Trouble With Toast

Recipe: Green Chicken Masala

January 20, 2010
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When Jason and I were visiting DC for our honeymoon, we had a late dinner at Rasika, an upscale Indian restaurant.  We enjoyed creative cocktails, delicious palak chaat (a crispy spinach dish, sooooo good), chicken tikka masala, garlic naan, and some incredibly spicy goan fish curry (with the most perfectly cooked mahi mahi I’ve ever had).  The real star of the meal, though, was the green chicken masala that Jason ordered.  The meat was tender, the sauce was simultaneously spicy and refreshing…it was just a superb dish.

Since Jason couldn’t stop talking about his delicious meal, I decided to search for something similar to make at home.  Lo and behold, in a back issue of Food and Wine, I found Chef Vikram Sunderam’s recipe for green chicken masala.  Victory!  I gathered up all of the ingredients and set to work.  The recipe itself is quite simple, with “saute, simmer, and stir” being the primary cooking method.  The herbs and spices made the kitchen smell so damn good, and as I was winding down with the preparations, I absolutely couldn’t wait to dive into my exciting, restaurant-quality dinner.

Well…close, but no cigar.

The dish was very tasty, and the chicken was crazy tender, but there was really no spicy kick at all.  I was somewhat suspicious when I read the recipe and it only called for one seeded jalapeno, so now I know to trust my instinct and use something hotter.  I should have known that a mainstream mag would dumb the dish down somewhat, to account for those who have a low spice threshold.  Despite the lack of tongue-scorching, I definitely want to make this dish again and see if I can get it closer to the real thing.  I’ll let you know how it turns out!

  • 2 cups cilantro leaves
  • 1 cup mint leaves
  • 1 jalapeño, coarsely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs (1 3/4 pounds), cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • Kosher salt
  • Basmati rice, for serving

In a blender, combine the cilantro, mint, jalapeño, garlic, lemon juice and water and puree until smooth.  In a large, deep skillet, heat the oil. Add the onion and cook over moderately high heat, stirring frequently, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken and turmeric and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden in spots, about 7 minutes. Add the cinnamon, cardamom and cloves and cook for 1 minute. Add the cilantro puree and coconut milk, season with salt and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat until the sauce is slightly reduced and the chicken is tender, about 15-20 minutes. Serve with basmati rice.


Recipe: Curried Rice with Shrimp

September 11, 2008
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After all the discussion about the Omnivore’s Hundred, much of which revolved around how much curry is too much, I suddenly had a craving for Indian food.  This curry-esque recipe was simple, made my kitchen smell yummy, and was pretty tasty to boot.  Unfortunately, I had to omit the fresh basil, as the bunch that I bought earlier in the week was no longer edible.  The dried version just didn’t get the job done, but otherwise, I’d say this was a successful one-skillet dinner.

  • 1  tablespoon  olive oil
  • 1  large onion, chopped
  • 2  carrots, chopped
  • 2  cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2  teaspoons  curry powder
  • 1  cup  long-grain white rice
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2  pounds  large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2  cup  fresh basil (I actually used dried)

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and carrots and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 6 to 8 minutes.  Add the garlic and curry and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 2 minutes.  Add the rice, 2 1/2 cups water, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.  Season the shrimp with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and nestle them in the partially cooked rice. Cover and cook until the shrimp are opaque throughout, 4 to 5 minutes. Fold in the basil and serve.


Recipe: Curried Pea Frittata

June 30, 2008
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I have extolled the virtues of frittatas on this blog before, so it should come as no surprise that when I saw this recipe in Bon Apetit magazine, I was going to try it out. To be perfectly honest, I liked my impromptu version better than this one. The frittata itself was good, and the curry gave it great flavor, though next time I’ll use a creamier tasting cheese (like my new go-to, Gruyere) instead of the tangier, crumblier Parmesan–AND, I won’t forget to add the green onions. D’oh! My main problem really was with the chutney, which called for WAY too much ginger (a little bit of the fresh stuff goes a LONG way) and was a little too sweet due to the brown sugar. Perhaps a simpler, more salsa-esque tomato relish would work better, maybe also accompanied by a dollop of sour cream?

  • 1 12-ounce container grape tomatoes
    1 tablespoon (packed) dark brown sugar
    1 teaspoon ground cumin
    1 small garlic clove, peeled
    1 1/8-inch-thick round peeled fresh ginger, chopped
    8 large eggs
    1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
    2 teaspoons curry powder
    1/4 teaspoon (generous) salt
    3 tablespoons olive oil
    2 green onions, chopped
    1 cup frozen peas, thawed

Preheat broiler. Place tomatoes, brown sugar, cumin, garlic, and ginger in processor. Using on/off turns, blend just until tomatoes are coarsely chopped. Transfer chutney to small bowl; reserve processor bowl. Season chutney to taste with salt and pepper.

Place eggs in processor. Add cheese, curry powder, and salt and blend well. Heat oil in large broilerproof nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add green onions and peas. Sauté until onions wilt, about 1 minute. Add egg mixture. Cook until top is almost set and bottom is golden, lifting edges to let uncooked egg flow underneath, about 7 minutes. Place frittata in broiler until top is set, about 1 minute. Run heatproof rubber spatula around frittata to loosen and slide out onto plate. Serve warm or at room temperature with tomato chutney.