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01 February 2015 @ 09:27 pm
Fifty Weeks, Fifty Curries: Week Twenty: Chicken Rizzala  
This week also marks a milestone, though not one that's about the content of our food. Rather, it's the first time in Fifty Weeks, Fifty Curries where I helped with the cooking! Usually the way it works is that softlykarou does all the cooking and I do all the cleaning (though sometimes she gets a bit overzealous and does the cleaning too...  photo emot-psyduck.gif), but she's been feeling a bit under the weather for most of today. Possibly because of smoke inhalation from yesterday during a sweet potato croquet experiment that went wrong, possibly because working in a school is a great way to get every plague known to humanity, but either way while she was taking a quick nap I cooked up the rice that we had on the side.

This isn't exactly a major accomplishment, but it does mark the first time I've had input into the actual cooking process.


Four onions, all of which got used. Whole chicken not visible.

This curry was amazing. The actual sauce was merely average, being more like a chunky mixture of onion and cilantro than a really creamy sauce, even with the added oils and the butter poured over it at the end, but simmering in that for half an hour gave the chicken a wonderful buttery-smooth, juicy texture that just exploded flavor all over my taste buds. I know I've talked a lot about the sauce and how important it is before, but honestly with the chicken rizzala I didn't care at all. softlykarou could have ignored the sauce entirely and just dumped a bunch of the chicken on a plate and after I got over my initial skepticism about the presentation I would have devoured everything and then gone back for second. Which is what I did anyway, so you know that I'm not exaggerating.

50 Great Curries of India says that this a curry that is, "found only in the homes of the Muslim aristocracy." I'm not sure how true that is, but it's definitely fit for a prince.


Frying Onions III: Fry Hard with a Vengeance.

Words from the Chef
It's hard for me to gauge the effort required by this curry because I am getting sick and in spite of dorchadas's offer, I still decided to go ahead with curry night. The way that things needed to get done lent themselves to efficiency. I had to puree the onions and the green mixture separately because my cuisinart is tiny but it worked out well. While the onions were browning I carved the chicken, which I do pretty regularly so it was more an "ugh not today" feeling than a task that was actually hard. I loved the flavor of this curry, I was particularly into the ghee flavor. Sometimes I get squeamish about the fats in curry but if I want it to taste good I know I have to add it. Plus ghee is delicious. Dorchadas made lovely, garlicy turmeric rice to go with it and the meal was a pleasure. I'd definitely make this again when I'm not getting sick.



Off with his head!  photo emot-commissar.gif

Fats in curry are totally great. And necessary to the process, as the misadventure with seyal gosht showed. I think it might be the ghee in the recipe and the butter poured over the top at the end that gave the curry the...well, "buttery" taste. I remember when I first read the manga Addicted to Curry, I thought it was bizarre and weird that curry took so much oil. There were recipes in there that called for multiple cups of oil poured in, and while they were making recipes for five or six people, I still found it to be somewhat disquieting. Then I changed how I eat and now that sounds fantastic. Bring on the oil, I say.


Behold prominent alma mater product placement. The rice I made is down there on the left!

I'm already looking forward to Wednesday when I get to eat this curry again. It's kind of amazing how much of my mind-state is taken up by food--eating it, anticipating it, thinking about when I'll have it next... It's a good thing that softlykarou enjoys cooking so much!  photo Emot-loveheart.gif

Oh, I just realized I haven't even mentioned the rice. It smelled great, but I wasn't super happy with it. I fried it in garlic and butter before cooking it, but I really should have used some of the chicken stock we have (made from boiling down real chicken carcasses!) to cook it instead of just water. The taste was very subtle, which wasn't bad, but I was hoping for a bolder taste. Especially after I bit into the chicken, the flavor of which utterly overwhelmed the rice. If it had been more like hawker chicken, I think it would have been a worthwhile addition. Maybe I'll do that on Wednesday, if I can accept eating dinner a bit later than normal.

Would I Eat It Again?: Absolutely!
Do I Prefer It to the Usual Thai Curry?: I think so! The perfunctory sauce is really the only bad point, and the chicken is just so good. Better than most of the meat that goes into the Thai curry we made other than short ribs. It's the fats. There's a reason that the Odyssey repeatedly refers to "chunks of meat dripping fat into the flames" when it's talking about luxurious meals.
What Would I Change?: I'm not sure how to make the sauce more appealing, but that'd be the second place I'd look for changes. The first is the rice, since that was the blandest part of the meal.

Bonus Picture: softlykarou took a picture of me working on the rice, so you get an extra picture in this update!

I don't usually like smiling in pictures, but softlykarou likes my smile, so here's smiling me!
 
 
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