Frozen Dinners, Indian Street Food & Chocolate

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Recipes and information from Good Food, Saturdays at 11am on KCRW, 89.9fm

October 26, 2002

The farmer and the cook cooking class features food writer/cook Amelia Saltsman and farmer James Birch of Flora Bella Farms takes place Wednesday, November 6th at 6:30pm at the Sur La Table at the Grove (on 3rd St.) Cost is $55. Call 866-328-5412 for reservations.

Neelam Batra is the author of 1000 Indian Recipes and Chiles to Chutneys.

Neelam recommends MDH brand of chat masala found at Indian stores.


Makes 6 to 8 servings

    2 pounds mixed fruits like peaches, nectarines, apricots, pitted and coarsely chopped
    1 large mango, peeled and coarsely chopped
    1 cup cherries, pitted and halved
    1 cup strawberries, coarsely chopped
    1 tablespoon peeled and minced fresh ginger
    1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro, with soft stems
    1 tablespoon minced fresh mint leaves
    1 teaspoon serrano pepper, minced with seeds
    2 tablespoons fresh lime or lemon juice, or to taste
    1 to 2 teaspoons chaat masala
1. In a large serving bowl, mix together the peaches, nectarines, apricots and mango. Remove about 1 cup of the mixed fruits, mash coarsely and return to the bowl.
2. Mix in the cherries and strawberries and then add the ginger, cilantro, mint, chili pepper, lime juice, and chaat masala. Mix well and serve chilled.


Makes 25 to 30 pakoras

    6 to 8 quarter-size slices of peeled fresh ginger
    2 or 3 serrano peppers, finely chopped
    1 small zucchini, coarsely chopped
    1 small carrot, coarsely chopped
    1 small potato (any kind), coarsely chopped
    1 small onion, peeled and quartered
    One 4-inch cauliflower floret
    1 cup finely shredded cabbage or spinach
    1 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro, including soft stems
    1 cup chickpea flour, or more as needed
    2 tablespoons ground coriander
    1 tablespoon dried fenugreek leaves
    1 teaspoon ground cumin
    1/2 teaspoon ajwain seeds, coarsely crushed
    1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
    1/4 teaspoon baking soda
    1 1/2 to 2 cups peanut oil for deep frying
    1 teaspoon chaat masala for garnish
    1 cup Yogurt-Herb Chutney (see recipe)

In a food processor, process together the ginger, serrano peppers, zucchini, carrot, potato, onion, and cauliflower until minced. Remove to a large bowl and mix in all the remaining ingredients, except the oil and chaat masala, to make a thick mixture that can be picked up with your fingers. If the mixture is too soft, add more chickpea flour.

Heat the oil in a wok or a skillet to 350 to 375 F. (Drop a piece of the mixture into the hot oil, and if it bubbles and rises to the top immediately, then the oil is ready to be used.) Then, with a large spoon or your fingers, add small 1-inch balls of the mixture into the oil and fry (in 3 to 4 batches), turning occasionally, until golden, about 3 to 4 minutes.

Remove to paper towels to drain. Transfer to a platter, sprinkle the chaat masala on top and serve with Yogurt-Herb Chutney on the side.


Makes 8 breads

About 1 cup water or plain yogurt, whisked until smooth Filling:

    1 recipe Basic Paneer Cheese (page xxx), crumbled
    1 large potato, boiled in water to cover until tender, then peeled and mashed
    4 quarter-size slices of peeled fresh ginger
    1 to 2 fresh serrano peppers, stemmed
    1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro, with soft stems
    1 tablespoon ground coriander
    1/4 teaspoon garam masala
    1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground ajwain seeds
    1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
Assembling and Frying:
    1 cup whole-wheat flour in a flat bowl for dusting
    1 rolling pin
    1 tava or pancake griddle
    1/4 cup vegetable oil (butter or ghee) for basting
To make the dough: Place the flour in the work bowl of the food processor. Turn the machine on, add the water in a thin stream, and process until it gathers into a ball. Continue to process until the sides of the bowl look clean, 20 to 30 seconds. (Add 1 or 2 tablespoons extra flour if the dough sticks to the sides of the work bowl, and some water if the dough seems hard.)
Or, Place the flour in a bowl and add three-fourths of the water. Stir lightly in round circular motions with your fingers until it starts to gather. Add more water, as necessary to make a semi-soft dough that does not stick to your fingers. Remove to a bowl, cover and let rest at least 1 and up to 4 hours. This allows the gluten to develop. If keeping for a longer period, refrigerate the dough.

To make the filling:

Place the paneer cheese in a food processor along with the ginger and serrano peppers and process until minced.

Remove to a bowl and mix in the potato, cilantro, coriander, garam masala, ajwain seeds, and salt.

To assemble and cook: Heat the tava or griddle over medium-high heat until a sprinkling of the flour immediately turns dark brown. Wipe off the flour and proceed.

While the tava is heating, lightly oil your hands and divide the dough into ten to twelve 1 1/2-inch round balls. Cover and set aside.

Working with each ball separately, transfer to the bowl with the dry flour, press lightly to form a disc, coat generously with dry flour and roll it into a 4- to 5-inch circle. Place 3 to 4 tablespoons of filling in the center. Bring the edges together, pinch to seal, then shape into a ball once again.

Flatten and coat this stuffed ball with flour and roll it into a 7- to 8-inch circle of even thickness. As you roll, keep turning and dusting the dough with flour or it may stick to the rolling surface.

Place the rolled parantha on the hot tava. Turn it over when it is slightly cooked and dotted with tiny golden spots on the bottom. When the second side is covered with larger brown dots, turn it over and brush lightly with some oil. Turn it over once again and fry the brushed side for about 30 seconds. Repeat with the other side. Remove from the griddle and serve.

Clifford Wright is the author of "Real Stew" published by Harvard Common Press.

Chile Verde - Stew of New Mexico
Makes 4 to 6 servings

    10 fresh Anaheim (also called New Mexico) chiles
    1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
    1 large onion, coarsely chopped
    4 large garlic cloves, passed through a garlic press or mashed through a mortar
    2 pounds lean boneless pork shoulder or butt, trimmed of as much fat as possible and cut into 1-inch cubes
    Masa harina (corn flour) for dredging
    One 12-ounce bottle beer (Lager)
    1 tsp freshly ground cumin seeds
    1 to 3 tablespoons chipotle chile paste, to your taste (can be found in a can of chipotle chiles in adobo sauce)
    1 bay leaf
    1 tablespoon dried oregano
    2 tsp salt
    2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
    1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place the chiles on a baking sheet and roast until the skins blister and turn black, watching them carefully, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove and place in a paper bag to steam for 10 minutes. Remove and, when cool enough to handle, peel, stem, seed and cut into strips.

2. In a casserole or Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat, then cook the onion and garlic until translucent, stirring, about 8 minutes. Remove the onion with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to the casserole and let it heat up. Dredge the pork in corn flour, tapping off any excess. Brown the pork on all sides over medium heat, cooking in two batches if necessary so the pieces of meat don't touch each other, turning them with tongs, about 12 minutes for each batch. Use the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil for the second batch. Set the meat aside.

3. Deglaze the bottom of the casserole by pouring in about a quarter of the beer, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom with a wooden spoon. Once all the crust is picked up, add the remaining beer. Return the onion, garlic and pork to the casserole. Add the cumin and leave to cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes. Add the Anaheim chiles, chipotle chile paste (add more to make it hotter, less to make it milder), bay leaf, oregano, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, and reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook until the pork is very tender, stirring occassionally, about 45 minutes.

4. Add the coriander leaves are cook for another 10 minutes, then turn off the heat and let it sit for 5 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and serve.

Florence Fabricant spoke about different varieties of chocolate. Nearly all of these brands can be found at