Your Recipe Reference for Ragas Live(stream) Festival 2020 @ Home
A portrait from Brooklyn and The World
For 24 hours, beginning Saturday, November 21st at 7pm, global music legends will join from their various corners of the globe, as part of the 9th Ragas Live Festival! Below, we have collected recipes from the artists themselves, as well as home chefs, to help you taste the sounds emanating from around the globe.
Just as the Ragas Live Festival is rooted in Indian classical music but also celebrates innovations (what has been called a Raga Renaissance), the foods captured here have a parallel trajectory. All of the recipes here (and on the entirety of this site) are made and enjoyed in the homes of people who have roots in these geographic boundaries and have various geographic and cultural trajectories of their own.
Not unlike the musical artists who studied hard with their gurus and are as adept at masterfully performing a classical raga as they are transforming it to speak to them, these recipes come from home cooks who are steeped in the tradition of their homeland and have also adapted their recipes to account for their taste preferences, availability of ingredients, or even whims.
Which is all to say, we use countries to orient readers geographically, but do not pretend that “Indian” begins to represent the deeply rich and varied cuisines across that country. Similarly, the “Malian” dishes presented here are versions of dishes that have variations across western Africa and predate geographic borders.
Then scroll through the below to choose your snacks or entrees and make your shopping list! If you are in the NYC area, you can use the online grocer Mirchi to find/deliver some items that may not be in your local grocery store. At the time of writing, there were still delivery windows available! Act fast cuz you know how it goes during COVID. 🙂
A popular dish in West Africa, this has been adapted to provide smaller tastes to a large group (cutting chicken small instead of leaving large). We didn't add the carrots last time, but we wish that we had so have included them here. If you are making it for full meals, you can use bone-in chicken (or other meat!) and it will save you some time in cooking and separating from the marinade. Adjust the timing of chicken in the marinade per the size of the cut. If small, marinating for 30 minutes is fine and probably no more than 1 hour. Traditionally served with rice or couscous, French bread was recommended as a good picnic version (and not uncommon in Mali).
3cupslemon juice(about 8-10 lemons worth)
3 ½cupsonionsthinly sliced
1tbsphabaneroseeded and diced
5lbsboneless chicken thigh, skinned and cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2cuppeanut oil (separated)
3cupscarrots sliced in 1/2 inch chunks
2tspfreshly-grated black pepper(separated)
more salt and pepper to taste
Juice the lemons and prep the chicken, onions, carrots and habanero per the ingredient list.
In a large, non-reactive bowl, mix lemon juice, dijon mustard, onions, and habanero. Then add chicken and leave to marinate in the fridge.
Cook the Yassa
Separate the chicken pieces from the marinade, wipe dry, and keep aside. Note that drying it is important to allow the chicken to brown, but it also won't end up terrible if there is a tiny bit of liquid! While you're in there, also separate out the onions from the liquid of the marinade and keep aside.
Heat a large pot over medium heat. When hot, add 1/4 cup peanut oil and brown the chicken, then remove the chicken, cover with foil and keep aside.
In the same pot, heat it again to medium and add the remaining oil. Add the onions and cook them until beginning to brown. Add the liquid portion of the marinade, and when bubbling, add the carrots and the peanut butter. Cook for 10 minutes then add the chicken pieces, and continue to cook until the chicken is cooked through and carrots are tender.
Serve with rice or couscous, or just some French bread.
Along with Mafe, "Le To Sauce Gombos" is another favorite dish of Salif Keita. The "To" in this dish is a dumpling made of millet and/or corn flour, and it is eaten with Sauce Gombos, which is an okra stew. To be more picnic-friendly, we decided to eat it with French bread, which was delicious. For the To recipe, see the link for "To Sauce Gombos" in the notes below.
KeywordMalian, Okra, Picnic
2lbsfresh okrawith tops removed and chopped small (or grated)
1/4tspsalt (and more to taste)
2tspSoumbala SoupA very typical condiment in West Africa. There is no substitute that I can find, but I did use 4 tbsp white miso to get a bit of fermented taste and it was great.
Heat a large pan over medium heat. When hot, add the oil, and then the diced onion, and cook until the onion begins to brown.
Add the okra and salt and cook, stirring only occasionally to allow the okra to stick to the bottom and brown a bit.
Once the okra is soft and has browned a bit, add the Soumbala (or miso), and stir to combine. Then add 1/2 cup of the hot broth and scrape up the browned bits. When there are no more browned bits, add the remaining broth and cook until okra is soft and soup is combined.
Recipe for “To,” which is Salif Keita’s favorite accompaniment for Sauce Gombos: https://www.burkina-faso.ca/plat-national-du-burkina-le-to-sauce-gombos/
Just a few more options to throw on there. Hey, it’s COVID after all and many of us are expanding our cooking repertoires… did someone say sourdough? These are family recipes that (at least as as of early November 2020) are not part of a Cultures Capsules portrait.
2-3tbspsimple syrupThis depends on the consistency of simple syrup. Start with 2 tbsp
2tbspsugarAgain, depends on the consistency/sweetness of your simple syrup
1tspsea salt(or more to taste)
2tbspgaram masala(or more to taste)
Preheat oven to 250F (121C) & line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Tip: it helps to have the parchment folded up on all sides; otherwise, when you stir, some cashews will get lost under the paper.
Put raw cashews right onto the parchment paper, and drizzle with 2 tbsp simple syrup and mix until just coated to allow spices/salt/sugar to stick to the cashews. Too much or too watery simple syrup will mean you will cook it longer to evaporate the liquid.
Add sugar, sea salt, and garam masala to the cashews and mix well.
Spread out over in one layer on the lined baking sheet and bake for about 15-20 mins, stirring a few times.
We like to take them out just as they begin to brown.
1cupsalted butter, softened250g, full fat European style preferred
1cupbrown sugar, firmly packedhave not yet tried cassonade in France!
½cupsugarIn France: sucre poudre
2tspvanillaextract or powder works
2cupsflour240g. In France: type 65 organic
3cupsoatmeal240g uncooked, and NOT quick/instant
1cupraisinsmore or less to taste
Preheat oven to 350F (177C) and line baking sheets w/ parchment paper.
In a mixer, beat softened butter and both sugars until soft and creamy, scraping down the sides. Add the eggs and vanilla, and continue to beat on high for 3-5 minutes until soft and fluffy.
Add 1/2 cup flour, garam masala and baking powder, and beat on low until combined. Continue to add flour 1/2 a cup at time until fully incorporated, scraping the sides of the bowl down.
Remove batter from the beaters and if using a stand mixer, remove the bowl to stir in the oats and raisins by hand.
Drop 1-1.5 tbsp sized blobs of batter (not neat balls) onto the parchment-lined cookie sheet, at least an inch apart. Bake for 6-8 minutes or until bottoms are browning and tops are just barely browning. Allow them to cool for one minute on the pan, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.Don't overcook! They are best soft. Mmmmmm…
This makes a huge batch so be sure to roll some out into a log, wrap in parchment paper, and put in an airtight freezer bag to be ready to slice and bake. Warning: this may change your life!
Adapted from "Indradhanush – Seven Day Vegetarian Menu" by Snehalatha Ravindra.
KeywordBurfi, Coconut, Ganesh, Indian Sweet, Mithai
2cupsdesiccated UNSWEETENED coconut
Prep: Cut a piece of parchment paper or grease a cookie sheet or other flat platter.
Cook: In a thick-bottomed pan, mix coconut, sugar, milk & ghee. Cook on medium heat, stirring constantly.When the mixture begins pulling away from the sides of the pan (5-10 minutes depending on the size of your pan and your heat source), add the cardamom (and rose essence if using). Continue cooking until the mixture comes together into one lump. Avoid overcooking, lest it becomes too dry.
Set: Pour it on the ghee-greased platter and press it down with a spatula until it starts hardening.When it's set a bit and is cool to the touch, cut into diamonds. A large knife is usually sufficient but you may want to try a pizza cutter.
Someday, I will discover a more precise indication of doneness than “coming into a lump”. Even today, sometimes I miss the mark. And once, I got so impatient I added 2 tbsp of almond flour I wanted to use up, just to thicken it a bit. It was very tasty.BUT, even if it is overcooked a bit and becomes crumbly, it is still a great topping for ice cream, yogurt, fruit crumbles… it just takes on a new purpose in life. 🙂
This was one of the 3 dishes I made in early 2001 (nearly 2 decades ago!), the first time I attempted cooking Indian food. My Hyderabadi husband had never heard of this common Rajasthani dish. I didn't know it either! In those days, there weren't as many recipes online. A novice like me chose a cookbook at an actual bookstore, simply based on the number of color photos to provide me a guide as to what I was aiming for. Didn't sound super complicated and seemed to balance out the rest of the menu (Pistachio Korma, Pulau, and homemade Kulfi).Alas, it was a huge hit, and then I had to make it for his friends! It has now evolved into a family favorite.
4cupswatermeloncut into 1-inch cubes
1.5tspfresh lemon juiceor lime juice
Cut up the watermelon and remove the seeds. Peel off the skin and cut the flesh into 1-inch cubes.
Take 1 cup of the chopped watermelon and blend to make juice. Add paprika, turmeric, coriander, and garlic to the juice. Salt to taste.
Heat the oil in a wok and add the cumin seeds. Within 20 seconds, add the watermelon juice. Lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes or so, so that the spices cook completely and the liquid is reduced by a third. Add sugar, then add lemon (or lime) juice and cook for 1 minute.
Add the chopped watermelon and cook over low heat for 3 to 4 minutes, gently tossing it until all the pieces are covered in the spice mixture.
We make two versions of this at home. One is a Dahbah version that tends towards tangy tomato and chili-spicy, and one that tends more towards a bit of cinnamon. This version is more chaat style, and is perfect with hot, fresh pooris.
Set dried chickpeas to cook if you aren't using cans. Make ginger-garlic paste, if needed. Chop up onion, and tomato, put all dry spices in a small bowl.
Set a deep, heavy-bottomed pot to medium heat. When hot, add oil, swirling to heat through. Add cumin seeds, and swirl the pan to coat. When the cumin seeds change color and are fragrant, add chopped onion to it and sauté till they are brown.
Add the ginger-garlic paste and sauté for 1-2 minutes until raw scent of garlic and ginger fades. Add all the dry spices to it and cook 1-2 minutes until it is fragrant and begins to stick to the bottom of the fan. Add the chopped blanched tomatoes and salt, using the liquid of the tomatoes to scrape up spices, etc. that are stuck to the bottom of the pan.
Continue to cook the tomatoes till they are soft and nearly coming to a paste. Add a tad of water if it begins to stick to the pan.
When tomatoes are all mashed, add the Maggi sauce and chickpeas and stir to coat. Bring to a simmer and continue to cook for about 10 minutes, to combine flavors. Add a bit of water if it begins to get dry and sticks to the bottom of the pan. Taste and add salt or spices as needed.
While simmering, prepare the garnish, and pooris, or better yet, let it cool and eat it the next day when flavors have further deepened.
Serve it topped with chopped fresh cilantro leaves, with bhature, poori, or chapatti, with sliced onion and lemon wedge by the side.And there you have it, friends… Chole Masala!!!
3tbpskasuri methi(recipe said 1/2 tsp but I LOVE the extra)
3/4tspsalt plus more for paneer
Wash spinach and set to dry.
Chop onions & tomatoes, prep ginger garlic paste and spices.
Set a large heavy-bottomed pan to medium heat. When hot, add 1 tbsp oil, and then the fenugreek seeds. When fragrant, add the spinach and cook until wilted and the raw spinach smell is gone (3-4 minutes). Put cooked spinach into the food processor to cool, and put the pan back on the stove to reuse. When the spinach cools, puree it, adding 1/4 cup water, if necessary.
Reheat the pan to medium heat, and add 1 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp oil. When the oil is hot, add the cinnamon stick, cumin seeds, and cloves. Swirl pan to coat, and when the spices become fragrant, add the onions. Cook the onions until golden stirring frequently. Then add ginger garlic paste and fry until the raw small dissipates (1-2 minutes). Add the tomatoes and cook until they break apart entirely. Add garam masala powder and combine. Then add 1/2 cup water and allow to continue to cook until onions and tomatoes have combined almost entirely into one sauce.
Meanwhile, fry the paneer: Cut the paneer into long strips about 3/4 inch thick, and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Heat 1/2 tbsp oil in a pan and when hot, add the paneer and slightly brown on 3-4 of the long sides. When done, remove from pan. Cut into 1 inch long pieces and cover with foil to keep warm/moist.
When the onion and tomato have combined, add the kasuri methi leaves and spinach mixture to the pan, and stir to combine. Add a bit of water and cook it for 2-3 minutes but take care not to overcook here to retain the bright color of the spinach.
Lower the heat and add the paneer, cream, and salt.
Though we watched and helped make pooris in Nani's Hyderabad kitchen many times, we hadn't perfected our own in our Brooklyn kitchen. During the Covid-19 pandemic, we called Nani over FaceTime to have her help us along.
Coursebread, Side Dish
CuisineIndian, north indian, south indian
Keywordfried bread, poofed bread
heavy-bottomed pot for frying
1cupatta see below
1/4cupwaterplus more as needed
sunflower oil (to fry)
In a medium bowl, mix the oil into the atta and salt until crumbly. Add 1/4 cup of water and mix until combined. If more water is needed, slowly add more – a teaspoon at a time – careful not to add too much. You want the dough to come together and be elastic-y but not sticky! For this recipe, no need to knead or rest the dough.
Working quickly, make small, 1-inch balls (just shy of a golf ball) and set aside, covered. When all balls have been made, begin rolling them out to 1/8 of an inch thick with a rolling pin, carefully making them as round as possible, without too much fussing. Keep them aside until all the balls are rolled out.
In a heavy-bottomed pot good for deep frying, add sunflower oil until it is about 1/2 inch deep. When very hot (when one small bit of dough floats, it's hot enough), carefully slide in your first poori, holding one side and allowing it to slip into the hot oil. It should float and within seconds, it should begin to poof up and brown on the underside. Spooning a tad of oil on top will also help it to poof up. As soon as it poofs up, use tongs to flip it over and allow it to brown for a second or two. Remove poori with tongs and allow to cool on a paper towel-lined plate. Repeat for remaining discs of dough.
In Hyderabad, Nani most often serves these for breakfast along with aloo curry (potato curry), but our second favorite combo is channa masala (chick pea curry). It's also delicious with simple scrambled eggs.
Pooris have variations all over India. Choice of flour(s) and fat vary by area, which in turn changes the need for the dough to rest – or not! This represent’s Nanis’ version.
Atta is a wheat flour found in Indian stores. It is not exactly whole wheat nor unbleached. Prior attempts with whole wheat flour were not successful but I’ll keep trying with various ratios and report back.
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