intensely trivial

Recipes: beef in yogurt, peas ‘n’ potatoes, and ginger-jazzed brownies

The other night, we had a friend over for supper, and here are the recipes for what I cooked. They’re from some of my most-often-reached-for cookbooks. I wish I had photos to share with you.

Dahi Gosht (Beef in Yogurt)
From Cook by Numbers Indian, by Mahboob Momen. I read online that this is a North Indian dish often made with lamb. This was the most surprisingly delicious dish of the night. Even though I used less than half the heat called for in the original recipe, the sauce was spicy enough to make me cough until I added the coconut and almonds at the end. Despite the coughing, I was sort of addicted to the flavors and kept spooning the sauce out of the pan and into my mouth *cough cough; drink water; next bite*. Next time, I might leave out the coconut, since Dan’s not a big coconut fan. I pulled some homegrown beef from the freezer for this special occasion. This dish was Jonathan’s favorite; he ate a ton and keeps requesting the leftovers.


2 lbs. 4 oz. braising steak, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1/2” slices
4 T. corn oil
2 large onions, thinly sliced
4 green chiles, trimmed and sliced (I used one Thai chile)
2/3 c. beef stock


1 ¼ c. plain yogurt
4 garlic cloves crushed
1 t. coriander seeds
2 t. Indian chili powder (I used 1 t.)
2 t. ground cumin
2 t. freshly ground black pepper
2 t. salt


2 inches fresh gingerroot, peeled and grated or finely chopped
4 cloves
4 cardamom pods


Generous ½ c. dry unsweeted coconut
Generous ½ c. ground almonds

The day before:

Put BOWL 1 in a blender and process until smooth. Pour over the sliced beef, then cover and let marinate overnight or for 8 hrs. in the refrigerator.

To Cook:

1. Heat the oil in a large pan and cook the onions for 4-6 min., stirring continuously, until caramelized and golden.
2. Add BOWL 2 and cook for 2 min., stirring well.
3. Stir in the beef and marinade, then turn up the heat and cook for 5-10 min., or until the beef changes color, stirring frequently.
4. Add the green chiles, stirring well, and cook for 1 min.
5. Pour in the stock and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 min.
6. Stir in BOWL 3 and simmer for 15 min., or until the beef is completely tender. (I added extra water, because it seemed to be getting too dry.) Adjust the seasoning if necessary.

Crumbled Potatoes with Peas (Aloo Matar)
Adapted from World Vegetarian, by Madhur Jaffrey. I use this cookbook all the time! Her recipes are fairly simple and written in a friendly style. I used some highly sprouted, rubbery potatoes we’d had in the basement several months for this. (Didn’t tell our guest this, of course! They still tasted great!)

1 lb. potatoes, peeled or not (you can peel after boiling – depends on size of potatoes)
3 T. peanut or canola oil
¾ t. whole cumin seeds
1/8 t. whole fenugreek seeds
¾ c. peeled and chopped very ripe tomatoes
2 t. ground coriander
1 t. ground cumin
¼ t. ground turmeric
1 t. garam masala
1 c. peas (I threw them in frozen)
1 ¼ t. salt, or to taste
¼ to 1 t. cayenne (I used only about 1/4 t. for the sake of the kids)

Boil the potatoes in salted water till tender. Drain. Peel and break or cut into roughly ¾-inch pieces. Set aside.

Put the oil in a medium pot and set over medium-high heat. When hot, put in the whole cumin and fenugreek seeds. Ten seconds later, put in tomatoes, ground coriander, ground cumin, turmeric, and garam masala. Stir and cook until the liquid from the tomatoes has almost completely cooked off and you can see the oil. Add the potatoes, peas, salt, and cayenne. Stir gently a few times, then add 1 ¾ c. water and stir to mix well. Bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to low, cover, and cook gently for 20 min. Stir occasionally. If you like the sauce thicker, crush some potato pieces against the sides of the pot and mix into the sauce. Serve hot.

Ginger-Jazzed Brownies
Adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours, by Dorie Greenspan. Dorie and I are on a first-name basis. Dorie can do no wrong in the baking department. I am serious. I chose this recipe for dessert to continue the slightly spicy theme and stick to something fairly uncomplicated. (I mean, in comparison to, say, a lattice-crust pie or a multilayer torte.)

Whisk together and set aside:
¾ c. all-purpose flour
½ t. salt
½ t. ground ginger

Mix together and set aside:
2 T. finely minced, peeled, fresh ginger
1 ½ T. sugar

Melt 1 min. at a time in the microwave on a medium heat setting, or in a double-boiler, and then set aside to cool:
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

Additional ingredients:
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temp.
1 c. sugar
1/3 c. light corn syrup
½ t. vanilla
3 large eggs

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a 9” square pan w/ foil (I used an 8” pan and got deeper brownies but had to bake about 15 extra minutes), and spray the foil w/ cooking spray. Place the pan on a baking sheet.

Beat the butter at medium speed in a mixer until smooth and creamy. Beat in the corn syrup, then the 1 c. sugar, and continue to beat for another 2 min. or so, until the butter is smooth again and the sugar incorporated. Add vanilla. On medium speed, add the eggs one at a time, beating for 1 min. after each addition and scraping down the bowl as needed. Beat for 1 min. more, then reduce mixer speed to low and add the macerated ginger (and any liquid), then the dry ingredients, mixing only until the flour disappears. Using a rubber spatula, gently and thoroughly stir in the melted chocolate. Scrape the batter into the pan.
Bake for 30-35 min. (I think it took me 45 min. because of my smaller pan), or till the top forms an even sugar crust; a thin knife inserted into the center of the brownies should have streaks of moist, fudgy chocolate on it. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool to room temp.

Here’s what I did to dress them up:


Heat ½ c. heavy cream, 2 T. sugar, and 2 T. water to boiling in a small saucepan over medium heat. Pour cream mixture over 4 oz. bittersweet chocolate and let sit for a minute. Then stir until you have a smooth, blended, shiny glaze. Pour over the cooled brownies.

I chopped up some candied ginger and sprinkled it over the ganache, too.


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  1. * carmen says:

    Oh my, I love how adventurous your cooking is! My mouth is watering reading about those dishes, but I can’t even imagine the flavors, really.

    Posted 8 years, 2 months ago
  2. * maris says:

    Yum! Thanks so much for posting these! Can’t wait to try them…I’m hurting for new recipes!

    Posted 8 years, 2 months ago

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