The Roaming Foodie

A Borderline Disaster

Posted on: July 9, 2010

I came very close to having my first cooking related nervous breakdown last night.

What am I saying? I totally had one.

I decided that I wanted to make dinner using an Indian cookbook that my Mom gave me last Christmas (Indian Food Made Easy by Anand Anjum). Andrew had mentioned how he wanted Indian food earlier this week, so I figured he’d be up for it. I chose chicken in creamy yogurt sauce, northern Indian vegetables, naan, and basmati rice.

In the afternoon, I went grocery shopping for all the ingredients I was able to find (for the life of me, I could not locate unsweetened shredded coconut. I guess next time I’ll have to venture to the farmer’s market, but I was so lazy that I just left it out. It wasn’t much of it anyway), came home, made the naan dough, made the yogurt marinade for the chicken and stuck it in the fridge, then waited for Andrew to arrive to make everything else.

First problem: my pan was not big enough for all the vegetables, so it took forever for the potatoes to cook. Next time, I’m cooking the potatoes first then throwing them in. Maybe it’ll keep them from drying out, too. Other than that, and the missing coconut and curry leaves, I think this dish turned out decent.

Second problem: For the chicken, you dump the chicken and the marinade into a large saucepan (I used a pot) and then cook it on high until the sauce turns creamy instead of watery. I left it on high for too long, and the bottom of the chicken burned to the bottom of the pot. I don’t burn things. Ever. But I burned this. It was humiliating. We ended up eating the top part that wasn’t affected, but still. Humiliating.

Third problem: Apparently, if you turn the broiler in my apartment on, it causes the oven to fill up with smoke. I don’t know what it’s deal is. All I know is that I ended up setting off my smoke alarm for a few minutes, and this is when I started to freak out and cry. Also, since I couldn’t really use my broiler without alerting the fire station, I had to bake the naan, which caused it to be not as light and doughy as it should’ve been. I am going to try it again, with a broiler, to see if I can get that doughy soft bread with little charred bits. But not in this apartment.

The only thing that actually turned out perfect was the basmati rice. Ah well. At least one thing was okay.
I’m not completely giving up on making Indian food. Everything tasted great, so it wasn’t a problem with the recipes, and I’m sure with better equipment I could make it less of a disaster.

But I am taking a break from cooking today (even though I found a recipe for mango slaw that looks amazing, but that doesn’t count as cooking, really…)

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