Sunday, August 20

Summertime Indian Chow Down

It's nights like this that make me want to shout, "My kitchen smells better than yours!" I've really been craving Indian food lately, and we've found a few spots in the metro area that have great food, but nothing really within our bubble. So, I've taken matters into my own hands.

Tonight we're having Chicken Masala with Rice, Peach Lassies and Vanilla-spice ice cream. My staple Indian item is usually a vindaloo, but I'm having personal issues with peppers lately, so we're on a bit of a time-out.

I learned some new things with this dinner, I found that Chicken Tiki Masala differs from Chicken Masala mainly with ginger being the main contributor to that. Cooking methods other than that are the same. For the masala I'm using a recipe from Sandra Lee:

4 chicken breast halves without skin
1/3 cup all-purpose flour, for dredging
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 onion, chopped
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon garam masala seasoning, plus 2 teaspoons
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
1/2 cup cream of chicken soup,condensed
1 cup light coconut milk
Salt and pepper
1 cup frozen peas
Cooked white rice, to serve

Place chicken breasts and flour in zip-top bag. Shake until chicken is coated with flour. Remove from bag, shaking off excess flour and set aside. Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, add the chicken breasts and fry until golden brown on both sides. Remove chicken to a plate and set aside. Add the onion and garlic to the pan and cook until soft. Add the garam masala, tomatoes, soup, coconut milk, and salt and pepper to taste and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and return the chicken breasts to the pan. Simmer for 15 minutes, then add the frozen peas. Return to a simmer and cook for an addition 10 minutes. Serve hot with white rice.

While all this is cooking, my husband has whipped up a cool Peach Lassie. He's been to India for business and has never heard of this drink, but here's what Wikipedia had to say about it,

Lassi is a traditional South Asian beverage, originally from Punjab, India/Pakistan, made by blending yogurt with water, salt, and spices until frothy. Yogurt is mentioned in ancient Indian texts, and so is buttermilk. Yogurt sweetened with honey is used in Hindu rituals. Lassi, the salted watery version, was probably introduced by the Turks in India, (lassi is similar to Ayran). Traditional lassi is sometimes flavored with ground roasted cumin. The Lassi of the Punjab sometimes uses a little milk and is topped with a thin layer of 'Malai' --- a clotted cream --- also known as Devonshire Cream. Lassis are enjoyed chilled as a hot-weather refreshment. With a little turmeric powder mixed in, it is also used as a treatment of gastroenteritis.
Dessert was different. How's that for a description? It's sorta like seeing someone's prized (insert strange collection here) and saying, "wow, that's nice." I don't know what to name it other than a Chai-vanilla ice cream.

I whipped up a basic vanilla ice cream recipe, from my Krump's user's guide and added these ingredients,

1 pint vanilla ice cream
1/4 cup brewed Chai tea, chilled
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Sliced almonds for garnish

I like the idea of rich, multi-flavored, savory ice cream, and I bet my friends over at Ice Cream Ireland, would be happy with my experimenting. It just didn't give that finish that I was looking for, I think I wanted the savory with a sweet finish.

Left overs are going to be so good.


Blogger O said...

Not bad. Not bad at all! Interesting concoction for the chicken masala. Never heard of coconut milk being used but hey, there's a first for everything!

Once I move to my new pad you guys should come on over for some home-cooked Pakistani grub. There's a few dishes I've gotten down pretty good all thanks to my good ol' mama. Just let me know when you've conquered the personal issues with peppers. ;-)

Where in Phoenix are you guys? If you haven't been to Tandoori Times yet, I recommend you check it out. Their naan is hands-down the best in the valley (among many other dishes). Copper Kettle on Guadaloupe and Dobson in Mesa also has some great dishes, too. NEVER go to Maharaja on Bell & 57th Ave. Some of the cruddiest Indian food I've ever had.

Ah, the lassi. I grew up drinking that stuff every summer after being outside on my bike all day. Never heard of a peach lassi before (when you've got mangoes everywhere in Pakistan, who needs peaches?) but I'm curious as to how it turned out. My mom made sweet lassi - which is really simple to make. Yogurt, milk, sugar, and ice cubes all blended together. They have to be in the right proportions, but it's really refreshing. Perfect for Arizona.

As for malai, my family in Pakistan eats vatloads of that stuff. They skim it off the top of pot of boiling water buffalo milk and let it condense in a bowl in the fridge. Then they use it like smearing it over their toast for breakfast. My relatives have a co-dependent relationship with saturated fat. I let them be.

11:39 PM  
Blogger PrissyCook said...

The peach lassie was made because that was what we had on hand, the recipe I had called for mangos. It was still good, but the mango would have been a bit more tart, which would have been nice.

You know there are simple things that bind cultures, yours slaps it on toast, mine just saves it to cook with later (sounds really gross when you write it out).

Be careful making offers to strangers, it's really strange when we show up!!!!

9:42 PM  

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