I've been a fan of Indian food since my college years, when I first explored New York City in search of new and different foods like Thai and Vietnamese (they were "new" to me, since I had spent my whole life at the Jersey shore, and went to NYC only for museum visits, the circus, and a Yes concert on their 90210 tour, or whatever it was -- none of those trips included much eating). I still remember my first visits to A Taste of India, which was, and I believe still is, on Bleecker in the Village. These were certainly new and exotic flavors to my palate, and there's no reason you should care about any of that whatsoever.
For some reason I've never tried to cook Indian food. I've butchered Thai, and Japanese, and most other culture's foods, but never Indian. A few weeks ago I figured it was about time, so I consulted a trusted source: Suvir Saran.
Suvir and his partner Chef Hemant are co-chefs at the wonderful (and 2007 Michelin starred) Devi in New York. I've been chowing on their food for a few years now, and they always blow me away, not only with their food, but also with their hospitality.
Suvir's recipe (which is often attributed to Stephanie Lyness as well, who is the co-author of his book Indian Home Cooking) for Lahori Chicken is a great introduction to Indian cooking. It's easy, fast, and packs great bang-for-the-buck flavor-wise. Lahori chicken is a simple curry with onion and tomato.
The recipe can be found on this website here. I won't repost it outright because Suvir posted it on that site and easy enough to find, and I don't want to feel like I'm stealing. Although, with that ass-kissing above, I'm sure he wouldn't mind.
I didn't use a whole chicken only because I had a bunch of thighs, which are always preferable to boobs. Don't over-do the cloves like I did, because they'll end up in the dish, and they're some strong little buggers. Other than that this recipe can't miss. There's really nothing more to say about the process.
I served the chicken with my version of Suvir's Manchurian cauliflower. I don't follow the recipe at all for this dish. I simply roast the cauliflower at 425 with olive oil, salt and pepper, and toss in a small amount of "sauce" made from slightly reduced ketchup, garlic, and cayenne pepper. However, if you have a chance, go to Devi for there real thing. It's quite incredible for all of its simplicity.
With this highly spiced and dish we drank a Chateau Ste. Michelle's 2005 Columbia Riesling. It's an off-dry Riesling, and a juicy wine. At 12% ABV, it's a bit more boozy than German Rieslings, which are my preference. But it went nicely with the meal. 9 or 10 dollars at most places.
This was a great dish that I'd recommend to anyone who wants some of those great Indian flavors in about 45 minutes with ingredients that you can find at any supermarket.
Devi : 8 East 18th Street (btwn 5th and B'way) : New York, NY : 212.691.1300