Folks, this is the time of the year, when holidays are over and people are slowly getting back to work. Our bi-annual Restaurant Week begins tomorrow. At Indique, we have spruced up our menu and have many new dishes! Come and join us for dinner - January 9 - 15, 2012.
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Thanks to Monica Bhide for featuring my curry leaf drink on NPR. Here is the article :
September 28, 2011
This savory beverage is wonderfully refreshing.
Makes 4 to 6 servings
1 sprig fresh curry leaves
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 ounce peeled fresh ginger (about 1/2 inch)
1/2 serrano green chili, seeded (optional)
2 cups plain low-fat yogurt
2 1/2 cups water
Ice cubes, for serving
Cut the curry leaves into fine shreds. Toast the cumin seeds in a dry skillet until fragrant. Let cool and crush to a coarse powder in a spice grinder. Cut the ginger into fine shreds. Coarsely chop the chili, if using.
Combine the curry leaves, cumin, ginger, chili (if using), yogurt and water in a blender and mix well. Blend in salt to taste. Serve with ice cubes.
For a milder-flavored drink, lightly crush the curry leaves, ginger and green chili, stir them into the yogurt and water along with the crushed cumin, and refrigerate. Strain out the solids and season with salt before serving over ice.
If you do not want your drink to be spicy hot, omit the green chili.
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We were expecting some guests at home. My wife Nisha and my mom had made all the dishes for the evening. Most of the dishes were Vegetarian, so I decided to supplement the Menu by making a quick preparation of a Kerala style Cornish hen/chicken curry.
It was a challenge to cook and handle the camera at the same time ! I will look forward to your comments. Happy cooking!
Kerala Style Cornish Hen/Chicken (Serves 10 - 12)
Cornish hen or small chicken – 5lbs
Red Onions (chopped) – 3 cups
Cardamom (small) – 10-12
Cardamom (black) – 2
Cloves – a few
Bay leaves - a few
Cinnamon - 2 pieces
Star anise – a few
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp.
Red chili powder – 3 tablespoons
Coriander powder – 5 tablespoons
Turmeric powder – ½ teaspoon
Chopped garlic – 1 tablespoon
Curry leaves - a few sprigs
Fresh ginger – 1 small piece cut into julienne or ginger powder – 1 tablespoon
Plain yogurt – 4 ounces
Vegetable oil – ½ cup
1. Remove the skin, cut into small pieces, rinse, dry with a paper towel and set aside in a mixing bowl.
2. Set aside the whole spices like small cardamom, black cardamom, cumin seeds, cloves, bay leaves, star anise, cinnamon on a small plate.
3. On another plate set asdie ground spices - red chili powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder.
4. Chop onions( preferably red onions).
5. Add the ground spices like red chili powder, turmeric and coriander powder on to a skillet and warm them up for a minute or two with a few drops of oil, making sure not burn the spices.
6. Add the warmed up spices on to the cornish hen/chicken along with the plain yogurt, and a few sprig of curry leaves. Mix well and set aside in the refrigerator for about an hour.
7. In a thick bottom pan, heat oil add the whole spices - cumin, cardamom(small), black cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, star anise, bayleaves,chopped garlic, ginger add chopped onions. When the onions are kind of translucent, add curry leaves and continue to fry the onions till they get a nice dark color as shown ( do not burn the onions)
8. Now add the marinated cornish hen/chicken and continue to stir for a few minutes. Cover and cook on a slow fire, occasionally stirring till the cornish hen/chicken is done.
Note : if you like gravy in this dish, you can add some water. My personal preference is to cook without any water.
Local chefs recently got together at the Brasserie Beck restaurant in downtown, Washington DC to revive a very popular event "chefs on bikes". The event was organized by one of the co- founders of "Chefs on BIkes" Chef/Restaurateur Robert Wiedmaier,the publishers of Georgetowner, and Loudoun county,Virginia dept of economic development.
The chefs got together at the Brasserie Beck,1101 K street, N.W., Washington DC at around 8 AM. We were treated to a big breakfast which included scrambled eggs, home made sausage, bacon, potatoes, belgian waffles and more...
While breakfast was being set up, I could not resist taking a picture of the shining copper pots and pans!
Above : Chef/Restaurateur Robert Wiedmaier, leading the chefs to the farms.
We were greeted very warmly by the owner Mary Ellen Taylor, who gave us a tour of her farm.
Ms. Mary Ellen Taylor,owner of the farm,greeting Mrs.Sonia Bernhardt publisher of the Georgetowner.
NEXT STOP : CATOCTIN CREEK - DISTILLING COMPANY - LOUDOUN COUNTY - VIRGINIA
Here we were greeted by a young husband and wife team - Scott and Becky, who own this company and produce award winning, high quality organic rye whiskey and gin. Apart from the Rye whiskey and gin, they also produce brandy from virginia wines and specialty liqueurs. Scott explained to us the process of making Rye Whisky and Becky poured the whiskey for us to taste. Apparently they are the first distillery in Loudon county, Va, operating since before prohibition.
After this we went to STONEYBROOK FARM, a 45 acre certified organic farm in the histroric town of Hillsboro, Va. This farm grows several quality crops, including heirloom varieties.
Here again we were received with refreshments and canapes.
Final stop : NOTAVIVA VINEYARD , where we got to taste several wines and had lunch. Notaviva Vineyard hosts several small concerts, and is a great location for weddings and private parties.
This was a fun day, very educational and did not realize that the neighboring Loudoun county was home to over 1,400 farms that produce variety of produce and livestock, from apples and squash to beef and poulty.
Thanks to Sonya Bernhardt, publisher of the Georgetowner, Steven R. Delonga,for the fine champagne and limousine ride, and my friend Chef Robert Wiedmaier, for inviting me to attend.
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Thanks to my dear friend Sala Kannan, Vegetarian / Vegan food blogger and food photographer, for featuring me as a guest on her amazing blog - www.Veggiebelly.com.Sala's readers asked a lot of questions about Dosa/Idli and I tried to answer the questions to the best of my ability and at times when it got too technical/scientific; I used the help of a very dear friend Dr. Danny Chawan, who is a food scientist, based in Buffalo, New York.
Above : Masala Dosa with coconut chutney and Sambar.
Above : Mini Tadka Idli - tempered with mustard seeds, urad dal, turmeric, curry leaves and whole red chili.
In the picture above, an oothapam being served with assorted chutneys. We also serve a version topped with ground chicken at Indique and Indique Heights.
To read the questions and answers about Dosa and Idli batters, please click here : The Perfect Dosa
Celebrate the premiere of Top Chef Just Desserts with a free dessert! at Indique in Cleveland park or Indique Heights at Chevy Chase, MD on September 15, 2010 for dinner. Just make an online reservation and dine at one of our restaurants and you will get a free dessert for every 2 diners at your table.
Almost every other restaurant in town serves a Creme brûlée on its menu, which essentially consists of egg yoks, cream, and sugar. At Indique Heights in Chevy Chase, MD, we have been serving a much healthier version called shreekandh brûlée, which is made of low fat yogurt, sugar, cardamom, saffron and nuts. I have been getting constant requests for this recipe. So as promised here is the recipe... Make this during the holiday season. Happy Holidays!
Photo above: Greg Powers Photography
Low fat yogurt - 2 lbs (32 ounces)
Sugar – 3 tablespoons
Cardamom powder – a pinch
Saffron – a pinch
Pistachio (chopped) 1 tablespoon
Almonds (chopped) 1 tablespoon
Raw brown sugar – 4 oz. (for torching)
1.Strain yogurt in a colander over a muslin cloth. When some of the water has been drained out, tie it and hang inside the refrigerator overnight. Remember to have several layers of muslin cloth or else all the yogurt is going to pass through the muslin :-)
2.Transfer the strained yogurt into a mixing bowl and add sugar,
Cardamom powder, a pinch of saffron, chopped pistachio and almonds.
3.Mix well. Divide it into about four portions and spread evenly on to a crème brûlée dish / ramekin.
4.Sprinkle with raw brown sugar evenly on top of each of these dishes and with a blow torch evenly caramelize the sugar and get a golden brown crust. Keep the flame to a medium high and rotate the dish evenly.
Photo : Andrew Harnik
P.S: I personally prefer to grind whole cardamom in a spice grinder.
(a coffee grinder kept exclusively for spices). I throw in whole pods of cardamom with the skin and grind to a fine powder.
If you do not have a torch - you can serve them in a Martini glass or any ice cream cup piping them on top of diced fruits - any seasonal fruits - mango, pears,honeydew, cantaloupes - can be used. You get the point....
Photo : K.N.Vinod
You can add mango puree or diced mango and make it into a mango shreekandh, omit the cardamom, add some orange rinds and a few drops of any orange liqueur and serve it as an orange shreekandh; go a step further and serve it in an orange shell. There are no hard and fast rules, so go ahead and use your imagination and have fun.
I look forward to hearing from you about your innovations and ideas.