Monday, November 20, 2006

November 16, 2006: Dinner for Doof

To welcome our Bris-friend Doof to Melbourne's fair shores, a home-prepared Indian meal was necessary. With Krusty, Jason and Sharon included on the invite list, we had to upscale from 'meal' to 'feast'. Luckily, Cindy and I are well-practiced in the art of Indian feast-making and we called upon some previous successes: palak paneer and mango rice pudding. To make sure we had enough, we decided to add some roti bread (picked up ready-to-fry at IGA) and broccoli pilau to the menu.

Broccoli Pilau (from Mridula Baljekar's low-fat Indian vegetarian cookbook)

Wash about a cup of basmati rice and soak it in cold water for about 20 minutes.

In a good sized saucepan, fry a teaspoon of fennel seeds, half a dozen cardamom pods, 1/2 a teaspoon of peppercorns, a bay leaf and a cinammon stick in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. After about 30 seconds, add a finely chopped onion and a couple of chopped green chillies and fry until the onions have browned slightly.

Add a teaspoon of turmeric and the rice. Stir-fry for a couple of minutes and add about 3 cups of broccoli florets. Keep stir-frying for another minute or so and then add two cups of hot water. Bring to the boil and simmer, covered, for about 10 minutes or until the rice is cooked.

Everyone was very enthusiastic about the meal and there were at least a few trips back for seconds. The palak paneer is a sure-fire winner and it went down pretty well with the bread and pilau, while Cindy's dessert was as fantastic as last time. To be honest, I was too excited to see Doof again to really pay much attention to the food. At lunch the next day I found the spinach a bit gritty and got annoyed with the remnants of the cinammon stick, but on the night it was a roaring success.

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