Friday, September 23, 2011

Asian Temptation

23 Mamaroneck Avenue, White Plains, NY 10601-3309
(914) 328-5151

Located in the heart of downtown White Plains on Mamaroneck Avenue, this has been a frequent take out place for us. But this time we decided go regular and actually sit down and order like a good old lunch style. Friday lunch hour, usually is packed, though we got there just after twelve and were promptly seated next to the large multi buddha figure fresco.

The ambience is nice at this place. They even have live fishes and a waterfall kind of feel. A bar serves full drinks menu with a walk up counter also for quick eats for the single visitor. Anyhow, we wanted to have a proper sit down.

The lunch menu caught our attention and we found ourselves ordering two of the main entrees. Spicy Mango Sauce and Szechuan Peppercorn Sauce became the main course. For appetizers we chose the veggie tempura roll and the sweet potato tempura roll. The rolls came with a house green salad.

The Spicy Mango Sauce did come with a vegetarian option of adding Tofu. The mango was not too spicy and just right and generous in serving.

The other lunch option with Szechuan Peppercorn Sauce was also great in taste though a bit dry, it made a complete meal with the brown rice and all the fresh vegetables.

House salad on the side was crisp and soothing to the palate, and made a nice complement to the tempura and sweet potato rolls. With all this food, we had no room left for dessert though I am sure, we will be back for more.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Garam Masala

Garam Masala is a blend of various spices, which are first roasted together and then ground into a fine powder. Each north Indian household has their own version of it. Here is a basic recipe of garam masala, which can be used  to flavor different vegetables and rice dishes.

1" Cinnamon stick, broken into small pieces
3 Bay Leaves
1/4 cup Cumin Seeds
1/3 cup Coriander Seeds
1 tbsp Green Cardamom Pods
5-6 Black Cardamom Pods
1 tbsp Whole Peppercorns
1 tsp Whole Cloves
1-2 Dried Red Chiles
1 tbsp Fennel Seeds
2 florets Star Anise
6-8 blades Mace
1/2 tsp Nutmeg

Heat a medium skillet and dry roast all of the above ingredients, except the nutmeg powder on medium to low heat by constantly stirring the mixture for about 5-6 minutes. Turn off the heat and let it cool in the skillet and then transfer it to the coffee grinder and add the ground nutmeg. Grind it till it is very fine. Pass it through a sieve. Store it in an airtight glass jar for upto 6 months.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Masoor Dal

Masoor dal makes a very satisfying meal with rice and roti.

For the Dal -
1½ cup Masoor Dal
2 Bay leaves
½ cup Coriander Leaves, chopped
1 stick Cinnamon
2-3 Cloves
6 cups Water

For the tadka (tempering) -
2 tsp Ghee
1 tsp Cumin seeds
¼ tsp Asafetida
1" piece ginger, chopped
2-3 Cloves of Garlic, chopped
½ cup Onion, finely chopped
1 medium Tomato
2 tbsp Tomato paste

Soak the dal in enough water for 3-4 hours. In a pressure cooker add water, cinnamon stick, cloves, and bay leaves and salt. Cook till you get 4-5 whistles. In a small skillet add ghee and when it very hot put in asafetida, cumin seeds and cook till it is slightly fragrant. Then add garlic, ginger and onions.

Cook till they are brown. Add the chopped tomatoes and paste and saute them till they are soft. Add this mixture to the dal and stir well. Now add coriander and serve with roti and rice.