Happy new year! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season with family and friends. Hubby and I spent time at home with family and attending a wedding where we saw many friends we had not seen in some time. I am sure you can imagine, as is customary when getting together with loved ones, that we indulged in more sweets and rich foods than usual. With the fresh start that comes with a new year we are in detox-mode in our household! That means lots of vegetables, fruits, legumes, and lean protein. One of my favorite detoxing meals is this tandoori chicken salad!
This recipe for tandoori chicken is one of the very first Indian recipes I ever learned, and it actually comes from one of Hubby's closest friend's mother. We would often make this recipe during the summer and cook the chicken on a grill during poolside barbecues in our former home of Atlanta. Even though it is January and I have no access to a grill right now, the chicken cooks very well in an oven--it is so moist and flavorful!
Today was an incredibly grey and rainy day--to the point where we had a tornado warning and I had to hide in a stairwell for 15 minutes--which made me want to cook something comforting. I had a few vegetables from the farmer's market and decided to combine them with chicken to create a curry dish that I could just eat with a spoon. I can't overstate how perfect this dish was on such a gloomy day!
The base of the curry is a combination of coconut milk and tamarind. The two ingredients work perfectly together: the rich creaminess of the coconut milk is balanced out by the sour and tangy taste of tamarind. The combination of coconut milk and tamarind is popular in Kerala, a coastal state in southern India. Fish is eaten frequently in Kerala because it borders the sea, but I chose to use chicken this time. You can easily make this a vegetarian/vegan dish too--just omit the chicken and add more vegetables!
My apologies for the delay in posting since the last recipe; my husband and I were on an incredible three week vacation. We saw beautiful places, experienced rich cultures, and--most importantly--ate exquisite foods. Now that we are back home, though, we are trying to erase the sins of one too many Nutella crepes! My solution: Sriracha turkey kheema!
Kheema is often called the Indian version of the sloppy joe. It consists of minced meat and peas cooked in tomatoes, onions, and a variety of spices. It is a perfect option when you are trying to eat less carbohydrates. Kheema is often made using mutton, but I made it with ground turkey to keep it healthy. You can also use ground chicken if you prefer!
As I've noted elsewhere in this blog, my family comes from the state of Maharashtra in India. Maharashtra is located on the western coast of India. While my family is almost entirely vegetarian, fish is a commonly used in Maharashtrian cooking because it is a coastal state. Many dishes typically made in the neighboring coastal states of Goa and Kerala are also found in Maharashtrian cuisine.
This recipe comes to my from my Aunt S. When I attended graduate school, I lived in the same city as Aunt S (and my uncle and cousins). When I felt homesick and had time take a break from studying, I would go to their house for a meal and to spend time together. During these trips, I realized that Aunt S actually cooks fish at home! I really enjoyed the fish she would make because it was simple and flavorful. One of the first fish recipes I tried making myself came from her (black pepper and lemon tilapia).
I love this recipe not only because it is so flavorful--but also because it is so heart healthy! The recipe calls for salmon, garlic, olive oil, and egg-whites--all of which are good for your heart.
The first time I ate fish was on one of my first dates with my husband, six years ago. I had told him that I wanted to try fish, so he took me to an American "surf and turf" restaurant that he had eaten at previously. This restaurant offered a tandoori halibut and he suggested that I order it because it was flavorful, light, and did not taste or smell "fishy" (the turn-off of every new fish eater). I still remember that tandoori halibut and it is the inspiration for today's post!
My husband and I went to a local fish market over the weekend, and I had set out to buy halibut for this recipe. When we got to the market, however, the red snapper looked incredibly fresh so we went with it!
The lesson here: you can use any type of lean white fish and it will turn out just fine! If you want to know what types of fish would be a good substitute for red snapper, you can check out the New York Seafood Council's handy fish substitutions chart. I would suggest using tilapia, rockfish, or maybe halibut. Tilapia might be a good choice if you are new to cooking and eating fish!
Exploring Indian cuisine and trying to learn the recipes of my family. I hope to help and inspire others along the way.