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Photo by Adam Ewing. Styled by Rachel Zell
Allepy Style Prawns "Sukkha"
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Photo by Adam Ewing
The Punjab (upper left) and Masala Curry-Leaf Cashews
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Photo by Adam Ewing
Melvani-Spiced Paneer "Chatka"
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Photo by Adam Ewing
Green Apple "Jalebi"
In the fall, India celebrates Diwali, a festival of light. Originally a harvest festival, the event honors Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth, and lights are lit to help her find her way and to welcome her into your home. It’s like Christmas, New Year’s and the Fourth of July all rolled into one: Firecrackers are exploded, lights are strung throughout the streets, lamps and candles are lit, houses are thoroughly cleaned, new clothes are worn, and the new financial year begins in the business community. Diwali festivities last five days, with the main celebration falling on the third day, which this year is Oct. 23.
Curry Craft’s Mel Oza is from Pondi-cherry in southern India. His Diwali feast is meant to be shared with friends and family, surrounded by warm candlelight and infused with the heat of celebration.
Allepy StylePrawns “Sukkha”
- 4 jumbo prawns (6/8-count size)
- 1 can of coconut milk (13.5 ounces), reduced by half
- 1 teaspoon of thinly sliced fresh ginger
- 2 teaspoons of minced garlic
- 3 dried Bydagi chilies
- 1/2 teaspoon of mustard seeds
- 3 whole star anise
- 5 whole cloves
- 1/4 cup of cilantro, chopped
- 1/4 cup of finely diced red onions
- 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
- 20 curry leaves
- 1 tablespoon of sambhar
- masala powder
- 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, plus additional as needed
- 1 tablespoon of canola oil, plus
- additional for sautéing prawns
- 1/2 lime
1. Heat a medium saucepan and add 1 tablespoon of oil.
2. Add the ginger, garlic, mustard seeds, star anise, dried red chilis and cloves. Heat until the mustard seeds pop.
3. Immediately add the red onions, cilantro, tomato paste, coconut milk, curry leaves, sambhar powder and 1 teaspoon of salt. Stir the mixture together and simmer. Reduce the mixture by a third, and set aside. It should resemble a thick paste when it is ready.*
4. Heat a heavy-bottomed sauté pan until it just starts to smoke. Add 2 teaspoons of canola oil.
5. Immediately add the prawns to the pan, working from the outside edge of the pan to the center. When the prawns start to curl, season them with salt to taste and flip them over.
6. When the prawns are about halfway cooked, about 2 to 3 minutes, add 2 tablespoons of coconut milk and the spice paste you made. Coat the prawns evenly with the mixture and heat through.
7. Finish by squeezing the lime juice over the dish. Serve hot.
* The spice paste mixture can be made up to a week ahead. Keep refrigerated.
The five liquid ingredients in this drink symbolize the five rivers running through the Indian state of Punjab.
- 1 1/2 ounce of Chivas Regal
- 1/2 ounce of amaretto
- 2 ounces of sour mix
- 1/2 ounce of grapefruit juice
- 5 dashes of Peychaud’s bitters
- 1 pinch of toasted cumin
- 1 pinch of minced ginger
- 1 mint sprig
- 1 curl of orange zest
- Ginger peel
1. Shake the Chivas Regal, amaretto and bitters with ice.
2. Strain into a martini glass.
3. Add the grapefruit juice, sour mix, toasted cumin and ginger, and stir gently.4. Garnish with a mint sprig, a curl of orange zest and ginger peel speared ona cocktail skewer.
Masala Curry-Leaf Cashews
- 8 ounces of whole
- unsalted cashews
- 2 teaspoons of slivered curry leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon of cracked
- Malabar black pepper
- 2 pinches of garam masala
- Kosher salt to taste
- 2 teaspoons of peanut oil
1. Heat the oil and then add the curry leaves, sautéing them until fragrant.
2. Add the cashews to the oil and toast them until they are a light golden brown.
3. Add the black pepper to the cashews in the pan and toss the mixture.
4. Remove the cashews from the heat and drain them on paper towels.
5. Sprinkle with garam masala.
6. Add salt to taste.
Melvani-Spiced Paneer “Chatka”
- 8 ounces of paneer cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon of diced red onions
- 1 teaspoon of diced and de-seeded jalapeno
- 1 tablespoon of diced tomato
- 2 tablespoons of chopped cilantro
- 1 tablespoon of finely diced green mango
- 1 tablespoon of blanched peanuts
- 2 ounces of pomegranate molasses
- 2 tablespoons of Melvani spice blend
- 3 tablespoons of water
- 2 teaspoons of canola oil
- Kosher salt to taste
1. In a bowl, combine the green mango, Melvani spice blend, pomegranate molasses and water. Set aside.
2. In a separate bowl, combine the red onions, jalapenos, tomatoes and 1 tablespoon of the chopped cilantro.
3. Heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat and add the oil. Add the red onion mixture to the pan and sauté until the onions turn translucent.
4. Add the paneer to the pan and cook it until it’s lightly browned on the edges and has become soft. Add kosher salt to taste.
5. Add the green mango-pomegranate molasses mixture to the sauté pan. Combine all the ingredients and heat through.
6. Serve hot and garnish with the remaining1 tablespoon of chopped cilantro.
Green Apple “Jalebi”
- 1 Granny Smith apple
- 1/2 cup of rice flour
- 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoons of sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt
- 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon of sesame seeds
- Seltzer water
- Vanilla ice cream
- Canola oil for frying
1. Core the apple, leaving on the skin. Cut the apple horizontally into 1/4-inch thick discs.Set the apple slices aside, covered with a wet paper towel.
2. In a bowl, whisk together the rice flour, all-purpose flour, sugar, salt and baking soda. Slowly stir in seltzer water until you achieve a batter with medium consistency.
3. Heat the canola oil to 350 degrees in a heavy-bottomed Dutch oven. Dip the apple slices into the batter, shaking off any excess. Fry the battered apple slices until they are golden brown and crisp. You may fry up to four slices at a time if the pan is large enough.
4. Drain the apple slices on paper towels.
5. Serve warm, drizzled with honey and with a scoop of your favorite vanilla ice cream.
Specialty ingredients can be found at Laxmi Palace (laxmipalace.com) in Henrico.