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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Thank You Mansi!

My husband and I are a modern day Jack Spratt and his wife. I don't eat seafood. He doesn't eat red meat and is lactose intolerant (although one will notice he's more lactose intolerant around things like lasagna, quesadillas or fresh mozzarella and far less lactose intolerant when presented with ice cream, pudding, or string cheese). We eat a heck of a lot of pasta and chicken in our household. I was getting tired of chicken and I don't want to keep loading us up on simple carbohydrates all of the time (I'm Italian and consider wholewheat pasta to be a pox on humanity). "Try something meatless" the little voice inside my head said.

Expressly vegetarian meals can be hard to do well if you're not someone accustomed to finding alternative protein sources. As I said above, I don't want us to just fill up on pasta. I can't serve things that are filled with cheese as a substitute for meat since my husband can't have too much of that. (As an aside, I don't think regularly subsituting cheese for meat is a great idea anyway since the stuff is filled with saturated fat and you have to kill a calf to make cheese, so you're not doing the animals any favors.) Most TVP-based meat substitutions taste gross. While not all of them do, I find taking soy and processing the heck out of it and flavoring it seven ways to Sunday to make it taste like something else to be a rather suspicious enterprise. In other words, making a meatless meal that contains adequate protein, is made from fresh and natural ingredients, and still tastes good (ask me about the lentil loaf or the miso and soba noodles I have made in the past if you want to know how important making things taste good to me is) to be quite a task.

Indian cuisine is wonderfully unique in that it offers meatless options that are packed with flavor and use fresh ingredients. It goes way beyond the standard rice and beans and tofu salads. Indian food has chickpea stews that aren't overly starchy and daal and saag paneer and aloo gobi (sp on all?). The flavors are rich and intense and the food is very satisfying.

This is where my gratitude comes in for having discovering the world of food blogs. Here in the bloshpere, professional chefs and ordinary schmoes like me can share secrets and recipes. There is so much potential for wonderful discoveries. You'll find recipes you never even thought of.

In recent weeks I have discovered Fun and Food. This blog contains a wealth of vegetarian Indian recipes that aren't overly complex or full of hard-to-find ingredients. As I was growing desperate for new dinner ideas, this was where I headed. Last week I found the perfect recipe, Egg Curry. Eggs have great protein content and my husband loves them. Thanks to my mother recently subscribing to a CSA program, I have been innundated with an excess of eggs. (She gets a dozen of them almost weekly in her box and she lives alone and can't eat them all herself, so she often hands off a dozen to me or my brother.) I had never thought of making eggs like this and I was very eager to try it out. I was not disappointed.

I had to make a few adjustments to the recipe, which are as follows:

I forgot to buy onions. I happened to have 3 shallots in my fridge. My husband has issues with onions (Readers must be thinking I have the pickiest husband in the world, but if you think he's bad, let me tell you about his brother sometime), so it worked out just fine. Had I used onions, I would have had to cut them in big chunks so he could easly pick them out.

I didn't have whole cumin. I have had some Rachael Ray moments when shopping and have bought multiple jars of the stuff because I always think I don't have any. Thanks to people like Alton Brown and Tyler Florence, I'm learning the benefits of buying whole spices and toasting them in the pan and grinding them after they're toasted. (Hint for readers: A great place to buy whole spices is Penzeys.) However, for now I will use up my ground cumin since I have a ton of it.

I didn't have any prepared ginger-garlic paste. I just took some ginger and some garlic cloves and smashed them together with a little salt.

I used light coconut milk. The regular stuff has mega calories.

I served the dish with brown rice. I would have loved to have served it with paratha. I have a recipe for it in my Cordon Bleu cookbook, but I really didn't have the time. I suppose if I hadn't been so obsessed with my online Maj Jong game, I might have had the time. It doesn't seem difficult to do. It just involves a few steps.

The curry sauce is utterly delicious. It was great over the eggs and rice, but I think it would have multiple uses. I might even cook chicken in it someday. :-D

Food bloggers are a wonderful inspiration!

1 comment:

Mansi Desai said...

Thanks Rachel and Kevin!! Its great to know I had a little hand in making someone happy!! and thanks for this post...I could cry from gratitude!!! hahahaa...