I distinctly remember my first encounter with Indian food. During my sophmore year in high school, a friend and I spent spring break with my crazy cousin, who lived in Santa Monica. One evening she took us to dinner at a shabby Indian-Irish pub near UCLA called McGinty’s. I recall my friend and I were not enthused since we'd never had Indian food before, but Mom raised me not to complain when someone is being hospitable. And Crazy Cousin convinced us there’d be a lot of cute college boys there. That sealed the deal.
Since I had no idea what the heck to order, I left that to Crazy Cousin. She ordered saag paneer and eggplant curry. My friend ordered a French fry sandwich (for reals--French fries on white bread with ketchup!). When the food came, I was still feeling unsure, especially because it looked like nothing I'd ever eaten before, but that dissipated pretty quickly after tasting it. I have been a believer since that first time and McGinty's became a tradition. Whenever I was in LA, I ate at McGinty’s.
Shortly after Hubby and I were married we visited Crazy Cousin. I was so excited to take him to McGinty’s. I talked it up, built up the anticipation. And guess what? It had closed down! Oh, the disappointment! Years later and I still get a pang of disappointment thinking about it. I've had a lot of good Indian food over the years, but nothing will ever beat McGinty's.
Enough nostalgia. On to the submissions. Shall we start with a drink?
Chai Black Tea submitted by Wandering Chopsticks. Why bother buying Chai teabags or the premixed concentrate when you can make a superb one yourself? It’s as simple as using a good quality black tea and adding your own cardamom and cinnamon.
Chicken Biryani submitted by Sidewalk Shoes. You know what I love? When people put their doubts aside and try something new. Pam decided to give Indian food another try and found something she loved! Yay! If you’re having doubts about Indian cuisine, perhaps her chicken biryani will make you a believer.
Samosa Cups with Mango Chutney submitted by sauced. Love samosas? Hate standing over a pot of hot oil frying them? Then these little lovelies are the perfect thing. Samosa filling inside baked wonton cups. I might need to throw a cocktail party just to serve these!
Pasanda Kabab (aka Beef Ribbon Kebab) with Cilantro Chutney submitted by [eatingclub] vancouver. Tender beef grilled on a stick served with cool cilantro chutney? Yes, please! Man, I can’t wait until the weather warms up here because this is at the top of my list! Click on the link to see more food porn!
Malwani Chicken Hirwa Masala (aka Chicken in fresh green masala) submitted by Kits Chow. I love love love (love!) cilantro and this fresh green masala is made with a cup of it! Now that is my kind of seasoning!
Indian Beet Salad submitted by Open Mouth, Insert Fork. Beets are one of my favorite vegetables, not only for their wonderful earthy taste, but who doesn’t like the vibrant red color? Seasoned with fennel, cilantro and chilies then tossed with yogurt, this sounds like a wonderfully spicy-cool side dish.
Goan-style Shrimp Curry submitted by Eat.Drink.Think. Looking for a weeknight dinner packed with fiery flavor? Look no further. This shrimp curry can be done in one pot and it’s fast and flavorful. I’m all over this one.
Fried Egg Curry submitted by yours truly. Once upon a time, Hubby and I used to actually cooked together. We weren't particularly good at it, but we enjoyed trying out new things and this is the first Indian recipe we ever tried out of the first cookbook we bought together. Sweet, no?
Thank you to all the participants! They made this a great round-up. There is a nice variety so I’m sure there’s something here for everyone. If you aren’t sure how you feel about Indian food, I encourage you to give any of these entries a try. I know you won't be disappointed.
I have to announce the next region, don’t I? Where to go? Where to go? I think it needs to be somewhere warm because I AM SO OVER WINTER! A place where I can sit on a beach, with a cocktail in hand. Pack your swimsuits and sandals (or shorts and hiking shoes), we’re going to MEXICO!
Interested in participating? Read the guidelines here. The host next time will be Wandering Chopsticks. Please send submissions (with a photo approx 200x200 pixels) to wanderingchopsticks(at)gmail(dot)com by March 15th.