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Try an Indian feast as a alternate post-holiday fare

by Molly Gingell

Happy New Year’s, Carson City!

I hope everyone had a very merry Christmas. I always enjoy January, usually because it means a vacation for my family and me. The holidays are traditionally both wicked and wonderful for me. I love the thriving business of my catering company, the celebrations we are fortunate enough to help create, and the endless excitement of the Christmas tradition.

Yet, I am always relieved when January arrives so I can give one huge sigh of relief and realize that I have emerged unscathed from another holiday season.

Relief for me can manifest itself in creative ways. I usually like to cook something different from the seemingly endless supply of hors d’oeurves that I prepare throughout the holiday season.

This week, I would like to share with you some great recipes. How about some Indian food? Yum E a nice change from the holiday mode.

Let’s start with some Indian spiced peanuts for an hors d’oeurve.

VERENAGA

(Spicy Roasted Peanuts)

Makes 2 cups

1 T. canola oil

1-3/4 tsp. ground cumin

1-1/2 tsp. ground coriander

1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

2 cups salted, roasted peanuts

1/4 tsp. cayenne

1/2 tsp. turmeric

3/4 tsp. sugar

In a heavy skillet, heat oil over low heat until hot, but not smoking. Cook cumin, coriander and black pepper, stirring until fragrant — about 30 seconds. Add remaining ingredients, salt to taste, and cook, stirring, until peanuts are coated well — about 2 minutes. Serve peanuts warm or at room temperature.

Now, a cool crisp saladE

CUCUMBER SALAD

Serves 2

1 English cucumber

1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar

1 serrano chili (or less to taste), minced

Dash kosher salt

Dash fresh ground black pepper

Dash sugar

Seed English cucumber and cut into 1/4 -inch dices then, in a small bowl, stir together with remaining ingredients.

Now comes the entrZe E

THEWGAI KONJU CURRY

(Coconut Tiger Prawn Curry)

Serves 6

2 garlic cloves

1/2- inch piece fresh ginger root, peeled

3 fresh hot green chilies, such as serrano

2-1/2 cups thinly sliced sweet onion

1/4 cup canola oil

1-1/2 T. ground coriander

1 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. turmeric

1 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/8 tsp. ground cloves

One 14-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk

Two pounds jumbo tiger prawns or jumbo shrimp (about 24)

Mince garlic and ginger root. Wearing rubber gloves, finely chop chilies.

In a deep,12-inch, heavy skillet, cook onion in oil over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until edges are browned. Add garlic, ginger root, chilies and remaining ingredients, except coconut milk and prawns or shrimp, and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally for 8 minutes. Stir in coconut milk and remove from heat.

Shell prawns or shrimp, leaving tails and first shell segments intact. Devein and rinse well.

Bring sauce to a boil, stirring. Add prawns or shrimp and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until just cooked through about 3-5 minutes.

Every curry needs some great rice! I recommend jasmine rice. It is more flavorful and more fragrant than regular white rice.

JASMINE RICE

5-1/2 cups water

2 tsp. kosher salt

3 cups jasmine rice

Bring salted water to a boil. Add rice and cook, stirring, until water comes to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, until water is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Remove pan from heat and let stand undisturbed for 5 minutes. Fluff rice with fork and serve with curry.

If you can’t eat seafood, try the curry recipe with chicken, pork, or beef. I hope you will try this Indian menu — it’s fun and out-of-the-ordinary. Welcome to 2003!

Enjoy the new year!

Molly Gingell is the owner of Molly’s Gourmet Catering, takeout and cooking school at 220 W. John St. in Carson City.