Thursday, February 25, 2010

Date Night Crash

I'm so disappointed, dear readers. Only two things have this effect on me. One, a bad meal at a restaurant that I've been looking forward to. And two, a bad meal that I've made, hoping for it to be a success, but instead it turns out blah. I was going to say "inedible", but that never happens anymore. The only time it did was when I was 12 years old and made scones using baking soda instead of baking powder - blech, you could knock someone out with those bricks!

The reason for my disappointment today is the food at the restaurant DH and I chose for our
first date night after the baby. It was this trendy sushi place called Miya's in New Haven, filled with eclectic decor, funny and friendly service staff, and packed with the uber-chic crowd that lives around the Yale campus. Over the last five weeks, my outdoor excursions have included trips to B's pediatrician and back. That's it. So you can imagine how excited I was about finally going to a funky new restaurant that I'd never tried before, and finally having sushi after 10 months! My dreams were filled with spicy tuna rolls dipped in spicy mayo. In preparation, eyebrows were tweezed, legs were shaved, hair was blow-dried, and outfits were planned (most of which still don't fit me, but I didn't let that send me spiraling down into depression!). So folks, I looked good and I was feeling good. DH and I handed B over to grandma, making sure he had a good supply of milk to keep him content, and off we went into the sunset.

*Sigh*. There's no need to relive the entire experience. Let's just say, I miss NY sushi. Maybe I just didn't order the right thing. Maybe it's been so long since I've had sushi, that my palette needs more time to get back into it (erm, doubt that). Whatever the case, I've got to say, none of the rolls I ordered from Miya's extensive and very inventive menu hit the spot with me. They sounded like they would be awesome, but everything just felt flat and I couldn't even finish them. Spicy mayo might have helped, but they didn't even serve that - wtf people?! The only redeeming portion of the night was that at least I was out with DH, alone, and we always have fun with each other, no matter what. So while I'm super unhappy about my choice of restaurant for our special night, I'm looking forward to grandma visiting again, so that we can have another chance! (oh, and just in case you were wondering, I wasn't constantly thinking about B, and neither was he the center of our conversation - yes new moms, it is possible!)

I'll tell you what doesn't disappoint, folks. This recipe for
Murgh Methi / Fenugreek Chicken Curry. It can be made with either fresh or frozen fenugreek leaves. I used the frozen kind, because picking the tiny fresh leaves from the stalk takes too much time. But if you're a purist, then by all means, go ahead, pick away. Fenugreek is fascinating, because you can use the leaves fresh or frozen, like you would spinach in a curry, or sprinkle a pinch of dried fenugreek (kasuri methi) in curries for a subtle flavor and beautiful fragrance. Finally, you can even use the seeds as a spice. I love all versions!
Murgh Methi or Fenugreek Chicken Curry (adapted from this version)
Serves 6

Click here for printable recipe

3 tbsp canola oil
1 lb boneless chicken, cubed (preferably thigh pieces)
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tsp ginger-garlic paste
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp turmeric
1-2 tomatoes, chopped
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp chili powder
1-2 green chillies, chopped
1/2 cup yogurt, whipped with some water
1 bunch methi/fenugreek leaves (fresh or frozen)
Pinch of garam masala powder

1. Heat the oil on medium-high heat, and brown/caramelize the chicken pieces. Drain and keep aside.

2. In the same oil, add the cumin seeds. When they begin to sputter and turn dark, turn the heat down to medium, add in the onions and saute till translucent. To this, add the ginger-garlic paste and cook for another minute.

3. Now add in the chopped tomatoes, salt, turmeric, chili powder, coriander powder and chopped green chillies. Mix well and cover with a lid, to allow the tomatoes to soften. Pour in the yogurt, then cover once again and simmer for an additional 5 mins.

4. Stir in the methi/fenugreek and cook for 5 mins more till fully incorporated. Now turn off the heat and let this mixture cool a bit.
5. Zap it in the blender till smooth and thick. This part is optional - you could certainly leave it chunky - but I prefer a smoother, better combined consistency. Add it back to the pan and turn the heat back on.

6. Finally, add the browned chicken pieces back in and let them finish cooking in the sauce for 10 mins or so. You can add some water at this point if you feel the sauce is too thick. Once the chicken is cooked through, and the sauce is to your liking, sprinkle garam masala over the top, stir well, then turn off the heat. Ring the dinner gong, because you are done! Serve with rice or parathas.

Verdict: So fragrant and complex tasting (but not at all hard to make). Goes really well with basmati rice or parathas. Pair it with some mango chutney or raita on the side for an extra punch of flavor. This is simple, homey food in my house, and makes for a great weeknight family meal. Hmmm, I wonder when DH and I can ever eat at the same time again?! One of us always has to be with B! Ah well, luckily the little munchkin is mega yummy, so I can snack on his cheeks while DH has dinner - then we switch!

I'll be submitting this to the next Weekend Herb Blogging round-up, hosted by Dhanggit's Kitchen. Hilda has a truly fab blog that I've just discovered, and I can't wait to dig deeper into it!