Thursday, May 23, 2013

Spice Up Your Life!

When I was about three years old up until 7 or so (when NSYNC and the Backstreet Boys took priority), my favorite band was the Spice Girls. I am sure some of you remember this British pop band, who are famous for the saying "Girl Power," the ridiculous movie Spiceworld, and their song "Spice Up Your Life!"

My best friend and I spent countless hours dancing in the living room to our tapes. We were "Salt and Pepper Spice" and hoped to join the band one day in our futures...

Maybe that is where I got my love for spices!

Here is an example of what gorgeousness came from my trip to the Indian Market last summer (which took me an hour and a half because I couldn't quite figure out how to read the Indian squigglies and was too overwhelmed by the excitement of the process to even think about asking the cashier for help...).

 This, my friends, is no mere pile of fallen leaves and debris. This is the beginnings of garam masala, the quintessential Indian food spice that gives the sweetness, the kick, and the pow-chicka-wow-wow to your taste buds every time you dare sink your teeth into that na'an bread dipped in the true ambrosia from the gods--butter chicken.

I toasted them all up in the pan to get the oils flowing, and then I blended them into a powder in the food processor and put them in a carefully sealed container (this stuff WILL fill your whole pantry with its tantalizing smell if you don't!)

See what I came up with next--THE Butter Chicken

The stuff that my dreams are made of....and it wasn't even take-out! Unfortunately I don't have pictures of the cooking process as proof of this, but you are just going to have to trust me on this one. This is one of the rare times that I will impart a recipe that I did not create myself. But seriously hon, I could NOT re-imagine this goodness.

Here is my favorite recipe: Butter Chicken Recipe

Do not, and I mean DO NOT, use an American recipe that is all "simplified" and "only 3 ingredients!" It's not real. It doesn't taste real either. This is the simplest yet most flavorful recipe I have discovered.

Also, any homemade Indian food must come with na'an bread. Don't have a tandoor you say? I say...
 Make it work!

This recipe for homemade na'an on a normal stovetop actually tastes pretty authentic. It's not as fluffy as the restaurant stuff, but your excuse can always be, "Well gosh, I am sorry my oven doesn't go up to 3000 degrees to suit your liking!" That's what I always say... 

Here is the link: Na'an Bread

And of course you need basmati rice with a pinch of saffron, to cap it off!

Indian night is yours. Spice it up, ladies and gents!


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