Apr 28, 2011

Party with a salsa chicken salad...a carribean one at that :)

As the heat turns on way before the beginning of the official summer of 2011 (we ain't complaining though!), time for some of the Caribbean stuff. Mango, fruits and citrus with some of the oomph of Basmati and some of the ouch of jalapeno roasted grilled chicken..

Mango-pineapple and pepper Chicken Rice salad: Recipe adapted from The NYtimes.

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 2-inch chunks . You can use the regular breasts too
1/4 cup finely chopped scallions
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro stems 
One smallish onion. Sliced
1 big tomato. Sliced
One red bell pepper
One green pepper
1 big jalapeno sliced thinly.
1 large mango, cut into small cubes (or use 2 small mangoes). 
1/2 a cup of chunked pineapple.
1/4  cup or a bit less of almonds or cashews. optional!
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped 
 1/2 teaspoon light brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 
2 tbsf Worcestershire sauce
A pinch cayenne
2 tbsf  olive oil

Let the parrty begin :) Hey we have all the colors and all the oomphs and ahh's. So it is got to be a party :)

Prepare Basmati according to package directions. Plate it on the salad dish, once done.

In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper and cayenne. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the cashews and sugar-spice mixture to the skillet; cook, stirring, until nuts are golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape nuts into a bowl. 

Wipe out skillet with a paper towel. Season chicken all over with salt and remaining 1 teaspoon pepper. Return skillet to medium-high heat and add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Add scallions and cilantro stems; cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add garlic, jalapeno and chicken. Cook, stirring occasionally, until chicken is golden and cooked through, about 12 minutes. Add the onion and peppers and saute for another minute Pour in the Worcestershire and cook, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, about 1 minute.
Remove pan from heat and immediately add nuts, mango, tomato, vinegar and cilantro leaves. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary. Serve over the bed of Basmati

Have it with some margarita...summer is just begining :)

Happy eating and healthy living!

Apr 5, 2011

An Indian and a cooking Hat.

Sometimes, very rare times of course,  you just feel proud of what you have. Just plain proud.

I made this? I made...this? I made, this? I made thiss!

That is how it feels like :) 
A couple of days ago an Indian came to dinner. And this recipe is inspired by that dinner. It goes something like this...something like this ....

"The Indian came to dinner at my place. My place, for very odd reasons, is known for its food, but not for  the Indian ness in food. That is odd...given that I make Indian food quite a lot. But of course there must be a wink and nudge to some dish that had my fancy that very moment. So  that afternoon, I set out to make the most Indian of all dishes there ever was. And I looked into old cookbooks, I looked into new blog posts. And I looked every where for the most Indian flavored recipe I could find.

There was a ton of them. A whole afternoon of spices and flavors in my head. As the sun begin to set on the Indian food empire,  I set my stove on fire. But before the hard gathered knowledge could take to fire, I happened to duck under the cabinets to put on my Cooking Hat. 

The moment I had the hat on the knowledge disappeared. The only thing I was left with were the lovely Indian flavors and my cooking hat. The result was this Italian inspired Indian recipe. With Tofu-Mushroom and tomatoes flavored with garlic and fenugreek.

The Indian came to dinner. We had wine, spoke of politics and all the things that mattered till of course you sat down to dinner. Long after the long long dinner, the satiated looking Indian told me  It was one of the best dishes he had had so far. 
....But it was not quite Indian.'

Here is that recipe that made me proud at the begining of the story but let me down at the end :) It was delicious :)

Roasted Tofu-Mushroom in garlic and fenugreek flavored tomato sauce

A pack of extra firm tofu. The firmest you can find. Drain and cut into bite size cubes
A pack of mushrooms. Cleaned with a damp towel.Never wash. And sliced into two.
2 big tomatoes. cubed
1 can of fire roasted tomatoes
3 cloves of garlic. minced
1/2 a tsp of fenugreek.
1/2 cup of unsweateened coconut powder/flakes. Plus some for garnish
Lemon juice of 1/ lemon
1/2 cup of hot water
Half a cup of cilantro for garnish
3 tbsf of olive oil
Salt and pepper for seasoning

In a baking tray, arrange the tofu cubes and mushroom. Drizzle with two tbsf oil, salt and pepper. Bake at 425 F for 30 mins. Alternatively shallow fry in batches. In a deep pot, heat 1 tbsf oil. Add the fresh tomatoes and garlic. Saute for a couple of mins. Add the fenugreek and the fire roasted tomatoes. Mix together well. Add the tofu and mushroom. Add the water. Bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer. Add the coconut and let everything marry for 5-7 mins. Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice
Take it off the stove, ladle in bowls and garnish with cilantro and a little powdered coconut

For a very very Italian in the Indian :)

Happy eating and healthy living!