Shahi Korma (“Royal Lamb” with a Creamy Almond Sauce)

When I eat out, I tend to avoid ordering chicken. There’s lots of spectacular chicken dishes out there, but to me, its the least exciting of meats. But when I go to Indian restaurants, its usually another story. Often, I’ll encounter lamb (or mutton)-based curries, but what this has usually amounted to for me is tough meat, no distinct lamb/mutton flavor, and the dish is swimming in a pool of grease (on that note, I wish there were better Indian restaurants around here!). I thought I’d try my hand at it this at home to see how I would fare.

Shahi Korma ("Royal Lamb" with a Creamy Almond Sauce)

If you’re like me, the name of this dish seems a bit confusing when combined with the photo. Creamy almond sauce evokes images of a delicate, light-tannish colored, velvetty sauce. Well, it started out that way, but the end result is a lot thicker, almost to the point of adding a tacky crust to the meat (which I was… click to read more…

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Honeyed Balsamic Braised Chicken with Figs

I thought I should explore some savory applications of fresh figs rather than just going dessertcrazy. For some reason, a Morrocan chicken I’d made several months ago kept popping up in my head, so I decided to follow a similar tact and braise a chicken with figs and see where it took me.

I began by breaking down a whole chicken. I strangely enjoy this and seem to get better at it every time I do it, so if this is something that intimidates you, there’s only one way to get better at it so do it! With the chicken in more manageable pieces, I then braised it in a flavorful broth of wine, balsamic, honey, leek, herbs, and figs. The result was absolutely delicious–the chicken was incredibly tender and the sauce was sweet, honeyed, with a surprisingly well-rounded, balanced,… 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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Baklava

Depending on where you hang your hat, baklava might mean different things to you–a Greek baklava is not a Turkish baklava is not an Arab baklava, and so on and so forth. The core idea is the same across all variants though: an absolutely delicious treat composed of layers of paper-thin, flaky phyllo dough, sweet, spiced, crunchy nuts, and a sticky, sweet syrup to bring it all together.

As exotic as baklava might be to some (to think, some have never had it before! If you haven’t, this goes on your dessert to-do list. Really!), making baklava is easy, albeit a bit tedious. Of course, if I didn’t use store-bought premade phyllo dough, it might not have been quite so easy ;-). At a high level, it really amounts to layering several sheets of the delicate, paper thin phyllo dough with a light brushing of butter between each with a thicker mid-section composed of sweetened nuts. Once this… 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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Apricot Date Stuffed Chicken Poached in Saffron Cream Sauce

This dish was really rich and tasty. The chicken was juicy and soft (on account of being poached) while the filling was a bit more honeyed and crunchy in texture, being filled with apricot, dates, and almonds. The sauce was also the poaching liquid: a creamy spiced broth teeming with saffron. All of these individually strong flavors paired together in a surprisingly harmonious way.

Chicken Poached in Saffron Cream Sauce topped w/date & fig, served w/cranberry rice

This dish was kind of a hodgepodge of ingredients–after making rugelach, I had some ingredients on hand that I normally don’t (apricot preserves, dates) and I just felt compelled to use them for something completely different. Once I got out of the dessert frame of mind, I came up with this. Describing the dish to my wife ahead of time was greeted with skepticism: there were a lot of flavors and many of them were sweet (she has a thing against sweet and meat). I was also feeling… click to read more…

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