Recipes from Issue #167: The India Issue

From remote tribal villages to frenzied capital cities, in India, food is life's organizing principle. For our August/September 2014 special India issue, we traversed the massive subcontinent, dipping into restaurants, markets, and homes to discover dishes both classic and new. From chutneys to flatbreads to regional specialties like Goa's pork vindaloo and Hyderabad's unique biryani, here are all the recipes from issue #167.

Green, unripe mangos are simmered with cardamom and clove to yield this tangy, spicy condiment. Smita Chandra, who wrote about her mother's homemade pickles in Preserving Culture, slathers it atop flaky paratha flatbreads. See the recipe for Aamba Khatta (Sweet and Sour Mango Pickle) »
This vegetarian Indian dish from the state of West Bengal features squash, potatoes, and gourds enriched with ghee and sweetened with grated coconut. Gently spiced with clove, cardamom, and cinnamon, it gets a touch of heat from green chiles. See the recipe for Ghanta Tarkari (Mixed Vegetable Coconut Curry) »
Triangular deep-fried pastries stuffed with spiced potatoes and peas are an iconic Indian snack. Pair them with tangy tamarind chutney or herbaceous coconut-cilantro chutney for dipping. See the recipe for Samosas (Fried Potato-Filled Pastries) »
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This classic Indian street snack flavors potato and chickpeas with an earthy combination of mustard seeds, cumin, curry leaves, and chiles. The savory mixture is dressed up with sweet tamarind chutney and crunchy fried chickpea noodles. Add cooling yogurt and cilantro or mint chutney for tangy and herbaceous counterpoints. See the recipe for Aloo Chana Chaat (Potato and Chickpea Snack) »
On the Indian table, where utensils are rare, flatbreads sop up soupy dishes and wrap morsels of food. The everyday flatbread is chapati, also known as roti, a pliant round made from whole wheat flour dough that is cooked on a dry skillet and then inflated and browned over an open flame. See the recipe for Chapatis (Whole Wheat Indian Flatbread) »
Ideal Corner, a restaurant in Mumbai's Fort district, specializes in the cuisine of the Parsi, followers of the prophet Zoroaster who began emigrating to India around the eighth century from Persia. The cuisine still bears that ancient influence: meats and vegetables paired with sweet and sour flavors and lavished with diverse spices. In this Parsi chicken curry, the sharp, sweet notes of the fruit and the spices—chiles, cinnamon, ginger, and cardamom—infuse the rich gravy and make for a complex interplay of sweet, sour, and piquant. See the recipe for Jardalu ma Marghi (Parsi-Style Chicken Curry with Apricots and Shoestring Potatoes) »
When author VK Sreelesh’s in-laws get together in the South Indian state of Kerala, they prepare traditional Keralan dishes such as this beet thoran, which his mother-in-law, Shyamala, and her cousin Jayanti make with tender ruby-red beets that are stir-fried with chiles, turmeric, and coconut oil. Shreelesh and his family devour the dish with rice, watching as the white grains turn a deep crimson red. See the recipe for Beetroot Thoran (South Indian Beet Stir-Fry) »
Cookbook author and cooking instructor Smita Chandra visited the SAVEUR test kitchen to help us develop the recipe for this classic South Indian soup, which is soured with tamarind and spiced with black pepper, coriander, cumin, and rasam powder—a toasted blend of chana dal, chiles, and whole spices, which can be made or purchased from specialty stores. See the recipe for Smita Chandra's Rasam (Spicy Tamarind Soup)
This Mumbai street-food snack was inspired by a recipe from cookbook author and teacher Raghavan Iyer. Mashed potatoes are seasoned with cumin, mustard seeds, curry leaves, ginger, and chile; balls of the aromatic mash are then coated in a turmeric-accented chickpea-flour batter and deep-fried until crisp and golden. See the recipe for Aloo Bonda (Indian Mashed Potato Fritters) »
This extravagantly spiced black chai tea, infused with ginger, clove, cardamom, cinnamon, and black pepper, is a staple in Northeast India. It is often served on city streets by vendors, who hawk the hot steaming beverage from makeshift metal trays. See the recipe for Masala Chai »
When writer VK Sreelesh visits his in-laws' house in the south Indian state of Kerala, papaya thoran is almost always on the table. Thoran is usually a dried dish that is mixed and eaten with rice; its ingredients can range from cabbage to beans to carrots to beets. For this papaya version, minced green papaya is first steamed and then mixed with robust coconut and chile paste, and spiced with cumin seeds, garlic, and turmeric. See the recipe for Papaya Thoran (Keralan-Style Fried Green Papaya) »
This five-ingredient Indian condiment from home cook Yamini Joshi is a snap to make, thanks to flavor-packed tamarind paste and the spice blend sambar masala. Serve it with dosas. See the recipe for Red Chutney »
This fragrant spice mix made with fenugreek seeds, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, curry leaves, and other aromatics is an essential ingredient in sambar, the ubiquitous split-pea stew of South India. See the recipe for Sambar Masala »
As cookbook author Madhur Jaffrey discovered while traveling through the South Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, palakoora vepadu, fresh spinach sautéed with aromatics such as cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, curry leaves, and turmeric, is a staple in South Indian messes (mess halls). See the recipe for Palakoora Vepadu (Andhra-Style Sautéed Spinach) »
In coastal South India, coconuts are used for a variety of dishes, including this sumptuous ivory-colored and nutty-flavored chutney. This version is made with yellow split peas, grated coconut, and green Thai chiles, and is traditionally served with dosas, South Indian fermented lentil and rice crêpes. See the recipe for Thengai Chutney (Coconut Chutney) »
Bananas and grapes are sweetened with jaggery—lump cane sugar—and seasoned with black pepper and sulphurous volcanic black salt in this spiced fruit chutney from the north of India. The Gupta family, Marwari Hindus from Mathura who are strict vegetarians, like to make it to go alongside dal, semolina breads, and vegetable masalas. See the recipe for Sonth (Marwari Masala-Spiced Fruit Chutney) »
This brisk salad spiced with chiles and cumin comes to us from the Gupta family, Marwari Hindus from the northern Indian town of Mathura. Followers of Krishna, they observe a strict vegetarian diet; this simple, lively side dish makes a frequent appearance on their table. See the recipe for Marwari Radish and Tomato Salad »
Okra is cooked until crisp for this dish flavored with garam masala. See the recipe for Bhindi Masala (North Indian Okra Stir-Fry) »
Among the most beloved dishes in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh is the pesarattu, a savory pancake made with a batter of whole mung beans. The beans are soaked, blended, and spread thinly on a griddle. According to cookbook author Madhur Jaffrey, the big, crisp, nutritious pancakes are best enjoyed with a creamy coconut chutney and some sweet, milky coffee on the side. See the recipe for Pesarattu (Whole Mung Bean Pancakes) »
Often served in South India as thevasam, or memorial, food, this curry is flavored with a simple combination of sesame seeds and black peppercorns, instead of the more lively spice blends used in everyday cooking. See the recipe for Yellu Molaghu Vazhaipazham (Plantain with Sesame Seeds and Peppercorns) »
Pork and bamboo feature prominently in Northeast Indian cooking. One example is this braised pork belly, spiced with Thai chiles, garlic, ginger, and turmeric, from cookbook author Jyoti Das. It is inspired by an Assamese tribal dish. See the recipe for Baanhgajor Lagot Gahori (Pork Belly with Fermented Bamboo) »
While the Northeastern Indian state of Assam is best known for its tea, the food is equally notable. Like many dishes in the area, the one presented here relies on the banana tree—in this case, the flower. Traditionally, pigeon is used as a main ingredient, but we discovered chicken wings are a great substitute. See the recipe for Koldilere Rondha Paro Manxo (Assamese Pigeon with Banana Flower) »
In northern India, where the thermostat can hit well into the 100s on a summer day, a whole host of drinks are sold on the streets and in cafés to beat the heat. Many of these include copious spice, which induces the perspiration that cools you down; this bubbly limeade gets a spicy kick from a pinch of coarsely ground black pepper. With its lip-smacking tang, it's the perfect refresher to combat the summer heat. See the recipe for Nimbu Pani (Lime Juice with Seltzer, Black Pepper, and Sugar) »
Crispy chickpea-battered vegetable fritters are a popular street-food snack throughout India. This recipe calls for potatoes and onion, but cauliflower florets, eggplant slices, or plantains can also be used. Pair them with tangy tamarind chutney or herbaceous coconut-cilantro chutney for dipping. See the recipe for Pakoras (Indian Vegetable Fritters) »
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