Cooking Indian Food Recipes

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How to Make Mirchi Bhaji (Mirchi Pakora Recipe) Recipe

My father-in-law really loves spicy food, so I thought I would surprise him with stuffed mirchi pakora, which are whole green chile fritters. Before getting started, I had to estimate the level of spiciness of the chiles. It turned out the green chiles we bought from the Indian market this week were painfully spicy. So I made an incision in each chile and removed all the seeds.

The preparation method I learned from Lulu’s grandmother involves stuffing the chiles with tamarind paste, then dipping them in (besan) chickpea batter before deep-frying them until golden brown.

I have to admit I didn't try any, but in my defense, even Lulu, Daddy and the girls found the peppers really spicy. Don’t get me wrong; they really enjoyed them even though the girls ended up chugging milk to help offset the spiciness. I’m just saying, you’ve been warned!


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Mirchi Ka Salan Recipe (Indian Spicy Food) Recipe

I think I've said it many times: my husband's late grandmother (I called her Baji) was an exceptional cook. She used to make a specialty from Hyderabad called mirchi ka salan very often for my father-in-law. He absolutely loves spicy food. I know Daddy misses Baji's cooking, so I try to make his favorite dishes as often as possible.

The dish is very spicy due to the use of a large quantity of chiles (mirchi in Urdu) and the sauce (salan) is the same masala sauce made of onions and Indian spices that is used in many other Indian dishes. For this particular dish, you don't want to go over-board and use fiery chiles such as Habaneros. I chose milder Anaheim peppers. Finally, if you’re afraid of the heat, don't forget to accompany this dish with a tall glass of lassi to soothe your taste buds. 


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Baghare Baingan (Indian Eggplant Masala Recipe) Recipe

Baghare baingan, also known as eggplant masala, is one of my father-in-law's favorite dishes. I learned how to make the Indian eggplant dish in thick masala sauce from Lulu's late grandma Baji. This South-Indian vegetarian dish is a specialty from Hyderabad, the city where Daddy is from. It's quite pleasing for vegetarians and non-vegetarian eaters alike as the eggplant have a very meaty texture.

The cooking procedure requires several steps. First, the small eggplants are deep-fried to soften the firm flesh, then it's simmered in a thick sauce made from peanuts and sesame seeds. The dish is finished with baghar, which is the final red oil layer commonly in a lot of Indian dishes.

For this dish, you should use Indian eggplants. They have a shiny skin and a firmer flesh with less bitter taste than regular eggplants. Their flavor is fairly mild, but like other eggplants, the flesh acts like a sponge and absorbs all the strong flavors of the sauce. Make the effort to find these eggplants at your local Indian supermarket; it’s worth the try!

Baghare Baingan Recipe with Picture


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Indian Dinner Party Menu Recipe

Indian Dinner Party Menu

05.24.10 by Jackie
We hosted an Indian classical music party over the weekend. The artist was Kankana Banerjee. If like me, you know nothing about Indian classical music, Ms. Banerjee is "one of the leading exponents of classical music in India". She is the recipient of the Kala Saraswati, Andhra Ratna Award which is one of the most prestigious awards from the Government of Andhra Pradesh (from smashits.com). My father-in-law admires her music very much, and we had the honor of listening to her perform. As I mentioned, I haven’t heard any Indian classical music before, so this was quite an experience for me. My little munchkin (my 5-year-old sister-in-law) on the other hand is an old pro; she is very fond of it and has been singing with her Daddy every evening in anticipation of the concert. I do however know food, and I thought it would be fun to share with you all the dishes that were served. You may not be hosting a music party at your home any time soon, but that doesn’t mean that these dishes can’t make a guest appearance at your dinner table!


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Masala Vada Recipe (Indian Urad Dal Fritters) Recipe

Nobody can say no to fried food. These vada (Indian-style fritters) are no exception. The dish is fairly easy to make; all you need to do is soak the lentils long enough before blending them into a mixture slightly thicker than pancake batter. The batter is made of urad dal and mirchi ("chiles" in Urdu), deep-fried, then served with a cilantro chutney. 

We often make large batches of vada on the weekend. The girls and I take turns manning the fry station and preparing more chutney. Frying can be a little scary for kids learning to cook, and I've found that this recipe is a good way of easing them into it. I wouldn't recommend it for small children of course, but my 13 and 14 year old sisters-in-law have really taken to it. Once you try the combination of vada and cilantro chutney for the first time, you'll know why!


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