Sunday Dinner Club

"If you really want to make a friend, go to someone’s house and eat with him…the people who give you their food give you their heart."
 -Cesar Chavez

An Indian Meal

Bhakti Yoga:

          A spiritual path described in Hindu philosophy. Bhakti Yoga is about surrendering the self to God through love and remembrance. It is based on the belief that God accepts whatever is offered with love, whether it is a meal, a piece of clothing, a chant (mantra), a thought, or the soul (jiva).

The first time I prepared Indian food was at the Bhakti Yoga cooking club in undergrad at UW.  We would practice traditional Indian morals each meeting before learning a new recipe. I remember doing an activity (test) where each person was given an inflated balloon and a sewing needle. If your balloon were unscathed at the end of 5 minutes you would be called the winner. Here we go nearly stabbing each other with our weapons immediately after the timer began. The expectations that there could only be one winner lead us into a competitive balloon popping battle.  Had we taken a minute to communicate and listen to the instructions we would have observed that winning was not defined as being the sole surviving balloon. We all could have won had we left each other’s balloon alone.  The lesson; Listen well, communicate well, work together and you will avoid calamity and do well.

I was surprised by my own expectations and competitiveness. This was a very important realization and lesson to carry forth into the cooking segment of the meeting.

I remember the smells and colors assaulting my senses in the best way. I haven’t experienced the bright color of Turmeric or the smell of cooking ghee since Bhakti Yoga  and thus decided to Make an Indian meal for this weeks Sunday dinner. Namaste.

On the Menu

Garlic Naan

Aloo Gobi

Paneer Tikka Masala

Chicken Makhani

Lime and Cilantro Basmati Rice

Meal Time

A friend who is from Indian and eats vegetarian suggested this website which I used to make three of Manjula’s recipes. Manjula Jain moved to the United States from Northern India in the late 1960’s and  is vegetarian because of her adherence to the Jain religion. One of the main principles of the Jain religion is the belief in non-violence to all living beings and the belief to “live and let live”.

Some Unusual Ingredients

Indian cuisine staples

Ghee- Butter that has been slowly melted, so that the milk solids separate from the fat is called “clarified butter.” Ghee is clarified butter that has been simmered until all of the moisture has been removed and the butter takes on a browned, nutty flavor. (Smells incredible! Carried at Whole Foods Market)

Asefatida- A large fennel-like plant that grows mainly in Iran and India. The powdered gum resin of the Asafetida imparts a very strong onion-garlic flavor and is used in small quantities to Indian dishes (A pinch here and there). It typically works as a flavor enhancer and, used along with turmeric, is a standard component of Indian cuisine. (Sugar Pill on Capitol Hill)

Paneer- It is an unaged, acid-set, non-melting farmer cheese or curd cheese made by curdling  heated milk with lemon  juice, vinegar, or any other food acids. Dating back to ancient India. Paneer remains the most common type of cheese used in traditional South Asian cuisines. (Whole Foods Market) 

Amchoor Powder- Unripe green mangoes are dried and powdered to make amchoor powder, a tart pale beige to brownish powder used in dishes where acidity is required. Amchoor is used to add a sour tangy fruity flavor without moisture in northern Indian dishes. Used in stir fried vegetable dishes, soups, curries, and to tenderize meat and poultry. (Whole Foods Market)

Garlic Naan

Putting my guest to work

Putting my guest to work

Manjula’s Naan Recipe is a plain naan. I choose to  press garlic and cilantro onto the uncooked naan and use ghee rather than oil to brush onto the naan post baking.

I followed Manjula’s recipe but incorporated some tips from other blogs and websites.

  • While activating the yeast in the warm water, place it in the oven with only the oven light on. The little bit of heat will help activate your yeast.
  • Yogurt should be at room temperature when added as to not disrupt the yeast.

Aloo Gobi

Potatoes and Cauliflower.

This may have been my favorite and other than doubling it, we stuck to this Aloo Gobi Recipe.

Paneer Tikka Masala


Manjula mentions on her website that she uses light spices as to not distract from the fresh ingredients. We found that this recipe needed almost double the spice and a little extra salt. After the kick we loved it! Here’s a link to this Paneer Tikka Masala recipe.

Chicken Makhani

Indian Butter Chicken

Measuring out and labeling spices in anticipation for a chaotic kitchen. Thanks Ali!

Measuring out and labeling spices in anticipation for a chaotic kitchen. Thanks Ali!

This recipe Butter chicken recipe is clearly not vegetarian in fact I added an extra half pound of chicken. I followed the following recipe but suggest adding a little extra cyan pepper and salt.

Lime and Cilantro Basmati Rice

So very easy and self explanatory but just in case…here’s a quick recipe.


Finally time to eat!

Finally time to eat!


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This entry was posted on March 25, 2013 by in Bread, Chicken, Vegetarian and tagged , , , , , , .


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