Raghavan Iyer's new cookbook, Indian Cooking Unfolded, is our Top Pick in Cookbooks! Each of these 100 recipes uses 10 ingredients or fewer, all of which you can find at your everyday market. There's no better way to learn to cook Indian food at home!
Makes 12 cakes; serves 6
2. hile the potatoes are cooking, place the onion, cilantro, mint, and chiles in the bowl of a food processor. Using the pulsing action, mince the blend to create an earthy, pungent mix that has a strong minty aroma. Letting the processor run constantly instead of using quick pulses will break down the onion into a watery mess that will create excess liquid.
3. Once the potatoes are fall-apart ten- der, drain them in a colander and place them in a medium-size bowl. Mash them well. Wet the bread slices with warm tap water, then squeeze them tight to remove all excess water. Add the mass to the pota- toes. Scrape the minced onion–mint medley over this mélange and sprinkle the salt and turmeric on top. Using your hand, squeeze the mixture to break apart the damp bread into smaller pieces, making sure you incor- porate all of it into the potatoes to make a bumpy-feeling dough. It will be sun-yellow and speckled with green herbs.
4. Coat the dough with the 2 tablespoons of oil. Form the dough into a thick log. Cut it in half lengthwise and cut each half into 6 equal portions. Shape each portion into a ball about the size of a golf ball and press it gently between your palms to flatten it into a patty that is about 3 inches in diameter and 1?2 inch thick.
5. Line a plate or baking sheet with paper towels. Pour oil to a depth of 1?8 to 1?4 inch into a large skillet (preferably nonstick or cast iron). Heat the oil over medium heat until it appears to shimmer. Place 6 of the patties in the skillet and panfry until the bottoms are golden brown and crisp, 3 to 5 minutes. (You are cooking only 6 because you don’t want to overcrowd the skillet and get greasy results.) Turn the patties over and cook them until the second side is nicely browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer the patties to the paper towels to drain. Repeat with the remaining 6 patties.
6. Serve the potato cakes warm.
Our August Top Pick in Cookbooks is Raghavan Iyer's Indian Cooking Unfolded, a wonderfully accessible "Master Class" for cooking Indian food. Cooking columnist Sybil Pratt calls this one "maharajah-worthy."
2. Combine the vinegar, chiles, salt, and nutmeg in a small bowl to make a slurry. Set the slurry aside.
3. Fill up a medium-size bowl with cold water. Take a leaf of kale, cut along both sides of the tough rib, and discard it. Slice the leaf in half lengthwise. Repeat with the remaining leaves. Stack the leaf halves, about 6 at a time, one on top of the other, and roll them into a tight log. Thinly slice the log crosswise; you will end up with long, slender shreds. When cutting the kale, you can’t help notice how strong smelling and grassy it is (no wonder I love the smell of fresh-mowed grass in the summer). Dunk the shreds into the bowl of water to rinse off any grit, then scoop the shreds out and drain them in a colander. Repeat once or twice if the kale does not appear clean.
4. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil appears to shimmer, add the turmeric-smeared fillet to the skillet. The instant sizzle and sear will turn the salmon light brown on the underside, about 2 minutes. Turn it over and repeat with the second side, about 2 minutes. Transfer the fish to a plate. Add the garlic to the skillet and stir-fry it until light brown and aromatic, about 1 minute.
5. Pour the vinegar-based spice slurry into the skillet and stir to mix with the garlic. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes. The pungency will slap you in the face (in a good way—I promise) and the liquid will release all the browned bits of fish from the bottom of the skillet into the thin sauce.
6. Add the kale shreds and stir to coat them evenly with the liquid. Pour 1?2 cup of water into the skillet and stir. Lower the heat to medium, cover the skillet, and stew the kale, stirring occasionally, until the shreds are tender when tested (and tasted, I hope), 5 to 8 minutes.
7. Stir the coconut milk into the kale. Let the milk come to a boil uncovered. Add the seared salmon to the liquid, basting it to make sure it continues to poach. Cook, uncovered, scooping up the sauce and basting the fish occasionally, until it barely starts to flake, 3 to 5 minutes.
8. Transfer the fish to a serving plate. Let the sauce boil, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until it thickens, 3 to 4 minutes. Pour the sauce over the salmon and serve.