Wednesday, September 16, 2009

By the sweat of my brow

I braved the emotional elements, and decided to try my hand at a meaty dish. I honestly can't remember the last time I cooked meat. It is such a rare occasion that I'm usually a bit intimidated as to where to start and how to do it. (For you non-meat eaters out there, stay with me, as I think we have a tofu-friendly recipe here.)

Usually, I like to purchase meat (when we have guests, when Husband wants some grilled carne, etc.) from one of two butchers at the Lancaster Central Market. Both supply locally-raised, grass-fed products, which takes a bit of the distress off of my conscience. For those of you that don't know, I'm not typically a meat eater by choice. While I occasionally like the taste of meat, the politics, environmental factors, and health issues connected with eating meat keep me from partaking on a normal, purposeful basis. This is yet another conversation we could have, but I want to say that regardless of my chosen diet, I generally try not to judge meat eaters when they have thought through why they eat what they eat. I like thoughtful eaters, I guess.

10. Indian Chicken, pg. 186

In comparison with my experience with Extending the Table, I find that "ethnic" recipes in MWL often seem a little too...American. I definitely had my doubts about this recipe. Granted, my only real experiences with Indian foods have been in restaurants here in the States, which are surely even at least a step from authentic Indian cooking. I find this recipe to be "safe", in terms of probably appealing to the general Menno. MWL constituency who can handle a sprinkling of spice. But if you're a true Indian foodie, this recipe brings a bit of sadness with its generic "curry powder" instructions. I had foreseen this problem, and decided to take spice matters into my own hands. I went heavy on the curry powder (albeit, a generic blend from the grocery store), dumped in probably and extra teaspoon of ground cumin, a hearty dash of cayenne, and another half teaspoon or so of garam masala. (I halved the recipe, so if you're going for the full recipe, go heavier on all these spices, or add your own.) While these additions made the sauce spicier, I still felt like I was missing something. This is a recipe to play around with, and easily changed around to (hopefully) suit your tastes.

Overall: 2.8 out of 5

Indian Tofu?
If I were to make this with tofu, I would recommend freezing extra firm tofu first (to get a nice consistency), and after thawing, cube and fry in a mixture of butter (or margarine) and olive oil. Continue recipe as written, substituting veggie broth or bouillon instead of chicken.

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