With Indian food .. to me .. it's all about colors .. it's textures ..
it's aromas .. it's temperatures .. and so you eat with all your sense ~ Raghavan Iyer
Podcasts are frequent companions throughout my day .. and this week .. as luck would have it .. I happened upon an old episode of The Key 3 (A series of discussions Lynn Rosetto Kasper has with great cooks .. as they share the three recipes or techniques they think everyone should know)
It was late at night .. for the past few hours her voice had been white noise really .. keeping me company though a busy night at work .. that is until I heard the words .. “Indian cooking” .. chased with .. “building a complexity with flavors that will blow your mind”
Stop .. Rewind .. start over .. my goodness .. what a fascinating discussion she was having with Raghavan Iyer (a cookbook author, culinary educator, spokesman, and consultant whose specialty is Indian cuisine)
Yes .. he brought recipes along .. but they'd quickly taken a backseat to his fascinating lessons on Indian cuisine itself . It's so simple really .. a grocery list of items that are familiar & non-fussy .. complexity created with just a few spices .. treated in such a way that the final product is something truly special.
Take a few minutes .. it's worth a listen .. Did you know curry powder isn't Indian food? If your dish doesn't have a sauce .. it's not a curry? Not all curries have turmeric?
My favorite .. if one takes any given spice & gives it to a good Indian cook .. he or she should be able to extract 8 flavors from it (depending on what they'd like to do with it) Yes .. 8 .. You can read about them .. here
I couldn't help but think of the chicken bits we made this past week .. part of the series on Indian cooking (a thank-you from afar for a beautiful wedding gift given by a friend). Never would I have expected them to rise to the level they did .. such simple ingredients .. a handful of spices .. the final product being a dish for which we both said “Wow”
They really are worth making.
We first ate them as an evening meal .. The Chef with rice & a side salad .. me with a few veggies on the side (grains were a no-no during the 8-Week Run‘s detox week). The next day I made a couple more batches for our freezer .. we're now adding them to omelets, salads, wraps .. you name it.
(The spice blend is also a great addition to any combination of roasted veggies .. sprinkle it on before they go into the oven)
ps: Read a transcript of Lynne Rossetto Kasper's interview with Raghavan Iyer's from The Key 3 podcast .. here
~ Adapted from Madhur Jaffrey's Quick & Easy Indian Cooking .. here
- 1-1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ tsp ground turmeric
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp dried thyme (** or ½ teaspoon ajwain seeds)
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp bright red paprika
- ½ tsp salt
- 3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
- Preheat the oven to 350F
- In a small bowl, mix together the spices. Set aside.
- Cut each chicken thigh into 1-inch segments. Put in a separate bowl.
- Add the spice mix .. along with 1 Tbsp of the oil to the chicken. Mix well and set aside for 10 minutes or longer
- Heat the remaining oil in a wok or large, nonstick frying pan over very high heat. When the oil is very hot, add the chicken. Stir-fry quickly until the pieces are lightly browned or have turned opaque on the outside
- Put the pieces in a baking dish, and cover loosely with lightly oiled wax paper (which should sit inside the dish and directly on top of the chicken pieces) and bake for 8 - 10 minutes or until the chicken pieces are just cooked through.
- (If not to be eaten immediately, remove the pieces from the hot baking dish to prevent them from drying out)
% Protein: 59
% Carbs: 0
% Fat: 36