Monday, June 14, 2010

Indian Cuisine, It Ain't Just Curry


I’m an Indian food newbie. I can handle samosas, tandoori and tikka masala, but beyond that, I need some assistance. I came across a recipe in Food and Wine mag a few months ago and clipped it out. I work in the magazine industry, so I HIGHLY support buying a real-deal printed magazine and using some old school scissors to cut out ideas. I re-worked the recipe slightly to cut back a few calories, but I thought this was a great way for a novice like me to enjoy the flavors of Indian cooking in a familiar and accessible Americanized format.

The resulting INDIAN SPICED CHICKEN BURGER WITH SPICY PEANUT SAUCE was extremely flavorful. I’ve never tried to make a chicken burger before. I just assumed that ground chicken would be dry and tasteless. I always grab ground turkey instead. How I thought chicken would be lack-luster but turkey would be “wow” is beyond me. They’re both birds after all!

I used regular ground chicken instead of ground chicken breast. The biggest challenge with a poultry burger is keeping it moist. Having some dark meat in the mix certainly helps. Chopped onion and in this case, a little olive oil in the patties also keeps the meat juicy.

I guess this recipe is actually an Indian/Thai hybrid. The spicy peanut sauce is similar to Thai satay. I always opt for natural peanut butter when a recipe calls for it. The typical Jif and Skippy-types all contain added oil and sugar. Peanuts are perfect on their own. Why spoil a good thing? I also used light coconut milk. The recipe only calls for a very small amount, so by all means, feel free to use the regular stuff. I flipped over the can and when I saw the fat content in the regular, I opted for the light.

The combination here is really interesting. The burgers are spiced with garam masala, an Indian spice blend. It isn’t “hot” spicy, but it’s a pretty strong spice flavor. The overall effect is a tad sweet, so I added some heat to the sauce for a kick. I topped the burger with lettuce for crunch and served it alongside some fresh corn. If you’re nervous about trying new ethnic flavors, this would be an easy place to start.

* Get cooking. Let me know what you think. Love it? Hate it? I’m interested in hearing your feedback and suggestions.


Garam Masala on Foodista

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