I'm not shy about my lack of exposure to ethnic foods. Growing up, pork lo mein was about the most exotic thing that passed my lips. And even then, I'd pick out the onions and the "green things." (Scallions? Herbs? No way, no how).
Though my palate has certainly expanded beyond Chinese takeout, I've yet to try Indian food. The closest I've come is Martha Stewart's Easiest Indian Stew, which I made last night for dinner (and lunch today, and most likely tomorrow, too!)
This stew was thick and filling and would be perfect for anyone who prefers a vegetarian style of eating. I served it atop a bowl of pearled barley seasoned with ginger and oregano, that had spent the day cooking in my Rival Dip Master 1.5 Quart Crock Pot. It's a little spicy but the barley, which had a thick, creamy texture after slow-cooking all day, evened out the strong flavors.
Easiest Indian Stew
Serves 4 (large portions; could easily serve 6)
1 cup long-grain white rice (I substituted the rice for barley)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, such as safflower
1 medium onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 tablespoon curry powder, plus more for garnish
1 teaspoon ground ginger
3 cups homemade or best-quality store-bought tomato sauce
2 cans (15 ounces each) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, plus lime wedges for garnish
1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1. Cook rice according to package instructions; cover, and keep warm. While rice is cooking, heat oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add onion and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until onion is tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Add curry powder and ginger; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
2. Add tomato sauce, chickpeas, and 1 1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 8 to 10 minutes.
3. Stir in lime juice; season with salt and pepper. Serve stew with rice and yogurt, garnished with lime wedges and a pinch of curry.