Written by Jessica Fischman
Photos by Katie Fischman
This is one of my family’s typical Indian-Jewish Shabbat dinner meals. We would have Chatpatay as a starter dish when everybody would be sitting around relaxing and talking. Chatpatay is an appetizer eaten at teatime or sometimes it is served as part of a meal with lentils and rice. At our Shabbat dinner table we would always have some type of curry and rice. Coconut curry is one of the staple dishes at our dinner table. Agar-Agar is also one of those dishes that is at every shabbat meal. Agar-Agar is an Indian-Jewish dessert that is like a vegan Jell-O. The typical Agar-Agar flavors are mango, coconut and rose water. As a kid, I loved going to my aunts and uncles’ houses to have Shabbat dinner. It was a time that I knew I would be able to have fun with my cousins and eat a delicious meal!
6 large potatoes
1 can of chickpeas (15 oz can)
2-3 Persian cucumbers cut into small cubes
(I love to add this to Chatpatay!)
1 tbsp ground coriander
2 tbsps ground cumin (always more than the coriander)
1 tsp salt
2 tsp tamarind paste diluted with 4 tbsp water or the juice of 2 lemons (1/2 cup)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 tbsp fresh chopped ginger (optional)
1 green chili finely chopped (optional)
Wash potatoes. While still wet, place in microwave. Cover and cook for 8 minutes. Turn over and cook for another 4 to 5 minutes or until cooked. Rinse and cut into 16 pieces or ½ inch cubes. Then, rinse in cold water and add the spices listed above. Add the chickpeas, cucumber, cilantro, and the tamarind water (thickish) or lemon juice. Stir well. Pour contents into a serving dish. Check to see if the spices are to your taste. Garnish with a little fresh chopped coriander. This can be eaten warm or at room temperature.
Main Course: Coconut Curry
2 tbsp oil
1 cup water
2 onions, sliced
6-8 pieces of chicken (or tofu/vegetables)
3 medium potatoes (cut in 16 pieces approximately
½ inch each)
2 tsp fresh ginger paste (or 1 tsp powdered ginger)
2 tsp garlic paste (or 1 tsp powdered garlic)
1 tsp salt
2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 can coconut milk (13-15 oz can)
6-8 curry leaves (optional, but adds a great flavor)
1/2 tsp hot chili powder or chili flakes (optional)
1 tbsp chopped cilantro
1 tomato sliced
In a pan, fry the onions. When slightly browned, add the spices mixed with the vinegar and 2 tablespoons of water (so it won’t stick to the pan). Continue to cook for 2 minutes. Then, add the chicken and potatoes. Sauté for 5 minutes, then add 1 cup of water. Stir. Then cover and cook on a medium to low heat for 30 to 45 minutes or until the chicken and potatoes are cooked. Add the coconut milk and curry leaves. Bring it to a boil, stirring occasionally. Serve with hot rice.
Side Dish: Pilau
3 cups rice (basmati rice is preferable)
1 tbsp oil
½ tsp salt
A pinch of turmeric (optional)
Wash rice in a pot and add oil, salt, and turmeric then stir.
Add 5 cups of water and bring to a boil. Cook approximately for 20 minutes on a medium to low heat.
3 cups water
1 package of Agar-Agar powder
(Swallow Globe, Gold Cup, and Telephone are a few popular brands)
1/2 cup sugar or to taste
1 cup coconut milk
1 tsp rose water
Combine the water, Agar-Agar, sugar, coconut milk, and rose water in a medium saucepan. Stir and let it sit for 10 minutes. Set the saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Stir occasionally. Reduce heat and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes. Pour into a square 8×8 inch dish. Let the mixture cool for 30-40 minutes to set.
Chill in the fridge. When ready to serve, cut into 2 inch squares. Best served cold.