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Posts Tagged ‘rice pudding’

Yuki used some of her United miles to get a coupon for the Chicago Curry House. I remember a couple of years ago she took me there for their lunch brunch. Featuring Northern Indian and Nepalese food I remember it being pretty good. When she got the coupon we figured that’d get us back down the Printer’s Row for some good Indian, the other night it did just that.

It’s in a very inconspicuous location. On the first floor of an apartment building its entrance is hidden behind brick just off State and 9th. What lies inside though is a very good, but typical, Chicago Indian restaurant. As usual, my phone pics turned out horribly. Deal with it and read on.

When we sat down we were greeted with pappadom and the usual three sauces, cilantro, chutney, and tamarind. I quickly ordered a King Fisher beer and continued perusing the menu, which is quite extensive.

Yuki ordered the Sambar Soup. I light lentil soup with vegetables it was much thinner than what we’re used to. It was very light, but very flavorful.

Our first appetizer was the Vegetarian Samosa. Some of the biggest samosa’s I’ve ever seen! Nice and spicy with whole spices, you can tell these were freshly made samosas.

Next we had the Chicken MoMo, Nepalese-style dumplings. Curry spiced ground chicken with a curry sauce to dip them into. These had some kick to them and were very tasty.

In order to try numerous menu items and ensure lunch the next day (two appetizers helped with that) we decided to get two of their “sampler” entrees. This is the Curry House Vegetable Special Dinner. It comes with Dahl Makhini, Palak Paneer, Aloo Ghobi, Navratam Korma, Chana Masala, Garden Mix Vegetable, Cardamom Rice Pudding, Raita, Naan, and Basmati Rice.

On this sizzling hot platter was the Curry House Non Vegetable Dinner. This contained Tandoori Chicken, Chicken Tikka, Lamb Seekh Kabab, Naan, and Basmati Rice.

It also came with Navratam Korma and Butter Chicken.

The Chicken Tikka and Butter Chicken were two of the best chicken dishes I’ve ever had at an Indian restaurant. The flavors penetrated through all of the meat while the chicken stayed nice and moist in both dishes. Absolutely fantastic chicken. The Palak Paneer was my favorite from the vegetarian dishes. Everything, however, was above average.

The service was nice and the space warm and inviting. Combine that with above average Indian Food and Printer’s Row has a keeper. While Chicago Curry House is a bit of a drive for me I don’t think I would go out of my way for it. If I lived in the neighborhood or ever crave Indian Food while in the South Loop area I will definitely make my way back. It’s a place that should definitely be frequented by its local townies.

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After years of wanting to head up to the far north side of Chicago for some Ethiopian food, I finally got off my ass and checked out Ras Dashen the other night. All I have to say to myself is, “What the hell took me so long?”

I had to start with some Ethiopian coffee, the mother of all beans. They serve fair-trade organic, nice and smooth cup.

For an appetizer Yuki and I ordered some Spinach Sambusas. Lightly fried pastries filled with spinach and dipped into a spiced salsa. Very tasty, not too heavy. Think of them as Ethiopian empanadas or samosas.

Since our friends ordered the Doro Wat (chicken and egg in berbere, Ethiopia’s national dish) we had to get something different. Although, it wasn’t that different at all. We got Yebeg Wat (lamb in berbere) and Doro Alicha (chicken and egg in onions, garlic, ginger, and green peppers). We ordered the Diblik Atkilt and Misser Wat for our sides, our friends got the Misser Salata, I think. You can check out their website for descriptions of the sides. All served on top of Injera with extra on the side.

Those of you not familiar with Ethiopian cuisine, you don’t eat with utensils. The food gets dumped right on the Injera allowing the bread to soak up the sauces and juices. You rip off pieces of the Injera, using it to grab you rip pieces of meat off the bones or piles of lentils, and chow down. It’s absolutely delicious as well as being a fun, communal way to eat.

Berbere is Ethiopia’s most famous sauce. It’s a red pepper sauce with spices like ginger, coriander, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, fenugreek seeds, paprika, onion, and garlic. It’s actually very similar to Indian spices, but it’s definately distinct.

Back to the meal itself, we ordered the rice pudding for dessert. It was quite nice, very mild. There was a date in the middle.

Our friends got Ras Dashen’s famous bread pudding. It’s made with varius nuts, raisins, and tons of flax seeds. It was definitely a winner in my book.

Half-way through our meal a little jazz quartet started to play. They were pretty good. Saxaphone, guitar, bass, and bongos. It wasn’t too loud so conversation was never difficult.

I guess the one disclaimer I have is what I was warned about. Once you have Ethiopian food, no matter how strong-willed you are, you will start to crave it. It was extremely reasonably priced as well for the quality and amount of food served. I have to check out a few other places before I decide just how good Ras Dashen really is, but I will say this, I would definitely go back!

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Meatless Monday continues. I went back to my days in Egypt for last night’s dinner. In Dahab, as in many parts of Egypt, they eat a dish called Koshary as a quick lunch. It’s usually sold from street vendors as opposed to restaurants. In Dahab, my dive shop was on the far north end of the bay. The Koshary guy, much like Chicago’s ice cream bike guys, came from the north so I always got the freshest Koshary. Besides Koshary, he also sold rice pudding, but I’d usually wait and get that for dessert as it was sweeter.

Koshary is a bowl filled with crazy goodness. Rice on the bottom, spaghetti noodles on top of that, lentils on top of that, all covered with spicy tomato sauce, then topped with chickpeas, and finally garnished with fried onions. All for about 30 cents ( in Egypt, it cost about $2.00 per serving last night).

I didn’t make a pure Koshary though. First thing I did was dice up a medium eggplant and let it sit in a colander with some salt for about a half hour. Then I rinsed it and dried it. This takes away some of the fruit’s bitterness. After that I sauted a chopped onion in some olive oil for about 4 minutes with a few chopped garlic cloves. I ground up about a teaspoon of coriander seeds with my pestle and mortar and added that along with about a teaspoon each of cumin and cinnamon. Then I added the eggplant chunks and let them cook for about 5 more minutes. I dumped in a 28 0z can of chopped tomatoes, seasoned with salt and pepper, then let simmer over a medium heat for about 15 minutes. After that I added a can of chickpeas and let everything simmer for another 15 minutes so that the tomato juices would reduce down to a thicker stew.

While the juices were reducing I friend a thinly sliced onion in extremely hot oil with some sliced garlic. The garlic burns quickly, but as long as you don’t eat it the aroma infuses the onion. You don’t want to burn the onion, but you want a nice crisp texture. Once their cooked set them aside on a small plate.

To serve, instead of throwing everything in a bowl, I put the rice on the side and ladled the stew next to it. I garnished it with the fried onions and some cilantro and had a mixed green salad along side.

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