Saturday, January 10, 2009

gastronomie Indienne

These winter days after the Holidays, everyone I know is watching their pennies, their weight, and trying to stay warm. On that note, I was on the lookout for a few new recipes that fit into all these categories of inexpensive, healthy, full of flavor, delicious, aromatic and warming.
I wanted something different from the variations I always make on my usual rotation of winter recipes.

Then I remembered that one of my favorite inexpensive meals in Paris was at an Indian restaurant, Gandhi Opera Haute Gastronomie Indienne on 66, rue Ste-Anne.
This charming resto was close to my appartement and the spicy aromas of the food was always warm and welcoming, especially on those cool and rainy Paris autumn evenings.
(I took these first two images one of the times that I dined at the resto Gandhi Opera in Paris.)
My favorite meal always included Tandoori Chicken.
I wanted a simple recipe with those same wonderful spicy Indian flavors that I could make at home and often.

I found this simple and aromatic chicken recipe during my late-night searches of the video archives of the past episodes of Gourmet Magazine’s Diary of a Foodie. The wonderful episode on the cuisine and spices of Southern India inspired me to try the recipe that Ruth Reichl demonstrated.
Not only did this recipe fill all my criteria of being healthy and inexpensive, it was also simple. In addition, on a personal note, it would bring home a taste of my beloved Paris neighborhood to brighten these cold winter nights.

I did have some difficulty finding the Vindaloo Curry Paste in my local specialty stores so I ordered on-line from the Indian Food Store. The Indian Food Store website is chock full of wonderful Indian products and ingredients, and I received my order in two short days.

chicken vindaloo
(Recipe adapted from Gourmet Magazine’s Diary of a Foodie)


1 cup plain yogurt (not low-fat; preferably Greek-style, I used Fage brand)

2 teaspoons chopped fresh mint leaves ( or 1 tsp dried mint)

1 tablespoon vindaloo paste (I used Patak's brand)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

6 chicken legs, skin revomed.


Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 500ºF.

Line rack of a broiler pan with foil.

Stir together all ingredients except chicken in a large bowl until combined well.
You can adjust the ratio of Vinadloo paste to yogurt to your taste as it is spicey.

Coat both sides of chicken legs well with yogurt mixture and set aside for 10 minutes as the broiler heats.

Transfer to broiler pan, arranging them in 1 layer.

Roast chicken until cooked through and charred in some spots, 25 to 30 minutes.

Skinning the chicken legs allows the spices in vindaloo paste to penetrate the meat, while the yogurt locks in moisture during cooking.

After testing this recipe several times, I urge you to try it.
It is delicious and you can make it as spicy or as mild as you wish.
As the curry and yogurt coated chicken sizzled in the super hot broiler, it perfumed my home with a lovely spicy winter-blues-busting aroma. This recipe was so very well received that I have now learned to make many more than 2 or 3 chicken legs per person. In addition, the leftover chicken makes a great take away lunch for work the next day.

I served the spicy Vindaloo Chicken legs with a cooling Tzatziki-style salad of peeled and seeded cucumbers covered in a mild yogurt dressing in a butter lettuce leaf. (See recipe below.)
This salad is a pleasant foil to the textures and flavors of the crispy, spicy chicken.
The resulting meal is delicious, healthy, inexpensive and really beautiful on the plate…and easy peasy…

Winter Cucumber-Yogurt Salad


1 large Cucumber

Butter Lettuce, 2 leaves per person

1 cup Greek Yogurt

1 small Shallot diced fine (I also have used dried chives…we are talking winter here.)

1 teaspoon granulate Garlic (NOT Garlic salt…!)

2 teaspoons dry Parsley (or 1 teaspoon fresh Parsley, finely chopped)

Several grinds of pepper, preferably White Pepper, but Black is ok as long as it is freshly ground

Kosher salt for the cucumbers


Peel cucumbers, cut in half lengthwise.

Remove seeds with a spoon. Dice or julienne cucumbers, sprinkle lightly with kosher salt, wrap in 2 layers of paper towels and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Combine yogurt, shallots, granulated garlic, parsley and pepper in a bowl and refrigerate.

After 30 minutes, the cucumbers will have released some of their moisture so they do not make the dressing watery.

Add to cucumbers to the yogurt dressing mix and refrigerate until you are ready to serve on the leaves of butter lettuce.

This recipe makes enough for 2 to 4 small side salads.


SLM said...

What a coincidence. We ate at an Indian restaurant today. Yours looks fancier than ours though.

A Brush with Color said...

That sounds delicious. I'm up late tonight and now I have a new wave of hunger when I should be sleeping! I will have to try it Terrie! Thanks for the recipes and gorgeous photos of them!

feasting-on-pixels (terrie) said...

Merci SLM for your visit...Gandhi Opera in Paris is not fancy, just a place down the rue that has amazing food. And my home where I cook gastronomie indienne is not fancy a place where there is a person that cooks with a passion for food.

Salut Sue, it was a delicious, warming and easy meal. I love Indian cuisine and hope to share more recipes of this cuisine for the winter months.
I hope you try this recipe, it is quite easy. I am certain that you and Joe would love it.
Merci mille fois for your kind compliments.

Peter said...

I don't think I have the patience or gift to make this food myself, but as I have an Indian visitor coming here soon, I noticed the address at rue Ste Anne. Of course, one should eat French together with foreign visitors, but as the person stays several days, I would believe that a nice Inidan meal would be welcomed!

Anonymous said...

Terrie, I didn't know this restaurant, even though I think I've tried most every Indian resto in Paris! It's rare to find an inexpensive one. I'll keep the address for further reference.
Where did you live in Paris. I lived in the 16th just off rue de Passy. Then I moved to the netherworld of the 93!

Hope you're hospital visit goes well.
Best to you, Dedene

jeanette mistress of longears said...

I've been making a version from an ancient Bon Apetit magazine....but it's sooo much trouble! I have good Indian grocers nearby and intend to find the Patak vindaloo curry paste and give it a try!

feasting-on-pixels (terrie) said...

Merci mille fois Peter, Dedene and Jeanette for your comments.

@Peter, this dish is so very simple, I am sure you could make it. And although this resto on rue Ste-Anne is Indian, it is very French. One does not need to eat French in Paris...Paris is enough.

@Dedene,you would love this resto...elegant, inexpensive and delicious food.

@Jeanette...this recipe is SO, SO easy it is a delight to make.
Just a few minutes of prep work, 30 min in the voilà a colorful, spicy and warm meal for these cold, grey days.

MaddyLane Designs said...

Hi Marie, wow this is a most impressive blog, you have done great work here..all so beautiful, very creative, super captures and ideas, keep well

Anonymous said...

The cucumber-yogurt salad sounds wonderfully refreshing. A great combo with a spicy meat.