste till coated.  Let sit for at least 20 minutes to marinate.

2. For the tikka sauce heat the oil in a large fry pan, and add in to fry onion, garlic, chilli and ginger for 5 minutes.  Add 3 more tbsp of tikka paste and fry for 2 minutes.  Add the tomato puree and water, bring to a boil then simmer for 15 minutes.  

3.  While the sauce is simmering either grill the chicken on kabob sticks, or broil them.  We spread them out on a broiler pan for 5 minutes on each side.

4.  Put the tikka sauce in a food processor or blender till smooth.  Return to pan.

5.  Add the remaining yogurt (almost a ½ cup) and lemon juice.  Add in cooked chicken pieces and simmer.  If sauce is too thick, you can add a little water.  *I have to add about 1 cup water every time I make it.  

***Tikka Paste
It was hard to find the right recipe for this integral part of chicken tikka masala.  This is the recipe that I have been using for years.  Over the years I have revamped it many times to make it what it is today.  Get ready for a LONG list of spices.

1 ¾ tbsp ground cumin 1 ¾ tbsp ground coriander
6 cloves garlic, crushed 2 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp garam masala 1 tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp turmeric 1 tbsp chopped fresh mint, or dried  (we used fresh)
1 tsp salt 1 ½ tsp chili powder
1 tsp lemon juice 2 tbsp water
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar ¼ cup olive oil

Mix all ingredients together well except the oil.  Heat the oil in a heavy fry pan, then cook the spice mixture gently in this for about 10 minutes.

Lamb Kofta Curry
Yield 8-10 servings       From the kitchen of Indian Simmer (

For the meatballs (Kofta)
1 ½ pounds ground lamb (we tested it with ground beef, still yummy)
1 Tbsp minced green chili (can use jalapeno)
1 Tbsp ginger garlic paste (We used 1 ½ tsp of minced garlic, and 1 ½ tsp of freshly grated ginger)
1 cup boiled and mashed potatoes (Used for binding the balls, and keeps the meat soft.  We used 1 egg instead, which worked great.)
2 Tbsp chopped cilantro
Salt (we used ½ tsp.)

For Curry sauce
1 cup chopped onion paste (We ran chopped onion through a magic bullet to achieve this.)
1 ½ Tbsp. garlic ginger paste
1 ½ cups tomato puree (used tomato sauce)
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp turmeric
1 ½ tsp. cayenne pepper (We used only ½ tsp so no one’s mouth would catch fire.)
½ Tbsp garam masala
1 ½ Tbsp Coriander powder
⅓ cup cashews (blanched and processed into paste)
½ cup heavy cream
1 ½ Tbsp cooking oil and 1 Tbsp ghee (clarified butter)
salt to taste

1. For the meatballs - mix together all the ingredients for the meatballs.  
2. Form meatballs and place on cookie sheet.  Cover with plastic wrap, and place in fridge for at least a ½ hour, at most for 1 day.  (Of course if you’re in a huge hurry, like me, you can stick them straight into the oven.  The flavors just won’t be as “married”.)
3.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, bake meatballs for 20 minutes.  Kofta’s are traditionally deep fried, so you could also deep fry them.  We baked them.
4.  For the sauce, heat oil and ghee in a heavy bottomed pan.
5.  Add onion, ginger and garlic paste, and cook them till all the liquid in the paste evaporates.  The whole beauty in curry is in this stage with how well you fry your onion paste.  So cook it slowly over medium heat, stirring frequently.
6.  Once the paste turns golden brown add cumin, turmeric, salt, cayenne pepper and coriander.  When you add the spices, they can burn quickly.  Stir well to mix them all in and watch closely.  Add in tomato puree.  
7.  Cook the puree till the sauce begins to thicken.
8.  Add cashew paste and cream.  Keep on the heat, continue to cook.  You may see oil on the edges.  Add in garam masala.
9.  Add in the baked meatballs along with the drippings.
10.  Turn heat to low, simmer for 6-8 minutes.
11.  Indian simmer says, “I usually let my curry rest for 15-20 minutes after cooking before serving.  My dad says it helps all the spices “marry” together and the dish tastes better.”  
Serve with hot naan/roti or rice.

Mango Infused Cheesecake     (Anthony Sheffield)
1 ½ Cups finely crushed graham crackers
1 TB Sugar
½ tsp Ground Cinnamon
½ C Melted Butter
⅛ Tsp Cloves
⅛ Tsp Nutmeg
½ Tsp Ginger

3- 8oz packages cream cheese, softened
1 C sugar
2 TB flour
1 tsp Vanilla
¼ C milk
3 Slightly beaten eggs
1 ½ Mango Puree

Mango Puree
2 ripe mangos
⅓ C sugar
2 tsp Water
Combine all ingredients in blender until smooth

1. For Crust, in a bowl combine graham crackers, sugar and spices. Stir in melted butter. Press crumb mixture into the bottom and 2 inches up the sides of an 8 of 9 inch springform pan.  Set aside.

2. For Filling, In a large mixing bowl beat cream cheese, sugar, flour, vanilla until smooth. FOLD IN EGGS. Over mixing the eggs in a cheesecake will make it taste more like custard.

3. Stir in Mango Puree to to cheesecake mixture- If you want a swirled texture you can layer the filling then mango puree then more filling and swirl with a knife.

4. Bake at 375 degrees.  40 to 45 minutes for an 8 inch and 35 -40 for a 9 inch
5. Cool Cheesecake on wire rack for 15 minutes, Using a sharp knife loosen crust from sides of pan; cool 30 more minutes. cover and chill for 4 hours before serving

FIG BREAD PUDDING from originally Huggy Buggy Bread Pudding
Serves 6-8
3 Tbs melted butter
3 eggs
1 c sugar
1 (14 oz) can coconut milk (not low fat)
3 c whole milk
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cardamom
¼ tsp ground ginger
Pinch of salt
1 baguette, cut into 1-inch chunks (about 7 cups)
6 dried figs (any type), soaked in hot water for at least 15 minutes, thin sliced (we prefer minced)
Handful roasted unsalted cashew nuts, whole or chopped

Preheat the over to 350 degrees. Pour the melted butter into a 9x13 baking dish and use a pastry brush to make sure the dish is well coated.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar together, then add the coconut milk, whole milk, spices, and a pinch of salt. Add bread and figs and toss. Let soak for 15 minutes.

Pour the mixture into the prepped baking dish and sprinkle with the cashews. Bake until the pudding pulls away from the sides of the dish, about 35 minutes.

Remove the pudding from the oven and serve with ice cream.

Coconut Ice Cream
From the Ultimate Ice Cream Book:  Over 500 ice creams.
Ingredients -
½ cup sweetened, shredded coconut
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp cornstarch
¼ tsp salt
1 cup half-and-half
1 ½ cups unsweetened coconut milk
1 cup heavy cream
2 tsp vanilla extract (We used fresh Vanilla bean, scraped out.)
2 cups 2% milk (we added this to make more, and cut the fat and flavor a bit, it helped a TON.)

Preheat the oven 400 degrees.  Spread the coconut on a foil lined baking sheet.  Place in a hot oven for 5-7 minutes to toast coconut.  It happens quickly, so watch closely.  Remove oven and allow to cool.  

In a mixing bowl blend sugar into eggs until thickened and pale yellow.  Beat in the cornstarch and salt.  Set aside.

Combine the half-and-half with coconut milk and vanilla bean in a heavy bottomed saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium heat.  Remove from heat and slowly beat into the egg/sugar mixture.  Briefly clean and dry the saucepan.  Pour the full mixture back into the saucepan over low heat.  Stir constantly with a whisk or wooden spoon.  Be careful not to boil or the eggs with scramble.  Remove from heat and pour through a strainer into a large clean bowl.  Allow the custard to cool slightly.  

Stir in the heavy cream and toasted coconut.  Cover and refrigerate till cold, 5 hours to overnight.  

Slowly pour the cold custard into an ice cream freezer, churning for 23 minutes.  Scrape into a freezer safe container.  Cover and store in freezer.  

Garnish with toasted coconut.

Coconut Vanilla Bean Rice Pudding
1 ½ cups of cold cooked rice (We used Basmati Rice)
1 ½ cups of coconut milk
2 cups of whole or 2% milk (We used 2%)
⅓ cup sugar
Pinch of salt
1 vanilla bean, insides scraped out

Combine all the ingredients together in a saucepan and simmer over medium-low heat for 40 minutes.  Allow to cool slightly and serve.  You can serve cold, but I prefer warm.


Makes 2 cups

1 c plain yogurt
½ c milk
1 c chopped mango (or canned pure mango puree)
4 tsp sugar, to taste
Dash of ground cardamom

Put all ingredients in blender (except cardamom) and blend for 2 minutes. Pour into individual glasses. Sprinkle with cardamom.

Raspberry Mint
½ Cup Sugar
22 Raspberries
22 Fresh mint leaves plus 4 sprigs for Garnish

In saucepan combine sugar and ½ cup water. Bring to a simmer and stir until sugar is dissolved. Remove mixture from heat and cool.

In blender combine 18 raspberries, mint leaves and sugar syrup and process until smooth. Strain mixture through a sieve, Divide between 4 tumblers and add ice and water.

1 comment:

  1. It was all amazing and delicious! Thank you Alyssa, Corinne, and Brenda. Bought some mangos at Costco--can't decide which I want to make first--the cheesecake or the Mango Lassi drink. I'm so excited to try the chicken tikki masala and basmati rice, too!! Loved it all.