For those of you who have blogs, website or write freelance, what is your biggest challenge? And for those of you who have other careers, where do you get a little uninspired?
As you might have noticed, I’ve been a bit absent from this blog…again. Oh, I’ve been doing plenty of cooking, baking and eating; I just haven’t been able to write. There’s been more than a day that I’ve opened up my notebook or iPad and sat down to write a post; nothing.
There’s been some exhaustion, some sleeplessness, some pain and the endless fatigue. I always try to see the sunny side of my predicament though; like my sleeplessness the other night prompted me to just get up so I wouldn’t wake up my husband. I was also starving (at 3am). I tiptoed out of my room, crept down the noisy, creaky stairs to the kitchen and grabbed a bowl of cereal. I turned on the tv in the family room and just flipped channels. Few minutes later, down came the husband. Apparently, he couldn’t sleep either. We enjoyed a few uninterrupted hours of couple time together; watching TV, having some hot tea and sharing a nibble of toast.
Another sleepless night got me thinking how I can’t be the only one who struggles with lack of inspiration or brain fog or just getting into the mood for the day. In my case, my challenge is photos and of course, social media. I can cook and bake endlessly, but taking photos takes up so much time. I love photography and when I have nothing going on, I can be inspirational and have a million ideas running through my mind. When I don’t plan on photographing something I’ve cooked or baked but want to share it, it takes everything I have to get into the mood to shoot and share.
Writing isn’t usually an issue for me, I can talk endlessly as many of you already know. The last few weeks though have been a struggle to write something down. As you know, I have always wanted my blog to be more than just recipes, and my posts to be more than just a list of ingredients but it’s been difficult the last few weeks. I blame it on my new medication (I’ve been blaming everything on that lately)
Today’s post maybe a little lacking but hey, at least there’s a recipe at the end of it!
On another note and another sleepless thought: have you ever met a person that you just hit it off with immediately? Someone with whom, after 5 hours of constant talk, you still had more stories to share? And someone who you only met for the first time for 5 hours but missed them as soon as they left?
For me that person (apart from my husband) is David from the blog, Cocoa and Lavender. David visited Denver a couple of weeks ago for work and took out an evening to come and have dinner with me.
I’ve known David through his blog for about two years now. We are good friends online and I knew we would get along, but what I didn’t know was how well. He was a hit with my husband and children as well. They all mentioned how wonderful he is.
We had such a lovely evening. Talking, talking and more talking. I had cooked beforehand because I didn’t want to be in the kitchen and wanted to spend some time getting to know each other. I’m so glad I did.
I made a variety of Indian dishes for David to sample, and he said he loved all of them! I think he was being nice 🙂 He did ask for the recipes so I decided to share them here with him and all of you. Some variations are on the blog already but I tend to change my dishes as time goes on and these have evolved since the early days. Hope you like them. I will be sharing most of them through the coming weeks.
The first one is Karahi Chicken. A karahi is an Indian wok style pan; rounded bottom, circular handles and the best ones are usually cast iron or carbon steel (similar to woks) The stainless steel one in my photo is a karahi, a small one that I usually just use as a serving piece.
In India and Pakistan, they are used for everything: stir frying, simmering, braising and frying. Here the dish even takes on the name of the vessel it’s cooked in. Karahi Chicken (or lamb and even beef), originates from Northern India/Pakistan and although there are a few variations, the basic version is always stir fried or sautéed chicken with tomatoes and flavoured with a few spices and fresh ginger and chillies.
I have a version I posted a long time ago (excuse my photos) that I made with browned onions and green peppers. It’s a wonderful dish with more depth in flavour because of the browned onions. However, karahi chicken is usually made without onions; keeping the flavour light and fresh. A good sprinkling of cilantro, fresh chillies and ginger add to the end result.
- 2 lbs/1kg boneless chicken breast or chicken thighs, medium size strips or cubes
- 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons ginger, minced
- 2 teaspoons cumin, ground
- 2 teaspoons coriander, ground
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- ½ teaspoon cayenne chilli powder
- ½ cup oil, for frying
- 1-2 green bell peppers, large strips or dice
- 2 cups tomatoes, crushed or diced tinned or fresh
- 1-2 Serrano or jalapeño chillies, cut lengthwise
- ½ teaspoon fenugreek powder
- ½ cup cilantro, chopped
- In a large bowl, marinate the chicken with the garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, turmeric and red cayenne powder. Leave for about 20-30 minutes.
- In a large karahi, wok or frying pan, heat the oil on medium hot.
- Brown the chicken pieces, in batches if necessary.
- You want colour on the chicken with a bit of crispness.
- Once all the chicken pieces are browned, add the green bell peppers in the empty pan.
- Stir fry till they are softened a bit and the "raw" flavour is cooked out.
- There should be enough oil in the pan after browning, but if there's more than ¼ cup remove a little or add if the pan looks too dry.
- Add the browned chicken pieces back into the pan with the bell peppers.
- Add the 2 cups of tomatoes.
- Stir fry until the tomatoes are softened and the chicken is cooked through.
- Taste the sauce for seasoning, add salt and if you want more spice, add more cumin, coriander, and chilli powder.
- Add the green chillies, and the fenugreek powder.
- The sauce should be a little dry just coating the chicken and the oil should be separated from the "tomato masala"
- Stir through the cilantro and serve with hot rice, naan or fresh rotis.
- Thin slivers of fresh garlic, sliced green chilles and lime wedges can be served alongside if desired. They add a nice punch of fresh flavour.
I can’t believe we’re almost to the end of October! Where did the year fly to? All the holiday magazines, food and ideas are a reminder that happy and busy days are ahead. Didn’t we just have Thanksgiving Dinner? And yet, it’ll be here again in almost 4 weeks. What are you all doing to prepare?
Have a great week!