Tikka Masala Simmering Sauce

Have you ever tried the Maya Kaimal Indian simmering sauces? I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked up a jar of the Tikka Masala simmering sauce a few weeks ago but this sauce delivered all the things I love about Indian food. This Tikka Masala is a tomato based sauce made with yogurt, garam masala, cloves for bold and complex sauce that is mild in heat. The sauce is thick and rich in flavors making it great for chicken, fish or tofu.

photo credit: Maya Kaimal

I’m still learning how to cook Indian foods so when I want authentic Indian cuisine I take a drive to little India in Edison, NJ or Newark Ave in Jersey City. This sauce however will make a nice stand-in for those times when I can’t take that drive. All you have to do is cook about a pound of seasoned chicken, fish or tofu and pour the sauce over it and simmer for 15 minutes so all the flavors meld well. I used a little over a pound of chicken breast and found that there was more than enough sauce in this 12 oz jar even if I needed to add more chicken. I was able to get 3-4 servings from from it so not bad for a $6 jar. This sauce is mildly spiced so I added two  Thai chiles during the process for extra heat.

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Serve it over basmati rice and top with chopped cilantro. In less than 30 minutes you can make it Indian food night this week and serve this delicious bowl with your favorite Indian food accompaniments. I added crispy papad with a dollop of mango chutney and a light and crisp chardonnay. Cheers! Now I have to try the other sauces in this great product line!

Gobi Manchurian Spicy Cauliflower Fritters Recipe

I don’t know about you but I have dozens of bookmarked recipes in cookbooks and online that I’ve been meaning to try. There are so many great looking & great sounding recipes out there but the true test is when you make it yourself and all doubt is erased. What can I say, I’m a skeptic, I’ve tried so many recipes and sometimes they just don’t measure up to the photos or descriptions so I like to decide for myself if its a keeper or not.  This gobi manchurian, spicy cauliflower fritters recipe is one you will fall in love with over and over again!

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Cauliflower just never appealed to me. I always thought it was bland and one of those vegetables that just takes on the flavor of whatever its mixed with so I just never bothered with it. I usually passed up cauliflower until I had a pureed version of it in a dish as well as in other Indian spicy dishes. There are subtle flavors there but more importantly there are many healthy benefits one should not pass up. According to WebMD, “cauliflower is high in vitamin C, potassium, fiber, folic acid and contains a sulfur compound called isothiocyanate that protects health and prevents disease”. It’s also low in calories but I’m about to change that in a minute!

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I’ve mentioned this recipe to you before in one of my spicy roundup post and since I didn’t change anything about this it I won’t post recipe here but you can find it at Sinfully Spicy. I didn’t deep fry these but did use less than 1 inch of oil in pan and turned vegetables once they were brown on one side. I may try steaming the cauliflower next time, just a little though so they don’t have to fry as long. Soaking up the oil with lots of paper towels also helps too.

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This is a delicious, spicy dish that can be served as a side dish or do what I did and enjoy a bowl of it with refreshing coconut water or a chilled acidic white wine. The cauliflowers fritters are soft in the inside but have a nice crunch to them for a chewy bite. The flavors are bold and incredibly satisfying. I will definitely be making this again!

What I’m Snacking On Right Now

All this cyber shopping gives me the munchies so I like having a snack around for those late night impulse buys. This past weekend was a huge shopping weekend in the US but I like shopping in the comfort of my couch, so much easier with drink in hand and snacks! Also, there was no way I was going out on Black Friday…well actually I did…I went out and got doggie treats for Diego, and hard cider and these Haldiram’s Bombay Mix treats for me! It’s what I’m snacking on right now.  These crunchy, mildly spicy snacks are great and hit the spot when you just want something spicy to munch on. You can find them at any Indian grocery store, your supermarket’s Asian food section or Amazon. There are different varieties of this popular Indian snack but I love the complex flavors of the Bombay Mix with crispy noodles, dried lentils, nuts and peas. Oh and the semi-dry sweetness of the Sam Adams Hard Cider I picked up was the perfect combo: salty, savory, spicy and sweet! Not bad for a few dollars too.

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Comfort Foods: Spicy Soups from Around the World

Five spicy soups I’ve been wanting to make and now is the time! The weather here has been a little strange which has become the norm these days. One day its in the 20’s then it shoots up to 60 then back down to the 30s! Who can dress for this weather? Well one thing is for sure, Winter is here to stay for a while so stock up on your veggies and spices and let’s take a world soup journey. First up is an American nod to Mexico, then a tour of Asia and finally a pit stop in the sunny Caribbean…we can dream can’ t we? So get comfy in your over-sized sweater and thick wool socks and curl up to these awesome spicy soup recipes.

1. Spicy Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup from A Beautiful Mess. I can just taste the silky smooth sweet potato balanced with the spicy, smokey chipotle and looks so easy to make!

Spicy Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup

2. Indian Spiced Chicken Turmeric Soup from Spicie Foodie. I love Indian spice flavors and this soup is healthy and good for you. Studies show that turmeric has cancer fighting properties so get your fill here.

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3. Yunnan Beef Stew from Lady and Pups. Just look at it, how can you resist this delicious bowl of short ribs, ginger, garlic, lemongrass and mint? Soul soothing!

4. Korean Spicy Green Onion Beef Soup, Yuk Gae Jahng from Week of Menus. This is my go to soup when ever I go to little Korea in NYC. This soup is peppery, bold and heart warming.

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5. Jamaican Pepper Pot Stew from My Wooden Spoons. This soup is gorgeous and just waiting to be devoured! Add a scotch bonnet pepper to the pot for extra heat!

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My Food Adventures at the Varli Food Festival in NYC

I attended the Varli Food Festival in NYC this past Thursday and what an amazing food experience it was. The scent of wonderful Indian spices, bold and vibrant colors at every turn, and the food, oh the food…I was in heaven! I had this whole strategy leading up to the event, thinking oh I’ll start with small appetizers, then sample mini version of my favorite curries and heavy dishes then on to dessert. Well needless to say, that strategy lasted about 2 seconds and you’ll see why. There was food everywhere, and finger lickin’ good food! They even had a spice market where you could go in and pick up all the spices you wanted, on the house! See my swag bag at the end of post. OK, I’ll stop writing now and just let you see for yourself…

As soon as you walk in…

This papaya salad was amazing…tangy, a little sweet and spicy. Oh and those lotus root crunchy snacks were just yummy. I was tempted to bite into one of those chiles but glad I didn’t, definitely wanted to actually taste the next few dishes…

Some Pani Puri filled with yogurt, tamarind, mint and chickpeas, one of my favorite flavor combinations.

Thinks that’s a lot? Well there’s more, much more…

This chicken cooked on a Himalayan salt slab was probably the most tender and moist chicken I had. The chicken was marinated without salt and cooking the chicken on the slab gave it a nice flavor.

Lots of mango treats and desserts. This mango mousse was lovely from Amiya in Jersey City.

Let’s not forget the drinks. The booze was flowing all night but these little lovelies here stole the show…let’s see if I remember correctly…ginger vodka cocktail with rose petals frozen into round ice cubes and rimmed with tajin. I have to do this rose petal ice, just makes you feel so pretty when drinking it!

Check out this gorgeous cake! Love the color, the details and intricate design.

Last but not least, some of the talent…

Chefs Mehta, Khanna, Chauhan, Kapur, and Vij

Hope you enjoyed the photos! I would’ve had more but my camera battery bailed on me. I did get to try some other amazing dishes like fried cauliflower, chicken tikka, various types of breads, lotus root three ways from Junoon, kati rolls, seared Kangaroo meat with curry. Yes, I said Kangaroo…I figured why not, it was there and it looked so good. It’s very similar to beef and was so tender, very nice dish. So I basically rolled out of there, seriously, I ate way too much! The portions were so big so just wound up taking a bite or two and moving on but there were so many good spots to try. Next time I’ll post a few of my favorite restaurants from the event.

So all in all the event was a huge success and was worth every penny! I would certainly do it again if it comes back to the NYC area! Especially when most of the proceeds from event will be donated to charity, love that! I heard next year they’re heading over to  Dubai so I’m glad I made it to this one. If you can, definitely check them out! Oh, check out the swag too!

Products I’m Loving Right Now: Indian-Inspired Chocolate Treats

Saffron Nut Chikki and Mango Paprika Slates from  Xocolatti

These chocolatey sweets from Xocolatti are exceptional and the flavor combinations are simply addictive! For a bit of spice, try the saffron nut chikki. It’s a crunchy mixture of nuts, chocolate, saffron, cardamom and a sugary brittle that’s just exquisite. The mango paprika also has a nice spice. It’s sweet, chewy (from the dried mango bits) and has a subtle spice from the paprika that’s just right. If you love chocolate and have been looking for unique spice flavor combos you’ll definitely want to check out these Indian-inspired chocolates at Xocolatti.

Xocolatti has a wide range of exotic truffles, clusters, slates and crumbles that are so artistic and pretty you won’t want to eat them! You’ll definitely want to take your time with these and savor every bite. I’m not a big fan of truffles in general since I like more texture and crunch in my chocolates but I had to try the rose cardamom truffle sprinkled with tiny rose petals and it was divine, a perfect gift for Valentine’s Day. Their storefront in SOHO NYC is absolutely stunning as well and I can’t wait to go back to try some more spiced chocolate sweets.

Have you tried any spicy chocolates you just can’t seem to get enough of? Chime in!