Saturday, January 1, 2011

My First Experiment in Indian Cuisine

One way to keep the hunt for delicious migraine-friendly recipes fresh and interesting is to take a look at recipes from other countries. Aarti Sequeira, recent winner of The Next Food Network Star, is a great resource. Her recipes combine Indian techniques with American favorites - think "Indian food with training wheels". Her mom's recipe for "Hot Dogs a la Rose" is a great recipe to try if you can tolerate tomatoes.

The tricks to keeping this recipe safe for migraines are pretty basic: 1) Avoid the additives in hot dogs by cutting chicken into pieces and pan frying it with a bit of salt and pepper (and maybe some extra garlic); 2) Shallots instead of onions. The chicken is, not surprisingly, an improvement.

The secret is the flavor base: sauteed garlic, shallots, carrots and ginger are the heart of the recipe. The spices (garam masala and tumeric) are fairly easy to find at the grocery store, Indian market or farmer's market. Fresh ginger (Don't you dare use powder!) is such a fragrant seasoning and it fills the house with a wonderful smell that has everyone circling the kitchen before food is ready. Two tips for ginger: 1) peel it before grating, with either a spoon or carrot peeler; and 2) store it for long periods in a plastic bag, kept in the freezer.

Instead of wraps, I usually serve this over rice, flavored with a bit of salt and tumeric (about 1/2 teaspoon with 2 cups of rice is plenty). The tumeric turns the rice a really nice bright yellow, which adds to the eye appeal of the dish.

If your family's getting tired of alternating grilled chicken and meat loaf, look beyond our borders for some good ideas to shake up the routine. It doesn't have to be difficult, expensive, or time-consuming to make something new and special.

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