Vendor Blender: Masala Loca

Happy Monday GFMers!

The week has flown by quickly and ferociously and we’re relieved to soak in the cool and breezy sunshine. We’re getting more and more excited for the upcoming market June 26th which will be themed Summer Heat. Prepare for all things spicy and cool: ice creams and popsicles of all varieties, hotness infused cupcakes and rice balls, and sexy rooftop grown vegetables to impress your tastebuds. Mark your calendar and see you there!

Til then please do welcome Masala Loca!

what is masala loca?

Masala Loca is a mixture of Indian and Mexican food.  We sell Indian tacos:

Masala Loca started as an Indian-Mexican supper club hosted by myself and my good friend Sabra.  This is us after our first one:

We serve a four course meal in Sabra’s dining room in Bed-Stuy.  The dinners usually have about 16 people – that’s all the chairs we have:) and each person pays for their meal and brings a bottle of wine.  Here are some pics from our dinners:

Indian Enchiladas

Curry Tamales

Mexican Papri Chaat

We’re starting to get friends to perform between courses too which is fun and looking to feature others at upcoming dinners.

how did the inspiration for it come about?

I write a cooking blog called the ABCD’s of Cooking (ABCD = American Born Confused Desi) where I share my vegetarian recipes, which are rooted in Indian cooking – mostly what I have learned from my parents, but that incorporate influences and ingredients from living in the US and traveling abroad.

Bringing Indian and Mexican flavors has been on my mind for some time.  Growing up, when my family went out to eat, the most popular choices were either Indian or Mexican (I’m sure other Indian kids know what I mean:) The flavors, ingredients and the heat are reminiscent of each other.

The opportunity to create dishes that mixed the two influences came about when Sabra asked if I’d like to start a supper club with her.  I was really excited because I’ve always admired and enjoyed her cooking and was a big fan of her previous supper club that she ran.  When I suggested we serve Indian-Mexican food, she was all for it.  We’ve had a great time collaborating ever since and our theme makes sense for us as I’m Indian and Sabra is half-Mexican.  Sabra is also very gifted at creating beautiful spaces and our dinners have a really nice cozy feel to them thanks to her aesthetic sense:

where do you source your ingredients?

All over the place really – Indian stores (mostly in Curry Hill), corner stores, farmer’s markets, CSAs.

can you share a recipe?

Of course! For the last market, we had a shahi paneer taco which is Indian cheese in a cashew sauce served with guacamole and a mixture of homemade yogurt and sour cream in a corn tortilla.  We are gonna share the recipe for shahi paneer. This is what homemade paneer looks like:

Shahi Paneer

1 14oz. package fried paneer (you can also use homemade or fresh and fry it up a bit before putting it in the curry)
3/4 cup cashews
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons oil
2 cardamom pods
2 bay leaves
1 onion, grated or chopped fine
1 cup tomato puree or sauce
3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1 inch piece grated ginger
2 small Indian green chilis, finely chopped
2 teaspoons coriander powder
1/3 tsp turmeric powder
2 teaspoons cumin powder
2 teaspoons garam masala
1 1/2 cup water
salt and sugar to taste
cilantro for garnishing

Soak the cashews in milk for about 30 minutes. Blend the cashews and milk until it is smooth.

Heat oil in a pan under medium high heat. Put in the cardamom pods and bay leaf and stir once and then add the onions. Fry the onions until they start to dry out.

Next add the ginger, garlic and chilis and cook for three minutes.

Add the tomato puree/sauce and mix.

When the oil starts to separate out, add coriander powder, turmeric, cumin powder and garam masala. Mix everything up well.

Next add cashew/milk mixture and stir well, making sure there are no lumps.

Add the water and salt and bring to a boil.

Add in the paneer pieces and mix once. (Try not to mix the curry after you have added the paneer because the cheese breaks up easily.) Once the paneer pieces are soft, turn off the heat.

Garnish with fresh cilantro.

what do you do when you’re not masala loca-ing?

Chitra – Writing the ABCD’s blog, cooking for friends, traveling to find new recipes and ingredients (Portugal in July!) and coming up, I’ll be preparing food for a Converse for a Cure event. Oh yeah and I love to visit the planetarium and watch way too many episodes of the Golden Girls!

Sabra – Lately I’ve been mostly cooking, using food as art material (absurd inedible food), drawing, writing, making music with friends…I am also a sometimes yoga teacher, love to ride my bike about, and go on adventures as much as possible. My main concern is to remember to play every day!

why the decision to share at GFM?
I was first introduced to GFM by Sabra. I went to visit her there when she was helping her friend Amelia sell Sugarbuilt cookies. I really liked how vendors were offering original and creative foods and that people coming to the market were really open to trying them.  The market has a nice feeling of community and all of the vendors are so friendly.

Also, since Sabra and I are not able to have as many people at our dinners, GFM was a good way for us to share our food with a larger audience.

We were so excited to be at GFM – thanks for having us! xoSabra&Chitra


2 responses to “Vendor Blender: Masala Loca

  1. Looks soooooo yummy! I can’t wait to try. xoxo

  2. mmm…! that looks & sounds delish!

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