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Yesterday we celebrated Indian Arrival Day. East Indians who journeyed to the New World did not leave their homeland with many possessions. Some say they brought with them spices, rice and two types of animals: the water buffalo for hard labour and a type of humped cattle that provided milk for yogurt and butter which was made into ghee. The spices we know were ground and made into curries, which have evolved through the years to the distinctively delicious curry that, have become indigenous to our islands. So different are our curries to the traditional or authentic Indian curries from India that some West Indians, when served with the traditional curries insist that our curry is “the” curry. Local East Indian dishes have become so popular, they have carved themselves a place on our national culinary landscape. Nowhere else in the world can we find our melt in your mouth rotis, Indian delicacies and sumptuous curries. Happy Indian Arrival day to everyone. Here are some favourites for you to cook this weekend!
1 cup yellow split peas
1 tsp turmeric
2 cloves garlic
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 tsp geera pods
1 pimento pepper, seeded and chopped
4 cups water
2 tbsps vegetable oil
1 tsp geera seeds
2 cloves garlic chopped
Wash split peas, place in saucepan with water, turmeric, garlic, onion, geera, pimento and salt.
Bring to boil, cover and cook slowly until peas are tender, about 30 minutes.
Remove from fire swizzle until smooth.
Heat oil in a small pot, when hot add 1 tsp geera seeds, and 2 cloves chopped garlic.
The oil should be sizzling, when garlic is coloured and geera is darkened, pour into dhal.
Season with salt if needed, stir and serve.
• Serves 4 to 6
CURRIED CHICKEN WITH GINGER
1 3 1/2 lb chicken cut into small pieces
2 tbsps herb seasoning paste (chives, thyme, garlic)
1 tbsp wine, vinegar or lime juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsps vegetable oil
1 tsp chopped ginger
1 tsp chopped garlic
1 small onion, sliced
1 hot pepper, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup water
3 tbsps curry powder
2 tbsps chopped chadon beni (optional)
Marinate chicken in herb paste, vinegar, salt and black pepper.
Heat oil in large sauté pan, add ginger, garlic and onion.
Stir, add hot pepper, sauté until fragrant and onion is tender.
Combine water with curry powder, stir.
Add curry paste to pot and let it cook, stirring well until most of the water has evaporated.
Now add the chicken pieces one at a time, making sure you stir well to cover the chicken with the curry mixture.
Cover pot and let chicken release some water, stir if chicken appears to be sticking add only a small amount of water at a time to prevent sticking. Continue cooking in this manner for about 30 minutes.
When your curry sauce in the pot seems to be slightly separating from the oil, your chicken is ready, this may not happen but after 30 minutes your chicken should be ready.
Taste and adjust seasonings.
Sprinkle with chadon beni, and serve.
• Serves 4 to 6
For the dough:
4 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp butter, softened
1 tsp salt
4 tsp baking powder
Salt to taste
6 tbsps softened butter or ghee
To cook the paratha:
4 tbsps vegetable oil
4 tbsps melted butter or 8 tbsps melted ghee
Combine flour with one tbsp butter, salt and baking powder.
Add enough water to knead to a very soft dough, cover and rest for 30 mins.
Divide dough into 8 pieces, form each piece into a ball.
Roll out each piece of dough into a 6-inch round; place about 3/4 tbsps butter onto dough and spread to the ends.
Cut the dough into half from the middle of the top edge, leave a one inch uncut portion at the base. Starting from the top right hand side portion, roll the dough all the way to the bottom and up the left side. Your dough should resemble a cone. Tuck the end under. And them push the pointed part into the dough, flatten slightly and rest for a further 30 minutes.
Combine butter with oil.
Lightly flour a surface, roll each piece of prepared dough into a 10 inch circle and cook on a hot baking stone, turn, brush with oil, turn again brush with oil, cook until it balloons or bubbles on the surface then remove this should take about 3 to 4 minutes in total.
Beat or hit the roti with your hands or a wooden spatula to break and flake.
• Makes 8 Serve with any curried dishes