Sunday, January 17, 2010

Cookbook Challenge: How to Eat Supper #20 & 21

Chicken Curry with Gentle Spices
The Splendid Table's Chicken Curry with Gentle Spices

Though I'd like to think of myself as an adventurous eater, but in all reality, I am not. I stick to cuisine from the western world and even then it's from the well-known genres. Sure I'll try things that are a bit out of the ordinary within those subsets, but I have a tough time branching out consistently because I am an awful orderer.

That's why this cookbook challenge has been so good for me.

Not only does it help guide the meal planning week-to-week, so I don't get stuck in the same pasta on Tuesday, pizza on Thursday, etc habit I think we are all subject to fall into. But it also makes me try things I probably wouldn't get around to trying. You see, Mike and I don't go out to eat a lot so when we do, it's kind of a special occasion. Therefore I'm hesitant to choose a dish out of a certain comfort zone because I don't want to end up wasting money.

So though I "like" Chinese food, I don't stray too far from the eggroll, crab rangoon, sweet & sour chicken, pork fried rice, sesame chicken range. It took me a couple years of living here (where Thai places are more prevalent than a good chinese place) to realize that pad thai is pretty good. And now I'm working on sushi, we've been once and I wasn't wowed, but I'll give it another shot, not necessarily soon, but eventually in the somewhat near future.

Crossover Spice Blend
The Splendid Table's Crossover Spice Blend

Needless to say, until about two weeks ago, I had not ventured into the realm of Indian food. Though I'm sure homemade Indian food is not necessarily the best introduction to the cuisine, it was a start.

The evening started out with making a spice blend. According to How To Eat Supper, it can work well with a variety of cuisines, including Indian, Mexican, etc. My guess is it replaces the use of curry powder, but I'm not quite sure what kind of comparison it is having not had curry powder before. I can tell you this curry was not nearly as spicy as I thought it would be (but then again I think my only experience with curry has come from watching Along Came Polly - so it's not very extensive).

All in all, I was pretty happy with the results. My only disappointment came in my curry was that it was not as smooth looking as the photo in the cookbook, and not nearly orange enough. Mine was very yellow and I can't quite see where the orange color would come into play to fix that. But really the color doesn't affect the taste, now does it, so it doesn't really matter. Oh, and how can I forget...the biggest disappointment of the entire meal was that the rice I made to put the curry on was horribly undercooked. I had attempted to use the "dumbed-down" rice recipe in the book, but instead of using a long-grain rice, I used what I had, which was an instant brown rice. Let me give you this tip, don't try to prepare instant rice like you would normal rice because you'll end up with insanely crunchy rice which is gross.

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