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Variety is the Spice of Life

Posted Nov 04 2009 10:04pm

Kyle and I have decided that our tastes are changing, especially since fasting for Lent.  I used to eat such lovely dishes as plain pasta with parmesan cheese, or plain Minute Rice, and Kyle was easily contented with some form of meat and potatoes.  However, of late, both of us have tried a lot of new things and have realised we really enjoy having a bit of kick to our food.

Gulab Jamun, yum yum!

Gulab Jamun, yum yum!

My big thing lately is Indian food.  We went for lunch at Tandoori Hut in Kensington this week, and it was absolutely fantastic.  I’ve discovered a love for beef korma and tandoori chicken (even though it’s Lent, I know, I know), and find nothing quite as satisfying as sopping up curry sauces with a nice piece of warm, fresh naan bread.  We went to a great little place called the Dalbrent Spice Rack and it was a treasure trove of Indian spices;  I picked up a recommended chicken tikka masala spice mix and will be cooking this during Bright Week (you add the chicken and plain yogurt to make the masala…. mmm).  We also tried gulab jamun- doughy balls of condensed milk stuff fried in ghee (clarified butter) and soaked in a sugar syrup, served warm.  They were like heaven!  If you’ve ever seen the movie Water, there’s an 0ld widow who pretty much just keeps talking about how much she wants a gulab jamun before she dies… gotta say, I kind of get why.  We also got a mix for gulab jamun at the Spice Rack and are making those during Bright Week as well, since they need milk and butter.

Injera (This stuff is much prettier than Kyle's was. :))

Injera (This stuff is much prettier than Kyle' s was.)

Kyle has been really into Ethiopian food lately, after Fr. John took him out to the Blue Nile (also in Kensington).  His favorite thing there is a vegetarian platter with all sorts of spicy purees that you eat with a special bread called injera instead of with a knife and fork.  After a failed attempt to take me to lunch there, Kyle decided to make some Ethiopian food himself at home. 

Berbere: Delicious but Painful.

Berbere: Delicious but Painful.

He made a very, very spicy vegetable stew, with green beans, potatoes, onion, parsley, paprika, olive oil, vegetable stock, and a powerful spice mix called berbere.  Our neighbor Rob ate with us, and he was the only one who could finish his plate, as it was just so spicy!  Kyle made the berbere mix himself- it had a ton of cayenne pepper, paprika, coriander, fenugreek seeds, cardamom, cinnamon, salt, pepper, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, and it could probably melt through rebar if you used too much in a recipe.  That said, it was really darn good, just too hot to have more than a little!

He also made injera, which is like a pancakey unleavened bread, made out of teff flour.  Those didn’t turn out as well, though each one he made was an improvement over the previous one.  I still had to run to Safeway to get some naan bread as a backup, though, as it was too spicy to have without some kind of bread around.

There’s something really satisfying about knowing that you’ve made flavorful meals from scratch, too, rather than just getting frozen foods or takeout.  I’ll have to take pictures of our next food experiment for the blog, instead of finding stock pictures like I have for this post!

Anyone have any ideas for tasty ethnic dishes we should try?

Kyle and I have decided that our tastes are changing, especially since fasting for Lent.  I used to eat such lovely dishes as plain pasta with parmesan cheese, or plain Minute Rice, and Kyle was easily contented with some form of meat and potatoes.  However, of late, both of us have tried a lot of new things and have realised we really enjoy having a bit of kick to our food.

Gulab Jamun, yum yum!

Gulab Jamun, yum yum!

My big thing lately is Indian food.  We went for lunch at Tandoori Hut in Kensington this week, and it was absolutely fantastic.  I’ve discovered a love for beef korma and tandoori chicken (even though it’s Lent, I know, I know), and find nothing quite as satisfying as sopping up curry sauces with a nice piece of warm, fresh naan bread.  We went to a great little place called the Dalbrent Spice Rack and it was a treasure trove of Indian spices;  I picked up a recommended chicken tikka masala spice mix and will be cooking this during Bright Week (you add the chicken and plain yogurt to make the masala…. mmm).  We also tried gulab jamun- doughy balls of condensed milk stuff fried in ghee (clarified butter) and soaked in a sugar syrup, served warm.  They were like heaven!  If you’ve ever seen the movie Water, there’s an 0ld widow who pretty much just keeps talking about how much she wants a gulab jamun before she dies… gotta say, I kind of get why.  We also got a mix for gulab jamun at the Spice Rack and are making those during Bright Week as well, since they need milk and butter.

Injera (This stuff is much prettier than Kyle's was. :))

Injera (This stuff is much prettier than Kyle' s was.)

Kyle has been really into Ethiopian food lately, after Fr. John took him out to the Blue Nile (also in Kensington).  His favorite thing there is a vegetarian platter with all sorts of spicy purees that you eat with a special bread called injera instead of with a knife and fork.  After a failed attempt to take me to lunch there, Kyle decided to make some Ethiopian food himself at home. 

Berbere: Delicious but Painful.

Berbere: Delicious but Painful.

He made a very, very spicy vegetable stew, with green beans, potatoes, onion, parsley, paprika, olive oil, vegetable stock, and a powerful spice mix called berbere.  Our neighbor Rob ate with us, and he was the only one who could finish his plate, as it was just so spicy!  Kyle made the berbere mix himself- it had a ton of cayenne pepper, paprika, coriander, fenugreek seeds, cardamom, cinnamon, salt, pepper, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, and it could probably melt through rebar if you used too much in a recipe.  That said, it was really darn good, just too hot to have more than a little!

He also made injera, which is like a pancakey unleavened bread, made out of teff flour.  Those didn’t turn out as well, though each one he made was an improvement over the previous one.  I still had to run to Safeway to get some naan bread as a backup, though, as it was too spicy to have without some kind of bread around.

There’s something really satisfying about knowing that you’ve made flavorful meals from scratch, too, rather than just getting frozen foods or takeout.  I’ll have to take pictures of our next food experiment for the blog, instead of finding stock pictures like I have for this post!

Anyone have any ideas for tasty ethnic dishes we should try?

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