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I grew up in India, so my first experience with American holiday traditions was with my wife’s family. They’re Jewish, but they do Christmas bigger, badder, and louder than most, not to mention their over-the-top Thanksgiving feasts. Turkey’s hard to cook and always dry, so I’m always thinking, what can I do that’s as centerpiece worthy?
Masala means “mixture,” and this is one fine combination of ginger, garlic, onions, and a flurry of delicious and fragrant Indian spices (turmeric, coriander, garam masala). We call for mustard greens here, but you can substitute with other leafy greens, like kale or spinach.
The recipe for the very popular okra fries on the menus at both Chai Pani locations and MG Road comes directly from the chef’s mother, and it couldn’t be much easier to follow at home. “I’m pretty sure my mom invented this recipe,” Irani says. “It was the only way she could get me to eat okra."
This Indian kebab marinade is equally perfect for a weekend barbecue or a Tuesday night dinner (and the marinade will keep in the refrigerator for up to four weeks and can be used with beef, lamb, or chicken). And soy sauce in an Indian dish? You better believe it. It’s natural umami takes the lamb in a very interesting direction.
Roasting root vegetables is a tradition that spans the globe. Here’s a delicious and fragrant Indian take, where beets, carrots, and turnips are tossed with Indian spices and finished with lime juice.
Chef Irani graciously shared his recipe for Malabar Chicken Curry from Chai Pani with The Aerogram’s readers, for those of us who won’t be making it to Asheville, North Carolina, or Decatur, Georgia, for a while.
There’s a standard side of rice, and there is pulao—a fragrant and fancy bowl of rice laced with almonds, raisins and Indian spices.
Just in time for the local sweet corn season, Chai Pani in Decatur offers this recipe for a refreshing summer salad.