Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sucking up to the landlord

This is the recipe that inspired me to start the blog, and this entry was originally posted at My Live Journal. I've done a few edits for grammar and readability, but the post is pretty much the same as I wrote it.

Today's recipe is Chicken Vindaloo. Partly so I can use the new blender (remind me to tell you about the salad dressing episode), partly because Austin the minimalist landlord/housemate is very fond it and because me and my sweetie almost never say no to Indian food, even if it was brought to the subcontinent by the Portugese

1/3 cup white wine vinegar  easy enough to find at Stop & Shop
6 large garlic cloves, peeled
3 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger
1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder I was told after the fact by a friend from India that most authentic Indian dishes do not contain curry powder, it's more of an Anglo-Indian thing. I found this recipe on the Epicurious website, and I must admit one of the reasons I chose it was for ease.

2 teaspoons ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon (generous) dried crushed red pepper
2 tablespoons yellow mustard seeds
2 pounds skinless boneless chicken thighs (about 10), cut into 1-to 1 1/2-inch pieces
4 tablespoons olive oil

2 1/2 cups chopped onions
1 14 1/2- to 16-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
1 cinnamon stick

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Place first 8 ingredients in blender. Add 1 tablespoon mustard seeds and blend until smooth. Transfer spice mixture to large bowl. Add chicken and 2 tablespoons oil and toss to coat well.

Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté until golden, about 5 minutes. Add chicken mixture and stir 3 minutes to blend flavors. Add tomatoes with their juice and cinnamon stick; bring to boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer until chicken is tender, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.

Season chicken mixture to taste with salt and pepper. Mix in remaining 1 tablespoon mustard seeds. Simmer uncovered until liquid is slightly thickened, about 8 minutes. Remove cinnamon stick. Stir in cilantro and serve.

Step one (a couple days before), go to Asian market to buy ginger and a few other things for this recipe.(next week's entry) Discover the Asian market on Google Maps no longer exists. Find another Asian market a couple blocks away, pull into metered spot with time left on it.

Wander Asian market, which smells like fish. Find ingredients, get checked out by a very nice man. Discover parking ticket. Nine dollars worth of ingredients now costs $29. Grumble.

Step two (day of). Print shopping list from Epicurious (this is a great function of theirs, it even sorts it by department). Drive in snow to grocery store. Shop. Clean off car, bitching at the snow. Get home and start making recipe.

Step three start throwing things in the new blender. Realize that you forgot the tomatoes at the market. Curse and swear until boyfriend and housemate come running. Find tomato sauce in larder; it will have to do because I don't want to drive in the snow and more because I don't want to clean off the car.

Step four after having first eight ingredients in blender, attempt to blend until smooth. No dice. Try three speeds, and several attempts of moving spice mixture on to blades of blender only to see everything thrown to the sides. Curse. Yell for help. Enter boyfriend, who determines more liquid is needed. Add more vinegar and a can of tomato sauce. Items in blender now blend into a thick pasty sauce.

Step five: complete recipe, but note sauce is very thick. Add a tomato-sauce-can full of water, cursing because there's no chicken broth in the house. Stir, let cook down. Tear cilantro into little bits, forget to stir it into the vindaloo before serving.

Step six serve to housemate the gourmand, me the gourmet and the boyfriend who is a bit of both. Boyfriend eats three servings. Housemate and self enjoy but agree it isn't perfect. Toss around various ideas--more curry, more tumeric, beer, chicken broth, but can't pinpoint. Still undecided whether to try new recipe or try to improve this one

My friend Martin pointed me to several other vindaloo recipes that are a bit more authentic (he also never makes vindaloo from scratch because good spice mixes are easily obtainable in his hemisphere. The bastard.), so I don't think I'll be trying this particular recipe again.  His suggestions:

Aayi's Recipes Chicken Vindaloo
Goan Chicken Vindaloo

Goan Chicken Curry--Chicken Vindaloo
Chicken Vindaloo

I'd love to hear your experiences with vindaloo.

Comments? Questions? Want a recipe deconstructed? Let me know!

1 comment:

  1. Vindaloo is one of those dishes that SCARE me. I've tasted vindaloo and it about blew my head off.