I'm going to start posting at least 1 recipe of the week. I've been trying to experiment more lately out of my 30+ cookbooks. So you'll hear about our highs and lows!
WE HAVE A WINNER!
We went to our first Indian restaurant while living in Virginia. Our friends Heather and John were great food experimenters and found this restaurant. I would usually get Tandoori grilled chicken, Naan bread, and some yogurt dippings. I regret not trying that restaurant's curries as it was a really good place to eat. While we were in London we discovered "curries". Mainly I think our friends Paul and Lindsey introduced us and we went from there. We would buy some great bottled curries that we would mix with chicken and vege's and we found this great Indian restaurant called Khan's of Bayswater. We even took my parents to Khan's when they were visiting and they loved it. It's a cute place, paper tablecloths, nothing too fancy, but oh such yummy food.
At my work in London once a month this book company would come and we could order the books they had on display for pretty cheap. One time I bought this curry book and today we FINALLY made our first curry. I can honestly say it might be one of our best dishes yet. It was totally yummy, spicy, hot and so mouthwatering. Mainly one of the reasons we hadn't made curry yet was because of the spices called for. I found a lot of Indian spices when I went to Penzeys my first time and finally used my Garam Masala today.
Side tangent: Penzey's has the best spices I've ever had. I read about them on a message board and decided to see if they happened to have one in AZ. They had one in Scottsdale so I made my first trek there about 4-6 months ago not knowing what it was. This spice store started officially in 1957 and you can read its history here. You can order spices online so if you want to do that you can do so here. This store is amazing. You can open up a container holding each spice and smell the goodness. Their spices have completely changed my cooking. Their spices are ten times better than the regular store bought ones and cost about the same or less. I am slowly replacing all of my store bought spices as they run out with Penzey Spices. They are building one somewhere in the SLC valley to open this year in the fall/winter. I'll definitely let you know when it's open because you can't even imagine what a difference this place makes in your cooking. Their Madagascar vanilla extract is so amazing and has an actual vanilla bean in the bottle of extract. Their vanilla beans are heavenly plump and full of yumminess. These 2 items have definitely made the difference in my ice creams and desserts. If you visit me I'll definitely take you. My mom looks forward to going every time she visits.
Ok, back to our cooking...
Jordan marinated some chicken this morning which sat all day in the fridge. It smelled quite yummy, but I was still a little nervous that we were hoping for better expectations than we were going to get. We stopped yesterday while in Chandler at this little Indian grocery store and picked up Naan Bread (traditional Indian bread) and Jordan bought Basmati rice while doing our grocery shopping with Matthew yesterday (I had to do some work...ugh!). Basmati rice is fragrant and goes so well with Indian food.
Jordan grilled the kabobs tonight and I made the sauce and was still a little nervous when I tasted the curry in the early stages. It simmered for awhile and then I added the final spices and cilantro and mixed the grilled kabobs in with the curry. My first taste made me jump for joy and we were very impressed with ourselves for making such an outstanding Sunday dinner. I feel this would definitely stand up or exceed any restaurant dish in a great Indian restaurant. Jordan is such a great helper in the kitchen and is a really great cook on his own. Some of our recipes he even makes better than I do.
There are some more recipes I can't wait to try in this book. Next Sunday is Jordan's birthday so we're going to try some recipes from our Wagamama cookbook. Wagamama is a great noodle restaurant chain in London and their noodles are so yummy and to die for. We'll let you know how it goes. If you look at the menus on their website our favorites were: Gyoza side dish, chicken ramen, chili beef ramen (we might make this next Sunday), and my absolute favorite which I discovered at the end of our London stay was Chicken Katsu Curry and I can't find a recipe anywhere-bummer! They do have 2 locations in Boston so check them out if you happen to be traveling through.
Here's our curry recipe if you'd like to try. It's not as hard as it might look.
Silken Chicken 'Tikka Masala'
Here is an Indian dish with an unusual pedigree. It was, most likely, developed by Indian restauranteurs in the United Kingdom. Its closest relative in India is 'Tandoori Chicken in a Butter-Tomato Sauce', where the chicken pieces are marinated, grilled in a tambor oven and then folded into a spicy, buttery, tomato sauce. For the Chicken Tikka Masala', carried on the menu of every single British-Indian restaurant, it is boneless chicken cubes, already marinated and grilled, that are folded into a more conventional curry sauce. To make it, you must first prepare the sauce, then the Silken Chicken 'Tikka' Kebabs, and then combine the two.
This may be served with Indian flatbreads or rice. Serves 4
4 tablespoons corn, peanut or olive oil
1 small onion, sliced into fine half-rings
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
5-6 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed to a pulp
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
¾ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons bright red paprika
4 tablespoons natural yogurt
2 medium tomatoes, peeled and very finely chopped
12 fluid oz chicken stock
1/4 teaspoon salt, more if the stock is unsalted
1/4 teaspoon garam masala
4 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
freshly made Silken Chicken 'Tikka' Kebabs
Pour the oil into a large, preferably non-stick, lidded pan and set over a medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, put in the onions. Stir and fry until they turn reddish-brown, about 6-7 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic, and continue to fry, stirring, for a minute. Add the coriander, turmeric, cayenne pepper and paprika. Stir for 10 seconds. Add a tablespoon of the yogurt. Stir and fry until it is absorbed. Add the remaining yogurt this way, a tablespoon at a time. Put in the tomatoes. Fry them for 3-4 minutes or until they turn pulpy. Keep mashing them with the back of a wooden spoon to help the process along. Add the stock and salt, and bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer gently for 15—20 minutes. The sauce should turn thick. Stir in the garam masala and cilantro, taste for balance of flavours, and add more salt if you need it. Whenever the kebabs are cooked, reheat the sauce and fold in the meat pieces. Serve immediately.
Silken Chicken 'Tikka' Kebabs (Reshmi Tikka Kebab)
These kebabs are very easy to prepare and have a delicate, delicious flavour.
1-1/2 lb boned and skinned chicken breasts, cut into 2½ cm/1-inch pieces
1-1/4 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and very finely grated
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed to a pulp
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon bright red paprika
1/2-3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
6 tablespoons whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
3 tablespoons corn or peanut oil
Put the chicken in a bowl. Add the salt and lemon juice and rub them in. Prod the chicken pieces lightly with the tip of a knife and rub the seasonings in again. Set aside for 20 minutes. Then add the ginger, garlic, cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper, cream and garam masala. Mix well, cover, and refrigerate for 6—8 hours. (Longer will not hurt.) Just before serving, preheat the grill. Thread the meat on to two to four skewers (the flat, sword-like ones are best.) Brush with oil and balance the skewers on the rim of a shallow baking tray. Grill for about 6 minutes on each side or until lightly browned and cooked through.