Recipes by Sanjeev Kapoor: Diwani Handi and more
Aziz Haniffa caught up with celebrity chef Sanjeev Kapoor recently and here he shares four great recipes from his first cookbook geared towards the American audience, How to Cook Indian.
Ground lamb patties stuffed with thick spiced yogurt
Makes 8 kebabs
- 1 quart (800 ml) plus 8 tsp vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 medium red onions, peeled and sliced
- 2 tbsps ghee
- 1/2 tsp caraway seeds (shahi jeera)
- 2 dried red chillies, stemmed and broken
- 1/2 inch piece fresh ginger, roughly chopped
- 5 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 9 ounces ground lamb
- 1 tbsp split Bengal gram (chana dal), soaked for 30 minutes
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp fresh mint, chopped
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1/2 tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 1 tsp table salt
- 1 large egg
For the filling
- 1 cup (250 grams) plain yoghurt
- 1 green chilly, stemmed and chopped
- 1 large red onion, peeled and chopped
- 2 tbsps chopped fresh mint
- 1/2 tsp table salt
- 1/2 tsp roasted cumin seeds
- Place a nonstick wok over high heat and add 1 quart (800 ml) of the oil. When small bubbles appear at the bottom of the wok, add the onions and cook, stirring with a slotted spoon, until the onions are well browned. Remove with the slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
- Place a nonstick saute pan over medium heat and add the ghee. When small bubbles appear at the bottom of the pan, add the caraway, chillies, ginger, and garlic, and saute for one minute.
- Add the lamb and saute for five minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Drain the dal and add it to the pan. Stir and saute for one minute.
- Add the mint and cilantro, and stir well. Cook for five minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool completely.
- Transfer the mixture to a food processor. Add the onions, lemon juice and salt, and process to a coarse paste. Transfer to a bowl.
- Divide the lamb mixture into 8 portions.
- Make the filling: Hang the yoghurt in a double layer of cheesecloth for one hour or until most of the excess water has drained away. Transfer to a bowl. Add the chilly, onion, mint, salt, and cumin, and stir well. Divide into eight portions.
- Flatten one portion of the lamb mixture in the palm of your hand and place a portion of yoghurt stuffing in the centre. Gather the edges, shape into a ball, and flatten slightly. Repeat to make the remaining kebabs.
- Beat the egg in a bowl.
- Place a nonstick saute pan over medium heat and add two tsps of the oil. Dip two kebabs in the egg, put them in the saute pan and cook, turning once, for three to four minutes or until both the sides are cooked and lightly browned. Drain on paper towels. Repeat with the remaining kebabs.
- Serve hot.
Aloo Kachalu Chaat
Makes 4 servings
- 1 inch piece fresh ginger, cut into thin strips
- 1 1/2 tbsps lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 1/2 tsp table salt
- 1 large ripe banana
- 2 medium potatoes, boiled, peeled, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 large sweet potato, boiled, peeled, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 tsp tamarind pulp
- 2 green chillies, stemmed and minced
- 1 tsp chaat masala
- 1/4 cup fresh pomegranate arils
- 2 tbsps chopped fresh cilantro
- Put the ginger strips in a small bowl. Add half a tsp of lemon juice and a pinch of salt and set aside in the refrigerator.
- Peel and cut banana into one-inch pieces. Put them in a large bowl and drizzle with one tsp of lemon juice.
- Add the potatoes and sweet potato, the remaining one tbsp lemon juice, the tamarind pulp, chillies, chaat masala, the remaining salt, the pomegranate arils and cilantro. Toss gently to combine.
- Serve garnished with the ginger.
Image: Aloo Kachalu Chaat
Vegetables with fenugreek
Makes 4 servings
- 1 quart (800 ml) plus 3 tbsps vegetable oil
- 4 medium red onions, sliced
- 2 or 3 green chillies, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger paste
- 1 tbsp fresh garlic paste
- 1 tsp red chilly powder
- 1/2 tsp turmeric, ground
- 1 tsp table salt
- 1 cup (250 grams) plain yoghurt, whisked
- 3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 3 medium carrots, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 10 haricot verts, sliced on the bias
- 10 Indian broad beans (hyacinth beans), sliced on the bias
- 6 small eggplants, slit in half with the stem ends intact
- 1/2 cup (75 grams) fresh or frozen green peas
- 1/2 medium bunch fresh fenugreek leaves (methi), chopped
- 2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1/2 tsp garam masala
- Place a nonstick wok over high heat and add one quart (800 ml) oil. When small bubbles appear at the bottom of the wok, add the onions and cook, stirring with a slotted spoon, until the onions are well browned. Remove with the slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
- Place a nonstick saucepan over medium heat and add the three tbsps oil. Add the chillies, ginger paste and garlic paste, and saute for one minute. Add the chilly powder, turmeric, and salt, and stir. Add the yoghurt and saute for one to two minutes.
- Add the potatoes, carrots, haricot verts, broad beans, eggplants, peas and browned onions, and stir well. Lower the heat to low, add 3/4 cup (150 ml) water, cover, and cook for 10 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
- Add the methi, cilantro and garam masala, and stir well. Cook for three to four minutes. Serve hot.
Image: Diwani Handi
Chocolate Walnut Burfi
- 3 1/2 cups (500 grams) grated unsweetened solid condensed milk (mawa/khoya)
- 1/2 cup (60 grams) walnuts, roughly chopped
- 2/3 cup (125 grams) sugar
- 3 tbsps whole milk
- 11 ounces (300 grams) dark chocolate, chopped
- Vegetable oil for greasing
- Place a nonstick saute pan over medium heat. Add the khoya and saute for four to five minutes.
- Reserve a few chopped walnuts and add the rest to the pan, along with the sugar and milk. Stir well and cook for 15 minutes or until the mixture thickens.
- Melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler over simmering water. Pour the chocolate through a fine sieve if there are any lumps, then let it cool to room temperature.
- Divide the khoya mixture into two equal parts. To one part, add the melted chocolate and stir well.
- Grease a nine-by-13-inch baking pan with oil.
- Pour the plain khoya mixture into the baking pan and shake it so that the mixture spreads evenly (this should give you a 1/2 inch thickness). Spread the chocolate khoya mixture over the first layer. Sprinkle with the reserved walnuts. Set aside to cool for 45 minutes to one hour. When completely cooled, cut into squares or diamonds and serve. This sweet does not have a long shelf life. It should be consumed within a day.
Image: Chocolate Walnut Burfi
Quick tips from Sanjeev Kapoor
- Indian chefs often keep a pot of simmering water nearby; adding spoonfuls to a curry or sauce is an easy way to adjust the mixture's texture and temperature.
- Taste a tamarind concentrate before you add it to the pot. It may be flat or sharp. Then you can adjust by adding water or coconut milk.
- Modulate the heat in a dish that calls for fresh chillie peppers by mixing red with a little green. Indian markets offer a lot of both.
- Indians love to cook with red onion. The ones we have in India are smaller than ones I've seen in the States, so keep that in mind when you read some Indian cookbooks. And the longer you cook the red ones, the sweeter they become.
- Keep pieces of fresh ginger submerged in a mixture of lime juice and salt. They can be refrigerated for weeks.
- Curry leaves last longer -- about six months -- when they are sun-dried than when they are dehydrated.