Cooking Diva: Indian Extravaganza

Who doesn’t love Indian food? If you don’t—well, then, I guess this isn’t a post you really want to be reading. For all of you with sound taste buds, though, please read on.
If you would like to make an awesome curry in your own kitchen with simple ingredients that tastes just like it came from the masala lunch buffet, then look no further. Bread, main dish, AND drink are all outlined here for you—so break out your notepads and get ready!
There’s nothing better to eat with a curry than chapatis, those delicious little flatbreads that you can use like spoons to scoop up large amounts of what you’re eating. For a great recipe, go here. Even though it seems completely bizarre to fry something in a skillet that has no oil or butter in it, it works like a dream for these breads.
Added tip: if you stack them up nicely and wrap them in foil, chapatis can be reheated and eaten again for up to two days after you make them.
Cauliflower Curry
One of my proudest strokes of culinary genius was devising this curry. I feel like I could eat it every day and STILL love every bite. It makes a lot (4-5 medium-sized servings), so have a party when you make it.
• 1-2 tablespoons oil (canola, olive, or vegetable will all work)
• 1 head of cauliflower, rinsed and broken into tiny florets
• 1 medium potato, peeled and chopped into small squares
• 1 onion, diced
• 1 teaspoon of ginger-garlic paste, or 2 cloves of chopped garlic plus a little chopped ginger (the ginger is optional but helpful)
• 1 cup of frozen peas
• ¾ cup paneer, cut into cubes (optional)
• ½ tsp turmeric
• ¼ tsp garam masala (an Indian spice you can find in almost all grocery stores)
• ½ tsp cumin
• ½ tsp coriander powder
• 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice
• fresh cilantro to garnish (optional)
Set a big pan on the stove at medium heat. Pour in the oil. When it’s hot, add half the cumin (1/4 tsp) and the cauliflower, potato, diced onion, garlic, and ginger (or ginger-garlic paste). Stir occasionally. Let it cook for a while, until it’s visibly reduced and softened at least a little bit—about 10-15 minutes.
Add the peas, paneer, and all the spices. At this point the dish will need to cook for another 10-15 minutes. If you’re using a nonstick pan, you can cover the pan, turn the heat down to low, and check it every 5 minutes or so. Otherwise, keep it on medium heat and stir it every couple of minutes so nothing sticks to the bottom or burns.
When the cauliflower and potato pieces are tender, the curry is done. Stir in the lemon juice and cilantro and serve!

Mango Lassi

Wash your Indian meal down with this refreshing summer drink. To make two glasses of lassi, put one mango (peeled and diced), ¾ cup mango pulp, ¾ cup plain yogurt, 2 crushed ice cubes, and 1-2 tablespoons of sugar in a blender or food processor. Puree, pour into glasses, stick in a straw, and enjoy!
[Photo courtesy of the Better Health Channel]

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