3 Creative Indian Holiday Sides: Cooking Demo by local cook, Sabitha Salzmann 10-2019

  1. Curried Greens with Garbanzo Beans (instead of creamed spinach)

Main ingredients:

2 T neutral oil

4 T ground cumin

1 T curry powder

1 T garam masala (sources at the end of the article)

2 t turmeric powder

2 large yellow onions, chopped

2-3 tomatoes, chopped

1 4 inch ginger piece, peeled and chopped

20 cloves garlic, peeled (optional)

2 pounds greens- mustard, kale, spinach, etc

1 cup water

Finishing ingredients

1 can coconut milk

Salt to taste

2 cups cooked chickpeas, drained

Instant Pot Method

Sauté- Heat oil, then add spices until lightly toasted. Add onions and saute 1-2 minutes. Press cancel.

Add remaining main ingredients and cook on Manual- High Pressure. 2 minutes for spinach and 4-5 for tougher greens. Manually release pressure.

Add coconut milk and puree with immersion blender until smooth (tougher greens may require a regular blender). Sauté- Low for a few minutes for spices to blend, then salt to taste and stir in chickpeas.

Curried Greens with Garbanzo Beans

Slow cooker method

Combine all main ingredients (no water needed) and cook on high 3-4 hours or low 6 hours. Add coconut milk and puree. Cook on low 1 hour. Add salt and chickpeas.

2. Potato Curry (instead of mashed potatoes)

2 T neutral oil

1 T cumin seeds or powder

1 T garam masala

1 T curry powder

1 t ajwein seeds (sources at the end of the article)

1 t turmeric

1 t grated fresh ginger or ½ t ginger powder

1 mint tea bag (if using fresh mint or cilantro, add at end)

1 onion, chopped

3 tomatoes, blanched and chopped (Can substitute 1 can Ro-tel)

2 lbs new potatoes, washed (cubed if large)

2/3 cup water

Salt and lemon juice

Instant Pot method

Sauté Function- Heat oil and saute cumin seeds until they pop. Add turmeric, garam masala and onion and cook until onion is tender. Add remaining ingredients (except salt and lemon juice) stir to combine.

Manual-High Pressure-5 minutes. Manually release pressure. Season to taste with salt and lemon juice.

Curried Potatoes

Slow Cooker Method

Combine all ingredients (no water needed) and cook on high for 4 hours in a slow cooker, and season to taste at the end.

3. Cranberry Rice Pilaf (instead of cranberry sauce)

(Adapted from Madhur Jaffrey)

  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 1 teaspoon saffron threads or turmeric
  • 3 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 3 tablespoons very hot milk (can use coconut)
  • About 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 4 tablespoons neutral oil, divided
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled and halved lengthwise, then sliced into fine half rings
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 5 cardamom pods
  • 1 t fennel seeds
  • 2 1/2-inch cinnamon sticks
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 can coconut milk


Wash the rice in several changes of water. Put in a bowl, cover generously with water, then set aside to soak for 3 hours.

Meanwhile, combine the turmeric and 1 tablespoon of the sugar in a small bowl, then stir in the hot milk. Set aside for 3 hours.

Toward the end of the 3 hours, soak cranberries in water for 20 minutes. Drain.
In a medium skillet over medium-high, heat 3 T oil. When the oil is hot, add the onion and cook for 5 minutes, or until they start to brown. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to cook until they are reddish brown. Add the drained berries and the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Stir once or twice, then remove from the heat.

Cover tightly with foil and a lid and bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let sit undisturbed for 10 minutes. Toss the rice gently to mix before serving.

Cranberry Rice Pilaf

Heat the oven to 325 degrees.
Bring about 10 cups of water to a boil. Add the salt, cardamom pods, cinnamon stick, bay leaf and cloves. Stir once, then add the rice. Let it cook in the boiling water for about 5 minutes, or until it is three-quarters cooked but still has a thin, hard core. Drain in a colander.
Grease medium baking dish with remaining oil. Spread half the rice over it. Spread another tablespoon of the butter, plus half the saffron mixture and half the onion-berry mixture and some of its oil on top of the rice. Spread the remaining rice on top of the first layer. Pour ½ can coconut milk over it, followed by the remaining saffron mixture and onion-berry mixture. Pour remainder of coconut milk on top.

Sources for Asian bulk spices

Closest: Swagat store in Zona Rosa. Try Our Place or Pan Asia in Overland Park.

Other ideas to enhance your meal

  • Try Indian chutney instead of cranberry sauce
  • Check out The New Sugar and Spice by Samantha Seneviratne (available at the library) for traditional American desserts made with Indian flavors
  • Serve chai with your pie!

Indian Cookbooks at the library

  • Made in India and Fresh India by Meera Sodha
  • Vegetarian India and Madhur Jaffrey’s Instantly Indian by Madhur Jaffrey
  • Indian for Everyone and Vegan Indian Slow Cooker by Anupy Singla
  • The Indian Family Kitchen by Anjali Pathak
  • Indian Instant Pot Cookbook by Urvashi Pitre
  • Indian Cooking Unfolded by Raghavan Iyer
  • The New Indian Slow Cooker by Neela Paniz
  • The New Sugar and Spice by Samantha Seneviratne

The components of a traditional Indian meal

  1. Wet curry (Vegetarian, legume, or meat)
  2. Sautéed or roasted vegetable dish
  3. Flatbread or rice
  4. Raw salad
  5. Spicy pickle or chutney
  6. Yogurt (Raita salad or a yogurt drink)
  7. Crispy wafer

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