by Michael Vyskocil

Now that we’ve whetted your appetite for Indian cuisine with our profile of Kinara Indian Cuisine and Bar on page 58, why not create delicious Indian-inspired specialties from your home kitchen?

The following recipes for Indian chicken kabobs and rice with mixed vegetables use a multitude of spices to yield flavorful dishes that work well for lunch or dinner. For maximum flavor in these recipes, use the freshest spices you can find. Purchase spices in bulk at specialty food stores or through online retailers.

Chicken Kabobs with Indian Spices

(pictured above)

1 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves (1 bunch)
6 cloves garlic
1 2-inch piece fresh ginger
1 tablespoon garam masala (recipe follows)
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon cooking oil
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast halves,
cut into 1-inch pieces
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 lime, cut into wedges

  1. In a blender container, combine cilantro leaves, garlic and fresh ginger. Cover and blend ingredients until combined. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of water, blending and scraping sides to make a thick paste. Transfer to a large mixing bowl; stir in garam masala, coriander, and oil.

  2. Season chicken with salt. Add chicken to the cilantro mixture and gently toss to combine. Cover chicken and allow to marinate for 6 to 24 hours in the refrigerator.

  3. Thread chicken onto 8 long bamboo skewers, leaving ¼ inch between pieces. Heat a large cast-iron grill pan over medium-high heat. Place chicken skewers on grill; turn skewers occasionally during grilling to ensure all sides of the chicken are well marked. Grill for 12 to 14 minutes.

  4. Remove skewers from grill pan and serve with lime wedges. Makes 8 servings.

Garam Masala

Garam masala is an aromatic mixture commonly used for flavoring in Indian cooking. Makes about 2 tablespoons.

1 tablespoon cardamom seeds
1 two-inch stick cinnamon
½ teaspoon cumin seeds, preferably black
½ teaspoon whole cloves
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
¼ medium nutmeg

  1. Place all ingredients in a clean electric coffee grinder.

  2. Turn machine on and process until the spices have been finely ground, about 30 seconds.

indian cuisine

Indian Rice with Mixed Vegetables

1½ cups basmati rice
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 teaspoon black cumin seeds
2 green cardamom pods
2 black cardamom pods
1 2-inch-piece stick cinnamon
2 bay leaves
3 whole cloves
4 ounces fresh green beans, trim and sliced ¼ inch thick
2 small carrots, diced
½ cup fresh or frozen corn kernels (if frozen, rinse kernels in water and drain)
½ cup frozen green peas, rinsed in water and drained
2 cups hot water
1 teaspoon kosher salt

  1. Rinse rice in several changes of cold water until water is clear. Soak the rice in warm water to cover for 30 to 45 minutes. Drain.

  2. Heat oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat for 30 seconds. Tilt the pan and add the cumin seeds to the oil. Saute for 1 minute; add the green and black cardamom pods, cinnamon, bay leaves, and cloves. Cook and stir for 1 minute.

  3. Add the green beans to the skillet; cook for 2 minutes, stirring once or twice. Add carrots, corn and peas; cook for 3 minutes more. Add the drained rice; cook 1 minute more, stirring gently.

  4. Carefully add the hot water and salt to the skillet. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover skillet and simmer for 12 to 14 minutes or until rice is just tender.

  5. Remove skillet from heat and let rice stand, covered, for about 5 minutes. Remove lid from skillet; remove and discard cardamom pods, cinnamon, bay leaves and cloves. Fluff rice with a fork before serving.

  6. Transfer to a small airtight container and store in a cool, dark place. Makes 6 servings.