by Libby Sternberg
First, a quick explanation: TGIW stands for Thank God it’s Wednesday. But you probably figured that out already. TGIW posts are meant to brighten your midweek….
My husband and I love to go to a little local Indian restaurant called Taj Mahal. It’s a one-room establishment in a strip shopping center, next to a mattress store and near a furniture shop. But once you’re inside, the atmosphere is…fun. A big plastic peacock statue, lit inside, guards the bar. Other pictures and tchotchkes evoking India fill the room. The staff is attentive and cheerful; I always feel as if they’re happy to see us and are eager to show off their cuisine. On holidays, they make dining special. New Year’s Eve brought out hats and beads for each customer, Valentine’s Day a chocolate dessert, other times live music provided by a fellow at an electronic keyboard. On Mondays, they offer a fixed price buffet–a great way to sample their food.
Anyway, I sometimes try to recreate a dish I had there, and I came close with the following. I didn’t write down the precise measurements as I cooked, so beware; use your own judgment.
LIBBY’S SORTA INDIAN CHICKEN
For two people (with enough for leftovers)
- about a cup or more of cauliflower, cut into small florets
- about a cup of broccoli florets
- Olive oil
- One chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces
- 1/4 cup onion diced or sliced
- 1/4 cup red pepper diced or sliced
- 2 small cloves garlic, crushed
- salt and pepper to taste
- about a cup of chicken broth or stock
- about a cup of tomato or spaghetti sauce (I used Prego)
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of the following spices: ginger, cumin, ground coriander, cardamom, turmeric, paprika
- (and, if you feel the need to smooth out the flavors, yes, you can use a little curry powder)
- 1/2 cup cream
Heat the oven to 375. Spread cauliflower and broccoli on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast the vegetables until the edges are slightly brown, but be careful not to burn. They should be a little crunchy. (Roasting the vegetables is important because it imparts a different flavor than just tossing them in the saute pan.)
Meanwhile, in a saute pan, brown the chicken, onions, peppers, garlic in a little olive oil.
Deglaze the pan with the chicken stock/broth.
Add the spices.
Add tomato sauce and let simmer until chicken is done and tender.
Add the roasted vegetables.
Turn the heat down and when it’s no longer piping hot, add the cream, stirring until silky smooth.
Goes well over rice, Israeli couscous, quinoia (is that how you spell that?)
Next time I make it, I’ll try to note the precise measurements.
Back to our Taj Mahal experience…I noted how they provide live music on special occasions. I love that they want to elevate the dining experience in this way, but sometimes I feel like telling the owners they should get a better musician. Oh, it’s not that the fellow they use can’t play. It’s just that what he plays is hardly better than piped-in music. And he seems to take a lot of breaks!
If you’re ever in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, craving Indian food, stop by this establishment.