A few Saturdays ago, I visited one of my favorite Ethiopian restaurants in D.C., Etete, with my friends West & Amanda (of apple and pumpkin picking fame). I love trying different ethnic cuisines, and Ethiopian food is definitely near the top of my list. We settled on the vegetarian combination (without fish), some Kitfo (a spicy beef curry), and Yebeg Alicha (a milder lamb stew). Everything was delicious. While I love the meat curries, I’ve mentioned before on the blog that I’m not much of a meat eater. As a result, it was only natural that my favorite part of the meal wound up being the variety of lentils in the veggie combo.
This, of course, made me crave some of my mom’s parippu. If you’ve ever eaten Indian food, this is probably better known to you as Daal. Just think of this as the Kerala version of the dish. I wound up calling my mother so many times last night that she thought I’d been in some sort of accident when she saw all the missed calls. Nope, just needed the recipe.
While I was pleased with the results, this would have benefit from some cilantro and curry leaves. I, of course, had neither because I ran out of the former and pretty much never have the latter. What can I say? I’m a bad Indian. Cilantro or not, this dish is delicious, healthy, and easy to make. And, now that Trader Joe’s sells red lentils, you really have no excuse not to make this. Happy eating!
All right, folks. I am officially taking on Indian food. I present you today with my first Indian dish EVER: tandoori chicken. And it is damn simple. I tell you, I have been a fool not to try making this before, but, as always, it’s nice to have some assistance from one’s mother when venturing into unknown territory.
First things first, I bet at least some of you are wondering what tandoori chicken is. Well friends, this particular dish gets it name from the tandoor oven in which it is traditionally made. Its paste is made with a variety of chili powders and spices, and the resulting dish is a fiery red. You can use the marinade on other types of meat, but, in my opinion, chicken always turns out best, followed by pork. You can either bake the meat or cook it in a pan. I think it tastes great either way, but, for the purposes of this recipe/my being incredibly hungry that evening, I used a pan.
What makes this recipe fantastically easy is that you can buy tandoori paste in the store. Sure, you can make your own, but this stuff tastes just as good with a few modifications. And, at less than $4 for a bottle, one can easily have it on hand and ready to use at a minute’s notice. My mother prefers the variety manufactured by Patak, and that can be found in any Indian grocery store or in your local Giant/Safeway in the international food aisle (I’ve checked).
The chicken turned out incredibly moist; we ate it with a side of lemon rice (cook basmati rice; saute some shallots, add in your rice, and toss with cilantro and lemon over medium heat – also delicious in Chipotle-style burrito bowls). I hope you decide to try making Indian food as well; I know I’m quite happy that I did. Happy eating!