Wednesday, September 28, 2011


I just created a folder for photos on my computer that’s called "Los Angeles Year Four."  Really?

So, I'm recently excited about British-style Indian food.  It may have started when I went to this new restaurant in my neighborhood, LA Bengal Dynasty (silly name award?) (hi, unicorn!).

And in my own kitchen, so far I have tried a dish related to the balti (below), which may or may not actually come from Birmingham, and a kind of  tikka masala, another dish of ambiguous origins which makes me think, "Of course, the English add cream to everything!" 

In this recipe, I made a half batch.  But I also threw in a TON of greens and cauliflower, which I think diluted the flavor too much.  I ended up adding a bunch of chili garlic paste to finish out the dish, but I think that might have had to do with how generous I was with the cauliflower and the greens.

Cauliflower, Chickpea, and Greens Balti
(adapted from taste space)

vegetable oil
ginger, grated
1 large garlic clove, crushed
1 onion, chopped
1/2 c water
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 tsp chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp garam masala
1 bay leaf
2 cardamom pods, broken slightly open
3/4 tsp salt
coconut or vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
1/2 in piece ginger, grated
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tomato, chopped
1/2 head cauliflower, in florets
1.5 cups cooked chickpeas (or 15 oz canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained)
1 tsp salt
2 bunches of greens, stemmed and coarsely chopped (400g, prepped)
1/2 tsp Aleppo chili flakes
2 tsp chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 tsp garam masala

1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, then add the ginger and garlic and stir.
2. Add the onions and stir-fry for five minutes until they are translucent.
3. Add the water and bring to the boil.
4. Add the rest of the sauce ingredients, cover and simmer on a low heat for 30 minutes.
5. Remove the bay leaves and cardamom, and reserve the sauce.
6. Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large wok (I used the same saucepan as above since it was relatively clean) then add the onions and fry gently until they begin to turn brown.
7. Add the ginger and garlic, stir well, and cook for one minute.
8. Add the tomatoes, cauliflower, chickpeas, salt and balti sauce.
9. Turn the heat to low, cover and simmer until the cauliflower is just tender, about 10-15 minutes.
10. Add the chili flakes and greens and stir-fry for three more minutes until the greens have wilted down.
11. Stir in the cilantro.
12. Just before serving, sprinkle the garam masala on top.  Add chili garlic paste and salt to taste.  Serve with naan bread or chapatis. Or rice.
Serves about 4.

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