Saturday, April 2, 2011

"Homemade" Indian Made Easy

I could get into it but it's the story of my life and you've heard it all before. Always out, never home, social butterfly. Which is great and all. I signed up for this ride with the full knowledge of what I was getting myself into and haven't regretted it for a second. But come Friday, knowing I have a full schedule Saturday and Sunday and then beginning the whole social dance all over again next week, all I want is to throw on some sweats and curl up on my couch and just lull my body into a state of relaxation while catching up on my shows.

This is probably not true of most people but the one cuisine I equate with comfort is Indian. There's something very stew-like with the mild masalas, the melting braised meats simmered for hours in a thick creamy gravy, light, puffy naan bread, and fluffy basmati, lightly flavored with a little cardamom. It's definitely a curling up on the couch, catching up on shows meal. 
Kashmiri rock shrimp with sauteed kale and asparagus over basmati
But like most everything delicious, the base to nearly all Indian food is Ghee, a type of clarified butter which makes it definitely not vegan. And with my vegan rules, I'm not going to kill myself if I eat something non-vegan, but if there's prior knowledge that dairy exists, I will do my best to avoid. So Indian has just become one of those meals I've avoided throughout this whole exercise in self-restraint. Until I met Maya Kaimal's Indian made easy sauces. Made in almost every Indian flavor I could ever want, they're simmer sauces that are great with meat, seafood and even tofu. And she originally launched the company in Brooklyn, though she now resides upstate, and I love the idea of supporting a local venture in such an exotic cuisine.
I've tried the Tikki Masala as well, back before I was pesca vegan and loved it. Simmer with some chicken, it was better than some Indian takeout I've gotten in my neighborhood, and for about $6 a jar- which can be used for at least 3 meals, it's a pretty good deal for a delicious and inexpensive Indian dinner with nearly endless options- seriously, check out her website for the number of recipes. The fantastic part though was that at least for the Madras and Kashmiri curry there's no ghee- vegetable and canola oil are used instead. And combined with some Trader Joes Garlic naan... well it's simply "homemade" Indian made easy, and delicious... and most importantly, pesca vegan.

Rock Shrimp Kashmiri Curry- serves 2-3
1 lb rock shrimp
2 cloves garlic- minced
Greens of choice- could be spinach, kale, collards, asparagus, peas, broccoli rabe even eggplant or okra
1/3 container sauce- I didn't want it to be too soupy, more just coating the shrimp
1 c. basmati rice- cooked
1 Tbl olive oil- divided in 2

1. Saute the vegetables and 1 clove garlic in 1/2 Tbl olive oil  until tender and even a little crisp. Remove from pan and add other 1/2 Tbl olive oil and remaining garlic. Add shrimp and cook until pink.

2. Add sauce and make sure it coats all shrimp well. Add more sauce if too thin, or water if too think. Let simmer for 5 minutes, then serve with vegetables over basmati rice.

*This can certainly be made with regular shrimp, or even bay scallops but I love how creamy rock shrimp are already and they were available. But perfectly fine to substitute too.

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