Cookbook: Moghul Microwave

May 27 2007 - 12:38 PM

It sounds too good to be true. Those fabulous sauces whipped up in the old microwave without all of the traditional – fat and time consuming, (and kitchen infusing) methods? Can’t be.

Julie Sahni has figured on the adjustable power of the microwave and a variety of glass cookware to cover off on different cooking techniques but it seems that I was operating at 100% in covered glass pots almost entirely. I bailed on a microwavable browning pan since I don’t have one and don’t know if they even make them anymore. The cookbook is from 1990. She also published Classic Indian Cooking in 1980 and Classic Indian Vegetarian and Grain Cooking in 1985.

Some interesting additions in the back include mung broth and how to make ghee… basically clarify the butter and then keep it going for about 5 minutes, until all the water fizzles out and the butter darkens. Without getting too carried away I wanted to see how easy these dishes are. I gave it a shot with a mulligatawny, chicken makhani and a gobi vindaloo.  The combined prep time of 20 minutes sounded too good to be true and I have the advantage of getting some of the tough to find ingredients at the local Devon groceries so finding asafetida is easy for me. I have to give this a shot.

There are separate recipes that break out the proteins so I followed the directions for the chicken tikka and the cauliflower. The cauliflower was easy – coat a head in lemon juice and salt then microwave covered for 5 minutes or until soft. The tikka was a fairly straightforward marinade and here I broke the rules and fried up the chicken. What can I say.

The makani or butter chicken is a favorite and while it definitely doesn’t compare to Sabri, it has no butter in it! It does have cream instead. You can tell as it sits by how much sauce separation you get. This was nothing like the pooling oil you get from that Sabri butter chicken (NOTE* the Sabri butter chicken is one of those dishes actually worth its weight in fat, not like an awesome blossom – which not only will kill you but will karmically ensure that you end up in all the crappy buffet lines in heaven). In other words it was as good as I had hoped it to be. I’ll definitely make it again and it was very easy to prepare.

While the cauliflower was a simple step I must have screwed the pooch somewhere with the vindaloo. Maybe it was fresh ground cloves or too much cinnamon but it came out to be a very compote-like and just not curry-ish. It was also reallly spicy. I’ve been using black/brown mustard seeds instead of the yellow so I’m not sure if that bore some responsibility here too but I think that’s the seed of choice with Indian food. I really have to try it again. It had moments of terrific potential but I think I screwed it up.

The mulligatawny was hot and simple clear broth. The fried tomatoes and mustard seed added lots of heat and it had a decent flavor but it was missing something. I need a bowl or two in a restaurant to figure this one out but it was edible, tasty and definitely a great start.

Considering I’ve never even thought about making Indian food this was a really simple way to get off to a great start. Not only is it nice to expand into another ethnicity food-wise but crossing over a perfected vindaloo sauce into fajitas or as a BBQ sauce… that could be something special.

It’s out of print but available on Amazon.

Moghul Microwave
Cooking Indian Food the Modern Way
Julie Sahni

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