My Mom’s Indian-style Thanksgiving Turkey is How We Adapted to the US

People don’t really eat turkey in India or in Mozambique or in any of the countries my family has lived in for that matter. My family only discovered turkey when we came to the US and not with a great reception. We wondered, why would anyone eat turkey when you could eat chicken, which seems to taste better. When Thanksgiving rolled around, my mom Aisha tried to prepare turkey the American way a few times, but thanks to our family’s spice-loving taste buds, no one ever liked it because it was too bland.

So my mom thought up of a compromise – one that is symbolic of our assimilation to this country where we adopted the American culture but gave it our own twist – she made Indian-style spicy turkey. It’s roasted like a typical Thanksgiving turkey, but my mom’s spicy turkey is actually cut into pieces, marinated and then put in the oven. The result is a delicious, flavorful and tender turkey that goes well with both American fixings like mashed potatoes or Indian sides like rice. This was my mom’s way of saying – when in Rome…But she wasn’t prepared to give up her spices.

In the next Aisha’s Kitchen cooking class, I’ll be teaching how to make this special Thanksgiving turkey recipe that my mom created. Add spice and a brand new flavor to your Thanksgiving this year and join us! Below is more information on the class and how to register:

What: Aisha’s Kitchen Cooking Class: Indian-style Thanksgiving Turkey and Green Beans

When: November 19, 2014

Where: The Old Salt Marketplace on 5047 NE 42nd Avenue Portland, OR 97218

Tickets are $50. Register here.

Click here for more information.

Photo credit: Photo by Dimus (English Wikipedia, [1]) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Keep your Pantry Stocked with These Ingredients for Easy Indian Cooking

lentil vendor India

My mom Aisha taught me that having a well stocked pantry is the first step in cooking delicious Indian meals day in and day out. Here are a few things that are great to have handy in your pantry if you want to cook Indian food on a whim.

Spices

Ground Turmeric

Ground Cumin

Ground Coriander

Ground Chili Powder

Funugreek Leaves (either dried or fresh)

Fenugreek seeds

Whole Cumin

Whole Cinnamon Sticks

Whole Black Peppercorns

Whole Cloves

Whole Cardamom Pods

Lentils, Beans and Rice

Moong Daal (Moong Bean Lentils)

Channa Daal (Yellow Lentils)

Masoor Daal (Red Lentils)

Garbanzo beans

Rice. I always recommend brown rice because it’s healthier!

Produce

Onions

Tomatoes

Serranos or Jalapenos or any hot peppers

Garlic

Ginger

Editor’s Tip

Click here for a great list of Indian markets in the Portland, OR area where you can easily buy the spices, lentils, beans, and rice I mention above.

Also don’t forget to sign up for the next Aisha’s Kitchen Indian cooking class on October 16, 2014 at 6pm at the Old Salt Marketplace in northeast Portland! Click here to for more information.

Photo Credit: A lentils and grain vendor in the Indian city of Jaipur. Photo by the author.

Tickets Now Available for Spicy Pan Fried Fish and Spicy Potatoes Class!

Aisha’s Kitchen is a series of cooking classes that will teach simple, everyday Indian cooking based on my mom Aisha’s recipes. In these classes, you will learn about all the spices you need, some easy cooking methods, and using easy to find ingredients to create simple, everyday authentic and delicious Indian dishes. You don’t need to bring anything to the class, I will demonstrate how to cook the meal and at the end we will enjoy the meal together. The class will consist of a one hour demonstration followed by a discussion while enjoying the meal afterwards.

*All classes will be held at the Old Salt Marketplace on 5027 NE 42nd Avenue in Portland, Oregon and will go from 6pm to 8pm.

Why you should register for an Aisha’s Kitchen demonstration cooking class:

  • You will learn authentic Indian recipes that have been passed down for generations in my family.
  • You will learn a few of the basic spice combinations that will take the mystery out of Indian cooking.
  • You will learn how to put together some easy and authentic dishes that you can enjoy at home on a daily basis and impress friends with.
  • You will get the basic fundamentals you need about Indian cooking that will empower you to experiment at home with it.
  • You will get to enjoy a delicious meal with us afterwards.
  • An Aisha’s Kitchen demonstration cooking class would make a fun night out with friends or a date!

Here is more information on our next class:

Thursday October 16, 2014: Spicy Pan Fried Fish and Spicy Potatoes

Tickets: $50 per class. Be one of the first five to register and you get one ticket for free so you can bring a friend to the class.

Register button 2

tareli mirchi

This blackened and spicy fish is made from only a handful of ingredients but it packs a punch! And the accompanying potatoes have been described as “crack”, they are so good and addictive. In this class you’ll learn how to make this authentic coastal dish.

Upcoming Aisha’s Kitchen Classes

Aisha’s Kitchen is an array of cooking classes that will teach simple, everyday Indian cooking based on my mom Aisha’s recipes. In these classes, you will learn about all the spices you need, some easy cooking methods, and using easy to find ingredients to create simple, everyday authentic and delicious Indian dishes. You don’t need to bring anything to the class, I will demonstrate how to cook the meal and at the end we will enjoy the meal together.

*All classes will be held at the Old Salt Marketplace on 5027 NE 42nd Avenue in Portland, Oregon and will go from 6pm to 8pm.

Here is more information on our upcoming classes:

Thursday October 16, 2014: Spicy Pan fried fish and Spicy Potatoes

Register button 2

tareli mirchi

This blackened and spicy fish is made from only a handful of ingredients but it packs a punch! And the accompanying potatoes have been described as “crack”, they are so good and addictive. In this class you’ll learn how to make this authentic coastal dish.


Channa and Baaji Jo Saag (Spicy Chickpeas and Spinach Curry)

Registration coming soon button

channa

Both spicy chick peas and spinach curry are quick and easy meal options for when you’re on the run or after a long day’s work. In this class, learn how to whip up these simple dishes that are packed with flavor in a few easy steps.


Murgi Jo Pilau and Cachumber (Chicken Pilau and Yogurt Salad)

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chicken pilau

This is my mom’s signature dish and a favorite in our family. This one-pot rice dish is quintessentially Kutchi. In this class you’ll learn how to make this rare and surprisingly simple version of pilau.


Bakre Jo Saag and Jeere Wara Batata (Lamb Curry and Cumin Potatoes)

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potatoes

Green lamb curry is a traditional breakfast dish on the Eid holiday in my family and is usually eaten with dinner rolls and chai. In this class, you’ll learn how to make this delicious dish suitable for any meal and spicy cumin potatoes.


Masale waari Turkey and Bakalo Jo Saag (Indian Turkey and Green Bean Curry)

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masala turkey

My family, being Indian, can’t abide by the bland roasted turkey traditional to Thanksgiving. So my mom created her version of Thanksgiving turkey by adding plenty of masala (spices) to it. In this class you’ll learn how to make my mom’s Indian turkey and green bean curry.


Lamb Samosas and South African/Indian Chicken Eggrolls 

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samosas spring rolls

Samosas and South African/Indian Eggrolls are fare usually eaten during break fast in Ramadhan in my family and on the Eid holiday too. My sister Mehz lived in South Africa for 15 years and she learned some unique South African-influenced Indian cuisine, which she brought back to America with her. One of the things she taught me how to make is the spicy chicken eggroll. In this class, you’ll learn how to make these festive and delicious appetizers.


Rissois (Portuguese and Indian-inspired shrimp turnovers)

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shrimp pilau raw

Rissois are a Portuguese delicacy and they have been co-opted into my family’s cuisine because Mozambique, my birthplace, was a Portuguese colony. Of course, my family added Indian spices to this traditional Portuguese dish, resulting in a delectable Portu-Indian appetizer. In this class, you’re learn how to make this fusion finger food that will definitely impress your friends as one of the most delicious and uniquely international foods they’re ever enjoyed.