Food de Fa Fa was born in Chicago, but it has been quite some time since we did a Chicago Edition. Several friends came over and I had the most help ever in cutting up the veggies, cleaning, and pouring my beer. Food de Fa Fa is so much better with friends!
I was perhaps a bit over-ambitious and decided to prepare five dishes: 1) a salad with tomato, onion, mango, garlic, lime, hot pepper, and cilantro (unless you think cilantro tastes like soap, then no cilantro for you!). 2) chole (a chic pea curry), 3) a rice dish with cashew, peas, and raisins, 4) aloo gobi (potato+cauliflower), 5) green bean paneer in a tomato cashew curry sauce, and Fortunately there were lots of hands and some extra snacks for while everyone was waiting!
Tomato Mango Salad
I had this at a Tibetan restaurant in Cambridge recently and wanted to recreate it. It is pretty straight forward. Just cut up some cherry tomatoes, cube some mangos, mince some garlic, chop some hot pepper, thinly slice some red onion, squeeze some lime, bludgeon some cilantro, throw it all in a bowl with some salt and eat!
The chole is the most straight forward of these dishes. It just combines some cumin seeds with garlic, ginger, onion, and hot pepper during the frying stage. Then cooking down of a healthy amount of tomato which then all gets smoothly blended in the food processor after adding some turmeric, cumin and coriander powder (and salt!). Toss in a few cans of chic peas, top with some garam masala, and you are done!
Cooking down the tomatoes (cashews soaking in hot water are hanging out in the background for a different dish):
Into the processor!
Rice with cashew, peas, and raisins
For this I just fried up the cashews and some cumin seeds, then added garlic, ginger, hot pepper. After adding a bit of turmeric, I added the rice and fried for a minute. Then I added the cooking liquid (in this case the leftover whey from making paneer), then the raisins, and the defrosted frozen peas. I was a bit distracted, so didn't photograph every step. Here though, are the raisins:
This dish has been featured here before. The one thing I did differently was getting help cutting the potatoes and the cauliflower! I think it improved the taste rather dramatically!
Green Bean Paneer Cashew Curry
This was a new one for me that I thought of while at the store standing in front of a giant mound of green beans. Making the paneer was the first step in all of this since it needed a bit of time to firm up:
After having soaked the cashews a bit, they were tossed into the processor to make a smooth paste. This was added to more or less the same tomato-based curry as was used for the chole. While the sauce was getting ready, the paneer was rapidly fried after being cut into bite-sized cubes. Ideally I think I would have been steaming the green beans much earlier, but did for only a little bit at this point and then added them to the sauce along with the paneer. This meant we had to cook things down for quite a while until the beans where nice and tender.
After much patience, now we get to eat!
Thanks all for a super fun weekend!