This post is about losing my “Cooking Indian Cuisine – inity,” inspired by Aarti Party, on the Food Net! Actually, it was more like American food with an exotic Indian twist, so a good introduction I would say. I started out by prepping my not-so-exciting, nor very exotic, but still very tasty side dish, roasted zucchini (from my parents’ garden) and carrots, tossed in EVOO, fresh chopped thyme, minced garlic, and salt and pepper, baked at 450 F for about 25 minutes.
After my side dish was ready for the oven, I started preparing the ingredients for the main course. First up, I prepped a jalapeno, also grown in my parents’ garden, and substitued for the serrano pepper, as called for in the original recipe. The “original recipe” was for Bombay Sloppy Joes, a recipe from the pilot episode of Aarti Party. Aarti Sequeira was the winner of the latest season of The Next Food Network Star on the Food Network, and I had been rooting for her since the first episode. Naturally, I was thrilled when she won, and couldn’t wait to watch the first season of her new series recently. This recipe was featured in her pilot episode. Here is Mr. Jalapeno, looking innocent enough…
Remember what happened last time I chopped up peppers? Well, I learned my lesson. This was not a flipping joke, this was some serious biznass tonight. Busted out some latex gloves. Hellz yeah.
Also spent a significant portion of my weekend searching for a new spice – Garam Masala.
Garam Masala is actually a blend of spices, used in Indian cooking. It smelled very exotic! I can’t really even describe it, other than saying it smelled very warm. These are the ingredients listed on the bottle:
The recipe also called for shelled pistachios. Once of my VERY favorite foods! 🙂
Mise en place. Since this was my first time cooking Indian cuisine, I wasn’t about to toy around with the recipe. I got everything prepared and ready to go before the serious biznass began.
The first cooking step was to saute minced ginger, garlic, and the finely chopped jalapeno pepper in oil for a few minutes.
Next I added the oh-so-fragrant and exotic garam masala and paprika.
I then added two 8 oz. cans of tomato sauce, and 8 oz water. I used one can of tomato sauce that had no-salt added and one with salt added, in an attempt to reduce sodium content. The sauce was left to simmer for around 15 minutes. I also added once half of a finely minced jalapeno to the sauce.
At about this point, I popped the veggies in the oven to begin roasting. It’s so crazy that the burners look pink in this picture.
To begin the meat portion, I sauteed the pistachios and around 1/4 cup of raisins in oil for a few minutes. The thought of adding raisins kind of freaked me out at first. I’m not a big raisin fan. I didn’t like the thought of chewy raisins in my dinner. However, I was plesantly surpised that the raisin softened up nicely in the dish, and provided little bursts of sweetness while eating the sloppy joes.
Once the pistachios and raisins had sauteed for a few minutes, I removed them from the pan and set them aside, to make room for sauteeing onion and red bell pepper with cumin. Aarti’s recipe calls for cumin seeds, as opposed to ground cumin. I was hesitant to invest in more than one spice for this dish, and already having plenty of ground cumin on hand, I opted to just add the ground cumin this time, though I probably missed out on the little “bursts” of smoky cumin flavor that the seeds would have provided, as described by Aarti. However, I believe ground cumin was an adequate substitution.
To the sauteed onion and red bell pepper, I added one pound of ground turkey (93/7 lean), and broke it up until cooked through. Also threw in half of a jalepeno pepper, to infuse a little heat into the turkey mixture.
After fifteen minutes of simmering, the tomato sauce/garam masala mixture was ready to be added to the ground turkey.
I then let the sauce and turkey simmer for 10 minutes. Also pulled the veggies out of the oven.
Next it was time for the fun ingredients! Added some half-and-half and the sauteed pistachios and raisins, and a little squirt of honey. Starting to look pretty interesting, eh???
And the sloppy joe mixture – completed! My kitchen was smelling so exotic at this point. In fact, it reminded me of the way it used to smell outside of my apartment when I was a junior in college, and lived across the street from an Indian restaurant downtown Ann Arbor – Raja Rani. Though I never ate there. I still want to try that place. I’m obviously still an amateur in the world of Indian cuisine. Oh my word, isn’t this gorgeous!?
Toasted up some bakery buns…again, a pink burner, for no reason…
Bombay Sloppy Joes! So deliciously divine! Unlike anything I’ve ever tasted before. Tom and I devoured every last bite of these. The pistachios and raisins, though they sounded odd, tasted fantastic in the mixture. I can’t even think of words to describe this cuisine, I’m too much of a newbie to Indian cuisine to properly describe the nommery experience I had. I can say there was a nice, relatively mild, but noticeable heat to the sauce, and a creamy, savory, warmness to the sauce. SO happy when I try something entirely new and unlike anything I’ve made before and it ends up being delicious! This was definitely worth all the effort. I hereby declare that my first attempt at cooking Indian cuisine was a success!
Even better, these made enough that I have leftovers for tomorrow’s dinner. SCORE.
♪♫ Currently listening to: Wake Up Alone – Amy Winehouse.