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Old 01-15-2006, 05:49 AM   #1
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Indian Finger Food

A couple of days a week I read to two friends ... one has macular degeneration, the other is house-bound because of severe arthritis. We're now reading "Monsoon Diary" by Shoba Narayan. I was surprised that neither freind had really experienced Indian food/culture (they are both very well-travelled, well-educated people). Every month or two we have a "happy hour" together, and later this month the theme is going to be Indian food. I've already bought a half dozen jars of Pataks various sauces, pickles and chutneys. Both people are self-conscious about eating in front of others; and, yes, I have explained that this food is meant to be eaten with your fingers. Shoba's recipes are way too complicated for me, and my plan right now is to make a lot of different skewered meats with sauces. Then I will leave some basmati/golden rice and a curry type stew with them. Any finger-food ideas appreciated. I have a friend in Chicago looking for pappadams for me. Right now I'm looking for easy-to-eat adaptations of Indian food. Anyone out there have any ideas?

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Old 01-15-2006, 11:56 PM   #2
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How about Samosas & Pakoras?
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Old 01-16-2006, 04:21 AM   #3
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Puris

Puris are good finger foods and quiet easy to make.Try the below recipe

Ingredients:

1/2 cup semolina (rawa)
1/2 cup plain flour (maida)
2 to 3 tbsps soda water
Salt to taste
Oil for deep frying


Method:
Combine the semolina, plain flour, soda water and salt to make a semi-stiff dough and knead well. Allow it to rest under a wet muslin cloth for 10 to 15 minutes.
Divide the dough into 40 equal portions and roll each portion into 37 mm. (1 1/2") circles. Place these circles under a damp cloth for about 5 minutes.
Deep fry in hot oil on a medium flame till they puff up and are golden brown
Remove, drain on absorbent paper.
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Old 01-16-2006, 08:58 AM   #4
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Nearly all 'Indian' food is finger food - they tend not to use knives and forks in typical households!
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Old 01-16-2006, 10:28 AM   #5
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Claire when you say finger foods there are many recipes that come to mind. There are many traditional items that can be adapted to suit the western palate and not to mention simplify the complex list of ingredients and processes to churn these out.

Here are a few that I can think of that would work well with someone who is not familiar with Indian food. Comment more on what sort of Patak's sauces you got so I can guide you a bit more but these are fairly simple to make.

Chicken Tikkas:

Chicken Breasts cut into cubes
1 cup of plain yogurt
pinch of red food color (McCormicks or any other)
salt to taste
Freshly grated ginger (1 tsp)
1 tbsp of freshly roasted corrainder and cumin seeds (powder it)
juice of 1 lime
1/2 cup of freshly chopped cilantro and mint

Stir it all together and marinate overnight. In the morning skewer and grill it on a stovetop grill or place the skewers in the oven until done. Broil them during the last 5 minutes to give it some charred flavor.


Indian Kebabs(Meatballs): Easy and delicious

2-3 Lbs Ground beef (turkey, pork, chicken can be substituted and even lamb if you can get your hands on it).
1 onion extremely finely chopped
1 finely minced jalapeno
1 tsp ginger paste (finely grated will work)
1 tsp garlic paste (finely minced will work)
1 tbsp of cumin and corrainder powder
salt to taste
Again mixture of cilantro and mint finely chopped
Stir it all together and let it marinate for 2 hours

Make mid sized balls and flatten them slightly. Pan fry them until cooked.

Serve both of these for lime wedges, sliced sweet onions and sauces (mint chutney, tamarind chutneys etc.)

For vegetarian appetizers/finger food try this one.

6 potatoes boiled, skinned and riced

Make this veggie mixture to add to the potatoes:

1 packet frozen peas
1 jalapeno finely chopped
1 cup of corn (canned will do, just rinse to get rid of the liquid)
1/2 cup of shredded cheese (cheddar is fine)
1 cup matchstick style carrots
1 red bellpepper finely sliced
cilantro
salt and black pepper to taste
whole cumin seeds (2 tsp)
whole mustard seeds (2 tsp)
2 tbsp of oil

Heat oil. Add cumin seeds once the oil is hot and mustard seeds and finely chopped jalapeno. Next add the carrots and let them cook for a few minutes. Add peas and corn and bell peppers and cook it on high for a few m inutes.

Let this mixture cool. Add this to the riced potato. Add the cheese and cilantro. Stir it all together to combine.

Make small potato cakes. Dredge it first in a beaten egg and then in breadcrumbs and fry them until crisp. Serve with the same dipping sauce.

You can also use the chicken tikka marinade for shrimps (don't marinate them overnight but just an hour or so). Skewer and grill them as well.

Another thing you can try is go to the Indian store and look for parathas (Gobi, Mooli etc). You pan roast them until crisp. You can then cut them into wedges and serve them as well. That Pappadums and some mango lassi would round out the meal.

Mango Lassi is made as follows:

1 can of mango puree (Indian store has them)
1 large can of plain yogurt
sugar to your liking
3 cups of water

Blend it all together and serve chilled.
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Old 01-16-2006, 10:45 AM   #6
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^ great Yakuta, as soon as I saw this thread I started wondering where you were.
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Old 01-16-2006, 12:51 PM   #7
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Thank you! I'm saving this page and will let you know what I make. I'm rather astonished that these particular freinds have never had Indian food besides the occaisional curry/stew I make (a staple in my freezer). I have a Pakistani friend living in Chicago, so am hoping to get some pappadams. Yakuta's recipes look easy to make in advance (unfortunately a lot of Indian food that adapts to western tastes is deep-fried. I want to limit frying to one dish, and that will be pappadams if I can get them. If not, somosas (my husband's vote).

Yakuta, you have to visit Galena!
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Old 01-16-2006, 01:27 PM   #8
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Hi Claire, the only deep fried recipe in my list are the veggie potato patties. The rest are pretty healthy (grilled or pan fried).

As far as pappadums go they taste better if they are roasted and not fried. Again this is strictly my humble opinion. Not only do they taste better but became an incredibly healthy appetizer. To roast pappadums you can place them on a microwavable plate and let them roast for 1 minute on each side. First do one min on one side then flip it to another and microwave it for another minute. As it cools it will harden and taste crunchy and yummy.

Another way (messy) to roast it is on an open flame. Hold it with a tong and just flip it on low flame until it's roasted. Extremely easy but you have to clean your stove afterwards.

Yes as soon as I manage to scavenge time to take a break and head down to Galena I will drop you a message. Not sure when that will be but you should drop me a message if you are in Chicago.
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Old 01-22-2006, 12:08 AM   #9
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My British friend who is married to a Pakistani man has taken this in her teeth and run with it!!! I'm going to have to do so little that it is funny. Yakuta, when she and I talked about it today, she told me to do exactly what you did for the skewered meats. Since she is doing so much really authentic stuff, I'm going to stick to the easy stuff! What a wimp (me, that is). When I wrote this I wasn't sure she was coming at all, now I only need to make 2 or 3 dishes, if that. When I read the latest (almost last) installation of "Monsoon Diary", the mention was made of chutney, and the ladies asked me what chutney was. How to answer!?! (I told them something between a relish, a jam, and a salsa). There is such a variety it just boggles the mind and is impossible to describe. I'm bringing a rather staid Pataks hot mango, above mentioned friend is making a cilantro. I'm killing myself that it is dead of winter, because I have a mint patch I need to prune about 6 times per summer and could make a mean mint chutney. Oh, well. Friend was concerned that the ladies (mutual friends, all of us) wouldn't care for the spices. I happen to know they're very open minded in that regard. I joked to her that I wasn't going to share my Pataks Hot Lime Pickle, though, and she just laughed and said a relative of hers eats it on bread & butter!!! When I asked her to bring me any kind of Indian bread from Chicago when she comes, she told me her husband's relatives love to use flour tortilla chips when it comes to dipping. Interesting alternative, no?

I'll let you know how it goes!!! Thanks for all the help, even though I may use little of it.

We all get by with a little (make that a lot) of help from our friends!!!
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Old 01-22-2006, 12:11 AM   #10
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p.s. The reason for not wanting to deep fry isn't health reasons -- none of us do it so often that it is a health hazard -- but more that we'll be cooking in an unfamiliar kitchen and want to bring in as much as we can already prepared. Deep fried foods tend to not be great unless you can do them on the spot. Friend is still bringing somosas, so I will be seriously checking out kitchen facilities, pots and pans, etc.
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