Sunday, October 16, 2005

curry in no hurry

In a beautiful little college town named Amherst, MA two of my favorite restaurants: Judie's and Fresh Side; feature a favorite fusion dish of mine called Curried Chicken Salad. Ordinarily, I would wrap these up Fresh Side style in a nice stretchy chewy mini burrito styled way using Spring Roll wrappers (the frozen ones made out of rice), but since I didn't have any, I made a salad instead.

I took a little bit of inspiration from here and there for ideas for my own curry chicken salad. It was fun since it's been a long favorite of mine, but I've never made it before.

Joy's Curried Chicken Salad

2 Large Chicken Breasts (poached or sauteed -- see Pesto recipe for instructions)
1/4 red onion finely minced or 4 shallots minced
5 t curry powder
6 T mayonaisse
1/2 c golden raisins and currants mixed (plumped in hot water for 15 minutes)
1 small banana in coins
juice of 1/2 a lime
1 t honey
1 t salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 c roasted and salted cashews roughly chopped

Optional: half mayonaisse and half yogurt (to give it more tang)

In a container which you don't mind a slight yellow tinge (from the turmeric from the yellow curry powder), mix everything except the chicken in. Cut the chicken into bitable pieces, then combine.

Serve on a bed of lettuce with a side of your favorite dressing, or wrap in spring roll wrappers.

Since I'm tentatively trying to start learning how to make Indian food, I bought a slick little spice grinder, and I made my own yellow curry powder today. This is slightly time intensive, but I think it's more a mental thing because Americans have no problems making marinades. This is like a marinade, just a dry rub. Both Thai and Indian recipes roast their spice pastes before using them to get the essential oils of the spice out.

Joy's Yellow Curry Spice Blend

2 T coriander seeds
2 T cumin seeds
1 t ginger
1 t turmeric
4 green cardamom seeds
dash of cinnamon
1 t fenugreek (I love the way it smells)
2 t red chile flakes
5 black peppercorns

Spice grinder

In a pan over low heat dry roast spices until they are hot to the touch. Don't burn them! Stir so they do not burn. I dry roasted mine for about 10 minutes on a very low heat -- I was afraid of burning the spices. In any event, place roasted spices in spice grinder and blitz. Let cool by spreading out on a sheet of parchment or any other flat surface.

Have you heard of the wonder berry acai? I can't even pronounce it aloud, but this Brazilian berry is supposedly the new most fabulous thing one can eat for your body. Anyway, I bought frozen acai from my organic coop. Here's the smoothie recipe.

Acai Smoothie

1 small banana
2 c juice (passionfruit/white grape)
1 t honey
1 packet of acai (frozen puree)
8 frozen blackberries
8 frozen blueberries

Blend up this baby. No additional ice is needed since the fruit is all frozen. I try not to consume too much smoothie since the sugar content is very high. Also, if you freeze the smoothie (if there are leftovers) it makes a great sorbet.

Smoothies and salads, salads and smoothies. The weather here has gone back up to 80 F again ...

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