Archive for the ‘Chicken’ Category

Lumihai BeachWhen this post goes live J. and I will be lying on a beach in Hawaii. We have 7 days and nights of relaxation planned or not planned as the case may be in Kauai. Though we don’t have any activities planned, besides lying on the beach, we do have our food plans well and truly under control.

As I have mentioned previously, J. is more often than not in charge of our eating arrangements when we travel. He researches, reads, studies and discusses all the possibilities. He has been responsible for finding some of the most unique, out of the way, hole in the wall, restaurants/foodtrucks/shacks that we have ever been lucky enough to try. He is always organized for our trips but when it comes to Kauai he has taken it to an entirely new level!

Here is the evidence – THE SPREADSHEET!

THE SPREADSHEET

Puka DogA comprehensive document, organizing possible food choice by local. It details opening hours, location, whether they take cash only or credit card and possibly most importantly what kind of cuisine they serve. We have choices of traditional Hawaiian plate lunches, poke, seafood, burgers, Japanese and who knows what else. He has found us so many to choose from there is no way we will get to all of them!

We went to Kauai back in 2009 and discovered some amazing places to eat. They have made it Mark's Placeonto the spreadsheet, along with some of J’s new discoveries. The places I am looking forward to revisiting are Shrimp Station, Puka Dog, Mark’s Place and Hamura’s Saimin and a few others. The shrimp at Shrimp Station were delicious and amazing. I had never tasted anything like the hot dogs from Puka Dog. Mark’s Place and Hamura’s Saimin were just cool, low key locals joints.

Shrimp StationOf course J. has found us a whole new  group of places to try out. When we travel we try to stay away from the touristy places (although Puka Dog is definitely a popular destination) and go where the locals eat. Kauai, the second time around will be no different. I’m really looking forward to trying out Koloa Fish Market and also Chicken in a Barrel but there are so many other delicious options who knows what we will actually eat!

Hamura's Saimin

I’m sure as you are reading this we are either lying on a beach or eating some fabulously tastyfood! Stay tuned for Live from Kauai posts later this week!

ALOHA!

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Slow Cooked Chicken & Mushroom.jpgA couple of weeks ago it snowed here in Phoenix. Now certain parts of Arizona get snow throughout the winter however Phoenix is not one of them! I was sitting in my office at work, looking out my window and white stuff started falling from the sky. J. thought this was the best thing ever, I however wasn’t impressed since I moved to Arizona to escape the craziness of Melbourne weather…

The snow however did inspire a hearty slow cooked chicken and mushroom recipe!

I made this one up as I went along but I was really happy with it.

First thing first I chopped up 4 large cloves of garlic, 2 large shallots and peeled about 20 small brown onions. I cut the onions in half as well.

J Doing Prep.jpg

In a frying pan I heated up about a tablespoon of olive oil and added some sprigs of fresh thyme. In small batches I then seared the chicken thighs. I had seasoned these first with salt and pepper. Skin side down first to get it nicely browned and crispy. I used 8 large chicken thighs for this recipe.

After these were all brown and crispy I set them aside… Note that I didn’t cook these all the way through.

I dug out our slowcooker from the back of our kitchen cabinet and set to work putting the deliciousness in. On the base I put fresh sprigs of thyme and rosemary. I then layered the chicken, the onions and freshly chopped mushrooms on top of that. I added more thyme and rosemary as I went. I used a mixture of Portobello and Button mushrooms for this – about 4 cups of mushrooms in total.

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In the pan I had browned the chicken in I cooked the chopped garlic and shallots. When they had started to soften I deglazed the pan with 1 cup of white wine. I let this simmer for about 2 minutes before adding 2 cups of chicken stock and freshly cracked black pepper. Again I just let this simmer for a couple of minutes before carefully pouring it over the layers of chicken, onion and mushrooms in the slowcooker.

I put a couple of more thyme and rosemary sprigs on top before closing the lid and let is cook away for 4 hours.

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The smell the permeated the house was just amazing… it made me sooo hungry for the entire afternoon.

When it was cooked I strained all the juices into a pan and let them reduce. While this was happening J. whipped up some quinoa for us to eat with the chicken. The juices became a thick, rich and yummy sauce which we poured over the tender, falling off the bone chicken, juicy mushrooms and delicious onions.  . Of course the skin didn’t stay crispy but it didn’t matter, it was still nice and brown though and tasty.

Stuffed slowcooker.jpgIt may not look so delicious but it tasted fantastic! Considering I made this up on the spot it was a huge success… J. loved it – really, really loved it. Which was a good thing since we had a huge amount to eat for lunches for the rest of the week. Finally an experimental success! And a perfect meal for those snowy? desert days!

The Feast.jpgThis is our 100th blog. This is such a milestone, J. and I wanted it to be one about something that was special to us. That is why it has taken so long to post. To make it even more special I thought J. should write it… So from J. and I thank you for your support of the first 100 entries, we are looking forward to the next 100.

C & J

Take any style of cooking or cooking technique.  From any country.  I’ll give you a second to think about that for a bit.  No, really, think of any country or cooking style… Italian, French, Greek… you name it.  Guess where they got their origins?  China.  That’s right… any type of modern-day cooking technique has come from the Chinese.  Grilling meat over coals… they came up with that.  You think the French came up with sautéing?  Guess again.  The Chinese came up with that in a little vessel called a wok.  You thought boiling noodles until they were al dente came from the Italians?  Chinese came up with that centuries before Marco Polo made his trip back.

For all of their amazing techniques, you’d think there would be a lot more authentic Chinese food here in the US.  Unless you happen to live in San Francisco or New York and within walking distance to their respective Chinatowns, chances are what you know as Chinese food here in the US is fake.  I hate to burst your bubble, but P.F. Changs or that chain with the smiling panda found in most airports are Pork with Capsicum/Peppers.jpgabout as close to real Chinese food as those Gucci purses that just happen to be on sale for $20.

So when C and I had the opportunity to enjoy a banquet to end all banquets prepared by a Chinese grandmother, we couldn’t help but document the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.  Let’s be honest, grandmothers kick ass in the kitchen.  That Italian grandma you have who came from the old country who makes that great polenta you like?  Nobody can duplicate it.  That Polish grandmother who makes the best pierogis?  She’ll kick your ass with her kitchen skills.  With this banquet, we were bowing down to the one true kung-fu master in the kitchen.  Grand Master Qi Fen (for an apprentice like me, I must refer to her as master or shi fu)!  Grand Master Qi Kung Pao Chicken.jpgFen just happens to be a brand new grandmother after her daughter (SW – C’s sister in law) gave birth to a bouncing baby boy over the holidays, and she was gracious enough to prepare an amazing meal of 10 dishes for the whole family.  I’m going to let that settle for a bit… that’s right… 10 dishes!

She spent the entire day shopping, prepping, and cooking the amazing meal and I had no choice but to take my place as the apprentice, knowing that I didn’t even come close to her kitchen prowess.  That place just happened to be the kitchen stool next to her.  Watching her knife skills, her seasoning technique, her marinating technique, ingredients she used, and most importantly, her ability to balance up to 5 dishes being cooked at the same time yet making sure each was closely Mapo Tofu.jpgwatched.

Ever see a Chinese cook use a meat cleaver as precisely as a paring knife?  It’s something else.  You think you have good control with chopsticks?  I’m half Korean and have been eating with chopsticks since I was 5.  Grand Master was using long giant ones as if they were built into her wrist.

More importantly, watching Grand Master allowed me the opportunity to find out how the Chinese get those amazing flavors in to their food.  I don’t mean to give up a secret here, but you only need a handful of ingredients to get great authentic Chinese flavor in your dishes:  dark soy sauce, Chinese cooking wine, green onion, garlic, and salt.  Stuffed Pork Meatballs.jpgThat’s it folks… you figure that out, you’re about 2% there in becoming the next Grand Master.  The other 98% I think is attributed to years of experience and repetition, but what do I know?

I’m not about to give out recipes in this post… that would take an eternity and I think C would rather give out that information after we take a shot at a few of these dishes ourselves.  I’m not about to name all of these dishes either but I’ll do my best in trying to describe them.  On to the food!

Kung Pao Chicken – Cut chicken thighs marinated in dark soy, Chinese cooking wine, a little salt and green onions quickly cooked with Chinese chili flake oil and green peppers with peanuts.  Who knew a dish in almost ever neighborhood Chinese restaurantPork Belly with 100-Year Old Eggs.jpg menu would taste this good.

Pork with Capsicum/Peppers – Thinly sliced pork (sliced with a meat cleaver no less) cooked with thinly sliced green capsicum/pepper.  I dare anyone to try and cut pork as uniformly as she did with a cleaver, and not lose at least part of a finger.

Mapu Tofu – Ground pork with spicy tofu.  The dish to judge all Chinese cooks by.  This one was flavorful and delicious. We have made this before – but we do it the cheats way.

Kick-Ass Fish.jpgStuffed Pork Meatballs – I have no idea how those balls went from hollow fried spheres, to soft, flavorful stuffed globes full of pork.  The dark soy/Chinese cooking wine marinade was excellent once again.

Pork Belly with 100-Year Old Eggs – Ever seen what the Chinese call 100-Year Old Eggs?  These weren’t those but they sort of looked like them with the dark soy infusing to the egg whites.  Soft pork belly slow cooked with that rich marinade.Salted Cucumber.jpg

Kick-Ass Fish – I challenge anyone to cook a flavorless white fish like tilapia and have it packed with as much flavor as Grand Master did in this dish.  One of the better fish dishes I’ve had in my life.

Salted Cucumber – A simple dish to cleanse the palate.  Crunchy cucumber cut uniformly with a giant cleaver.

Shrimp with Egg.jpgShrimp with Egg – Ever try de-veining 30 or more shrimp with a cleaver?  Try doing it and let’s see how many fingers you’ll have left.  Grand Master did that for every single shrimp (prawn for you Aussies) we had.

Snowpeas with Garlic – Crunchy snowpeas that went so well with rice.

Vegetable Medley – Gotta love that corn starch slurry to give it that classic Chinese shine!Snowpeas with Garlic.jpg

Definitely a meal I won’t soon forget.  I feel as if we’re indebted to Grand Master for this meal.  Maybe one day I’ll get to make my famous (to a circle of about 8 people) BBQ ribs for her, although that won’t even come close to the spectacle she put on for us.

If Grand Master Qi Vegetable Medley.jpgFen ever has a chance to read this, she’s invited to our house any day for dinner.  If the meal we cook for her is even halfway as good as the meal she prepared for us, then I would consider that a success.

Fish & Chips.jpgWe arrived back in Australia (into Brisbane) early Friday morning… Greeted at the airport by my joking Dad and my teary Mum, we quickly headed to my Granma’s place to shower, refresh and then head out on the town… It was only 8.30am!

By lunchtime we were out eating already with my good friends K (I have spoken about K in earlier blogs) & R and their brand new baby H. My parents & K’s parents also joined us. So a big group of us for lunch – what better way to keep awake and beat jetlag.

There is a restaurant that I’ve been wanting to try since it opened in Brisbane, Alfred & Constance… unfortunately we had time limits and location difficulties for everyone to attend so we had to choose somewhere else. Check out the A & C website though… if you are in Brisbane sometime I think they would be worth a visit! Ok, enough about where we didn’t eat.

We met at one of the local shopping centres (mall) where we knew there is a variety of restaurants with outdoor seating and decent food to choose from. After some debating and studying of the menus out the front of each restaurant we settled on Groove Train.

The menu was quite eclectic and would offer everyone coming to lunch something to choose from. J. and I were Chicken Parma.jpgstarving by this stage and craving some Aussie food. Unfortunately there weren’t any pies on the menu but plenty of other stuff to choose from. In the end I went for fish & chips because I hadn’t had a great beer battered piece of fish since I left Australia and J. went with a Parma… or for those non-Australian a Chicken Parmigiana.

Lemon peppered beer battered served with lemon, fresh garden salad, chips and tartare sauce… how good does that sound! Anyway, I was incredibly happy with the fish. A nice crispy batter and not too greasy at all and the fish itself was delicious and flaky… it just fell apart as I cut into it. I can’t really say much about the salad, it really was just a regular garden salad, nothing terribly fancy about it at all… it was fresh though which is always important. The chips were yummy, perfectly cooked. My main thing with a fish and chips is that it can’t all be greasy and soggy and this wasn’t so it was a winner all round for me.

J’s parma came out and it was quite huge… this wasn’t a bad thing since he was starving. It looked pretty good – he was a fair way down the table from me so I didn’t manage to sneak a bite, though I kind of wish I did. It came out covered in Napoli sauce and melted mozzarella with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese. He also had the salad and chips as sides so it was a big plate of food. He really enjoyed it.

It was a great lunch for us, and so fun to catch up with great friends. We were exhausted and jetlagged and probably not the best company for others but that’s what friends are for. After lunch we headed off into Brisbane city for a bit of exploring… stay tuned for the delicious delights we found during our adventure!

Chicken Club.jpgLast week I finally got my work visa which means that I am allowed to start working at the job I got all the way back in August. This is a huge thing for me and I am excited and am looking forward to getting back to work. To start off my time at my new work I attended their Christmas lunch on Tuesday and have now set off on a two week vacation to Australia. Not a bad way to start a new job, with some very understanding bosses.

Anyway back to the food. On Tuesday we went to lunch in Scottsdale (near the new office) at a place called Cask 63. There were only 5 of us in attendance but we had a great time. J. and I as always looked at the menu on the weekend before trying to decide what I should eat when I got there. I had planned on having the Redbirds Farm Grilled Chicken Club. I do like a good club sandwich and being new I didn’t want to go the most expensive thing on the menu or the largest, most decadent thing.

No surprises, I ordered the club… even though there were lots of other delicious things on the menu.

This club was tomato, lettuce, Nueske’s bacon, Chipotle aioli on a brioche bun. Now I didn’t know what Nueske’s bacon was so I had to Google it. Apparently they are famous for being the original apple wood smoked bacon… You learn something every day.

It was a huge sandwich with a massive side of crisp parmesan fries. It was quite delicious. I must admit I probably enjoyed the fries more than the sandwich. The bacon and aioli were really yummy but the chicken was a little plain and dry… it wasn’t bad, just not the best club sandwich I have ever eaten…

The fries however were a different story. Beautifully crispy, they were covered in parmesan, yet weren’t too rich or cheesy to devour. I do like a good fry and they did a great job at this place. There were so many of them, I couldn’t even finish them.

Overall it was a fun and yummy lunch… I would go back just for the fries. What a great way to start off my Christmas vacation… not to mention my new career! Merry Christmas to me!

P.S. I am on vacation so won’t be posting as much until I get back to the US in January.

Chicken & Mushroom noodle soup.jpgLast night I was craving chicken soup. Every time we go to Vegas it feels like both J. and I come down with the flu or a cold. With our trip home to Australia only 2 weeks away we are worried about getting sick and we need to chase away any chance of illness. I think this is why I was craving some chicken soup.

This soup is a twist on your regular chicken noodle soup and the way we make it it also has some kick to it.

In a large soup pot I heated about 2 tablespoons of canola oil. To the hot oil I added 4 large cloves of garlic that I had chopped finely. I also added 1 finely sliced brown onion. I let this cook for a minute to soften.

Chicken browning.jpg

While that is cooking I skin 4 large chicken thighs that are still on the bones. After removing the skin I cut the thighs into nigh chunks, leaving the bones in and then added this to the onion and garlic. I took a few minutes to brown the chicken well in the pot.

When the chicken was brown I added 1/2 a cup of chicken stock to deglaze the pot. When the yummy goodness had been removed from the bottom of the pot I added 3 1/2 more cups of chicken stock and 2 cups of water. I brought all of this to a boil and then reduced the heat to let it simmer for Broth.jpg30 minutes.

When it had simmered for the 30 minutes I added in 300 grams of mushrooms. You can use any mushrooms you like but I used a mix of button, oysters and enoki mushrooms in ours. I like to have variety and not just the one kind. I then let this simmer for about 5 minutes to cook the mushrooms. While these are cooking you may need to remove the chicken and break up any large pieces. I did this and then added it all back to the pot, bones included.

After the mushrooms had cooked a little I brought the soup back to a boil and added 1 large packet of egg noodles. These don’t take long to cook so I turned the heat off and stirred them through for a couple of minutes. The last thing to do was add a bunch of green onion, already chopped and mix it through the soup… Now it is ready to serve.

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We serve this with a stack of noodles on the bottom and then spoon the broth, mushrooms and chicken over the top. To add the required kick we like we actually add to each bowl of soup a spoonful of Chinese Chili & Garlic in Oil. J. probably adds 2 spoonfuls if not more… 1 is plenty for me. This just adds some spice but isn’t necessary at all. The soup by itself is full of flavor.

J ate two giant bowls of this last night, I ate two much smaller bowls. After the first spoonful I felt my craving disappear. It is such a simple soup but incredibly hearty and warms you right down to your toes! We have a giant pot of this sitting in our fridge for the rest of the week’s dinners… I am sure that by the time we get to the bottom of the pot not only will my worries have been chased away but any chance of either of us getting sick will be gone. Yay!

I have a confession to make… Turkeys scare me… alive or dead they terrify me. So the last thing I was going to make on Thanksgiving was a turkey! What if it turned out terribly then I would have been responsible ruining Thanksgiving. Roast chicken was the new turkey last week in our house. I am, after all, only afraid of live chickens… not the delicious organic ones we bought plucked, gutted and ready for cooking! By the way, just to explain the title for those not familiar with the term “Chook”, that’s what we down in the Southern Hemisphere will often refer to a chicken as… Now onto roasting the chooks.

I decided to keep this simple and just season the chicken and stuff it with a simple stuffing. The stuffing was a combination of whole wheat bread, 8 slices broken into pieces, chopped fresh thyme, rosemary and sage (about 1 tablespoon of each), 120 grams of butter and a drizzle of olive oil. I mixed all of this together, added some salt and pepper and set it aside.

The chickens themselves I seasoned inside and out with salt and pepper. Then the difficult task of sliding big chunks of butter under the skin and squishing it so it is spread all over the chicken was next… This is so messy but definitely worth it for the quality of skin and the juiciness of the chicken at the end.

Now it was time to stuff them. Into each chicken I put ½ a lemon and squeezed it right down the end. I added 4 smashed garlic cloves to each as well before I halved the stuffing mixture and pressed it in firmly. The stuffing amount was perfect for the two chickens.

Before I finished seasoning the chicken I made two little beds for them to sit on in the roasting pan. First I put down 2 thick slices on lemon for each chicken. I also cut an entire bulb of garlic in half and put that down with the lemons. On top of this I added sprigs of thyme, rosemary and sage. I then just placed the chickens downon each bed, carefully balancing them.

Last thing to do was to finish seasoning the top of each chicken. I just sprinkled a little garlic salt and some paprika on top before drizzling olive oil all over them. I got in there with my hands and rubbed the oil into the skin too just to make sure it was really well covered. Into the oven they went. I had preheated it to 475F degrees but when they went into the oven I dropped it down to 400F degrees.

They were in the oven for 1 hour and 40 minutes and I turned them (as in which way they were facing in the oven) after 40 minutes. I only did this to make sure the top brown evenly all over. For the last 20 minutes I covered the top of the chooks with aluminum foil to stop them burning. When they were ready J. took them out of the oven, he did the heavy lifting because the roasting pan and chickens were too big and awkward for me to lift. We let them rest for 20 minutes.

I was so very pleased with how these turned out. The skin was full of flavor but still nice and crispy and then the chicken itself was moist and perfectly cooked. They were a triumph. J. was incredibly happy with his thanksgiving meal, even if it wasn’t traditional… well we are starting a new tradition of roasting and stuffing chooks for the day instead of those terrifying turkeys!

There are many things I could and eventually probably will talk about in regard to American food. There are so many similarities to Australian food and then drastic differences at the same time. But today I have one particular thing on my mind… On one of my first real adventures into American eating many years ago with J., he introduced me to the American oddity of combining of syrup and bacon or waffles and chicken with syrup.

Maybe this wouldn’t be strange to other people, maybe my palate had been limited by my exposure to predominantly Asian and Italian influences in my eating. This was a strange, unusual yet delicious new combination for my taste buds  The combination of savory and sweet, the syrup on the chicken or bacon! It was just crazy.

The reason I bring up this sensation is that last week J. and I ventured to Lolo’s Chicken & Waffles. A place he had taken me to before but not for years, the place where I had first tried fried chicken with breakfast items, waffles… Crazy! This is a great restaurant with 2 different locations in the area and one not far from J’s work. We decided it would be great to drop in there one night when I was picking him up from work.

After ordering our sodas, which were served in gigantic mason jars. We got down to studying the menu. The thing I love about the menu at Lolo’s is that you can choose the piece of chicken you get, be that thigh, drumstick etc. I love that I can get a mix if I want.

J. went with the specialty of the house and ordered the Lil Amadi. This is 2 pieces of southern fried chicken and a waffle. You can choose between thighs and drumsticks and it of course comes with generous servings of butter and syrup.

This was the perfect size for J. We have had situations at Lolo’s where we have both been overflowing with delicious food and need to sleep for several days to get over it. He said his chicken was crispy and yummy and the waffle delicious. What more could you ask for really!

I actually didn’t feel like the sweet side of things this time around so I went for the Baby C. This is 2 pieces of southern fried chicken served with fries or a hot bowl of grits. I was boring and just went with the fries. The fries however were surprisingly delicious. They were seasoned with some kind of spice mix that just made them incredibly good. I don’t know what the spice was but it was amazing… best fries I have had for a while. Though I couldn’t finish them all J. made sure I didn’t let the waitress clear the plate until he had finished them off.

Now I can’t not talk about the chicken… My chicken was great, better than great, it was sublime. I find it amazing how crunchy the skin is yet they manage to make the meat so juicy and tender at the same time. I wolfed down my chicken very quickly, I may have been starving or it may have been just that good.

A thing you all should know is that my dinner was $6 and J’s was $7!!! Talk about an absolute steal. Not only is it cheap and delicious, this is chicken unlike anything you will find at KFC… the Colonel has nothing on Lolo! This sweet and savory combination that America does is definitely something I am happy to embrace!

 

Date night last week was Saturday night and we went out for Indian food. Melbourne has a large Indian population and it is relatively easy to get good Indian food in restaurant, take out or home delivered. I have been really lucky in the food that has been available at my doorstep living in Melbourne. A couple of weeks ago we had seen something on the Travel Channel about Indian food and since then I had been hankering for the spicy, delicious goodness of an Indian curry. The question was where to get good Indian food in Phoenix, Arizona.

J. had an Indian restaurant in mind. This was one he had been to a few times but not for many years. So many years that he had never taken me to this place. India Gate is a 10 minute drive from home in a shopping complex that has more empty shops than operating businesses. As we were driving around looking for it I was starting to get concerned it may have been closed. Fortunately it was still open!

As with most of our outings to new restaurants J. and I had studied the menu and made our choices before we got there. We had them chosen a few days before actually. We thought we would order a lot and if there was leftovers we could just have them for our Sunday dinner or lunch. I think our waiter was a little surprised by the large amounts of food we ordered and then further surprised by our request for very hot when he asked how spicy we wanted it.

As we waited for our food to arrive they brought out a little taster for us. I have no idea what the 2 dipping sauces were but they were excellent. One sweet and tangy and the other really spicy. They were great with the crispy papadums and we polished them off very quickly. We were starving by this stage having eaten very little all day in anticipation of an Indian feast that night. Of course I had a Kingfisher beer to help wash it all down – spicy food and beer – a perfect date night for me!

All our food arrived at exactly the same time. We had to squeeze everything onto our little table but fortunately it all fit. 2 curries, a tandoori mixed grill, rice and 2 different types of bread! A lot of food for us to get through. Steaming curries and sizzling tandoori, my mouth was watering as we dove in!

I was happy that I got to order my favorite Indian curry which is Saag Lamb. I am not sure why this has always been my favorite curry but the lamb cooked with spinach in the spicy curry sauce is just such a comforting food for me. The India Gate saag lamb was exceptional. The flavor was just spectacular and the lamb melted in your mouth. We had both garlic naan and roti bread to dip in our curries. Both the roti and the naan were excellent. The garlic naan had such great flavor and was so soft and yummy. We also had a side of basmati rice to mix in with our curries.

The other curry we ordered was the Tandoori Fish Masala. This is a rich curry of spiced fish cooked in a butter sauce. I usually stay away from fish curries as I am never sure about the quality of fish, however J. really wanted to try this. I am so happy we did. It was so good. Rich, creamy and buttery sauce with fish that fell apart in your mouth. I couldn’t believe how good this was. The sauce was sooo delicious, I just loved it with the roti and naan. I could have just had the sauce, no need for meat at all!

We couldn’t decide what kind of tandoori we wanted to try so we thought we would go with the Tandoori Mixed Grill which gave us an assortment of chicken kabobs, lamb and shrimp. These were all cooked on a bed of sweet onion and lemon. The tandoori chicken and shrimp were delicious but the lamb was unbeatable. The lemony onion flavor that had seeped through the meat just added to the Tandoori flavor already there. There was a mild spice to this that was just perfect. Delicious, juicy and so tasty. It came out sizzling and smoking but we still managed to eat every last bit of meat. The only thing left were a few pieces of onion and lemon that had been cooked to the plate.

I have a tradition at the end of meal of Indian food. The meal is so often rich and spicy I like to finish with a mango lassi. There is something refreshing and soothing about this Indian drink that when I have a belly full of food it is the perfect end to the meal. J. had never actually tried a lassi before so I think he was a little skeptical. He was very pleasantly surprised and really liked the sweet creamy drink. A great way to finish our spicy Indian meal.

This was a great restaurant, one that I will want to go back to regularly. The only thing I would say is that considering we asked for very hot when it came to spice, it wasn’t all that spicy. This isn’t a bad thing at all, just something to note if you are expecting hot spicy food! It is delicious, rich, comforting and filling… especially if you are like us and polish off everything but a few bits of onion. So much for leftovers for Sunday!

I have had some comments (mostly from friends & family) about the high carb, high calorie diet the blog is illustrating and J. and I must be putting on lots of weight. For the record, we do not eat these things every day and we go to the gym 3 times a week and run 20km!

I thought that I would do a post about one of our week night meals. Generally we will have chicken or fish with vegetables or rice in one combination or another. Most of summer we have been having chicken and salad or fish and salad for dinner during the week but as the weather has started to cool (as much as it ever can in Arizona) I decided to try something different. One night last week I decided to make a honey, soy chicken stirfry with noodles. This is a fast and easy dinner that gets whipped together in under 20 minutes.

I can’t actually remember the last time I had made a stirfry. When I was at university I lived on this stuff, most nights my housemate (roommate) K.  or I would whip one of these up with some rice or noodles and sit down in front of Sex & the City or The West Wing. This was actually one of the first things K. learnt to cook. She actually still cooks them quite a bit!

There is nothing fancy to this and there is certainly no recipe. I just kind of throw things in and taste until I like it. So first of all in a large frying pan (we don’t have gas so we don’t use a wok) I add some vegetable oil, onions (sliced), 3 cloves of garlic and 12 thai chillies (finely sliced) and let the onions soften. To this I add about 2 pounds of chicken tenders that had been cut into strips. Stirring regularly I cooked the chicken nearly completely before adding in 2 red capsicum (bell peppers) that had been seed and julienned.

As the capsicum was cooking I added the ingredients for the sauce. I have no idea what the quantities were but the ingredients were light soy sauce, sweet thai chilli sauce, oyster sauce and honey. The oyster sauce was probably about 1 tablespoon and the each of the others about 3 tablespoons. All of this I stirred into the chicken and capsicum. Finally I added 6 bunches of small bok choy to the pan and stirred through. I like my bok choy crunchy so I only cooked for about 2 minutes.

About 2 minutes before we were ready to eat I put some glass rice noodles into some boiling water to cook for 2 minutes. I used these as a nest to sit the stirfry on and pour some of the sauce over.

This was a yummy dinner and our first stirfry for the fall. I am sure we will be eating more of them as the weather cools. A spicy, hot stirfry does wonders on a cool fall evening and the best thing is I get to be super creative and just make it up as I go along!