Friday, January 9, 2009

Kitchen creations

Will and I have had some major kitchen success as of late. We've perfected our ostrich spaghetti, homemade guacamole, ostrich burgers, and tortilla pizzas.

On Sunday, we had our friends Adam and Beth over for dinner to see Christy and Steph before they left for the states. When thinking about what we'd make for dinner, I suggested shrimp and grits, one of my favorite meals from back home. Will agreed and I got online and searched for just the right recipe. I ended up printing off 8 different recipes and tried to figure out the common links between them. In the end, Will made his shrimp and grits how he felt like doing so I had to get him to write down ingredients so we can recreate his masterpiece down the road. In the end, it was seriously the best shrimp and grits I've ever had. Will made a terrific roux for the shrimp and the greats were perfectly creamy, cheesy, and garlicky. YUM.

Last night I decided to try making indian food at home. Woolworth's sells spice kits for all sorts of different indian food. All you get are the spices and the matching recipe - the rest is up to you. I picked up dal makhani, butter chicken, and lamb rojgan josh. Will and I have cheated at indian food before, using premade kits and frozen naan from Trader Joe's (although I must give Will props and say that with spices, he can make some fantastic indian tandoori meats). We've always been pleased with the results so we thought we'd try again, just this time, more from scratch. I prefer making something from scratch than eating premade goop that you heat up in a bag anyway.

Since we couldn't find naan in the store yesterday, I decided to make it using this recipe. I didn't grill it; instead, we baked it in the oven. My naan came out quite thick and too sweet (1/4 cup of a sugar is too much, IMHO). It doesn't taste bad at all; in fact, its almost like a yeast roll, just flat. Next time I will try this recipe and see if its better (although I will probably still bake it instead of fry it).

The dal makhani was fantastic! At first I was really worried when I added the tomatoes/onions to the lentils - it just looked funky. However, when I added a small amount of cream and simmered it - tada! It turned perfect. It definitely didn't lack in flavor, but its spice temperature was very mild so I kicked mine up a notch with sriracha. I'm not sure how I could make it hotter without adding red chili flakes. I'll have to think on it. Hmmm.

The butter chicken was absolute heaven. I thought it was just as good as you could get in a restaurant. Again, while spicy, it was not hot (does that make sense? I'm saying it was flavorful, but very mild heat). I felt the sriracha would change the flavor too much so I just ate it as was. I didn't do anything to the chicken before simmering it in the sauce - maybe next time I will marinate in yogurt and spices. I also didn't add the crushed cashews that were in the recipe - to be honest, I just forgot until now! ooops! But to be honest, I think it was just fine as it was and nuts would just add extra calories so its probably just as well that they were left out (save the cashews for a snack!).

I didn't cook the brown basmati rice long enough. Ooops. I was tickled to find brown basmati rice in the grocery store. How nice! I like it better than traditional brown rice. yay!

All in all, I would say it was a successful meal. Indian food is one of my favorite things, but its one of the more expensive types of cuisine here so to be able to make it at home saves some dollars and results in awesome leftovers. I think we're going to have that dal for at least another week - it made so much! You can bet that these kits will be in my shipment back home!


Sharkbear said...

Sriracha = best hot sauce of all time.

Will and Valerie said...

I 100% agree. I actually special ordered it on Amazon as we didn't bring some with us, thinking they'd have it here (they had it in Zambia). It is THE BEST!