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3rd Dinner Club Meeting – Indian

13-Dec-2004

June 2003

M was the host for our 3rd meeting and she chose "Indian" as our theme.  At one point a friend of ours from India volunteered to provide us with recipes – he’s been thinking about putting his mother’s recipes into a cookbook – but our timing was a little off.  That was okay though, we are all getting to be pretty good at researching our themes.  In fact, I really enjoy it and have ended up learning lots of little things about the regions we’ve chosen that are not just related to cooking. 

Here was our menu:

Although we made several jokes about eating Spiced Fish Balls (no one said we weren’t silly sometimes…) they were really good!  We also chose to spike the Jal Jeera (I’m not sure this would be approved in India) and it was an excellent contrast to the fish balls.  I believe this is the only drink I’ve had that included cumin, black pepper and tamarind!

The Curried Scallop Salad was really good and I’ve made it several times since.  It makes a great lunch or light meal all on it’s own.  If you toast the spices and mix the dressing ahead of time the time it takes to put it together when you’re ready to serve is nothing!  The scallops only take about 5 minutes to grill. 

Both the Tandoori Chicken and Rhoghan Ghosht were excellent.  We ended up with two mains again, but since much of the rest of the meal was on the lighter side the balance was much better! I particularly liked the Roghan Ghosht as the lamb was tender and the blend of ginger, chilies, cilantro and cinnamon was wonderful!

I love bread of any kind, so having fresh Naan served warm off the grill was a particularly nice treat.  And the dessert was ….. interesting.  Not bad, just not exciting – a bit bland. 

I think one of the things we are starting to learn is that many cultures do not have "dessert" as we interpret it.  Many of these places rely simply on fresh fruit and trying to force our idea of dessert just doesn’t work – at least not that well.  Not that the desserts we tried weren’t authentic, just that what is more typical is something simple. 

Another thing we’re seeing is that in many of these cultures the same flavorings/spices are used throughout the menu so there is a common thread as you proceed through each course.  This time we saw lots of coriander, mint, chili, and cumin. 

Unfortunately, I do not know the source for the following recipe but will continue to try to track it down to give credit where credit is due!

 

Machchi Kofta

(Spiced Fish Balls)

 

2 large slices of day old white bread, about 100g

1 lb. fillet of cod or haddock, skinned and roughly chopped

½ oz fresh coriander leaves including tender stalks, chopped

1 egg

1 tsp. salt, or to taste

2 Tbsp. sunflower, corn or vegetable oil

1 onion, finely chopped

2 tsp. Ginger Paste

2 tsp. Garlic Paste

1-2 fresh green chilies, seeded and chopped

1 tsp. ground anise seed (ajowain)

½ tsp. chili powder, or to taste

½ Balti Garam Masala

Oil for deep-frying

 

1.      Soak the slices of bread in cold water for 1 minute, and then squeeze out all the water.  Place the bread, fish, coriander, egg and salt in a food processor and blend until smooth.  Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and set aside.

2.      2. Preheat karahi (Balti pan) over a medium heat and add to oil.  When hot, add the onion, ginger and garlic and stir-fry for 4-5 minutes, until the onion is soft but not brown.  Add the fresh chilies, ground anise, chili powder and garam masala.  Stir-fry for 1-2 minutes, then remove from the heat and leave the mixture to cool. When cold, mix it thoroughly with the ground fish mixture and chill in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours or overnight.

3.      Divide the mixture into four equal parts.  Shape each portion into five balls (koftas).  Heat the oil in the karahi over a medium heat until almost smoking.  Fry the koftas for 6-8 minutes, until they are evenly browned.  Drain on absorbent kitchen paper and serve.

 

Serve as a starter with Tamatar aur Dhaniya ki Chutney.

 

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