Channa Masala

I can be very much a “where’s the beef?” kind of guy, but every now and then, a truly vegetarian dish somehow slips under my nose and wins me over without me realizing it. This chickpea-centric dish, called channa masala, is one of the first Indian dishes I’d ever had and it’s kept me coming back for seconds ever since.

Channa masala is essentially a strongly spiced curry (the “masala” part) with chickpeas for the protein (the “channa” part) rather than meat. Calling any curry “strongly spiced” is a big generalization, but this is strong even among other curries. This isn’t too say that it’s overwhelmingly hot–just really flavorful (there’s some heat, of course, but it is a bit milder). A big distinction in my mind is that this curry has both a distinct tang and a certain sourness that makes for an incredibly delicious result. Plus channa masala is fun to eat and quick to make (especially compared… click to read more…

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Indian Pizza

Once again, Jeff over at Culinary Disaster organized an Iron Chef style challenge, and this go around, the theme was pizza. Since I always aim to make something a bit different, I wanted to make some sort of exotic pizza. After imagining many dead ends, a friend’s recounting of chicken tandoori pizza popped up in my head, and suddenly, a rush of Indian-themed ideas started swirling together. The result: Indian Pizza!

If you’ve never had something like this before, you’re probably skeptical about this one, and hey, I hear you–it does sound weird, but if you like Indian food, I promise you, this is a joy to eat. I didn’t want this to be some everyday pizza with just chunks of chicken tandoori on top (which sounds like it would be…crappy), so I revisited every element… click to read more…

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Cardamom Honey Baklava Ice Cream in Phyllo Cups

This was really delicious. I must confess, when I made baklava, I didn’t make it just for the baklava–I made it for this dessert. This isn’t to say baklava by itself isn’t amazing (which it most definitely is), but why settle for one amazing thing when you can have two? Yes, I made baklava so that I could use it as an additive to cardamom honey ice cream.

The cardamom-honey ice cream custard-base really stole the show–it was intense, just the right creamy texture, sweet, and just out of the ordinary. Cardamom is one of my favorite spices that really is beyond my ability to describe–it works so well in savory and sweet applications, kind of like cinnamon–and in this case, it really gave the ice cream an incredible flavor backbone.

Combined with chunks of baklava, you had a great contrast visually, texturally, and flavorally (go, made up words, go!)–crunchy, cinnamon spiced… click to read more…

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Egg Curry

When you go to an Indian restaurant, the menus at most of them are pretty much the same and its unfortunate because this showcases such a narrow window of this amazing genre of food (honestly, why do so few restaurants focus on South Indian cuisine?). Don’t get me wrong, I love this narrow window as well, but it just means that if I want to satisfy my cravings for the kind of food I had when I was in India, that’s all on me. This is such an attempt to recreate a curry my wife and I both love: egg curry.

Instead of the usual chicken or lamb, this curry’s protein is diced hard-boiled eggs. The gravy it tomato-based, slightly spicy, and both creamy and slightly sweet on account of the presence of coconut milk. I followed a similar technique in making this as I did when I madeclick to read more…

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Floral Mango Ice Cream with Pistachio

My new toy is still new and exciting, so despite the cold winter weather (hey, 40 degree weather is cold for Florida!), I can’t help but make ice cream again this week. Last week’s ice cream was a bit too rich for my wife’s tastes (but spot on for me!), so I thought I owed her a lighter ice cream more tuned to her liking. I went with her favorite fruit: mango.

Floral Mango Ice Cream with Pistachio

With mango as the base flavor, I wanted to dress it up with some other subtle Indian flavors to have a really lively ice cream. So I started with a creamy mango custard and infused it with cardamom and rose water (never used it? It’s just what it sounds like–water flavored with roses, as in flowers!) for sweet, floral flavors that are very harmonious next to the buttery, sweet, almost peachy… click to read more…

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Apple Chicken Curry

I know this one sounds like an odd combination, but somehow, innocent, autumnal kind of ingredients (apple, apple cider, cinnamon, white wine, dijon, golden raisins) come together to produce a curry that could stand up next to any other traditional chicken curry flavor-wise. And so today, we have apple chicken curry.

Apple Chicken Curry

I wanted to make chicken that somehow went with apples, but I had a tough time coming up with something that appealed to me. I wrote down a long list of things that I thought would go well with apple and then started whittling it down until there was a collection of things that seemed harmonious together. From there, I just took all of those ingredients out and just sort of went with it–since ginger and cardamom were involved, why not try to do something with some Indian flare to it? And so I started working in other Asian flavors, such as kasoori methi (a.k.a. fenugreek), and that… click to read more…

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