In which I blog about my miniature wargaming and whatever else takes my interest!

In which I blog about my miniature wargaming and whatever else takes my interest!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

East meets West

I never thought my wife would take to slow cookers. We were given one as a wedding present many years back, but it always gave off a hot electrical smell, so she never trusted it to leave it alone, which rather defeats the purpose.

But with our change in life style she revisited the idea and bought a nice 4 litre Bravetti and started trying it out with (mostly) good results. So for Christmas she wanted the Canadian Living Slow Cooker Collection.

We went to Chapters Christmas shopping, found it and while she was perusing it to make sure it was what she really wanted, I made a fortuitous discovery:
The Indian Slow Cooker by Anupy Singla. My wife really likes Indian food (we made our own paneer cheese a couple of times to make sag paneer). So this seemed perfect and we got her both books (which she dutifully did not open until Christmas morning).

As Mrs. Singla points out, Indian cooking is actually very suitable to the North American slow cooker. The slow cooker technique has also removed much of the slaving over a hot stove that my wife encountered when trying to make a multi-dish Indian meal. Traditional Indian cooking is very labour intensive and it's no wonder Indian households still employ kitchen servants for all the chopping and stirring and pot minding. My wife has me, when I'm not at work.

But she's really taken to The Indian Slow Cooker and while reading it, she realized that many of the recipes required a bigger cooker. So she found a 5.5 L Crock Pot on sale and brought it home.

Last week I came home to find the house filled with wonderful, amazing scents. My wife had both slow cookers running happily on the counter top! One was filled with nihari which translates as "Old Clothes". It's also called 'Pakistani pot roast'. It is a spicy pulled beef which is excellent topped with some plain yogurt and heaped on pieces of naan bread or scooped up with roti (flat bread). I think the left overs stuffed into a hamburger roll with a bit of yogurt to make a spicy Indian pulled-beef sandwich will be excellent too.

The second cooker had aloo gobi in it. Aloo gobi is curried cauliflower and potatoes. This is a great way to have cauliflower. Better, in my opinion, than cauliflower with cheese sauce.

The next day she fired up a slow cooker again to produce rajmah, a spicy dish of kidney beans, to go with the left over nihari and aloo gobi. Topped with yogurt and chopped cilantro it was a good side dish. The slow cookers do an excellent job with the beans and lentils so prevalent in Indian cooking.

After three days though we had to pack the left overs (enough for at least two complete meals) in the freezer.

I'm eagerly looking forward to trying out Mrs. Singla's chana massala (curried chick peas) recipe.

My wife still hasn't made anything from the Canadian Living book yet though!

[Edit: My wife reminds me that she has made a Spanish chicken dish (Chicken Zarzula) from Canadian Living, which now that I'm reminded, was quite good too. But it was quickly overshadowed by the Indian awesomeness!]


  1. I probably should get a book about indian cooking too since I always end up doing the same thing. I agree it's great too cook big casserole dishes like that, you can always put half of it in the freezer. I personnaly use one of those tajine dishes or a Lecreuset pan as I don't have a slow cooker. I beleive they work on the same principle.

  2. I'm Spanish and no "chicken Zarula" exists in my country... sorry mate, you've been cheated... however it probably will taste good.

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  4. I'm pretty sure I spelled it wrong. Something with chicken and olives and tomatoes though. It was good.

  5. Blimey - my mouth is watering.... curry for tea I think! :o)

  6. There is a recipe with zarzuela. Here is the link: Your wife was not wrong!