08 November 2007

First adventure: Sunday Dinner

When Lindsay, Emma, and I came back to the suite after pepper picking Emma took over the kitchen to fill our bellies. It's good to have a break from being the wielder of the spatula after a burst of intensive party cooking. Yet even though I kept my hands firmly on the camera and out of the sauce dish this time, I couldn't help but help. While Emma wielded my new seven-inch carving knife against such fiendish foes as Lindsay's peppers, chicken breasts, onions, mangoes, and plums, I made the sticky rice. But I cheated and made it in my rice cooker, one of my parent's wedding gifts that I seized from the back shelf of my their pantry nearly a year ago. So mostly my hands stayed on the camera, and I let Emma work her magic this time.

Emma had this Indian cooking sauce that just begged for fresh mangoes (and when we used all of those that we had, really ripe plums) and kind-of sweet, kind-of hot mystery peppers. As heady tropical steam filled the kitchen, I attempted to catch the cook at work. Yet every time I got close she'd shy away and try to clear the shot of all save the food. Eventually we got on the same page and our cook du jour got her hands, at least, into the shots as well as the food.

Soon the rice clicked over to warming, the chicken browned, and Emma's spicey-sweet mango sauce had bubbled to perfection. We nestled down on the couches with our heaping portions served, as an added bonus, in some of Emma's hand-made ceramic bowls and ate until we were stuffed like the Thanksgiving turkey. I'd definitely be willing to get pampered by Emma's eats any time at all.

Indian Mango Chicken

Pocketed at the dining hall:

3 plums

Bought at the store:

Patak's Mango Chicken sauce (Since this import is only sold in specialty food stores, you could get away with substituting a mild yellow curry paste mixed with a can of coconut milk, as long as you use an extra mango. Both paste and milk can be found in the international foods aisle of any grocery store, even the C-town Acme, and include instructions on how to make them into your own sauce.)

Basmati rice

1 lb uncooked chicken (or 1 lb cooked chicken with mild or no spices from the dining hall)

2 mangoes

½ yellow onion

olive oil (vegetable oil is better, if you've got it)

Harvested locally:

2 green bell peppers

3 mildly spicy red mystery peppers (one of my suitemates whose family grows peppers is working on the name)

  1. Brown chicken in 1-2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil over medium heat until white on all sides.
  2. Add sliced fruit and vegetables. Cook an additional 5 minutes.
  3. Measure 1 ½ cups water for every 1 cup uncooked rice (use the cup that comes with the cooker, otherwise the math gets tricky in the English* measurement, as their cup = ¾ cup) and flip the rice cooker switch to on. This will take about 15-20 minutes, but you can start it any time during the cooking process, as your rice will be kept steaming fresh by the warm function for as long as you need.
  4. Empty cooking sauce over veggies and chicken. Turn down heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.

If you don't have a rice cooker, I'd suggest going for instant rice or even microwaved rice, as cooking sticky rice on the stove is a thankless task that should only be attempted if you are held at gunpoint. Seriously, it's intense!


*Because we are a stubborn people and like to melt cultures into a confusing blur, we still use an antiquated measuring system, called "English" or Imperial after our colonial masters, but which also includes measurements from other immigrant cultures. Meanwhile, the rest of the world has converted to the much more efficient base ten system of Metric. But you can have fun with conversion with sites like these, where you can finally know how many ancient Hebrew measures are in a U.K. hogsheads. (It's 37.195 281 818 measures in 1 hogshead [U.K.], for those not in the know.)

1 comment:

AJ Star said...

that looks and sounds DELICIOUS. i might add that to next week's dinner menu. what an excellent use of your peppers. also, just a note: the past eight months have seen a shocking renovation of the super fresh international aisle. they now carry patak's products. i got up out of my chair to check my cupboard to make sure that i was right. and it's true-- my mango chutney is patak's!!! but yeah they've gotten so much better about carrying more than just flour tortillas. check it out! it might inspire new recipes.