I am writing this in between bouts of codeine-induced dizziness. And how has your December been? I got my flu shot late (note to self–it takes 4 weeks to give you full protection so do not leave it until mid November) and after about 7 days of the influenza, I got better for about 48 hours and now have strep throat. Combined with the residual coughing from the flu, the doctor told me today my throat is actually bleeding. UGH. So yeah, codeine. Which has worn off, but it is 1 in the morning and I will need another dose soon. So I am writing while I am (I think) coherent!
I promised you guys another post about Rinku’s fabulous new book, The Bengali Five Spice Chronicles, and (drumroll) a giveaway! The publisher has very generously agreed to give a copy of her book to one of my readers. Before I forget, here are the ways you can enter to win (please leave a separate comment for each thing that you do):
- Leave me a comment telling me what your favorite Indian food or dish is.
- Leave Rinku a comment telling her why you would like to win her book.
- Follow me on Twitter (or let me know you already do).
- Like The Spiced Life on Facebook (or let me know you already do).
The giveaway will be open until Saturday, December 15, 2012, midnight EST. Good luck!
OK now about the dish itself. This one is hands down my favorite yet (and that is saying something!). I adapted this one a bit more than the others, because with being sick I really only wanted to make one dish. In her book, it is listed as a winter squash dish and suggests the alternatives of eggplant or cauliflower. Because I knew I would be serving it on rice, I wanted to reduce the carbs (butternut squash), add the cauliflower and add a protein (the chicken). The seasoning–totally unique to me–I left as is, so I think my dish remains true to the spirit of the original.
Guys I thought this dish would last a few days but it was gone in 24 hours. Absolutely delicious. It is meant to be spicy, but I left out the chile peppers because of my kids–so that blob of red you see on my plate is sambal olek to give it some more kick. Also, because I was sick I used (Rinku’s suggestion of) Dijon mustard with salt (and minced chile peppers, which I again left out) in place of the fresh mustard seed paste. If you cannot find mustard oil, I would advocate increasing the mustard seeds and the Dijon mustard both to give the dish some oomph.
Before I sign off and go take that next dose of cough medicine, I wanted to share a few things with you guys. The first–and most exciting–is that I have joined Kitchen Play’s new program: Cookbook Tour. It is an innovation program aimed at both supporting food blogging cookbook authors and exploring the idea that food bloggers are crucial in cookbook PR. You guys know how I feel about that–I’ve been reviewing cookbooks on this site for forever. Our first book, which I will be posting about in the upcoming weeks, is Faith‘s An Edible Mosaic: Middle Eastern Fare with Extraordinary Flair, a cookbook I am super excited to cook from! I hope you check out the other bloggers working with me–we will be all featuring Faith’s book in different yet complementary ways throughout December and January (you can find links to them through the Kitchen Play link above).
The second bit of news is that because the Cookbook Tour is an actual project exploring how useful we as bloggers are to the cookbook PR industry, I will be using Amazon Affiliate links for the cookbooks I talk about. I do receive a small portion of anything you buy through my links, but I will only be linking to cookbooks I would have been writing about anyway. The primary purpose of the links is so Casey over at Kitchen Play has a way to track sales from the blogs involved in the cookbook tour. Because I am curious, I will probably just get in the habit of using the affiliate links for any cookbook I talk about (for example, I did for Rinku’s book above).
OK, wish me cough-free rest and I hope you are getting holiday baking done! I managed to get some done in between the flu and the strep, and I now have some great cookies to share with you guys!
Adapted from The Bengali Five Spice Chronicles, Rinku Bhattacharya
4-5 T mustard oil
1 1/2 t dark mustard seeds
1 scant t caraway seeds
10 curry leaves
2 large shallots, thinly sliced
salt to taste
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 T minced ginger or ginger paste
2 cups cubed butternut squash, optional
1 head of cauliflower, broken into bite sized florets
5 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite sized pieces (chicken breast is fine too)
1 t sugar, to taste
4+ green chile peppers, slit lengthwise, to heat tolerance (I left out)
1/3 cup Greek yogurt (I had to sub sour cream)
2 T dijon mustard
1 19-oz can coconut milk
1-2 t garam masala, to taste
1 T fresh lime juice, to taste
Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the mustard seeds and caraway seeds. Partially cover the pot to allow the mustard seeds to pop. When the popping slows, add the curry leaves–stand back they will splatter! When the splattering slows, add the shallots with a sprinkle of salt. Cook for 3 minutes.
Add the garlic and ginger and stir. Cook for another 2 minutes. Add the chicken with a pinch of salt and stir in. Then let cook for 1 minute without stirring. Then toss in the butternut squash (if using) and cauliflower. Cook for 1 minute. Add the sugar with a pinch of salt (and the green chile peppers if using) and toss, cooking for 5-7 minutes.
Add the yogurt and mix in completely. Cook until the excess liquid from the yogurt is absorbed. Stir in the Dijon mustard and coconut milk. Bring to a simmer. Cover partially and simmer gently for 15 minutes until the chicken and veggies are cooked through.
Stir in 1 teaspoon of garam masala and 1 tablespoon of lime juice. Taste for additional salt, garam masala or lime juice. Serve with basmati rice.