Chicken and Cauliflower Curry

July 8, 2012 § Leave a comment

I cooked for the second time this summer! My lovely friend invited me over to her spacious kitchen so we could actually make a home cooked meal. Last time we threw together a veggie pasta dish – this time we decided to attempt an Indian curry. We were a bit more adventurous this time and bought a package of raw chicken breasts instead of using precooked chicken, but we compromised by using a pre-made curry simmer sauce and frozen cauliflower. But hey, within an hour of leaving for the grocery store we had dinner ready, so overall it was quite successful.

First we cut up the three chicken breasts into cubes (I didn’t have a part in this because I don’t like dealing with raw meat), and cooked it in the pan with some oil. We also threw in some sliced onions. Then we poured in about three fourths of the jar of simmer sauce, and at the very end dumped in the pack of frozen cauliflower. We let the whole thing cook for a bit over low heat to let the flavor of the sauce soak into the rest of the dish.

One more shortcut – we bought naan from Whole Foods which we threw into the microwave to warm up for a bit. In the end, quite a satisfying meal, and it is always good to get some more veggies in! We randomly ate some raw baby carrots in the side, contributing to the veggie intake. Next time I would use fresh cauliflower – the frozen kind turned out a bit soggy with a spongy texture.

This was my first venture into Indian food, and I’m sure glad for the existence of pre made sauces. A lot of the recipes online for curry call for various spices, and we definitely did not have most of them on hand. I’m sure one day I’ll attempt a genuine, made-from-scratch Indian curry, but for the college-level standard cooking I am very pleased with how this turned out.

Eggplant and Mushroom Pasta with Chicken

June 30, 2012 § Leave a comment

Wow, I actually cooked something for once! Well, I guess half-cooked would be a better term, seeing as it was a very simple recipe (basically throwing things together). My friend and I decided to cook dinner together in her kitchen instead of eating out, and pasta seemed like an easy and delicious choice – a few steps above microwaved ramen in the college cooking context.

First we chopped up about half a container of mushrooms and half of a large eggplant. We threw the eggplant pieces into the pan first with some oil, and let that cook down for about five minutes before tossing in the chopped mushrooms. For fresh vegetables, sometimes all you need is a little salt and oil for the best flavor. After another five or so minutes, we poured in half a jar of jarred marinara sauce, and stirred everything together.

Meanwhile, the bow tie pasta was boiling in another pot. When that was ready, we drained the pasta in a colander. We took a shortcut on the grilled chicken and bought some pre-grilled refrigerated chicken strips from Whole Foods – classy, I know. It was really convenient though. Then we just served ourselves some pasta topped with the vegetable sauce, with chicken on the side.

Definitely nothing stunning (or even that blogworthy), but it covered all the nutritional bases (with an ample amount of vegetables!), was filling, simple and fast. The perfect type of meal for the standard busy intern or college student.

Restaurant Review: Nando’s Peri-Peri

June 12, 2012 § Leave a comment

For dinner tonight I met a friend at Nando’s Peri-Peri in Chinatown, which is a Portuguese chicken restaurant with a very unique menu. I really liked the atmosphere of the venue – it is roomy with high ceilings, comfy booths, and the lighting was pleasantly dim. The waitstaff are also very efficient and helpful.

The specialty obviously is the chicken, and you can order the different cuts at five different levels of spiciness. There is also a wide array of sauces to eat with the chicken, including a very hot, an extra hot, and an “extra extra hot” sauce in an ominous-looking black bottle. We ordered our food at the counter (quarter chicken consisting of the leg and thigh – medium spiciness, and caesar salad), then got a variety of the sauces to try. In less than ten minutes, our food arrived at the table.

The chicken portion was rather small, or maybe it just seemed like it since it was plated on such a large dish. In their defense, the menu does offer various sides to order with the chicken, such as corn and potatoes, at an additional cost. The meat was tender and juicy, though I didn’t really detect the spiciness. I guess my Asian taste buds are well-adjusted to high spice levels. I tried a tiny bit of the “extra extra” hot sauce and it wasn’t too hot.

The caesar salad was the standard old-fashioned classic, good but nothing too much to say about it. The lettuce was fresh and I actually really enjoyed the croutons – buttery and crunchy.

Nando’s Peri-Peri: the concept is cute and the food is simple but of good quality. The price was also acceptable – the two dishes together plus tax was $12. I can’t speak of the authenticity of the Portuguese roots, as I’ve never had Portuguese before, but this was a solid dining experience. If you like chicken, definitely check it out.

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