Sunday, February 1, 2009

Craving some Indian food?

Picture 15

Well, so am I. Pretty much all the time. The smokiness, the spices, those deep layered flavours just can't be beat. The best meal I ever had (at a restaurant) was without a doubt at a restaurant called Bukhara in New Delhi. I remember we went shopping for spices in Old Delhi after lunch and by the time we got home it was almost 8pm. I was so hungry I could scream. Suddenly I remembered a midnight conversation I had (accidentally) overheard the night before. Our host and one of his guests were talking about this great restaurant they always go to when in town. I didn't pay much attention then, but I did remember the name Bukhara. And boy am I glad I did! We immediately asked our host to give us directions to this place. He said he'd be glad to, but he didn't think we could get in there without a reservation. We just pretended not to hear what he had just said. We jumped into a tuk-tuk (kinda dangerous, noisy, dusty, but loads of fun) and went straight to the restaurant. The funny thing was that this is an expensive restaurant. Nobody goes there by tuk-tuk. But hey, when you gotta eat you gotta eat! So after making a grand entrance, we had to wait for a while, but managed to get a table. The food was unbelievable. The chicken, lamb, char grilled veggies were smoky, spicy and utterly delicious. There was no rice on the side, but we had some dhal, cucumber-tomato raita and the most most satisfying piece (or several pieces rather) of naan bread ever!
I can't wait to return. It's hard to describe what it's like in India to someone who has never experienced it. It is definitely a land of contrasts, so vast, colourful, loud and sometimes surprising that it would take a lifetime to get to know it corner to corner.
The sounds, the people, the scenery and the great food will definitely make you want to go back. Most people who have been there say that while you're there you can't wait to leave and once you left all you think about is going back. I know I would be ready to go right now!

This recipe I chose to deal with my cravings is in no shape or form authentic. I know that. But it is Indian spiced, easy, fast fresh and super delicious. For the chicken I used homemade mango pickle (I always have lots of different pickles and spice mixtures in the fridge), but store bought will do just fine.

Baked mango chicken with Indian spiced chickpea salad



4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
3 tbsp mango chutney or pickle of your choice

Preheat oven to 400F. Place mango chutney or pickle in a bowl. Add the chicken and coat well. Arrange chicken breasts on an aluminum foil lined baking tray. Bake for about 30 to 35 min.

For the salad:

30 oz cooked chickpeas, drained
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp each fennel, cumin, coriander seeds
pinch of crushed red pepper
1 cup yogurt
lime juice to taste
4 scallions, chopped
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
pinch of sea salt

Heat the oil over medium heat. Add fennel, cumin and coriander and cook until fragrant. Remove from heat and crush spices a little using a mortar and pestle. Put chickpeas in a bowl, add spice mixture and rest of the ingredients. Serve with the baked mango chicken.

Picture 7

India photos by L. N.


Snooky doodle said...

what a nice recipe. I love indian food pity I mnot good at cooking it. However this recipe doesn't look to be that difficult I might try making it. thanks for sharing

Jules said...

Oh, how I'd love to go there...
This recipe sounds delicious, we love chickpea- will try it!

Cakebrain said...

boo hoo! I live in a household where no one likes Indian food...except me! I always have to order out from a neighbourhood Indian restaurant (which by the way is kind of high-end; but that's okay). I like how this recipe sounds. yum!

MeetaK said...

love love the pictures! it's this life and color i totally love about india! the recipe sounds d'lish!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for coming by and I must say.. I think your photos are fantastic, I love all the spices.. Nice to meet you!!!

Kristin said...

Beautiful Pictures! I love Indian spices, so welcoming in this cold winter.

Anonymous said...

I envy that you've spent time in India. That would be an experience of a lifetime... and the food!!

Brilliant photography and even better recipe. It's definitely Indian tonight!



Dana McCauley said...

Yum! I love Indian food as well. Years ago I visited Kerala in Southern India and loved every thing I ate there. Especially wonderful were the dosa served in the mornings.

BTW, pop by and enter my contest today if you have a chance:

Apples and Butter said...

I love Indian food, but never make it at home myself. I really need to change that. Thanks for sharing the recipe. How long were you in India?

Tiny bakery said...

i really really love indian food!!
and your one look wonderful ^^

Ash said...

I love indian... sadly I have to travel quite far for good indian food so it rarely happens.
Love the pics!

Antonella said...

I would like to go in India. Thanks for this virtual trip and for the recipe!

Medena (-Melitta-) said...

Yes, craving some Indian food, after your post!
Chicken and salad look so yummy! Great post, and great pictures!