South Indian Fragrant Mixed
Vegetable Pilaf with Almonds
This simple, elegant pilaf offers great everyday
flavors. I mix crisp-tender vegetables with the
rice and allow them to cook the last few minutes,
so they remain crunchy and colorful.
2 cups basmati or jasmine rice
1 tablespoon butter
½ cup slivered blanched almonds
4 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
½ cup carrot cut in 1-inch sticks
½ cup green beans cut diagonally
in ½-inch pieces
¼ cup fresh or frozen peas
½ cup ½-inch cauliflower florets with stems
12 whole cloves
20 black peppercorns
10 green cardamom pods
4 bay leaves
3½ cups water
1 teaspoon salt
Sliced toasted almonds for garnish
Rinse the rice twice, cover with water and soak
for 10 to 30 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Heat the butter in a heavy skillet over medium
heat. Add the almonds, stir and fry until golden
and crunchy, about 3 to 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
Add 2 tablespoons oil to the same skillet and
raise the heat to medium-high. Add the vegetables (except for peas if they are frozen) and
stir-fry until they are crisp and the edges of the
carrots and cauliflower start to brown, about 6 to
8 minutes. Transfer to a plate and cover loosely.
Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in the same
skillet over medium heat. Add all of the spices.
Stir and cook until they are fragrant, about 1
minute. Add the rice. Raise the heat to medium-high and stir-fry the rice until it is coated with
oil, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the water and salt, and
bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and
cook for about 12 minutes.
Uncover and, using a fork, gently stir in reserved
vegetables. If using frozen peas, add them at this
time. Cover and cook 5 more minutes. Turn off
the heat and let stand at least 5 minutes.
Transfer the pilaf into a warm serving dish and
discard the bay leaves and the other whole
spices if you prefer. Sprinkle with almonds and
serve. Makes 6 to 8 servings.
This classic dish from northern India makes an
elegant entrée for a fancy dinner.
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 teaspoons garam masala, * divided
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons water, divided
8 to 10 medium tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
½ teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cayenne
1½ teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons brown sugar
6 tablespoons chilled butter,
preferably sweet cream
1 cup heavy whipping cream
Fresh grated nutmeg
Sliced toasted almonds for garnish
Heat the oil in a heavy, large sauté pan over
moderate heat. Add the chicken. Sear chicken
3 minutes per side, until light gold in color and
no longer pink. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon garam
masala and 2 tablespoons of water. Cover and
cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Set aside
While the chicken is cooking, blanch the tomatoes in boiling water. Transfer to a bowl of ice
water. Peel the tomatoes, core and chop coarsely.
Transfer to a blender and purée to make 4 cups.
Combine the tomato purée, tomato paste and
1 cup water in a skillet. Cook over medium-high
heat, stirring occasionally, for about 25 minutes
or until most of the moisture evaporates and
sauce is very thick. Add the ginger, cayenne,
remaining 2 teaspoons garam masala, salt and
sugar, and mix well. Cut the butter into chunks
and add to the pan, and stir until it just melts
into the sauce, about 1 minute. Stir in the cream
and the chicken.
Cover and cook 8 to 10 minutes, until the flavors
blend. Sprinkle with a generous grating of nutmeg. Stir a few seconds. Transfer to a heated
serving dish, garnish with almonds and serve hot.
Makes 4 to 6 servings.
*Available at Indian grocery stores.
This is a breeze to make and is delicious with
chicken, duck or lamb. For a change, spread
chutney over chicken before it’s grilled, or slather
on pork before it’s roasted, or spread on sandwiches. It can be used in infinite ways.
4 medium ripe mangoes ( 1 pound total)
10 whole cloves
½ teaspoon hot pepper flakes
1 teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup sugar
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons
distilled white vinegar
Using a sharp knife, slice each mango lengthwise
on either side to make 2 pieces about ½-inch
thick. Score the flesh of each piece, making a
fine crisscross pattern without cutting through
the skin. Pull the ends toward you, forcing the
center out to reveal little cubes of mango.
Separate the fruit from the skin by scooping with
a spoon or cutting with a knife. Peel the remaining skin from the pit and cut the fruit in chunks.
Combine the mango chunks with the remaining
ingredients in a heavy non-aluminum saucepan.
Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the chutney is
thick and glossy, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Remove from the heat. Spoon the chutney into
jars. Let the chutney ripen for a day before serving. Seal or refrigerate. Makes 1½ cups.
Cucumber and Tomato Raita
2 medium tomatoes
2 medium cucumbers or
about 6 pickling cucumbers
4 small red radishes
1 small white, red or yellow onion
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 cups plain whole or low-fat yogurt
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
¼ cup crushed roasted peanuts
or walnuts, optional
Core the tomatoes, chop finely and transfer to a
large bowl. Peel and seed the cucumbers; cut
into ½-inch cubes and transfer to the bowl. Finely
slice the radishes, then stack and julienne the
slices; transfer to the bowl. Peel and quarter the
onion and slice thinly lengthwise; add to the
bowl. Sprinkle with the cilantro.
Just before serving, in a bowl, combine the
yogurt, salt, sugar and optional nuts. Mix with a
fork until smooth. Fold into the prepared vegetables.
Makes 6 to 8 servings as an accompaniment.
The Costco Connection
Costco warehouses carry a variety of meats,
vegetables, rice and spices to create your
own Indian dishes. Laxmi Hiremath’s line of
flaxseed spreads, Laxmi’s Delights, are available in several Bay Area warehouses and at
her website ( www.laxmisdelights.com).