To add to the dietary restrictions for this week, Myr was just put on a “soft food diet.” This week’s recipes must be: low(er) fat, low carb, and soft foods. She suggested something like Sloppy Joes.
I had already been thinking of Saag Paneer as something that the kids love and that would fit in with son-in-law Chris’ Ketogenic diet. Jan loves it too and it is also fairly low fat. I was looking at various chicken curies to go with it when I got the email from Myr about her new restriction.
I was thinking about making a Methi Murgh based on one I found on Sailu’s Kitchen, but when I found that I could not get fresh methi at my usual Indian market, I decided to take it in a different direction. Could I make an Indian version of a Sloppy Joe?
For Myr I am going to grind the chicken, so that she does have to chew as much. To replace the methi, I will use spinach. I will make some basmati rice for Myr (she is also supposed to avoid chewy breads), but the rest of us can pour the chicken over garlic naan.
I looked up a list of Indian boys names and Jodh is the an Indian boy’s name that is close to the “Joe” in Sloppy Joes. It means “the brave warrior.” I hope my offering is the food of the brave warrior, not that you must be a brave warrior to eat it.
Note: I just watched a cooking infomercial on making Indian masala sauces in Urdu (I only understood the occasional English word dropped in the middles of the banter “welcome back” “teaspoon” “half-boiled”). However, what I did understand was that he was quite liberal in adding water to keep the sauce liquid. I have added a few Tips where you can add water to make this dish more “sloppy.”
Karl’s Sloppy Jodhs
2 lb. chicken breasts, ground
Pinch baking soda
1 Tbs. soy sauce
½ lb. frozen chopped spinach
2 large onions
2 ½ Tbs. clarified butter
2 tsp. ginger, minced fine
2 tsp. garlic, crushed to paste
1 tomato, pureed
¼ cup Greek yogurt
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp. cumin seeds
½ tsp, red chili powder
¼ tsp. turmeric
1 Tbs. garam masala
1 Tbs. cashew butter
salt to taste
1-2 garlic naan per person
1. Coarsely grind the chicken breasts (or buy ground chicken). Add pinch of baking soda and soy sauce. Let stand while preparing other ingredients.
Tip: The baking soda changes the ph of the meat and prevents the moisture from being forced out while cooking. Use the baking soda very sparingly or the meat will develop an “off,” soapy taste.
2. Blanch the frozen spinach. Do not squeeze all of the water out. Chop finely and set aside.
Tip: I squeezed as much water out of the spinach as I could. After I finished cooking, my Sloppy Jodhs was very dry. I had to add extra water to moisten it up.
3. Blanch, peel, seed and chop the tomatoes. Set them aside in a bowl.
4. Dice the onions and then brown them in 1 tablespoon of clarified* butter until well caramelized.
Tip: * You may use un-clarified butter or oil.
5. Put the onions and yogurt in a blender and process until smooth. Set aside.
Tip: If you do not have a blender, mash the browned onions to a paste in a mortar and pestle and then mix thoroughly with the yogurt.
6. Coarsely chop the ginger, garlic, and green chili.
7. Without cleaning the pan, sauté the ginger, garlic, and green chili in ½ tablespoon of clarified* butter.
8. Put the chili mixture in a blender and add the tomatoes. Process the mixture until smooth.
9. Put the coriander, cumin, red chili powder, and turmeric into a spice grinder (mortar and pestle) and process to a course power.
Tip: Add ½ cup hot water to thin the mix and rinse the blender with another ¼ cup of hot water when returning the sauce to the pan.
10. Again without cleaning the pan, add 1 tablespoon of clarified* butter and cook the ground chicken until there is no pink left. Remove and set aside.
11. Add the spice mixture to the pan and cook, over medium heat, for 30 seconds.
12. Add the tomato mixture and spinach. Continue cooking for 4-5 minutes.
13. Add the onion mixture and cook for another 3 minutes.
14. Add the cashew butter, garam masala and salt. Stir to combine well.
Tip: If you do not have cashew butter, put 7-8 cashews in a tablespoon of warm water for 10 minutes and then grind them into a paste in a mortar and pestle.
Tip: The garam masala is being used as a finishing spice. If you add it at the beginning of cooking many of the aromatic elements will cook away and be lost. If you add it at the end of cooking it provides the proper fragrance of the finished dish.
15. Add the chicken and continue cooking until the sauce is thick and creamy.
Tip: If the dish is too dry add as much as ½ cup of hot water to thin it out.
16. Remove from the heat and serve hot with garlic naan or basmati rice.