One hundred and twenty-three

India

Before writing a recap of my month of Cooking 30 Countries, I have to share my friend Trason‘s mom’s butter chicken recipe.  It is absolutely amazing and really not that hard to make.

Lorna and Trason’s Butter Chicken

PREP

Clean about 1lb of chicken and cut into cubes a third the size of your palm.

Your Marinade in a BIG BOWL:

Tandoori Masala – 2 table spoons
Yogurt Plain – 2 table spoons
ginger paste – 2 tea spoons
garlic paste – 2 tea spoons
Lemon – Half (take seeds out)
Pinch of Salt

Drop Chicken in and mix well – DONT TOUCH YOUR EYES :)– and cover it securely with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge either over night or you can do this 2 hours before.

Once marinated, line a baking dish with aluminum foil and spread the chicken and sauce evenly.  Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for approximately 30 minutes (check that chicken is cooked by slicing open the middle of the bigger chunks).

SAUCE

1/4 block of butter
2 tbsp Almond Powder or crushed almonds
I can of Tomato PASTE (Unico 156ml small tin)
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp chilli powder
Half and Half Cream (10%) Small carton
1% milk small carton as well or medium size

Heat butter in a large saucepan until melted.  Add crushed almonds or powder and blend together.  Add tomato paste, mix well and simmer for 5 minutes, or until it solidifies enough that it leaves the sides of the pan.  Add sugar, salt and chilli powder.  Once mixed, add cooked chicken and the remainer of the marinade from the pan.  Poor in small carton of half and half cream.  Stir well.  Add small amounts of milk if it looks too thick.

PULAO RICE

1 cup of basmati rice
1 onion
1 chicken soup cube
3 cinnamon sticks broken in half

Sauté onion in a little olive oil until slightly translucent.  Add cinnamon sticks and stir for one minute.  Add chicken stock cube and break apart to cover onions and cinnamon evenly.  Add rice and mix together for one minute.  Add two cups of water and bring to a boil.  Cover and let simmer until rice is cooked.

RAITA (yoghurt dish to cut the spice of the curry)

Combine plain yoghurt with diced tomatoes, cucumbers and onions.  Top with black pepper.

Amazing!!!!  Thank you Trason and his mom for allowing me to share this recipe.

Making it through Cooking 30 Countries

I made it through Cooking 30 Countries and I’m so happy I included this month in my year.  Even though my readers dwindled considerably from date month to this month, I feel more centered than ever and ready to take on the challenges the rest of this project will face.  With a full belly and a strong group of friends and family to help me along the way, I am ready to start getting more publicity, writing, researching and diving even more into this project head and heart first.

I also needed this break of cooking and eating while recovering from date month!

Recap of the month

Here are the recipes I made (or other people made) and where they are from: Ethiopian at Lalibela Restaurant, Pabellon Criollo and Torta de Jojoto from Venezuela, Mexican at Milagro Cantina Mexicana, Scottish Shortbread, Hungarian omelette, Indonesian Prawn Nasi Goreng, Tabbouleh from Lebanon, South African Bobotie, Swedish Bärkräm, Ecuadorian Locro de Papa, Brazilian Biscoitos de Maizena, Aruban Banana na Binja, Japanese at Nami, Caribbean at Island Foods, German Oktoberfest sausage and weisse beer, Thai at The Thai, Southern American Jambalaya, Greek salad, Russian Apple Pie, Imam Bayildi from Turkey, French Chicken Supreme with Gratin Dauphinoise and asparagus topped with Hollandaise Sauce, Italian Spaghetti Carbonara and Gelato, English Scones,  řízek from the Czech Republic, Portuguese Pasteis de Nata, Australian Kangaroo and Tim Tams, Perogi from Poland or the Ukraine, Chinese stir-fried noodles and General Tsao,s Chicken with steamed boychoy, Canadian at August Restaurant, Indian Butter Chicken (see above).

I was going to write about which were my favourite and least favourite dishes, but as I look back on them, they all had their good and bad points.  Most of the bad points being the fat content and most of the good being the taste!  The only dishes that I really didn’t enjoy was the South African Bobotie, but a lot of other people loved it (it might be the fact that I had it for three meals in a row and got sick of it) and the Pabellon Criollo, but I think that was because of a bad recipe.

My absolute favourite part of the month, though, was being able to share many of those meals with my friends and family.

What did I learn?

  • Planning ahead: I once again am having problems with planning ahead, but I seem to have learned my lesson half way through the month when I embarrassingly invited a friend over for dinner, then had nothing prepared and we ended up having to go out for food.  I was much better at planning meals a few days ahead of time during the last few weeks, than I was during the first (a lesson that will come in handy for Only Online Shopping month).
  • Scheduling: I also had a hard time scheduling my time to cook and write between working hours, but I do feel like I’m finally learning to set aside time for it.  A friend of mine lent me Stephen King’s On Writing, and although I’m only part way through, I’ve learned a lot about the job of writing so far.  King is a huge advocate of setting aside time to write in a private environment with no distractions.  This will help me be more productive while I am writing.
  • Sources used:  I need to make sure my sources are valuable when using them to create content for my blog.  Some of the recipes I used were neither easy to follow or tasted that great because of the place I found them (I originally thought they were good sources, but on further research realized they weren’t the best).  The best sources for these kinds of experiments tend to be word of mouth or websites that have comments sections on them.
  • Advice: Speaking of sources, the best places I found advice about specific recipes (besides verbal advice) were on the comments sections of sites like allrecipes.com.  People have made these recipes before and suggest how to make them better.
  • The right tools: It was hard to cook without the right tools.  A dull knife, no spatula, the wrong pan.  All of these things made the experience harder than it needed to be and hurt the end product.  Each month I need to plan what tools I will need to best accomplish my goals and work hard to have those in place before I start out on each journey.
  • The recipes: Learning to cook better, one day at a time.

Where do I go from here with International Cooking?

I will definitely be trying more new recipes.  Especially because of Online Shopping month starting today, I’m going to be cooking at home more than ever.  I will also be trying to perfect some of the ones that didn’t work as well as they could have but I still enjoyed and know can be even better.

A new challenge:

There were a lot of countries I didn’t get to, but there is one in particular that I’m a little upset I didn’t get to try.  A friend of mine sent me to youcook.ca and got me in contact with the chefs there.  The You Cook team started the blog in November of 2009 to learn about cooking restaurant-quality food at home.  Recently editor Thu Nguyen went to Vietnam on a quest to find the tastiest Banh Mi (Vietnamese baguette sandwich).  I’m disappointed that I didn’t get a chance to make Banh Mi, so I’m setting myself a challenge for next month: I will attempt to make Banh Mi by purchasing all of the ingredients online and making it at home.

Starting today everything I spend money on for the month of July will be bought online.  My credit card is sure to get a work-out!

4 thoughts on “One hundred and twenty-three

  1. I loved this month. There isn’t a lot of variety in China, so I lived through reading this month. Also, I am currently in Hong Kong and had Vietnamese food last night and it was incredible.

  2. Pingback: Three hundred and sixty-six | threehundredsixtysixdays

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