Wednesday, April 22, 2009
When I was a student in culinary school, I very much wanted to learn to make food that was outside of my culinary microcosm. I think I have said before that I turned my nose up at much of my culinary heritage which was southern, country cooking. I have of course come to my senses now and I embrace all kinds of food. Thinking back to my younger years, I recall a group of students took a trip to China and since I was dead broke, I did not get to go. I listened to their stories and looked at their pictures and video tape with much envy. I still have not been to China - heck, I've not been anywhere really. I do feel a longing to travel -- see the world, taste the food, etc. Far too much conspires against me in that regard. Far too much.
In this grisly day and age I find myself living, I think it foolish to dwell too long on what I do not have and instead look admiringly at what I do have. Yes, yes, I know it is all together hokey to say, but chin up, every cloud has a silver lining and all that!
I made Chicken Tikka Masala which, I believe, is not real Indian food but rather a creation from London curry houses. I find it utterly fascinating that different cultures have migrated from their homeland and develop a new type of cuisine in their new home. Like Italian-Americans and Chinese-Americans cook, serve and eat food that is not Italian or Chinese but is a new type of cuisine that uses food available in America and seeks to please a more American palette. I cannot be alone in this. There must be a Facebook group for people who are fascinated by the evolution of ethnic cuisine away from its country of origin, yes? Perhaps I will start one.
Back to the Chicken Tikka Masala. It is basically a dry rubbed spiced chicken, coated in yogurt and garlic, cooked and then combined with a Masala sauce. It's really very tasty and different. I also made curried peas and homemade pita bread to serve with it. I used the basic bread dough from Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a Day to make the pita. That book really is amazing. I should have made the naan as demonstrated on the web page but did not really think of it.
For the Chicken Tikka Masala, I used a recipe from America's Test Kitchen that you can get for free by registering on their website. I understand that they are rather picky about folks posting their recipes on the web, so I will just leave the link.
Here is the Curried Peas recipe -
2 tablesppons of olive oil
1 small Vidalia onion, diced fine
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of curry powder
1 teaspoon of tomato paste
1/2 cut of chicken broth
1/2 cup of plain Greek strained, full fat yogurt - I like this one
cracked black pepper
Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook until soft and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, curry powder, and tomato paste and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add broth and bring to boil. Stir in peas and cook, uncovered, until peas are tender, about 5 minutes. Off heat, stir in the yogurt,and salt and pepper to taste. Serve.