Loved the movie, loved the book even more. Not only for all of its layers, but because the book gave me all of these names of Indian dishes!
Now if only I could find an Indian restaurant in my city. Until then, here’s a few traditional Indian meals that were mentioned in “Life of Pi,” as well their recipes.
(It’s at times like these that I miss living in Phoenix, or just a big city. Phoenix, surprisingly is a foodie’s paradise. That city, without a doubt, would have dozens of Indian restaurants from which to choose.)
Let me know if you try/have tried these recipes and how they turned out!
Chapati | Flat Indian Bread
Recipe from ManjulasKitchen.com
- 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup lukewarm water (Use more as needed)
- 2 teaspoons ghee (clear butter)
- 1/4 cup whole-wheat flour for rolling
- Mix flour, salt and water together to make a soft dough (add more water as needed).
Knead the dough on a lightly greased surface to make the dough smooth and pliable.
Set the dough aside and cover with a damp cloth. Let the dough rest for at least ten minutes or more.
Divide the dough into 8 equal parts.
Make smooth ball and press flat. Take 1 ball; press it in dry flour from both sides.
Roll in to a 5-inch circle. If the dough sticks to the rolling pin or rolling surface, lightly dust the roti with dry flour. Tip: Use the dry flour just enough you need to roll the roti, too much use of flour will make the roti dry.
Heat the skillet on medium high heat. Note: An iron skillet works best. To know if the skillet is hot enough, sprinkle few drops of water on the skillet. If the water sizzles right away, the skillet is ready.
Place the roti over skillet.
After roti start changing color and start puffing in different places flip the roti over.
Flip again after a few seconds. Take a flat spatula and press lightly on the puffed parts of the roti. This will help the roti puff.
Flip the roti again. The roti should have light golden-brown spots on both sides.
Butter the roti, the side that is facing the skillet.
Keep the rotis in a container with a paper towel covering the bottom.
Roti can be kept outside for up to 2 days wrapped in aluminum foil or in a closed container. For later use, roti can be refrigerated for 5-6 days.
Lentil Dal | Vegetarian
Recipe from Slate.com
- 1 pound dried green or brown lentils, rinsed and picked over
- 1 pound fresh Roma tomatoes, chopped
- 1 or 2 medium fresh jalapeños, seeded and minced
- 2 inches fresh ginger, peeled and minced or grated
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
- ¼ cup grapeseed or peanut oil
- ¼ cup (½ stick) butter
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 4 whole cloves
- 2 medium yellow onions, chopped
- ½ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- 1 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped, thick stems discarded
- Salt and black pepper
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Cooked basmati rice for serving (optional)
Put the lentils, half the tomatoes, and the jalapeños, ginger, garlic, coriander, and turmeric in a large pot; add enough water to cover by 1½ inches. Cover, bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the lentils are almost tender, about 30 minutes.
Continue cooking the lentils while you put the oil and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. When the butter melts, add the cumin seeds, cinnamon stick, and cloves, and cook, shaking the pan occasionally, for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 10 minutes. Add the cayenne and 1 cup water; bring to a boil over medium-high heat and simmer for 1 minute, then turn off the heat.
When the lentils are fully tender, partially purée them with an immersion blender (or leave them whole if you prefer). Stir the onion mixture into the lentils along with the remaining tomatoes and the cilantro. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Simmer for 5 minutes, then turn off the heat and stir in the lemon juice. Taste and adjust the seasoning, and serve hot or warm over basmati rice, if desired. (Store leftover dal in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.)
Idli | South Indian Breakfast Food
Recipe from Kitchenflovours.blogspot.com
Wash and soak urad dal and rice cream in separate bowls with enough water for 6-9 hours. Drain and grind urad dal and rice cream together in a mixer till smooth and frothy. If required add little water and grind to medium tight consistency. Remove the batter in a bowl and mix well to avoid lumps. Cover and leave it to ferment overnight or 6-9 hours in a warm place. Once the batter is fermented, add salt and mix well. Grease the Idli molds and fill spoonfuls of the batter into the molds and steam for 12-15 minutes. When the Idli’s are done, let the steam out by taking out the lid and leave it for 2-3 minutes. Dip a flat spoon/knife in cool water and run around the edges to scoop the idli’s from the mold. Serve hot with peanut chutney.
Light Podalangaai Poriyal
Recipe from Priya’s Food Bites
- Podalangai – 2 cups (diced)
- Onions – 1 small (diced)
- Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
- Gram flour (or Pottu Kadalai flour) – 2 tbsp
- Salt to taste
- Oil – 1 tbsp
In a pan, heat oil, splutter mustard seeds. Add the onions and saute for a few minutes. To this, add the podalangai along with salt and water and allow to cook until the veggie is done. Sprinkle the flour to this and mix well. The flour will absorb the rest of the water. Remove from heat.
Also mentioned in the book were dhal soup, kootus and cardamom payasam. But for the sake of time (and if you really did read through this whole thing!) I’m going to stop here.
This weekend I am going to try to make the chapati and lentil dal. How about you? Have you tried making Indian food? If so, how did it turn out? Feel free to link to any fabulous recipes you know!