JUNE 2012
Khaas Baat : A Publication for Indian Americans in Florida



“My Indian Kitchen: Preparing Delicious Indian Meals Without Fear or Fuss” by Hari Nayak; photographs by Jack Turkel; 160 pages; $27.95; published by Tuttle Publishing. (www.tuttlepublishing.com)

Listen up; all you busy bodies who find cooking traditional Indian meals burdensome and time consuming. In his new book “My Indian Kitchen,” author, restaurateur and chef Nayak shares some easy-to-make and mouthwatering recipes he learned from his mother and aunts, neighbors and street vendors, and numerous friends.

Packed with eye-catching photos by Turkel, the book offers chapters such as “Indian Spice Mixes,” “Chutneys and Accompaniments,” “Appetizers,” “Soups and Dals,” “Vegetables and Cheese Dishes,” “Fish and Seafood,” “Poultry and Meat,” “Bread and Rice,” and “Desserts and Drinks.”

Vegetarians will crave to try out such recipes as Bengali Potatoes with Spices; Mushrooms and Corn in a Spicy Curry; Pureed Spinach with Cheese Balls; and Stir-Fried Paneer Cheese with Bell Peppers. Meat lovers will be inspired to make Five Spice Blackened Salmon, Malabar Crab Curry, Tandoori Skewered Shrimp, Chicken Curry in a Hurry, Spicy Lamb Burgers and Saffron Chicken Biryani.

To wash up the food, dessert/drinks include Watermelon Mint Ice, Pistachio Mango Ice Cream, Chai Crème Brulee, Cardamom Apple Kheer and Mumbai Fruit Punch.

Here are just two of the recipes we are reproducing with permission from the publisher:

Coconut Chicken Curry Kori Ghassi
Curry leaves and coconut give this mild curry, typical fare along the west coast of India, its distinctive flavor and creamy texture. When in India I serve this curry with steamed south Indian red rice, the traditional accompaniment. In the United States, procuring red rice requires a trip to the local Asian or Indian supermarket, so I typically serve Basmati or any long-grain rice, Baked Garlic Naan or even a crusty French bread, which is equally delicious. During my childhood, this was (and still is) one of my favorite curries, and when my mother made dosas (rice flour pancakes) or buttered Western-style white bread to go with it, I would fill up on it and eat nothing else.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time:
20 minutes
Serves 6

  • ½ cup (125 ml) oil
  • ½ cup (50 g) shredded, unsweetened coconut (frozen, reconstituted dried, or freshly grated)
  • 1 tablespoon peeled and minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 6 fresh green chili peppers, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1 whole star anise
  • One ½-in (1.25-cm) cinnamon stick
  • 10 fresh or dried curry leaves
  • 1 onion (about 1/3 lb/150 g), sliced
  • 1 whole chicken (about 3½ to 4 lbs/1.6 to 1.75 kg), quartered or 3½ to 4 lbs/1.6 to 1.75 kg) bone-in chicken pieces of your choice, cut into 2-in (5-cm) pieces
  • 1 large tomato (about ½ lb/250 g), chopped
  • ½ cup (125 ml) coconut milk
  • ¼ cup (65 ml) water
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander leaves (cilantro)
  • Salt to taste
  1. Using a cleaver or a large chef’s knife, cut the chicken pieces into 2-inch (5-cm) sections. If cutting legs is too daunting, just leave them whole.
  2. Cut the chicken pieces into 2-in (5-cm) pieces.
    Heat 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of the oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Add the coconut, ginger, garlic and green chili peppers and sauté, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.
  3. Place the sautéed coconut-ginger mixture in a food processor or a blender along with the fennel, cumin and cloves. Process this mixture with a little water to make a smooth paste. Set aside.
  4. Heat the remaining oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Add the star anise, cinnamon stick, curry leaves and onion, and fry until onion slices are light golden brown, about 3 minutes. Add the chicken pieces and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Add the ground coconut-ginger paste, tomato, coconut milk and water, and reduce the heat to low. Simmer, covered, until the chicken is cooked, about 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in the fresh coriander leaves and salt. Serve hot.

Black-Eyed Peas with Mushrooms Lobhiya Khumb Masala  

Lobhiya, known as “black-eyed peas,” in the West, are cooked in variety of ways in India. In this recipe, the addition of cumin, cinnamon and mushrooms makes for a comforting and flavorful dish. Serve with any meat or vegetarian main dish and some warm Whole-Wheat Griddle Bread for a wonderfully satisfying evening meal.

Prep time: 15 minutes plus 8 hours soaking time if using dried black-eyed peas
Cook time:
55 minutes (1 hour, 15 minutes if using dried black-eyed peas)
Serves 6



  • 1 cup (175 g) dried black-eyed peas, soaked overnight and drained, or one 15.5-oz (439-g) can black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
  • 4 cups (1 liter) water plus ½ teaspoon salt for cooking dried peas
  • ¼ cup (65 ml) oil
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • One 1-in (2.5-cm) cinnamon stick
  • 1 red onion (about 1/3 lb/150 g), chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • ½ lb (225 g) button mushrooms, cleaned and sliced (about ¾ cup/225 g)
  • 1 lb (500 g) tomatoes, blanched, peeled and chopped (about 2½ cups /500 g)
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • Salt, to taste
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander leaves (cilantro)
  1. If using dried black-eye peas, bring the soaked and drained peas, water and ½ teaspoon of salt to a boil in a large saucepan over high heat. Cover and simmer over low heat until the peas are tender, about 45 minutes. Drain the peas, rinse with cold water, and drain again. Set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed skillet or saucepan over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and cinnamon stick and let them sizzle for 10 seconds. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and fry for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, ground coriander, cumin, turmeric, paprika and salt and a little water, if needed. Cover and cook over low heat for 10 minutes, until tender.
  3. Add the cooked or canned black-eyed peas to the tomato and mushroom mixture and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Stir in the fresh coriander leaves. Serve hot.
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