So I am sliding in at the end of the Taste & Create deadline–which really bugs me and I am sorry I took so long. Basically I had chosen this yogurt chickpea dish to make a week or so ago, and when I realized I got paired with Aparna, of My Diverse Kitchen (who is located in India), I knew I wanted to find a dish to go with the chickpeas. I found one, quite easily, but then John had to leave town sooner than I expected. Well suffice to say there might be mutiny if I made Indian food while he was out of town. So I had to wait until he got back.
As I said, I made this Spiced Chickpea with Yogurt dish, from Lisa’s Kitchen. It was excellent, but I would do 2 things differently next time. I would add more ground spices to the finished dish because honestly I could not taste the stewing whole spices (pictured above) at all, even though they smelled scrumptious while stewing. Second I would not serve it with a rice dish–it was a little too heavy to me for the rice. I would treat it more as a raita and serve it with a spicy curry, where its cooling properties could be more appreciated. But it was quite yummy–the recipe is linked and the only change I made was to use cilantro, not parsley.
Anyway, so Aparna’s dish… the minute I saw the Manipuri Khichdi I knew I wanted to make it. It was my kind of rice pilaf as the rice is cooked separately and then cooked with the spices and aromatics, reducing the opportunity for cook’s error that always seems to occur in my kitchen when I try to cook rice with other ingredients. She said in her post that she was following a recipe from a Northeastern Indian food blog that did not list quantities, so she provided what she did. I took this as sign that if I deviated a little it might not be the end of the world, and so I made one major change. I slowly caramelized sliced red onions, 2 small onions’ worth, instead of mincing them and cooking them quickly. This changed the cooking order a bit as I did them first, to prevent burning of the spices and garlic and ginger.
I did increase the ginger and garlic quite a bit. She calls for 1 teaspoon total of the paste which leads me to wonder–is it possible my North American, Mid Western garlic and ginger is rather bland compared to what she is using in India? I feel like 1 teaspoon would barely dent my dish, if impact it at all! Maybe my taste buds are dead? 🙂 So I used 1 tablespoon of each. It did not over power the dish at all so I really think I might be right about the relative strength of the aromatics. Anyone have an opinion? I also increased the cumin seeds a bit (by 1/2 teaspoon) since I love cumin so much.
The rice was a huge hit. Every single person in the family had multiple servings and we ate it all. As a matter of fact, I think I have committed to making it again tomorrow night to go with the leftover Chickpeas in Yogurt. I also have it bookmarked in the back of my mind to make the next time John’s parents come into town since they also love Indian food so much. If you like Indian food, I cannot emphasize just how delicious and easy this dish is.
On a fun side note, one of my favorite produce vendors at our farmers’ market is growing Indian cucumbers! So I served them with the meal, sliced on the side. They are pretty similar to the ones we are familiar with, but golden, and their flesh was quite crisp, although that could also just be a factor of how freshly picked they were. The girls devoured them.