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15 February 2015 @ 09:01 pm
Fifty Weeks, Fifty Curries: Week Twenty-Two: Pista Chicken  
The hardest thing to write a review about isn’t something that you hate or that you love, but something that you think is pretty okay. Hate is easy, and as anyone who’s had someone who’s passionate about something rant at them at length knows, writing about something you hate is easy. Writing about something you love is harder, but not enough to really slow anyone down--just ask me about old RPG campaigns or living in Japan and I’ll go on for hours. But writing about something that you’re mediocre on is very difficult, and that’s why this week’s "Fifty Weeks, Fifty Curries" post is not going to be very exciting. I’m just telling you what you’re getting into before you start.


The ingredients said, “The dish deserves all-white meat, so breast of chicken is best. One can of course make it with a whole chicken as well,” but it doesn’t say that in the ingredients. Thanks book!  photo emot-doh.gif

Pista chicken was serviceably good. That sounds like damning with faint praise, but I’m not actually complaining, because I really did like it. It had cilantro scattered over the top, which added a nice tang every time I bit into them, it had a bunch of pistacios which helped to thicken up the sauce, and it was pleasantly spicy. It was quite good. But there was nothing about it that really stood out to put it above or below any of the other curries I’ve written about. It was curry with chicken, and it was tasty. I mean, maybe the sauce could be a little creamier, or the spice could have been more robust. Maybe if it had simmered in a slow cooker for a few hours it would have had a deep flavor profile that I could have really written about, but no. It was good. It certainly wasn’t any Madras lamb curry or anything.


Soaking pistacios. softlykarou thought that maybe she should have started them soaking yesterday, but that kind of long preparation isn’t something we usually do with anything we eat.

Words from the Chef
This is a curry that I could have saved a lot of time on by doing the pistachio prep a day in advance. I couldn't buy the nuts pre-shelled so most of the cooking time was shelling and then once they boiled, peeling the skin off. Pistachios are easier to de-skin than chickpeas, so they have that going for them which is nice. Other than that, the curry was pretty straight forward. I think I'd hoped for more of a nut taste, especially since I think pistachios are distinctive, but they didn't. I was a little sad because I really wanted those flavors to come through and they didn't. Overall though it was a nice, clean curry that didn't have a lot of the richness that made last week's curry hard for me. I might make it again but I want to figure out a way to punch it up. Maybe if I boil half the pistachios and roast the other half?



Here’s the non-pistacio ingredients simmering. It has a nice color.

The stand-out part of the meal to me was actually softlykarou’s turmeric rice, which turned out quite possibly the best that it’s ever done. That complemented the curry really well, and once I noticed that I got more excited to eat it. Not that I’m ever really not excited to eat curry, but as softlykarou said, it was nice. Nice. With all of the somewhat-disparaging elements that implies. When you eat different curries week-in, week-out, and you’ve had several curries like korma pulao or Goa lamb vindaloo that are absolutely fantastic, nice doesn’t really cut it. I can see us trying to make this again in order to see if there’s something easy that we could have changed to make it more distinctive, like letting it cook longer for a richer flavor or soaking the pistacios for a day in advance, but without some kind of change I’m pretty indifferent to whether I have pista chicken again.


The peppers were pretty tasty when I dipped them in the sauce.

50 Great Curries of India says that the curry has a “very delicate” taste, and I’m not sure if that means that the flavor is subtle or if it’s easy to ruin, so I don’t know if what we got was what it was supposed to taste like. It was good! But not good enough.

Would I Eat It Again?: I would eat it, but I wouldn’t ask for it to be made.
Do I Prefer It to the Usual Thai Curry?: Not at all.
What Would I Change?: Maybe try giving it longer to cook? But if the flavor is delicate, would that ruin it? I don’t know.
 
 
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