Category Archives: Ingredients

Eat Cheat: Maya Kaimal Indian Simmer Sauces

The success of your no-muss-no-fuss meals depends very much on what you keep in the house.  Fortunately, I live right above a robust market, so I can generally grab most things, but even so, it is MUCH easier to motivate yourself to cook when you already have the ingredients and can just get down to business without a store run.

We all have ingredients that we keep on hand almost all the time.  They vary from household to household.  In my apartment, we almost always have bread, whole wheat pasta, brown basmati rice, bags of frozen vegetables and a package of tofu.  We also have cabinet drawers full of Indian spices.

The other night I was downstairs in my local market checking out what I could buy that would make a quick and easy meal.  I figured I should buy a few different things that I could whip up in a jiffy so that I wouldn’t have the laziness excuse not to do it.  I spied a jar of Maya Kaimal Coconut Curry sauce and decided to give it a try.

I put some rice in the rice cooker, dumped some frozen vegetables and cubes of tofu into the curry sauce and simmered it for about 10 minutes.  Dinner was done.  That was it.

It was very tasty. I personally have never had a coconut curry that was Indian (only Thai, Indonesian, Malaysian, Sri Lankan) and didn’t really know it existed.  The curry reminded me of some Thai dishes I’ve had.  It was so easy and yummy, and you can feed 4 people from a single jar.  There are also directions on the jar for making the curry with meat, for the non-veg among us.

I got myself the Tikka Masala one too, but haven’t tried it yet.  To be clear, this may or may not be satisfying for an actual Desi person who knows their way around a kitchen or has been fed by someone who does.  I haven’t tested it on the husband yet.  But let’s be honest – Desi’s aren’t reading my blog anyway, unless it’s to chuckle at how cute I am at botching their cuisine.  So for the rest of us – enjoy!

Addendum: Tried the Tikka Masala but not really a fan.  Too tomato-intense and rich for me.  But you might like it, you never know.

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Filed under Chicken, Eat Cheat Series, Ingredients, Meat, Quick and Easy, Vegan, Vegetarian

Oni-oni-oni-ons

“How can you be a true Punjabi and not like onions??” my mother-in-law asked me in horror.

It’s not that I don’t like them at all. There was a time when I wouldn’t touch them with a 10 ft. pole, but I’ve come around – to my mother-in-law’s point, could I really have an Indian food blog and hate onions at the same time?  Onions and tomatoes are the basic ingredients in practically every curry recipe I’ve ever tried.

But yes, historically, I have not been an onion fan, and even now I can only eat them cooked in a dish with other things, not raw on a burger or with chaat masala and lime like my husband.  (Eek!)

But these little veggies are very important in desi cooking and Indian culinary history.  According to a 2010 article on out-of-control onion prices in India:

The lowly onion has a storied history in India. The first known mention is about 2,500 years ago in the ancient medical text “Charaka-Samhita,” which celebrated the vegetable’s curative powers.

Four centuries later, it was mentioned in religious texts as a despised food anathema to a life of meditation and austerity. It remained something of a medical and sensual sideshow for centuries, judging from the accounts of Chinese traveler Xuanzang, who visited India in the seventh century.

“Onions and garlic are little known and few people eat them,” he wrote. “If anyone uses them for food, they are expelled beyond the walls of the town.”

India’s infatuation with the onion is credited to the Mughal rulers, who used them liberally in their meat and rice dishes.

Oh, those Mughals – they are credited with everything, aren’t they?

A short while ago, a friend forwarded me an e-mail with the subject line, “Creativity in India,” which contained a number of humorous photos.  I’ve selected one below for your enjoyment.  I swear I’m going to try that.

What are your favorite recipes with onion?

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Filed under Ingredients