Monday, August 31, 2009

Five more minutes, Mom

After Busy Season, my firm has a really great summer perk with Every Other Friday Off (EOFO). It’s actually an Every Other 4 Day Work Week (we end up working 80 hrs over two weeks), but EO4DWW just doesn’t have the same acro-ring to it.

A couple Friday’s ago, on my 2nd to last EOFO, I decided to check out Penzeys Spices. WHAT?!?! You’ve never been or heard of Penzeys Spices??? The only reason I had, is my Mom and sis had mentioned it to me in Memphis, but I didn’t realize there was one in Bham, literally 5 minutes away from our house!!!! The great thing about Penzey’s is you can buy a little or a lot of fresh, exotic spices for a reasonable price. Here’s what I picked up:

Ever since hitting up Silver Coin and Taj India, I’ve been looking for a good (i.e., quick and easy) Indian Recipe web-site. Quick Indian Cooking is a very well organized site with recipes that are easy to follow* (and also categorized for Indian cooking novices like myself). A few Sunday’s ago, the LOML went to see the Jonas Bros. with her sister and nephews, so what did I do on my night of Bachelorhood??? Put on some Mastodon and Lil Wayne and cook me some INDIAN FOOD!!!!

I thought I would start my Indian culinary adventures with the Simplest Chicken Curry. Here's what I needed:

6 skinless chicken thighs (bone in)
1 onion
3 cloves of garlic
1 and a half inch stick of ginger
1 tsp chili powder
½ tsp turmeric
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
½ tsp garam masala
2 T oil
Pinch of sugar

The first thing I did was “blitz” the onion, ginger, and garlic in a food processor. How much ginger is in a 1.5 in stick of ginger?? I didn’t want to over-ginger this dish, so I gave it my best guess (maybe 2 T “blitzed”). Also, I’m not really sure what Mallika meant by a “pinch” of sugar (I think I used about a tsp).

After my sugar (kinda) caramelized in a non-stick pot (trusty Le Creuset), I added the onion mixture, and OH MAN, THAT’S A LOT OF ONION!! I cooked it on high heat until it started to change color (I dunno, maybe 10 minutes). I was starting to freak out, b/c I had one hot Le Creuset, and the onion mixture wasn’t turning, but we made it through alright. Next, came the turmeric and chilli powder, and five more minutes of high heat. Then came the chopped tomatoes, and yet another five minutes of high heat (!!!). Alright, after all that, I finally could put it on simmer!

I was supposed to be looking for little holes of oil to appear, and that meant, yep, 5 more minutes, until I could add the chicken! I stirred the chicken “vigorously”, and . . . after five minutes, added a little water to cover the chicken, lowered the heat, and stirred from time to time until done.

I think I cooked the chicken for 30 minutes or so. One thing that tricked me with the chicken thighs was the dark meat. I thought I was seeing “under done” chicken, but it was really just dark meat. Oh well, I don’t the extra time hurt. After everything had finished cooking, I stirred in the garam masala**, and BOOM, it’s Darjeeling Limited time!!! (I didn’t have any coriander leaves to garnish).

I don’t think there’s a proper way to eat chicken thigh meat off the bone. You just have to lean over your plate and start picking. This is how I knew this was one authentic dish. No Miss Manners here. Just tasty Indian cuisine, like Gandhi used to make.

Oh yeah, I had the leftovers 2 days later, and dare I say, they were tastier than the original?? Definitely tender.

* As you can see by my griping, I do think this website could do a better job with measurements and cooking times. I was able to feel myself through this recipe, but it may be a little intimidating to other culinerds (did I just make up a term????).

** I also entertained the idea of making my own garam masala from scratch, but after weighing the cost/benefit, decided to get the pre-made stuff for $3.


MIMI said...

You deserve your own cooking show!! "Dad's Exotic Dinners!" This sounds delicious. I like the presentation too - nice plating!

The Bridgers Duo said...

Hey Al! My mom just made an INCREDIBLE Garam Masala chicken pot pie at the lake...i mean it was GOOD and I honestly had never heard of the stuff before...can give you the recipe if you want it!

A said...

Thanks, Mim!!! I know you'd be my biggest fan!!

W, that sounds hella tasty! I just googled that recipe. Was it from the next foodnetwork star's runner-up, the spice smuggler??