Indian Recipes

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Chana Milk Halwa (Besan Burfi) Recipe

Chana Milk Halwa (Besan Burfi)

02.23.10 by Jackie

If you're familiar with French pâtes de fruit or fudge, you'll want to try the Indian / Middle Eastern equivalent,  called halwa. Halwa literally means "sweet" in Arabic. It can be made with different ingredients such as carrots, pumpkin, yams, beets, semolina and many types of beans, lentils or nuts.

Daddy (my father-in-law) had a craving for some chana dal halwa, so my mother-in-law made several batches this weekend. To the chana dal, she added roasted cashew nuts (Kaju in Urdu) for flavor and texture. This particular recipe also calls for a large quantity of clarified butter, or gheeGhee is popular in Indian cuisine and can be found at almost any Indian grocery store. This dessert is definitely not low fat or low calorie, but the taste and texture are extraordinary. Store-bought halwa cannot compare.

We made a huge batch and stored them in tins in the refrigerator. The girls placed the sweet candy in cellophane gift bags and tied a pretty bow around them to give away to their friends and teachers. Whether  or not you decide to share the dessert with others, you should definitely find time to make some. Your efforts will definitely be rewarded.


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Beef Shami Kebab Recipe

Beef Shami Kebab

02.17.10 by Jackie

Shami kebabs are made with an abundance of fabulous spices, meat (beef, goat, lamb or chicken) and chana dal (dried garbanzo beans). The spices vary depending on whether they're from India (Lucknow or Hyderabad) or Pakistan. My husband Lulu's family is from Hyderabad. They're all meat-eaters, with the exception of my husband and father-in-law. So we often make this dish when we have family over for dinner.

These are not your average kebabs. The meat is cubed and cooked in a pressure cooker with chana dal, and once cooked, it's ground in a food processor with yogurt. The resulting mixture is formed into "hamburger" patties that can be frozen or seared, depending on when you plan on eating them.

I learned this recipe from Baji, Lulu's late grandmother. She was an excellent cook. When Lulu and I first got married, she was already giving us hints.

"Jackie, I'm going to teach you a meat specialty from my hometown. They're called Shami Kebabs; they're spiced hamburger patties. This recipe is a must-have when you two have little children. It's nutritious and easy for little ones to eat. Speaking of which, when are you going to give me great grand-children so I can feed these kebabs to them?"

I would always smile, nod and pretend I didn't hear the part about having kids. Don't get me wrong, we'd love to start a family, but the pressure was a little overwhelming. Lulu's grandmother isn't with us anymore, but I promise that I'll make this for my kids when I have them, assuming they don't become vegetarians like Lulu (fingers crossed).


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Chicken Skewers Glazed with Kiwi Chutney Recipe

Kiwi chutney helps bring chicken to life by infusing the meat with sweet, tangy and spicy flavors. It's an exotic and flavorful twist on what could otherwise be a boring chicken dinner. I served the skewers with raita (yogurt sauce) and some more of the sauce made from the kiwi chutney. For the vegetarians in the house, I deep-fried tofu cubes, placed them on skewers and brushed them with kiwi chutney. Everyone got to share almost the "same" meal, which is very rare in my home.

I got the jar of kiwi chutney pictured below from our friend Laura. It's just one product in a long line of lovely creations that she has shared with us. Laura makes an amazing French marmalade, flavored with French vanilla beans. I don't have the recipe for the marmalade, but last year, she was kind enough to share her recipe for making vinegar on Pham Fatale.

If you don't have a friend like Laura, or can't find kiwi chutney at your local market, you can always try using other sweet chutneys such as mango or tamarind. No matter what, you'll have a tasty new chicken dish to share with your family and friends.

Chicken Skewers with Kiwi Chutney Recipe with Picture


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Masala Chai Creme Brulee Recipe

Masala Chai Creme Brulee

02.05.10 by Jackie

This version of crème brulée is flavored with the spices that are used in masala chai. Cloves, cardamom, ginger and cinnamon give the dessert the distinct flavor of masala chai combined with the richness of a French custard. I wasn't sure how it would turn out, but after the first bite it has become my favorite flavor. Don't get me wrong; lemon, butterscotch and green tea are great flavors, but the masala spices are absolutely intoxicating.

I'm not a big tea drinker, but whenever we have a party and serve masala chai, I end up drinking all the leftovers. What can I say, I'm addicted. Even though the flavors of this drink are fabulous, it's probably good that I don't drink this particular tea that often because of its high caffeine content. Masala chai crème brulée has as much caffeine as a cup of masala chai, along with all the fat that is found in a crème brulée. Something else to keep me awake at night!

Chai Tea Creme Brulee Recipe with Picture


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Fresh Garbanzo Beans (Chana) Recipe

Fresh Garbanzo Beans (Chana)

01.30.10 by Jackie
Whether they're called chana, garbanzos or chickpeas, most people are probably familiar with the dried version of this versatile legume. Fresh chana beans however, may be new to many, but are delicious in their own right and deserve to be used more. They taste very different from the canned or dried version; they have a mild sweetness with a light, buttery, tender texture. If you're looking for a snack, fresh garbanzos are a great a source of fiber, protein and iron.



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