Indian Home Cooking

Local ingredients meet the flavors of India with Amerjit Gahg.

Easy homemade chutneys, chicken tikka and naan you can make at home.

These recipes are vibrant and and colorful, much like Amerjit Gahg, an excellent cook and the owner of Island Bungalow Hawaii, an eclectic Kailua boutique filled with one-of-a-kind fashion, home furnishings and art. A designer and decorator, many of the pieces sold at Island Bungalow are her designs made by artisans in India.

Amerjit was my downstairs neighbor at Ward Warehouse and the recipes here are from a class she taught at CookSpace on Indian spices and easy, everyday Indian cooking. I use the chutneys as dips, and to level up grilled fish for a fresh, healthy dinner. The Chicken Tikka is a tried and true favorite that I make often.  You’ll never go back to store-bought naan, once you make Amerjit’s recipe. It’s easy and the pay off is amazing – tender, soft rounds of goodness.  – Melanie Kosaka   photo credit: Megan Tomino    

Roasted Mango Chutney

Ingredients
3 mangoes washed, dried and scored* 
salt and pepper, to taste

*Amerjit likes to select mangoes that are in between green and yellow. They have a tangy sweetness.

Method: Bake in the oven at 350 degrees Farenheit for  30 to 40 minutes. Let cool. Spoon the flesh out into a bowl. Mix together with a whisk, adding water if needed for a smooth consistency. Salt and pepper to taste.

Serve by spooning a big dollop over over warm brie and  toasted naan

Fresh Cilantro Coconut Chutney

Ingredients
1 red onion quartered
1 jalapeno halved
1 large bunch cilantro 
3 tbs. channa powder*
1/4 can coconut milk
salt to taste

*Dry roast 1/4 cup channa dal. Once it cools, use a spice grinder to make the channa powder.

Method: Heat a small skillet, with coconut oil, add onion and chili. Heat for 2 to 5 minutes  to blister the chili and sweat the onion. Remove and let cool. In the same skillet heat the cilantro, about 1 minute turning so the leaves become a dark green. Remove and let cool. Combine all the above ingredients in a food processor. Adjust salt as needed.

Serve with grilled meats, fish, chicken or vegetables. It’s also good with chips as an appetizer or even with eggs for breakfast.  

Fresh Coconut Chutney

Ingredients
1/2 fresh coconut, in quarters
3 tbs. channa powder
1/2 red onion-quartered
1 green chili-halved (jalapeño)
1/2 tsp. coconut oil
salt to taste

Method: In a small skillet, heat coconut oil, add onion and chili. Cook for 2 to 5 minutes  to blister the chili and sweat the onion.
Dry roast 1/4 cup channa dal. Once it cools, use a spice grinder to make it into a powder.
Combine all the above ingredients in a food processor. Blend to desired consistency (chunky or smooth).

for tempering
1 tsp .coconut oil
1 tsp. black mustard seeds
8-10 curry leaves

Heat coconut oil in a skillet. Once hot, add the mustard seeds, once they start to pop, add the curry leaves. Stir for a minute. Remove from heat, pour over the chutney, mix and season with additional salt as needed.

Serve with fish, grilled shrimp

Chicken Tikka

Ingredients
4 to 6 pounds chicken thighs and/or breasts (bone-in or boneless)
1 red onion quartered
1 bell pepper rough chopped
lemon wedges (optional, garnish)

Marinade
1 container whole milk yoghurt (Pavels brand preferred)
Garlic /ginger/chili paste (puree 1/2 head garlic, 2” knob ginger, 1 or 2 jalapeños)
2 tsps. turmeric
2 tbs garam masala
1 tsp cumin
salt to taste

Mix marinade ingredients together and pour into a Ziplock bag, add the chicken and massage marinade into the chicken. Refrigerate 4 to 6 hours or overnight. Before cooking the chicken, add the onion and bell pepper.  

To cook: Place chicken and vegetables on a foil lined baking tray, pouring extra sauce on top. Broil approx 6” from the heat, turning every 10-15 minutes – you want the chicken to get slightly charred, but not blackened. Cooking time based on the size of your chicken pieces.

Serve over basmati rice and sprinkle with chopped fresh cilantro, add lemon wedges on the side. 

Naan

Ingredients
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt

4 tbs yoghurt
2 tbs milk
1 tsp sugar
1/2 cup water

2 tbsp. ghee or cooking oil, divided
kalonji or ajawain seeds (optional)

Method: Mix the wet ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside. Whisk the dry ingredients together in large bowl, add the wet ingredients. Knead the dough to work out the lumps. Add a tablespoon of ghee/oil and knead until soft and smooth. Add water as needed. Cover and let rest for 10 mins. Add 1 tablespoon ghee/oil and knead again. Cover and let rest for 1 to 2 hours, letting the dough rise. Pinch off dough to make 1 to 2” round balls. Dust with flour and using a rolling pin, roll out to about 1/8” thickness. Optional sprinkle with kalonji or ajwain seeds. Continue to roll into the size and shape of a tortilla. Cook over a hot cast iron pan. Press down to make it pouf. Optional, finish over a flame.

Serve with butter.   

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