Yesterday, the Blue Plate Spectaculars witnessed miracles in the kitchen. I believe we should drop out of college and open an Indian restaurant. Who knew we had the mastery of Indian cooking deep within ourselves, waiting to be released?
Amy. Oh Miss Amy. How you outdid yourself. She made 3 delightful appetizers. The first was fried plantains, drenched in liquid caramel and spotted with chocolate. Second there was a deep orange mash of beans, spices, and mango, tantalizing our taste buds. And finally, Amy's own concoction of Mango, spices, and Tamarind Chutney. Lorenzo exclaimed, "This is the best thing I have put in my mouth in a long time." Had I been wearing socks, I'm sure they would have been knocked off.
Lorenzo whipped up some mojitos to keep us cool in the heat of the kitchen. He muddled sugar and mint, topped it off with rum, and added a splash of club soda.
Mike and I collaborated on the main courses. Mike made an outstanding (and delightfully spicy) curry dish with baked eggplant, lots of garlic and ginger, and yogurt. It was creamy and packed a kick. When preparing eggplant, be sure to lightly salt it before placing it in the oven. The salt draws out the bitter juices from the vegetable, making it mellow and perfect for drawing in the flavors of spices.
He also made Batsmati rice, following a recipe given to him by a real-life Indian grandmother! Grandmothers know there stuff. The rice gets cooked with lots of cumin, peas, red bell pepper, and onion. It was perfect for soaking up all of the pungent sauces.
Because I enjoy a good challenge, I decided to make Navratan Korma, featuring a homemade Garam Masala spice mix and homemade Paneer. Making cheese is an empowering experience. Watching milk and lemon juice transform into an Indian staple right before your eyes is incredible, and to know that you did it with your very own hands...mmmm-hmm.
I hate to toot my own horn, but it was AMAZING! Mostly because I followed an awesome recipe, but I followed it well my friends, I followed it well. If you would like to follow it too, here is the link for Garam Masala and Navratan Korma. I did not use Saffron in my Garam. Also, for the Korma, I could not find a Bottle-neck Gourd or Cluster beans. I tried out some funny Asian squash that looks like an Indian Bottle-neck Gourd, but it was very plain tasting, so next time I make the dish, I'll leave it out. Also, instead of sauteing the dry fruits in ghee and then re-incorporating them into the dish later, I just continued sauteing them with the onions, which gave the nuts a nice, roasted flavor. And don't garnish with cream, it simply melds with the sauce and is unnecessary.
My recipe for Paneer is as follows:
- 1/2 gallon whole milk
- 2 1/2 tbsp. lemon juice