At the top of the New Year, in our Winter Wishes Jar, was a fun little challenge to explore and cook a different food culture/cuisine each month during 2018. For January we chose Asian/Eastern cuisine. Inspired by cookbooks and recipes found online, we created loosely translated versions of food from the East. We do enjoy variety in our meals, and so while not every single day has been Asian on the menu, once or twice per week it has been.
One evening we made a chana masala --chickpeas cooked in a spicy tomato-based sauce, a kind of curry. I based what we made on a recipe from a cookbook, making a couple of small modifications--like adding more spice. The tomato sauce seemed to disappear--there was not nearly enough of it. But it tasted good!
Another evening on our plates, was teriyaki baked tofu "steaks." These we served over rice noodles with vegetables that echoed the teriyaki flavors... garnished with cashew nuts. This was one of our favorites this month! (I used this recipe as inspiration for the baked tofu, which is one of the most excellent preparations of tofu we've tried. I want to try it again using BBQ sauce!)
Chicken with Broccoli and Water Chestnuts in an Orange-Ginger Sauce spiked with chili... served with rice. YUM! This was a nice, easy weekend meal one busy Saturday here.
I've tried making naan bread several times (like those lovely flatbreads served in Indian and other Eastern cuisine restaurants), and each time has been a flop... And this latest try was also disappointing. I used a recipe from a cookbook borrowed from the library, and followed the recipe exactly. For some reason--not sure why--the breads puffed up way too much. We baked them in the oven, to save some time... in a pan, on the stove top, would have been better. These looked and tasted nothing at all like naan bread... more like a tasty bread roll. These were paired with the chana masala. I've put the leftover naan breads in the freezer. We can eat them with soup...
These are just a few of the Asian-inspired meals we've made this month. We love Asian cuisine, and it's fun to try different dishes at restaurants, and be inspired by what we eat at different places. But I've pretty much given up making certain Asian-style meals at home. I'm often disappointed with the results--there's often an ingredient I can't get, a spice our local store doesn't have, etc., a recipe that turns out not so well, or doesn't even look like what's in the accompanying photo. So it's more a treat to go to a restaurant, where it's made well, than feel like I'm wasting ingredients, resources, time, packaging, etc. Still, it's been fun to try...and we've made some very healthy meals this month!
Now we're considering what cuisine to cook during February... How about Norwegian?! ;)
So what's been cooking in your kitchen?!
Oh, and if you'd like to see how we did with No Shopping in January as part of our Make Do and Mend Year, revisit this post--scoll to the end for an update.