Could you please pass the gravy?

November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving Spread

What would Thanksgiving be without gravy? When creating my South Indian Thanksgiving menu, the gravy was the thing that posed the biggest issue in my mind. I needed something that would stand up to the big flavors of the tandoori turkey and spicy mashed potatoes without overwhelming the taste buds. I thought about it for quite a while before I decided upon a Tamarind Gravy.

Tamarind is a fruit pulp that is often used in Indian and Caribbean cooking, as well as many other Asian and African cuisines. It can range from sour to sweet, depending on how ripe the fruit is. It can be bought in a block or a paste (which is easier to deal with) at many ethnic grocery stores.

Out of all the dishes I made for my South Indian Thanksgiving, this was the one I thought might end up in the garbage can. But the resulting flavor was delicious, and my husband and I were reaching for second and third pieces of naan to sop up the gravy on our plate. The great thing about this recipe is it is based on a roux of butter and flour, so you can make it vegetarian by adding vegetable stock instead of a poultry stock if you have vegetarian guests. (more…)

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Some Greens for the Thanksgiving Table

November 22, 2010

Creamed Saag
I always struggle with what types of greens to put on the table for Thanksgiving. Though I love creamed spinach, it always seems too indulgent for an already cream-and-butter-laden meal. Green beans are my default, because everyone else seems to love them so much, but they’re really not my favorite. Asparagus isn’t in season, and broccoli just doesn’t seem very Thanksgiving at all.

However, for last year’s Southern Indian-inspired Thanksgiving, the sides weren’t too creamy, so I decided to do a riff on creamed spinach that contained a hint of cream, but was also filled with flavors and spices of India, so as not to be bland. The result is one of my favorite ways to serve spinach, Thanksgiving or not! (more…)

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Punching up the basics: Masala Mashed Potatoes

November 21, 2010

Masala Mashed Potatoes

Part of the beauty of making a South Indian Thanksgiving is the sides themselves are easily inspired by the vegetarian cuisine of Southern India. If you have a blended group of carnivores and vegetarians coming to dinner, this menu is sure to please both. The vegetables will be full of flavor without any added meat (it really is possible to make vegetables without bacon fat!), and the tandoori turkey will be a perfect complement to the vegetables that will end up stealing the show.

Mashed potatoes are a must at every Thanksgiving, but these get a spicy makeover with ginger, curry leaves, mustard seeds, and tumeric. The result is a flavorful potato that will have your guests asking for seconds, thirds, and possibly fourths! (more…)

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Tandoori Turkey

November 19, 2010

Tandoori Turkey in the Oven

After many years of thinking about how to bring my husband’s traditional foods and mine together for a meal like Thanksgiving, I finally decided to take the plunge and try out the recipes dancing through my head last year. The centerpiece was a tandoori turkey. While I didn’t build a traditional tandoor oven like I had envisioned, this version turned out quite nicely. It had a mild spice and the spatchcocking of the turkey took the cook time down to about an hour and a half. (more…)

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