Friday, 12 November 2010

At Home with Madhur Jaffrey - Simple, Delectable Dishes from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka

At Home with Madhur Jaffrey
Simple, Delectable Dishes from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka
Madhur Jaffrey
Hardcover, 320 pages

Madhur Jaffrey is the Grande Dame of Indian cuisine.
She has published six James Beard award winning cookbooks in her extensive repertoire, acted in hundreds of movies and penned a beautiful memoir of her early years (Climbing the Mango Trees) that I am desperately hoping has a sequel.

She is definitely in the top sphere of my culinary heroes and she has a new book out this year, At Home with Madhur Jaffrey. This book is likely the most approachable of her books, in that the flavours are combined expertly but easily - allowing you to get a delicious South Asian dinner on the table with little effort, even on a weeknight.
The ingredients are easy to find and the recipes are relatively short - this is casual home cooking of the most delightful kind.

To me, there is nothing more intoxicating than Indian flavours perfuming the kitchen on a cold winter's night. They warm the heart and the soul. And now, instead of waiting until you have an entire Sunday off to make an Indian feast, you can make simple delicious dishes any night of the week.

In our KitchenPuppy test kitchen, we tried the delicious dishes below, Eggplants in a North-South Sauce and Salmon in a Bengali Mustard Sauce. I am falling in love again just posting these pictures. 


Eggplants in a North-South Sauce
From At Home with Madhur Jaffrey

This is one of our most beloved family dishes. It is very much in the Hyderabadi style, where North Indian and South Indian seasonings are combined. Over the years, I have simplified the recipe. Here, you may use the long, tender Japanese eggplants or the purple “baby” Italian eggplants or even the striated purple and white ones that are about the same size as the baby Italian ones. Once cut, what you are aiming for are 1-inch chunks with as much skin on them as possible so they do not fall apart.

Serve this hot with meat or vegetable curries, rice, and dal or serve it cold, as a salad, with cold meats, Indian or Western. I love it with slices of ham.


serves 4–6

4 tablespoons olive or canola oil
1/8 teaspoon ground asafetida
1/2 teaspoon skinned urad dal or yellow split peas
1/2  teaspoon whole mustard seeds
1/2  teaspoon whole cumin seeds
1/2  teaspoon whole nigella seeds (kalonji)
1/2  teaspoon whole fennel seeds
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1.5 pounds slim Japanese eggplants, cut crossways into 1-inch segments, or “baby” Italian eggplants cut in half lengthways and then crossways, into 1-inch segments
2 medium tomatoes, grated, about 1.25 cups
1 cup chicken stock or water
1 teaspoon salt
¼-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Pour the oil into a very large frying pan and set over medium-high heat.
When hot, put in the asafetida and the urad dal. As soon as the dal turns a
shade darker, add the mustard, cumin, nigella, and fennel seeds, in that order.
When the mustard seeds begin to pop, a matter of seconds, add the onions. Stir
and fry for a minute. Add the garlic and the eggplant. Stir and fry for 4–5 minutes
or until the onions are a bit browned. Add the grated tomatoes, stock, salt,
and cayenne. Stir to mix and bring to a boil. Cover, turn heat to low, and cook
about 20 minutes or until the eggplants are tender, stirring now and then.

Excerpted from At Home with Madhur Jaffrey by Madhur Jaffrey Copyright © 2010 by Madhur Jaffrey. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House of Canada Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Salmon in a Bengali Mustard Sauce
From At Home with Madhur Jaffrey

Eat this with plain rice and make the sauce as hot as you like. In Bengal, the mustard seeds are ground at home, but to make matters simpler I have used commercial ground mustard, also sold as mustard powder. You may also use halibut instead of the salmon.

This very traditional dish is best served with Plain Basmati Rice, along with My Everyday Moong Dal, if you like, and a green vegetable.

serves 2–3

to rub on the fish
3/4 pound skinless salmon fillet
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

you also need
1 tablespoon ground mustard
¼-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4  teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4  teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons mustard oil (use extra virgin olive oil as a substitute)
1/4  teaspoon whole brown mustard seeds
1/4  teaspoon whole cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon whole fennel seeds
2 fresh hot green and/or red chilies (bird’s-eye is best), slit slightly

Cut the fish into pieces that are about 2" x 1" and rub them evenly with
the salt, turmeric, and cayenne. Cover and set aside in the refrigerator for
30 minutes–10 hours.

Put the mustard powder, cayenne, turmeric, and salt in a small bowl. Add
1 tablespoon water and mix thoroughly. Add another 7 tablespoons water and
mix. Set aside.

Pour the oil into a medium frying pan and set over medium-high heat.
When hot, put in the mustard seeds. As soon as they start to pop, a matter of
seconds, add the cumin and fennel seeds. Stir once and quickly pour in the
mustard paste. Add the green chilies, stir, and bring to a gentle simmer. Place
the fish pieces in the sauce in a single layer. Simmer gently for about 5 minutes,
or until the fish is just cooked through, spooning the sauce over the fish
all the time.

Excerpted from At Home with Madhur Jaffrey by Madhur Jaffrey Copyright © 2010 by Madhur Jaffrey. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House of Canada Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.