January 15, 2006


Actually, this time it was easier. We already had most of what was needed thanks to our adventure making sambar powder last June. We love it and use it on lots of stuff and have shared it with my mom who really digs t. It was worth the effort. And so was the effort we expended Friday's Indian dish. We are really enjoying the Cafe Flora cookbook. The recipes we've made so far have been great. We are taking notes in the book (Yes, J gave me permission to write in the book) to note if we liked it, made substitutions, the outcome, etc.

Friday we dove into Roasted Vegetable Vindaloo. A vindaloo is actually a dish the Portuguese brought to Goa, the smallest Indian state. The Portuguese version included pork and wine vinegar and garlic, hence, the name "Vinho de Alho." But the Goanese added lots of spices and plenty of chili. Every Indian restaurant has a version, like any other dish you come to love. Cafe Flora has their veggie version. Technically, our version is not veggie since we used homemade chicken stock - sorry veg friends who won't get to taste this manna from heaven. If you've ever done any Indian cooking, you know that it entails several steps, each including several ingredients. The instructions could look daunting but a little bit of planning helps a great deal. This dish has lots of ingredients but is pretty simple to put together.

This dish includes a Spicy Goan Curry. To prepare, soak your chick peas for at least three hours and preferably up to eight before you cook them. Then you need oil, panch phoron spice mix (which I discuss later), lots and of thinly sliced onion, miso, veggie stock, vindaloo paste (again, I'll discuss later), diced tomatoes and salt. Eventually all these things come together and get mixed with the roasted veggies.

Roasting the veggies was easy and included potatoes, carrots (it was nice to pull these from the freezer from the stash we blanched and froze last Fall), cauliflower, eggplant. While the roasting takes place, make your vindaloo paste. Lots of pastes in Indian cooking. This paste uses corriander seeds, cumin seeds, fresh ginger, garlic, parika, tumeric, red pepper flakes, cardamom, cloves, salt and oil.

Then you have the ponch phoron spice mix. Having all the spices already in stock made this much easier. The only thing I had to buy was nigella and this I found at
Travelers, a store on Capitol Hill full of Indian teas, spices, jewelry, clothes, food, etc. Nigella is a small, black seed from an herbaceous annual of the buttercup family. It is used widely in India and the Middle East as a spice and condiment. It was the last ingredient we needed to make the panch phoron, a Bengali five-spice mix consisting of: Fenugreek, Nigella seed, Mustard seed, Fennel seed, and Cumin seed. Yes, ponch phoron is Bengali and vindaloo is Goan but hey, this is not my recipe. The mix works like a dream. When all is said and done, you will have amazing smells in your house and intense and delicious flavors in your mouth. Serve this over basmati rice and love it!

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