Monday, June 21, 2010

Candle Nuts

Mark's recent visit to Tempe -- and thus to our favorite Asian market -- resulted in a small bag of weird nuts - candle nuts. We tried them - they didn't taste very good. So I looked it up and found that they are mostly used as a thickening agent in Indonesian sauces. The most appealing - and least meaty - recipe I found was that of egg sambal. It seemed simple enough and didn't require too many weird ingredients. Still I had to modify it, and the result was very tasty.

Here's how I made it:

Put 4 eggs to boil.
In a medium pan I heated up 2 T peanut oil, and sauteed:
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 t roasted garlic (can substitute with some crushed garlic)
  • 1 t grated ginger (instead of the galanga root)
  • 1 T vegetarian red curry paste (figured it would be an excellent substitute for shrimp paste and red chilies)
  • 1 t tamarind paste (instead of sugar and lime juice)
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 6 candle nuts, ground (I used mortar and pestle, and it worked wonderfully!)
That's it! It's ready in minutes. The only thing that took too much time was peeling the darn eggs!
To accompany the sambal, I made Mark prepare pizza dough, of which he rolled out 5 pita-sized rounds, rubbed them in oil, and I cooked them in a small non-stick pan. They came out so soft and delicious, and were perfect for the sambal.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Best Palak Paneer EVER!

As the title suggests, this is by far the best palak paneer I have ever had. I had a few store bought ones, I had some in restaurants, and it never really appealed to me all that much. There were plenty of Indian dishes far better than this. I even tried making one myself, and it wasn't anything more than blah. But this time - with a food processor on hand, not forgetting to add the cashews, and using our own grown spinach - it came out SO much better!
I followed this easy-to-follow recipe from Mahanandi, with some home-made paneer.
The only thing I was missing was the cilantro-ginger-garlic paste, so I made it from scratch by processing a few garlic cloves, some cilantro leaves, and a small piece of ginger - at rough ratios of 3-2-1, and I have no idea how it compares. But who cares? The overall result was delicious.

Don't put in too many salted cashews!!

Needless to say we had it with yummy fluffy naans that Mark baked.