My friend and photographer Ellen Callaway recently traveled to India and took a series of amazing photographs that she recently showed at a gallery. To add to the collection, Ellen and I shot some Indian dishes in her studio a couple of weeks ago. As a result, I have three very lovely images for my portfolio, and a pantry stocked with bold, colorful, and flavor-forward spices.
I am but moderately acquainted with Indian food and don’t claim to have scads of that country’s recipes in my repertoire, so the recipes that follow are rather ambiguously ethnic. There’s some curry powder, a bit of ginger, and a sprinkling of mint and cilantro. The basmati rice is adapted from Gourmet and the lamb meatballs and yogurt sauce were made with ingredients I had lurking about. It’s weeknight-easy but hopefully not weeknight-blah in the flavor department. Also, the rice is great cold the day after; just serve with a green salad and toasted naan for a lovely vegetarian entrée.
BASMATI RICE with ALMONDS and RAISINS
1½ tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup slivered or sliced almonds
1½ cups basmati rice, rinsed
6 scallions, white parts minced and green parts thinly sliced
2 teaspoons mustard seeds
2½ cups water
¾ cup raisins or golden raisins
- Melt ½ tablespoon butter in medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add almonds and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant and golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer almonds to small plate and season with ¼ teaspoon salt.
- Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in now empty saucepan. Add scallion whites and mustard seeds and cook over medium-high heat until scallions are softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add rinsed rice and cook, stirring frequently, until lightly golden, 3 to 5 minutes. Increase heat to high, add water, raisins, and 1½ teaspoons salt and bring to boil.
- Boil rice without stirring until most of the liquid has evaporated and you can see small bubbles bursting on the surface of the rice. Immediately reduce the heat to the lowest setting, cover, and cook (no peeking and no stirring!), 12 minutes.
- Remove rice from heat and fluff with chopsticks or fork. Stir in toasted almonds and scallion greens. Serve.
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
4 scallions, white and green parts minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
Grated zest of 1 lime
1 tablespoon curry powder
½ teaspoon cumin
1 pound ground lamb
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
- Melt butter in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add scallions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in ginger, garlic, lime zest, curry powder, and cumin and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer mixture to medium mixing bowl and wipe out skillet with a paper towel.
- Allow mixture to cool about 5 minutes. Add lamb and salt and mix thoroughly with hands. Using a 1 tablespoon measure, scoop out lamb mixture and quickly roll into balls between your palms.
- Heat oil in now empty skillet over medium-high heat and cook meatballs, tossing pan occasionally, until browned and cooked through, 10 to 14 minutes. Serve with rice and Herbed Yogurt Sauce.
HERBED YOGURT SAUCE
16 ounces full fat Greek yogurt
½ cup cilantro leaves, finely chopped
¼ cup mint leaves, finely chopped
Juice of 1 lime
½ garlic clove, minced
Salt and pepper to taste to taste
- Combine all ingredients in small bowl. Serve.