Archive for the ‘Indian / Indian-inspired’

Masala Drinking Chocolate

January 13, 2011
By Holly Jennings

This drinking chocolate is inspired by the flavor and aroma of the famous Indian tea known as chai. There are various recipes for chai. The simplest style, like the recipe in the previous DCCC pick Entice with Spice, is made with black tea, milk, sugar and cardamom pods; more complex chai, using several spices, are called Masala Chai. (Masala means “spice” in Hindi.) Some masala chai have a licorice accent via fennel or anise seed—thus the addition here of Pernod, a licorice-flavored liqueur. (My bar is directly above my spice drawer, so it’s easy to get side-tracked.) (more…)

Plain Boiled Rice

December 20, 2010
By Holly Jennings

Yogurt Rice, one of several flavored rice recipes in ENTICE WITH SPICE that uses Plain Boiled Rice

I’ve made the recipe for Plain Boiled Rice from Entice with Spice several times, and am very happy with the results: I’ve gotten perfectly cooked Basmati rice every time with fluffy, individual grains. I’ve doubled the amount and have had equally good results.

Plain Boiled Rice (Chawval) goes with several dishes in Entice with Spice, especially the curries or any dish with a bit of a sauce, such as Chicken Tikka Masala. It is also used to make several flavored rice dishes in the book, such as the one shown above.

Serves 4 as a side dish 

Prep time: 5 minutes + 30 minutes soaking
Cook time: 15 minutes + 5 minutes to rest
Refrigerator life: 3 days Freezer life: 1 month
Reheating method: Place the refrigerated or defrosted rice in a microwave, sprinkle a few drops of water on it and stir periodically. Or, place the rice in a saucepan, sprinkle a few drops of water on it and warm over medium-low heat, stirring periodically. 

 1 cup (180 g) uncooked white Basmati rice (or plain long-grained white rice) 
 1½ cups (375 ml) water 

  1.  Place the rice in a small bowl and cover with cold water. Let the rice soak for 30 minutes at room temperature.
  2. Carefully pour the soaking water out of the bowl. Rinse the rice three or four times by repeatedly filling the bowl with cold water and carefully draining off the water. It is okay if the water is not completely clear, but try to get it as clear as you can. Pour the rice into a sieve to drain.
  3. Place the drained rice and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil over high heat. It is okay if the water gets frothy.
  4. Stir and reduce the heat to low. Cover the saucepan. Simmer undisturbed until the water is completely absorbed and you do not see any more water on the bottom of the saucepan if you insert a spoon through the rice, about 8 minutes. You might see dimples formed on the surface of the rice, which is a sign that the water is completely absorbed.
  5. Turn off the heat. Let rest, covered, for 5 minutes on the warm stove. Keep covered until ready to serve or let cool to room temperature and refrigerate or freeze for later. Before serving, gently fluff the rice with a fork.


  •  Making perfect rice can be tricky at first, as common problems are that the rice turns out mushy or it burns and sticks at the bottom of the pan. A good way to avoid burnt rice is to use a heavy bottomed saucepan.
  • If your rice tends to be mushy: after reducing the heat to low in Step 4, make sure the rice is simmering. If it’s just sitting in hot water, it will take a long time to cook, and it will become mushy and sticky. Increase the heat if needed so the rice is simmering. If your rice is still mushy, you may have overcooked it. As soon as you do not see any more water on the bottom of the saucepan if you insert a spoon through the rice, turn off the heat.
  • If you are new to making rice, for best results for all rice dishes in this chapter, I would first try making the amount in the recipe instead of doubling it. Once you get comfortable with making rice, then you can double the recipe. It is best to gently fluff the rice with a fork after it has cooled a bit so the rice grains do not break apart.

(Recipe ingredients and instructions reprinted with the express permission of Tuttle Publishing, Recipe introduction was written by Holly Jennings.)

Chicken Tikka Masala

December 20, 2010
By Holly Jennings


I made this recipe for Chicken Tikka Masala from Entice with Spice for the first DCCC potluck, where it was a big hit. This rich and creamy dish with an elegant balance of Indian spices is great for special occasions or when you feel like treating yourself to something indulgent. This recipe involves a two-step process, making it one of the few recipes in Entice with Spice that takes longer than 30 or 35 minutes to make. The first step is to make Chicken Kebabs (Murgh Tikka), which, in Entice with Spice, is presented as a separate recipe in the appetizer chapter. The second step is to make the Chicken Tikka Masala, which involves making a masala, pureeing it, and then adding cream and the cooked chicken to it.

Here I’ve combined the two steps and have adapted the recipe to serve six to eight people. I suggest making this amount because even if you’re serving fewer people, you will wish you had leftovers the next day. And as long as you’re going to the trouble to make it, in this case, more is better. 


Spiced Cauliflower and Potatoes

December 14, 2010
By Holly Jennings

This is yet another great recipe from Entice with Spice, an Indian cookbook from Shubhra Ramineni. Aloo Gobiis one of the most popular vegetable dishes in Indian cuisine: If you’ve eaten at Indian restaurants, you’ve probably seen this yellow-tinged medley of potato and cauliflower on the menu or listed as one of the specials of the day. In this dish the vegetables are sautéed rather than cooked in a curry base, making it a perfect food to pick up with torn pieces of fresh Indian flatbread. Its dry consistency also makes it a practical travel or lunchbox food. In the introduction to her recipe, Ms. Ramineni mentions that her mother sometimes makes an “Indian burrito” with Aloo Gobi and Indian flatbreads for her father’s lunch. (No worries about a turmeric-laden curry sauce dribbling on and staining your best office clothes.) And because this subtly spiced dish is relatively mild¾it has a lovely tingle of chili heat¾it is a great choice when deciding what to serve to friends or family who are new to Indian cuisine. If you serve this with Ms. Ramineni’s recipe for Chicken Tikka Masala, you will have some converts on your hands.


An Indian Birthday Feast with Surprise Paneer

November 29, 2010
By Holly Jennings

Our British friends James and Laura Perry love curry, a euphemism for Indian food. James and Laura say in Britain, every town, even the smallest villages, will have at least one “curry house.” (That’s “Indian restaurant” to you and me.) What a lovely notion. Can you imagine a small town in America, like the one I live in, with a population of 5,000, having not one but two Indian restaurants to choose from? I can dig it.