Category Archives: India

Aarti Paarti’s Veggie Chili

It’s been getting chilly at night here in Atlanta so I have been craving some chili. I’m always on the look-out for a tasty chili recipe so when I saw Aarti’s veggie chili recipe on her blog I knew I had to try it! She took a basic chili recipe and elevated it with some Indian spices I had never thought to use in a chili recipe such as turmeric and ground ginger.

It’s very simple to make and is so colorful because of all the different veggies that go into the pot – parsnips, carrots, red peppers, green peppers, jalapenos….and anything else that you want to add such as butternut squash, turnips, etc. Stewing all that veggie goodness with a few cans of red or white kidney beans turns it into a vitamin and protein packed powerhouse! I swear you won’t even miss the meat, but if you do then you could always add some ground beef or turkey.

The nice thing about chili is that you don’t have to follow recipes exactly, so long as you get the process of sautéing your onions, garlic, ginger, and hard root vegetables first before adding any meat or faux meat product, then add your spices, then your tomatoes and juices (such as beer!), then the beans. Everything in the middle can be totally improvised to your own taste preferences, which are noted in the recipe below.

We served this up with some of Trader Joe’s cornbread and it was perfect! I’m definitely going to make this again.

I followed Aarti’s recipe pretty closely and it turned out delicious.

Veggie Chili adapted from Aarti Paarti

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 large parsnip, peeled and diced
  • 1 green bell pepper/capsicum, membranes removed and diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, cleaned and diced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds and membranes removed, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 package soy chorizo, casing removed (I like the kind from Trader Joes!)
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 28 oz can whole tomatoes
  • 1 can beer (In the spirit of Atlanta I used Sweetwater 420)
  • A little bit of beef/chicken/veggie broth to supplement the beer
  • 1 15oz can red kidney beans
  • Lime, cheese and scallions to garnish

1) Sautee onions, carrots, parsnips, bell peppers, jalapeno and garlic in olive oil about 10 minutes until softened. (You can add more root vegetables here if you like)

2) Add chorizo (or ground beef/turkey if you MUST have meat) and sautee a couple of minutes until it smells really good in your kitchen.

3) Add chili, cumin and allspice powders (can also add ground ginger, paprika, ground coriander, turmeric, Worcestershire sauce, nutmeg, etc.). Sautee about 30 seconds to get the flavour out of ‘em.

4) Add juice from tomato can, then crush each whole tomato with your hands over the pot, leaving them as chunky as you like.

5) Add beer, and much beef/chicken/veggie broth as you need to almost cover the veggies. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer 30 minutes.

6) Drain kidney beans, rinse. Add to chili, and cook another 5-10 minutes until beans are warmed through.

7) Serve, squeezing a wedge of lime over the top, garnishing with scallions and cheese if you wish.

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Aarti Paarti’s Baby’s First Chicken Curry “Murg Tamatar”

I am a sucker for curries so I searched Aarti’s blog for the word ‘curry’ and found this fairly simple recipe.  As it turns out, Aarti is scared of making curries! Mainly because it’s so easy to burn the spices, which is quite easy to do if you cook them any longer than 30 seconds.  I foolishly decided to give this 5 garlic clove containing curry a try right before going to a Halloween party….that involved drinking beer.  Now everyone knows what happens when you drink beer – you get the burps.  Having the burps after eating a garlicy curry will create a room-clearing smell.  Thank god my boyfriend and I were in costume.

This just so happened to be the party where I met Aarti’s co-star on America’s Next Food Network Star, Herb Mesa.  Hopefully he didn’t notice that I smelled like Aarti’s curry…..

Room-clearing breath aside, this curry was a delicious tomato based curry that I would highly recommend for a NIGHT IN.

Baby’s First Chicken Curry “Murg Tamatar”

1.5lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs (breasts will dry out)
1 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
2 bay leaves
5 cloves garlic
4 chiles de arbol
1/2″ ginger
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp honey
14.5 oz can whole tomatoes
1 tbsp white poppy seeds (you can find ‘em at the Indian shoppe), blended in 1/4 cup milk
(OR, bypass the poppy seeds & milk, use 2 tbsp yogurt)

1) Heat 1 tbsp vegetable oil in a large deep pot over medium heat. Add onions and bay leaves. Saute until pinkish-golden brown. (Aaarti’s technique is to tamp them down in the center of your pot, allow them to cook for 30 seconds or so until they get a nice crust, then re-stir and repeat).  Don’t undercook your onions, else you will have a weak curry!

2) Meanwhile, in a blender or food processor, whiz together garlic, chiles, ginger, turmeric and paprika with a little water until as smooth as possible.

3) Once onions are cooked, add the masala from the blender. Cook, stirring often until deepened in colour, and oil droplets appear on the surface of the masala.

4) Add honey and chicken, coating the meat with the masala. Cook, stirring often, about 5 minutes until masala sticks to the chicken.

5) Pull tomatoes out of the can and squish into the pot, crushing them with your hands. You should have about 4 or 5 tomatoes in that can. Add a splash of tomato juice too. Stir, bring to a simmer, semi-cover and cook about 20 minutes until chicken is tender and gravy has thickened. Turn heat down, add either poppy seed-milk mixture or yogurt and stir gently. Taste for seasonings. Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro and serve over rice.

Aarti Paarti’s Baked Samosas

I love anything that comes in the form of a pocket – pierogies, empanadas, ravioli, calzones, and especially samosas; however, I’m not one for deep frying things in my kitchen because of the smell and the mess, which means that I usually don’t make my own pocket food.  I was a stickler for fresh samosas when I traveled in India so when I saw Aarti’s baked samosas I knew I had to try them, despite the fact that they looked pretty time consuming to make.

I watched her video to learn how to correctly fold the dough of the samosa and followed her recipe pretty closely.  Next time I might get a little more creative with the filling but I had to at least give Aarti’s a shot first.

Here’s the recipe:

Baked Samosas adapted from Aarti Paarti

Ingredients

For pastry:

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cake flour (you can use 1 cup all-purpose flour if you prefer)
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable/canola oil
  • Big pinch salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ajwain seeds (optional)

For filling:

  • 1 big russet potato, boiled until soft
  • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, poached and shredded (here’s how)
  • 1 mango, finely diced
  • Zest of 1 lime, plus juice of half of it
  • 5 tbsp chipotle sauce
  • 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • Big handful cilantro, minced
  • Salt and pepper

1) To make pastry: In large bowl, combine flours, buttermilk, oil, salt and ajwain seeds (I left out the seeds). Bring ingredients together into a dough. Knead for 5 minutes until it has softened a bit. Allow to rest, at room temperature, for 15 minutes. You can put this in the fridge too, but make sure you let it sit at room temperature for 20 minutes or so, in order for it to soften.

2) Make filling: Combine all ingredients with your hands until it’s well mixed up. Taste for seasoning. Set aside.

3) When it’s rolling time, preheat oven to 425 degrees f.

4) Roll the dough into a short cylinder. Slice into two. Slice each half into two, so you have 4 bits. Roll each bit into a ball. Flatten ball into a disc, then, on floured surface, roll into a 1/8″ thick, 7″ wide circle. Cut into two semi-circles.

5) Place a tablespoon or so of filling in the center of one of the semi-circles. Have a small bowl of water handy. Dip your finger in the water and run it along the edges of the semi-circle. Arrange semi-circle so the flat side is facing away from you. Grab the left corner and fold it over dough in a triangular motion, so that this corner lands on the bottom right side of the filling. Do the same with the other corner. (see video for better illustration!). Squeeze bottom shut, and fold over, sealing with water. If you like, seal using a fork. Place on lightly greased baking sheet. Repeat, until you have 8 big samosas ready for baking!

Filling should be a little bigger than a golf ball

Turn one corner over and seal with a little water

Turn the opposite corner over and pinch to seal (I used a fork)

6) Bake for 15 minutes at 425, then turn heat down to 375 and bake 10 more minutes. You can flip them over just before you turn the heat down if you like.

7) Serve hot, with the chutney…

For more help you can watch Aarti’s instructional video here:

Aarti Paarti’s I Ain’t Chicken Chicken

Some of you may know my obsession with watching the Food Network.  It’s the only reason why I pay for cable TV.  I watched every episode of the Next Food Network Star and fell in love with Aarti Sequeira’s style of cooking.  During the show I started following Aarti’s blog because she takes everyday dishes and adds an Indian twist to them, which give them the pep they need to wake up thetaste buds.  I was lucky enough to meet one of her co-stars, Herb Mesa, at a Halloween party last weekend and he said that she’s just as awesome in person as she is on camera!

So in honor of Aarti I am going to have Aarti Paarti week on my blog!  Every day this week I’ll feature a different recipe of hers that I’ve tried.

For those of you that don’t know about Aarti Sequiera, she was the only food blogger contestant on the show (yay for food bloggers!).  She quickly proved herself to the judges with her complex, flavorful Indian cooking and ease in front of the camera.  And let’s not forget her beautiful British accent!  She won the title of America’s Next Food Network Star and after airing 6 episodes of Aarti Paarty on the Food Network she has been signed for a second season!

I tried several recipes from her show/blog this week.  They were all a success taste-wise but I have to admit that one of them was a bit of a disaster and almost started a grease fire in my oven.  The first was her ‘I Ain’t Chicken, Chicken’, which seemed easy enough to make so I thought I’d start with that one.  I followed the instructions exactly – except I tried to be clever when it came to how to arrange the pans for baking.  I am not sure how this went wrong but there must have been so much grease dripping off the chicken that some of it dripped off of the cooling rack on the pan that I used to elevate the chicken (as directed) and onto the oven burner plate!  Anyone who has done this knows that this will smoke out your entire oven and kitchen.

Here’s the recipe and accompanying video.  My advice to avoid the kitchen smoke-out that I experienced would be to slightly elevate the chicken in a roasting pan or casserole dish rather than on a rimmed baking sheet.  That way the walls of the pan will be high enough to catch any of the grease that might try to jump out.

Needless to say…I did not take a picture of this one.  The good news is that the smoke didn’t affect the taste and it still turned out fine.

I Ain’t Chicken Chicken adapted from Aarti Party

Episode: What Storms May Come

Ingredients

  • 1 pound small red new potatoes
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves stripped
  • Kosher Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened but not melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 large orange, zested
  • 2 teaspoons grated ginger
  • 4 airline chicken breasts, on the bone, skin intact

Directions

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Line a roasting pan or large casserole dish with a cooling rack and a sheet tray with parchment. In a large bowl, toss the potatoes with a little olive oil, thyme leaves and salt and pepper, to taste. Put the potatoes on the sheet tray lined with the parchment.

In a small bowl, combine the butter, ground cardamom, orange zest, ginger, salt and pepper, to taste. Stir together with a spoon until well mixed.

Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Poke a small opening in the clear membrane between the skin and the flesh of the chicken breast. Glide your index finger through the opening, loosening the skin from the flesh, without removing it completely. You’re creating a big pocket in which the butter will sit! Repeat with the other chicken breasts.

Put a spoonful of the butter mixture through the opening you made in the skin of the chicken breast. Once it’s in there, smooth out the butter by gliding your finger over the skin, until it’s evenly distributed. Repeat with the other breasts. Arrange the chicken breasts in the roasting pan or casserole pan lined with the cooling rack (don’t set the rack across the top of the pan because the grease from the chicken will drip off the edges!). Wash your hands thoroughly.

If you wish, drizzle the skin with a little oil, for extra crispy skin. Season with salt, to taste. Put the potatoes and the chicken into the oven, and roast, turning the pans once halfway through the cooking time and stirring the potatoes, about 30 minutes.

Chicken is ready when an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast, but not touching the bone, registers about 160 degrees F. Remove the pans from the oven and tent with foil. Allow them to rest about 5 minutes. Transfer the chicken and potatoes to a serving platter and serve.

Check out Aarti’s blog here: http://www.aartipaarti.com

Check her out on the Food Network starting in December!