Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Easy Indian Cooking by Suneeta Vaswani

Easy Indian Cooking
Second Edition
by Suneeta Vaswani
Paperback, 264 pages

Indian cooking is an exciting cuisine, 
and now it's easier to make than ever!

It can be intimidating, taking on a new cuisine. So many new flavours and new ingredients... but you don't have to rely on restaurants for real Indian flavour - Suneeta Vaswani has put together a simple instructional cookbook that will have you serving up authentic Indian dishes at home in a snap.

She gently teaches about common Indian spices and techniques and each recipe comes with tips to help you get the best flavour possible from your dish.

From snacks and street foods to entire dinners, you'll have all the tools you need to wow your friends and family with this new cuisine.

Contents Include:
General Guidelines
Common Ingredients
Spices, Spice Blends and Herbs
Hints and Tips
Basic Techniques
Chaat and Street Foods
Snacks and Appetizers
Rice, Cereal and Breads
Beans and Lentils
Poultry and Meat
Fish and Seafood
Vegetarian Entrées
Raitas and Chutneys
Sweets and Beverages

Easy Indian Cooking contains 150 recipes. Try one of these sample ones at home, and see how easy it can be to cook Indian food! 

Yellow Lentil Soup with Vegetables (Toor Dal) page 72

Here’s a soul-satisfying soup packed with vitamins and the goodness of vegetables. Plus the dal makes it high in protein and fiber as well.

1 cup    yellow lentils (toor dal)    250 mL
1 tsp    turmeric    5 mL
1 cup    chopped tomato    250 mL
1 cup    cubed potato    250 mL
1 cup    sliced carrot, 1⁄4-inch (0.5 cm) thick slices    250 mL
 8    green beans, cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces     8
1⁄4 tsp    cayenne pepper    1 mL
1 tsp    salt or to taste    5 mL
2 tbsp    oil    30 mL
1 tsp    cumin seeds    5 mL
1 tbsp    chopped garlic    15 mL
1⁄2 cup    chopped onion    125 mL
11⁄2 cups    steamed rice    375 mL
1⁄3 cup    cilantro, chopped    75 mL
    Lemon wedges  

1.    Clean and pick through lentils for any small stones and grit. Rinse several times in cold water until water is fairly clear.
2.    Drain and transfer lentils to a large saucepan. Add
3 cups (750 mL) water and soak for 10 minutes. Bring to a boil, uncovered, over medium heat, skimming froth off surface. Cook, partially covered, until dal is soft and mushy, about 30 minutes. Purée in blender or using immersion blender, or whisk vigorously to batter-like consistency.

Serves 8

Excerpted from Easy Indian Cooking, 2nd Ed. by Suneeta Vaswani © 2013 Robert Rose Inc. May not be reprinted without publisher permission.

Coconut Chutney–Coated Fish Parcels page 147

A classic dish of the Parsis of Mumbai (Bombay), this is a showstopping entrée.
I like to serve it with a spicy dal and steamed rice.

TIPS: Coconut chutney can be made 2 days ahead and refrigerated, tightly covered. Chutney can also be frozen for up to 3 months.
If banana leaves are unavailable, use foil to wrap fish. Leave foil slightly loose to allow steam to circulate.

•    Steamer

8    banana leaf sections,     each about 12 inches (30 cm) long (see Tips)    8
    Vegetable spray  
3 cups    grated fresh or frozen coconut (thawed if frozen)    750 mL  
12    cloves garlic    12
4    green chiles (2 inches/5 cm long)    4
2 tsp    cumin seeds    10 mL
1 tsp    granulated sugar    5 mL
1 tsp     salt or to taste    5 mL
    Juice of 1 lime or lemon
4 cups    cilantro leaves, including soft stems    1 L
8    halibut steaks or any similar fish (1 inch/2.5 cm thick)    8
1⁄4 cup    white vinegar    60 mL

1.    Rinse and wipe banana leaves and trim any dry ends. Lay one leaf on work surface, rib side up. Using a sharp knife held almost horizontally (knife should be almost parallel to work surface), carefully slice away part of thick rib, if necessary. Spray dull side with vegetable spray. Repeat with remaining leaves.
2.    In a food processor, process coconut, garlic, chile, cumin seeds, sugar and salt until coarse. Add lime juice, then cilantro, in batches, processing until fine and scraping sides of bowl frequently. Transfer to a bowl.
3.    Carefully coat each piece of fish on both sides with 1⁄4-inch (0.5 cm) thick paste. Place one piece of coated fish 3 inches (7.5 cm) from end of oiled side of banana leaf. Cover with 3-inch (7.5 cm) flap. Fold in sides and continue to fold into a “parcel.” Secure with kitchen twine. Repeat with remaining fish and leaves.
4.    Fill steamer with 11⁄2 inches (4 cm) water. Add vinegar. Place wrapped fish in steamer and cook for about 30 minutes. To serve, place parcels on platter and allow each person to unwrap package.

Serves 8

Excerpted from Easy Indian Cooking, 2nd Ed. by Suneeta Vaswani © 2013 Robert Rose Inc. May not be reprinted without publisher permission.

Hena’s Finger Potatoes page 185

Delicious potatoes, which make a marvelous marriage with any kind of barbecued meat or fried chicken, are just as wonderful by themselves. An old friend who is renowned for her cuisine gave
me this recipe when visiting from India.

TIPS: I like to serve these to accompany beer.
To toast sesame seeds: Spread in a dry skillet and toast on medium heat until starting to color, 3 to 4 minutes. Shake pan periodically to toast evenly. Seeds will turn slightly darker as they cool.

4 tsp    oil, divided    20 mL
1⁄4 cup    raw cashews, broken into large pieces    60 mL
1⁄4 cup    raisins    60 mL
2 lbs    all-purpose potatoes, peeled and cut into 1⁄2-inch (1 cm) thick fries    1 kg
2 tsp    hot pepper flakes or to taste    10 mL
1 tsp    cumin powder    5 mL
2 tsp    salt or to taste    10 mL
1 tsp    mango powder (amchur) (optional)    5 mL
2 tbsp    sesame seeds, toasted (see Tips)    30 mL

1.    In a large nonstick skillet, heat 2 tsp (10 mL) of the oil over medium heat. Sauté cashews and raisins until cashews are golden and raisins are plump, about 2 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon and set aside.
2.    In the same skillet, heat remaining oil. Stir-fry potatoes to coat with oil. Spread in a single layer and cover. Cook over medium heat, without stirring, for 5 to
7 minutes. Stir and spread into single layer again. Cover and continue to cook, adjusting heat to brown potatoes without burning, for 6 to 8 minutes longer. There should be a golden crust on most potatoes when done.
3.    Sprinkle with hot pepper flakes, cumin, salt and mango powder, if using. Add reserved cashews and raisins and sesame seeds. Toss well and adjust seasonings. Serve as a side dish or as finger food.

Serves 8

Excerpted from Easy Indian Cooking, 2nd Ed. by Suneeta Vaswani © 2013 Robert Rose Inc. May not be reprinted without publisher permission.

Suneeta Vaswani, born in Bombay, (Mumbai), came upon her culinary career almost by happenstance. When she moved to the United States, she had to adapt to being able to not only provide family meals, but being able to turn out glorious food for friends and family as is the Indian tradition. When her North American friends, who had lived in India and grown to love the food, requested to learn how to prepare the incredible Indian dishes Suneeta was making, what started out as a hobby quickly morphed into formal classes in cooking schools.

Suneeta is the owner of Suneeta’s Indian Cuisine, a food company that makes and markets chutneys. She has trained chefs in restaurants, developed, tested recipes and consulted on Indian food with a number of organizations, is past president of Houston Culinary Guild, a board member of Asia Society Texas, and a member of International Association of Culinary Professionals. Suneeta has been featured in national magazines such as Bon Appétit and has written articles for Fine Cooking, and Washington Post amongst others. She is the author of Easy Indian Cooking and Complete Book of Indian Cooking.