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An Indian entrée


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I am having friends over for dinner this weekend and after having tested a cold biryani on them at a recent picnic I am going to have a soirée curry.

I intend to do popadoms and pickles/salad as the entrée, I have the popadoms, a really fiery mango and lime pickle and the yoghurt and mint raitha but what I want to know is what the small diced salad that it is served with is composed of?

From memory it is diced tomatoes, onions (I shall use echalots) and perhaps peeled and diced cucumber but I am really not sure, can any of you curry lovers help me please?

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The problem around me is getting the ingredients, I usually have to plan well ahead and bring them from England but of course for fresh herbs etc thats a no-no.

Choosing a recipe is a real defi as I have to pick something simple that I think I can find ingredients for or compromise the recipe, we have 3 grande surfaces and 4 medium supermarkets the size of Aldi/Lidl/Netto etc but shopping for even basic ingredients I find so depressing, I find a little of what I want in each store and have to queue patiently, and not so patiently in each one but always end up having to do a 60 mile round trip to the metropoles to get the rest and even then I can spend a day going around all the grand surfaces.

An example, coriander, the only fresh herbs sold in town tends to be thym which is very brown and to my eye dried not fresh, I usualy need coriander and cannot even find a dried version in any of the paces in town, i might be lucky going to Amiens or Arras but it is by no means certain as all the supermarkets change their offerings so frequently, in any case if I do find it it will be dried not fresh.

I do wonder how those few eateries that dont just reheat industrial food manage for ingredients fresh or otherwise.

Alas no garam masalla Sweet 17, the worst thing is and I am reminded of this each time I search for ingredients, is that when I was travelling my colocataire threw away my entire collection of herbs and spices that I had gathered over 20 years, his lame excuse was that he only thew away stuf that was out if date, I pointed out that nearly all of it was bought before the days when sell by/use by dates existed or were bought abroad but he was the kind of muppet that would read the date and even throw away bottled water.


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Chance (nicer than Chancer, I think), it wasn't me who mentioned garam masala.  Wish you lived near me and I could give you some.

Coops, coriander is notoriously hard to grow.  We managed it one year but it went to seed very quickly.  I did dry the seeds and was able to use those though.

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Do you have a market nearby, selling little plantlets at this time of year, Chancer? I buy plants at ours, and have a little garden on the balcony. There are salads, tomatoes and I also buy parsley, chives and coriander too and grow them on. We have Carrefour and Intermarché near us, and they also stock little pots of some things such as parsley, coriander, although not all the time. Or maybe you know somebody with a garden who has some, and would give you a little to grow on; failing that, maybe somebody on the forum who lives not too far away. As a last resort, if you think it would survive, we could even post you some as emergency rations!  [:)]
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You can also make a Dahl (with lentils) easy to cook and so nice to eat.

As for your Indian potatoe salad :

Title: Indian Potato Salad

Yield: 4 Servings


1 1/2 lb red or new potatoes

-scrubbed, cut i; n 1/2 dice

1/2 ts toasted cumin seeds

1 tb garam masala

2/3 c non-fat yogurt

3 tb (to 4 tb) lemon juice

1 tomato, seeded cut in 1/2


1/2 sm onion(s), finely chopped

1 salt and pepper

3 tb cilantro, coarsely chopped

1 tb mint, chopped (opt)


1. Place the potatoes in a large saucepan with cold water to cover.

Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer until tender but not

soft, 8-10 minutes. Drain the potatoes in a colander, then transfer

to a mixing bowl.

2. Lightly toast the cumin seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat

until fragrant and lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Set aside.

3. Stir the garam masala, � cup of the yogurt, and the lemon juice

into the potatoes and let cool completely. Shortly before serving,

stir in the tomato, onion, salt and pepper, half the cilantro and the

mint. Correct the seasoning, adding salt, lemon juice, or garam

masala to taste.

4, Transfer the salad to a platter or bowl. Spoon the remaining

yogurt in the center and sprinkle the salad with the remaining

cilantro and the cumin seeds.

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I am fortunate in that there is a Grand Frais nearby. They sell green coriander in good sized bunches. It will keep for a week or so wrapped in damp kitchen paper in the bottom of the fridge.

I made an Indian meal for some friends at the weekend. Lamb dopiaza, brinjal bharta, onion bharjis(oven baked) Samosas, banana raita and that tomato and onion salad that I think is called cachumber. A friend complemented me on the meal and said it was like a taste of home! I think half the uk population has a spiritual home on the indian sub continent.

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My local market has one stall selling  cheap but terrible tasting potatoes, another selling the tiniest most expensive roast chickens in the world and about 50 others all selling the same tat, flourescent strings and boxer shorts, blank CD's, video games etc.
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Sounds like you've been to the Meaux market Chancer! Meaux, famous for it's Brie and Mustard? Not a sausage in the market (to mangle my English). Don't you even get horrifically overpriced olives? 100g.......EUR 4.90[:-))], I went all English and was just going to cough up, missus went all French, and threatened to insert them where the sun don't shine. Guingamp and Paimpol (22) where my wife's from, seem to specialise in most amazingly appalling lingerie[:$]

Get freeze dried coriander from the freezer cabinets in the UK next time you're there. One lasts me about 6 months...brilliant.

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Try this for an onion salad;

Served with popadoms together with yoghurt mint sauce.

2 cooking onion

1 Tomato

Half inch(1cm) piece cucumber

generous pinch salt

pinch red chilli powder

1 teaspoon lemon juice

2 teaspoons mint sauce

Finely chop onions,tomato and cucumber to produce thin strips. Place in a bowl and add remaining ingredients.Mix thoroughly.
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[quote user="Chancer"] what I want to know is what the small diced salad that it is served with is composed of? [/quote]

do you mean Kachumber? a palate refresher/appetizer . . .

3 tomatoes, peeled and deseeded, small onion, quarter of cucumber, chopped and mix together with lime juice and optional green chilli,
try a Mango instead of the tomato if you like;
or Radish kachumber, 8 large radishes, half cucumber, small onion, fresh coriander, chop and mix with spoon of oil and spoon of vinegar.

For Sweet 17 - Bajees with yogurt dipping sauce;
Two heaped tbsp of Gram flour  (dried chickpeas ground to a flour) mix in half tsp turmeric, half tsp cumin, 1 tsp garam masala, pinch of cayenne, mix and add an egg, stir in to gluey mixture, add quartered and sliced large onion, add salt, tbsp chopped fresh coriander, stir in, if too wet add breadcrumbs. Make rough balls of the mix with a couple of teaspoons, Deep fry in oil that has just started to smoke, stir til browned evenly and then drain on paper towels in warm oven till ready to serve.
To make the dipping sauce, stir a tsp of ground coriander and a large heaped tsp of ground cumin in a frying pan till roasted, then remove from heat and stir in a cup of natural yogurt, salt and pepper. Drinks to accompany, serve chilled water flavoured with cardamon pods, cinnamon sticks, cumin seeds or [B] [8-|]


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Try a guy in Normandy selling packetcurry.com . It think they are really good, tho i know it sounds naff............in a bleedin' packet !!

I have no connection with the company other than being a happy curryman.

I made OBs from this recipe and they were good.....ain't got a deep fryer.


bon ap W
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Hi Chancer

Coriander is easy to grow but you must get the seeds that are for growing the leaf the other seeds are for growing the seed, plant either in a sunny spot in garden or in a deep pot, as it has a long root we have 2 lots growing all the time second lot planted 4 to 6 weeks after first then keep replanting, once it's there you will go through it, little late now but next year plant some chillies, if your willing to pay the postage I'll send you a seedling now, you should get about 100 fruits and they are hot, I'm experimenting with some different types this year so should be interesting.

Garam Masala....easy peasy......

25g Black Peppercorns

25g Coriander seeds

20g caraway seeds

6g Cloves

10/15 cardamom pods

6g ground cinnamon

Remove the seeds from the cardamom pods mix with the other whole spices then grind then fairly fine (not powdery) in a coffee grinder, mix in the cinamon and keep in an air tight container, as with ALL spices use within a few months as they will loose their flavour and taste powdery.

You will notice the difference with this freshly made Garam Masala.

Bonne Chance

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Thanks for all the suggestions but I have no garden and about as much chance of growing tits as I have of finding any of these ingredients in my region, its either dried herbs de provence or toxic waste coloured highly sugared (non) curry powder.
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Fridgeman, I am very excited to have your recipe for garam masala as it's my favourite spice but I didn't know exactly what ingredients are in it.

Yes, I always use a coffee grinder , kept expressly for the purpose, to grind all my spices.  I have a friend from Sri Lanka who laboriously pounds everything in a pestle and mortar but I guess that's going a step too far for me! 

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[quote user="Wilko"]Try a guy in Normandy selling packetcurry.com . It think they are really good, tho i know it sounds naff............in a bleedin' packet !!

I have no connection with the company other than being a happy curryman.

I made OBs from this recipe and they were good.....ain't got a deep fryer.


bon ap W[/quote]

I used to buy from him, but I now buy exactly the same product for half the price, from Spices of India and not far off the same delivery charge.

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Hi Sweet

Glad you liked my Garam mix, if it's not to your taste you can always change the quantities of the spices to suit I've used the same amounts for many a year I was given it by a little old indian lady.

I can understand why your friend uses a mortar & pestle, instead of tearing the spices to bits it bruises and crushes the spices which releases the oils which does give a different taste, remember to add the Garam at the end of cooking.

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Hi, Fridgeman, you're right about adding the garam at the end of cooking.  I don't know why but the recipe I use for most curries gets you to cook all the spices first and then add the lemon juice and the garam at the end.

BTW, thanks to your advice, I am now turning out quiches that just get better and better.  I use a duck egg (only because a friend supplies them and I use them mostly for cakes) for the pastry.

I might try a mildly curried quiche of some sort:  wonder how that will taste?  Should be OK as I have eaten various curry puffs filled with mostly minced meat and onions.

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Hello sweet

such kind words, glad to hear no more burnt tops/soggy bottoms.

yes you should cook the spices gently at the begining, notice the word "cook" not fry, because that is what you are doing which means they will not taste "raw". Adding the Garam which is very fragrant but if over cooked will loose most of its fragrance, adding it at the end will guarantee it will not loose this wonderful fragrance that the cook took so long to prepare in her mortar & pestle.

bonne chance

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