Sunday, March 2, 2014

Product Review: The Indian Experiment

Part of my personal mission as an amateur chef and foodie fanatic has been to try new types of cuisine- something out of my comfort zone of French, Italian and American foods. I am really terrible at Asian foods. That area needs a lot of work. I especially want to learn to make my own sushi.

A lot of my foodie and blogger friends are nuts over Indian food. ONLY experience with Indian food was curry from a small Indian restaurant in the small British town I lived near back in the 80s. It was chicken curry and was terrible. I swore I'd never ever eat that again. But curiosity and the desire to expand my palate has changed my mind. Getting to know spice experts such as those at Spiceologist has only furthered my curiosity.

So armed with Google and hundreds of cook books, some newly-acquired spices, and after a visit to the big grocery store in the city, I am armed and ready!

The first decision was meat. I'm still not sold on lamb so chicken it is. Deciding what to do with the chicken was a tougher decision. "Butter Chicken" sounded awesome and not as hot as some of the other dishes. We are NOT afraid of heat around here but I did want to start with flavors I could enjoy and not just burn my mouth off. Since I had a jar of Tandoori rub from Spiceologist I decided to go with Chicken Tandoori. Easy to put together and cook.

Besides pairing with rice, I needed a vegetable as well so more research, more considering what spices I already own and I decided on my version of Zucchini Ki Bhaji, a stir fry of zucchini and lots of spicy goodness, including the aljwain seeds from Spiceologist. I'm going to switch it up and use zucchini and yellow squash and add some chunks of onion for sweetness. 

My plans also included some homemade pita bread to go with but with our below zero temps, the house just is a little too cool for proper rising, so I'll save that for Indian Experiment #2.

So let's get started on my Indian day-

For the Chicken Tandoori I used:

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 8oz cup PLAIN yogurt-be careful not to accidentally get vanilla
Spiceologist Tandoori Glory rub  (you can get it by clicking HERE)

I like to use as few dishes as possible when cooking so I just cut around the edges of the foam tray the chicken came in and peeled it back. Throw out that pad in the bottom. Wash and pat dry chicken. In a small bowl mix the yogurt with about 2-3 tablespoons Tandoori Glory rub. 

Rub mixture all over chicken, thickly and evenly. Replace in foam tray, recover and put in a plastic bag and pop in the fridge for a couple hours until ready to cook. I use this marinating time to prep my vegetables.

After marinating for a while, place breasts in greased baking dish and bake at 375 until done (juices run clear or meat tests 165 degrees, usually about 30-35 minutes for boneless). You can also grill the chicken if you'd like.

While chicken is baking, get your rice going. Jasmine rice is traditional with Indian food but regular rice will be fine.

And it's also time to get your veggies going.

Zucchini Ki Bhaji  (my version)

1 medium zucchini
2 small yellow summer squash
1/2 medium onion
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp cumin seed
1 tsp ajwain seed
3 tb cooking oil

Cut the zucchini, summer squash and onion into bite sized chunks. Set aside.

Start by adding all the spices and oil to a skillet. Heat and stir to toast and bring out the aromatic goodness of the spices. After several minutes, bring to heat over medium high.

Add vegetables and stir fry until crisp/tender and coated with spice. Pour into serving bowl and enjoy. might be wondering how our first home cooked Indian meal turned out-

Delicious !!!! The Tandoori chicken was tender and juicy and the yogurt and spice mixture left a delicious and spicy (not HOT) coating. The vegetables were soooo delicious. If you noticed in the picture I usually stir fry in a stock pot because it's less messy- no splattering. The spicy oil coated the veggies and was so incredibly flavorful! Now I really really want to explore Indian food!

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