Monday, July 15, 2013

The jewel in the crown

About the furthest we got from basic American meat-and-potatoes for the meals of my youth were Italian dishes (my mother's heritage) and one, maybe two German dishes (to keep my dad happy). I'm not entirely sure my mother has even had Mexican food - ever.

I'm willing to try just about anything, within reason. I'm even willing to cook strange things (just ask any of my past dinner guests - what else are friends for?), provided the ingredients are fairly easy to find and not exorbitantly expensive.

Tonight's dinner hailed from India, via Britain. The recipe came from the BBC Good Food website - Chicken Balti.

Converting the measurements from metric to imperial was the hardest part of the dish, but with the aid of Mr. Google, the correct portions were calculated. I will confess - the curry paste I used was of the "mild" variety, almost too mild. Cashews didn't make it onto the grocery list, but would have added that wonderful crunch and saltiness. Coriander (cilantro to those of you who prefer the American/Latin American name) isn't my favorite flavor. While I don't have fresh on hand, I do have dried...and forgot to put it in.

It almost sounds like a different dish.

No matter, it will make it onto the rotation based on taste, not just to use up the curry paste. Next time around, I'll add home made naan.

A friend who follows food fads nutritional research was pushing me to try quinoa. I'd had it once before, in a soup at a friend's house, and hadn't been impressed. After tasting the Chicken Balti, I think perhaps it was the rest of the soup I didn't like, not the quinoa. In this dish, it worked quite well.

Note for the future: When one has quinoa, couscous, panko breadcrumbs and barley all in translucent tupperware containers in the cupboard, it may be a good idea to label the outside of the containers, rather than just putting the little slips of cardboard with the cooking instructions inside with the grains.

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