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Friday, February 11, 2011

Sanjeev Kapoor's Potato, Banana, and Pomegranate Chaat

I just came across a picture of a chaat I made a couple months ago and thought I'd share the recipe now. It's from Sanjeev Kapoor's first U.S.-published book, How to Cook Indian [Food], which I worked on a bit for STC in late summer. The book is well worth checking out when it's released in April—it's absolutely loaded with fun, authentic, but do-able dishes from all over India. I especially liked the chaats, of course.

Aloo Kachalu Chaat
Serves 4 to 6.

This is only slightly simplified from Sanjeev's version.

1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
1 teaspoon tamarind concentrate
1 teaspoon chaat masala (see Note)
1 large ripe banana
2 potatoes, boiled, cooled, peeled, and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 sweet potato, boiled, cooled, peeled, and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 hot green chiles, minced
1/4 cup fresh pomegranate arils
Handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
1-inch piece fresh ginger, cut into thin julienne

In a large bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, salt, tamarind, and chaat masala. Add the banana, potatoes, sweet potato, chile, pomegranate, and cilantro and toss to coat. Taste and add more salt if necessary. Pile on a platter and scatter the ginger over the top. Serve at room temperature.

Note: The spice mix chaat masala can be purchased at Indian grocery stores, or you can mix up some of your own, or just sprinkle in a little coriander, cumin, and ground cayenne. Sanjeev's chaat masala: 1/4 cup coriander seeds, 2 teaspoons cumin seeds, 1 teaspoon ajwain, 2 or 3 dried red chiles, 3 tablespoons black salt (which I think is rather a lot), 1/2 teaspoon citric acid, 1 teaspoon amchur, 1 tablespoon regular salt, and 1 teaspoon ground black pepper—whole spices toasted and ground and then everything mixed together. Makes 1/2 cup.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Bulk Valentines

After last year's ill-advised adventure in elaborate preschool Valentines made weeks in advance (and the heartbreak that ensued when we found out that the class Valentines were not to be addressed to individual students, nor were they to contain any sweets), this year we made it easy on ourselves and did our anonymous cards assembly-line style.

I taped two sheets of 9-by-12-inch watercolor paper down on the table in front of the kid, and masked off six rectangles on each with tape, plus a border all around the edges. She just painted over the whole thing every which way (I painted some too), let it dry, then peeled off the tape and I cut them up into cards. Then I taped together some rubber letter stamps spelling out "THALI" and had her stamp each of them one night before bedtime; we untaped and added the final "A" at the end. Done.

She can write her name, of course, but I weighed the benefits to her of practicing her handwriting on twenty-eight cards against the possibility that it would make her mom go absolutely mad, and so she stamped.