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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Portuguese-style chicken curry, daal and cabbage slaw

I'm having difficulty with food blogging at the moment. It's not due to lack of time or energy. It isn't because I'm not eating well, or not cooking good food, or not photographing meals. My issue is with the whole stringing words into coherent sentences thing. It seems that food blogging involves more than just food, it also involves writing. I know! Who'd thought!

However, I am pushing through and making an effort!

The other week, I cooked a meal from a Indian cookbook I had received over Christmas. I made a chicken curry, a daal, and an interesting cabbage slaw that I'd never tried before.

The Portuguese-style chicken curry (aka mungh vindaloo) wasn't as spicy as it usually is in restaurants, although I did try to up the heat factor. Originally, vindaloo wasn't particularly spicy and the cookbook tells me that vindaloo actually means "vinegary". Other sources (internets!) say that vindaloo is a derivative of the Portuguese "vinho de alho" which literally means wine (vinho) and garlic (alho). Vindaloo was bought to Goa by the Portuguese and was traditionally cooked with pork. I used chicken drumsticks in my version. They took ages to cook, but were very succulent.

The daal was good, but a bit overshadowed by the vindaloo and the cabbage. My daal was quite soupy at first, but after standing for a while (I had to wait for the curry to finish cooking) it thickened up. I was rather heavy handed with the ginger!

But on to the cabbage. The cabbage slaw was a real surprise! The coconut gave it a lovely fragrance, and the cabbage was sweet, slightly nutty and spicy. If you like coconut (and cabbage) give it a try. It was very different from how I normally cook cabbage and we really enjoyed it.

Gujarati Cabbage Slaw

Gujarati Cabbage Slaw

From Betty Crocker's Indian Home Cooking

Serves 6

1/4 cup peanut or vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon asafetida (hing)
1 cup dry-roasted unsalted peanuts, coarsely chopped
1 medium head green cabbage (1 1/2 pounds), finely shredded (8 cups)
1 cup shredded fresh coconut or 1/2 cup dried unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh coriander
3 fresh Thai, serrano or cayenne chillies, finely chopped
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground tumeric
Juice of 1 medium lime (2 tablespoons)

Heat oil in wok or pan over medium-high heat. Add asafetida and peanuts; sizzle 30 seconds.

Add remaining ingredients except lime juice, stir fry about 5 minutes or until cabbage is hot; remove from heat. Stir in lime juice.

Moong daal

Moong daal

From Betty Crocker's Indian Home Cooking

Serves 6

1 cup dried whole green lentils (sabud mung), sorted, rinsed and drained
4 cups water
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon ghee or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon black or yellow mustard seed
1/4 teaspoon asafetida (hing) or garlic powder
1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger
1 medium tomato, finely chopped (3/4 cup)
2 fresh Thai, serrano or cayenne chillies, cut lengthwise in half
1 teaspoon salt

Place lentils, water and turmeric in a saucepan. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Partially cover and simmer 30 to 35 minutes or until lentils are tender.

While lentils are simmering, heat ghee/oil and mustard seed in a a pan over medium-high heat. Once seed begins to pop, cover skillet and wait until popping stops.

Add asafetida and ginger to mustard seed; stir fry about 30 seconds or until ginger is partially brown. Add tomato and chillies, stir fry 3-5 minutes or until tomato is softened.

Stir tomato mixture and salt into lentils. Partially cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

Portuguese-style chicken curry

Portuguese-style chicken curry / Mungh vindaloo

From Betty Crocker's Indian Home Cooking

Serves 4

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped ginger
5 medium cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup tomato sauce (I think this is tomato puree, I used a can of whole tomatoes)
1 tablespoon coriander seed, ground
1 teaspoon cumin seed, ground
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut crosswise into 1/2 inch strips (I used drumsticks instead)
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup plain yoghurt

Heat in a pan over medium-high heat. Add onions, ginger and garlic; stir fry about 5 minutes or until onions and garlic are golden brown.

Stir in tomato sauce, ground coriander, ground cumin, salt, cayenne pepper and turmeric, reduce heat. Partially cover and simmer around 5 minutes or until a thin film of oil starts to form on surface of sauce. Remove from heat; cool 3 to 4 minutes.

Place sauce in blender (or use a stick blender). Cover and blend on medium speed until smooth. Return sauce to saucepan.

Stir chicken into sauce. Simmer uncovered 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until chicken is partially cooked.

Stir in vinegar and coconut milk. Simmer uncovered 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until chicken is no longer pink in centre.

Beat yoghurt with wire whisk until smooth; stir into chicken mixture. Cook uncovered for 1 minute, stirring occasionally, just until yoghurt is warm. Serve with rice.

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