Okay, I have to get this one posted before the weekend ends. This…is….so…good. I cannot even begin to tell you how good it is. It’s going to be a new standard recipe of mine. There is a beautiful full-page shot of this recipe in The Food of India published by Murdoch Books, which I got recently. (It was published in the UK, and I can’t find it listed on Amazon, or else I’d put up a link.) I took one look at the picture and decided I had to make this dish. Of course, in the cookbook it’s lamb and I’ve used seitan, but it’s truly, absolutely, unbelievably wonderful. I upped some of the seasoning a little bit because seitan wouldn’t bring as much nuanced flavor to the dish as lamb would, but it was already a pretty highly seasoned recipe to begin with. This isn’t hard, either. It is a little expensive – three containers of seitan – but I swear I’m going to do some experiments on how to make seitan at home. I have the gluten flour, I just have to find a good formula.
The amount of oil is ridiculous, I know – wanting to be true to the recipe the first time I made it, I used the full amount, but I think it could be reduced by half and still be good, though it would lack the glorious oily juiciness. It’s Indian-restaurant-level oily – not quite Afghan-restaurant-level oily.
The note in the book says this recipe is usually reserved for special occasions (the amount of oil is certainly a special-occasion amount) and served with chapatis or naan. I made chapatis.
2 onions, roughly chopped
6 garlic cloves
5 cm piece of ginger
2 green chilies (serranos)
1/2 c. oil
2 bay leaves
3 packages White Wave Chicken-Style Seitan (it’s the kind in the tofu tub with the yellow label. I know chicken-style isn’t lamb-style, but vegetarians don’t have that many seitan styles to choose from.)
pinch of asafetida
1/2 t. cayenne powder
2 T. ground coriander
2 T. ground cumin
1/4 t. turmeric
1/2 t. garam masala
2 T. tomato paste
2 T. plain yogurt
1 T. salt
1 t. ground black pepper
2 lbs. turnips, peeled and quartered (it’d be nice if you could find baby ones – I had some the week before I made this, but when I went back I struck out.)
1 c. minced cilantro
Put the garlic, ginger, and chilies in a food processor and chop them to form a paste. Heat all the oil except 1 T. in a large, deep pan and add the onions, the mixture from the food processor, and the bay leaves. Fry over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, then reduce the heat to medium and fry for another 2 minutes. Don’t let the onions turn more than golden brown. Add the seitan, increasing the heat if necessary, and stir until all the pieces are thoroughly coated with the onion mixture. Fry for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. The seitan will brown somewhat.
While the seitan is frying, add the last T. of oil to a small frying pan and heat over medium-high heat. When it is hot but not smoking, add the asafetida, cayenne powder, coriander, cumin, turmeric and garam masala and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly. Be careful that it doesn’t burn. When the seitan is finished frying, turn the fried spice mixture into the seitan. Add the tomato paste and yogurt. Fry for another minute and add the salt and pepper. Place the turnips in the pan, pour in 2 c. water, cover the pan, and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
If you have a pressure cooker, you can bring the stew to pressure, cook for 15 minutes, then release the pressure under running water.
When the stew is finished cooking, add the cilantro and stir gently. Serve with flatbread.