Tikka Meatballs

This recipe is one that I have used several times without posting (oops).  We both love Indian food, but to really get that fantastic flavor with the meat, it needs to be stewed with spices, or marinated, and we usually don’t plan well enough for that.  That’s where the meatball can be a meal saver.  Just dump in some spices, mix it up, and bake, and in less than an hour, you have wonderfully seasoned meat ready for the curry of your choice.  I have made these with turkey, chicken and with a lamb and beef mixture, and they’re all wonderful.  In the images shown, I was making turkey meatballs for a tikka masala.

Ingredients

  • 2 lb ground meat (turkey, chicken, lamb or beef)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup curry paste*
  • 2 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2-1 cup breadcrumbs (as needed for texture)
  • Juice of 1 lime (when using poultry)

*The specific curry pastes used will depend on what meat your making, and what the final destination curry will be.  For poultry, I like tandoori pastes:

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We picked up both of these at the local Indian market, but the larger Kroger’s in our area also will carry some of the Patak’s products.  For red meat, I use a mixture of mild curry paste and a rogan josh paste, and omit the lime.

Method

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine ingredients in a large bowl by hand, until well mixed, and the meat sticks to itself, rather than the sides of the bowl.

Portion into walnut sized balls, and place on greased sheet tray.

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Bake for 30 minutes, flipping the meatballs over around the 20 minute mark. Remove from oven, and try not to eat them all before they can get into the tikka masala.

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At this point, you can either toss them into your sauce, serve with grilled onion and pepper and naan for a lazy tikka or tandoori meal, or bag and freeze them for future curries.img_5405

Recently, we’ve been using recipes from The Curry Guy, and have been thoroughly pleased with the results (as can be seen in the tikka masala above).  The curry sauce base he recommends is a little time consuming initially, but absolutely worth making and freezing if you plan on making Indian at home regularly. Once you have the sauce base, assembling the curry is no more difficult than opening a jar of pre-made sauce and dumping that in the saucepan. I grabbed the e-book on Kindle, and it’s now our go-to curry cookbook.  It’s a particularly useful resource for folks like us, who have only really been exposed to restaurant style Indian, which is different than the regional Indian recipes and cookbooks we’ve tried.

Serve with rice, naan, chapati, or just a fork and a straw (we won’t judge).

Baked Banana Oatmeal

I enjoy a nice bowl of oatmeal in the morning.  What I don’t like is getting hungry at 10 because I just had one of those instant oatmeal packets instead of something more substantial. Since I tend to be a bit of a zombie most mornings, these baked oatmeal recipes are definitely the way to go during the work week.  They keep me full until lunch, they taste way better than the packets, and I can even successfully reheat a bowl before I have coffee.  When I made this recipe, I had two brown bananas and a plantain that was getting long in the tooth as well, so that’s what I used.  The plantain didn’t mash as neatly as the banana, but I do like the bites of fruit that survived.  If you don’t typically have plantains, just stick with bananas.  I also decided that you really can’t have too much banana flavor, so I added the 99 bananas (banana liqueur) to amp up that aspect.  You can leave that out, or add some banana extract instead.  Once I had pulled out the 99 banana, I also grabbed the dark rum, because why not make this taste like bananas fosters?

It tastes like oatmeal mixed with bananas fosters. Mmmm

It tastes like oatmeal mixed with bananas fosters. Mmmm

Ingredients (serves 8)

3 bananas, very ripe

2 eggs

1 3/4 cup milk

2 tbsp 99 bananas

2 tbsp dark rum

1/3 cup brown sugar

2 3/4 cup instant oatmeal

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 cup oat flour (optional, I like a firmer baked oatmeal)

1/2 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp vanilla

grate of nutmeg

1/2 tsp salt

Method

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mash bananas, add the rest of the wet ingredients.  Add sugar and spices and stir to combine. Add dry ingredients, mix, and pour into a greased 8″x 8″ pan.  Bake 45 minutes, or until set through.  Remove and cool slightly.  Can be served warm with milk, or you can stash it in the fridge and reheat it throughout the week.  I like adding about half a cup of milk and zapping it in the microwave for a minute. I have also reheated a bowl with a handful of fresh blueberries mixed it.  It helps mix things up and keeps it from getting too boring.  If you need something sweet, chocolate chips, peanut butter chips or butterscotch chips would go well.

Hummus (the continuing saga)

Over the past year or so we have been making hummus fairly frequently.  While we have other recipes for hummus posted on the blog (as in here, and here), they just left us a little flat.  We both wanted to figure out a way to use dry chickpeas, and also a way to make the delicious and rich hummus we love without cups of oil.  After some experimentation and a healthy dose of google-fu, Chris hit upon the secret for super smooth hummus from dried chickpeas.

Baking soda.

Yes, you read that right, baking soda in the cooking liquid makes those tough chickpea skins soft and leads to a silky smooth hummus. The other secret is really good tahini and olive oil.  We usually get our tahini, chickpeas and olive oil at a local Indian/Middle Eastern market, and if you have one in your area, I recommend you start there.  We get the Sultan brand of olive oil. IMG_2953The tahini we found at the local Kroger was bitter and unpleasant, but the tahini from the Indian grocer is comparatively sweeter and has a pleasant nuttiness to it.  The best comparison I have is that it is really like natural peanut butter, but with sesame.  It made a huge difference with getting hummus that’s really balanced in flavors.  We have been getting the Gesas brand.

This is the brand we use.

This is the brand we use.

So with that in mind, let’s get to cooking!

Ingredients

1 lb dried chickpeas, soaked overnight

1 tbsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

scant 1/2 cup olive oil

scant 1/2 cup tahini

1/2 cup lemon juice (fresh squeezed)

1/2-1 cup cooking liquid from chickpeas

1/2 tsp garlic powder (or more to taste)

Salt and pepper to taste

Butter, olive oil, red onions, aleppo pepper, or paprika to serve

Method

Cook the chickpeas in water with baking soda and 1 tsp salt until soft, typically around 45-60 minutes.  Keep on eye on the pot, the baking soda will made any boil over quite foamy and spectacular (oops).  When the chickpeas are done they will be very soft, as will the seed coats.  Take the pan off the heat, save a cup of the cooking liquid, and strain the chickpeas into a colander.  Put the chickpeas in the bowl of your food processor and start processing.  Add the oil, and keep pureeing. Add your tahini, lemon juice, and seasonings and blend some more.  At this point, start drizzling in your cooking liquid.  Keep going until your hummus has a smooth, but not overly runny consistency.  The beans are still warm, so the hummus will be softer at this point than it would be out of the fridge.  If you like your hummus cold, err on the side of slightly softer than you think.  It will tighten up in the fridge.  Adjust the seasonings, and you’re ready to either chill it for later, or serve warm.

Hummus.  Even better with onion

Hummus. Even better with onion

We love this hummus warm, topped with red onion sautéed in butter or ghee and dusted with aleppo or paprika.  If we serve it cold, then I tend to opt for a drizzle of olive oil and a good dusting of paprika and Turkish seasoning.  With a pile of warm pita, and a few olives it makes a fantastic lunch too.