Next up on the book review agenda, The Spice Bible by Jane Lawson.
Oh. My. This is like my dream cookbook about spices everyone. It’s encyclopedic, everything from Ajowan to Wasabi, all broken down by type – seeds and pods, berries and flowers, and roots and bark. It has great recipes, every single spice has at least one matching recipe, often it has two or three to try. It even covers spice pastes, and spice blends, all with recipes for those pastes and blends, as well as recipes using those spice pastes and blends. It’s A-may-zing. (You can tell I’m in love, I sound like a ten-year-old when I talk about it)
It’s on my wishlist. Please buy it for me?
Last night I threw together some Indian food from this book, as well as a side culled from several places online. Butter Chicken is a very common Indian food recipe. It’s relatively easy to make, and tastes very close to what you have in most Indian restaurants under the name Chicken Tikka Masala.
The side dishes were rice, and Saag Paneer. Typically restaurants have Palak Paneer, which is specifically spinach. But I was looking to finish up the kale we had on hand before it went all droopy. So, the word saag just means greens, and it can be any kind of greens – collards, mustard, kale, chard, beet. And this recipe could be used with just plain spinach if that is what you have on hand. Green and leafy? Give it a go in this dish. I ended up changing the dish a bit from most Saag Paneers, since I had used all my yogurt in the Butter Chicken, and didn’t really want to double down on the dairy in our meal anyway, I substituted coconut cream. It was a surprisingly awesome sub! Some vegan saag paneer recipes call for using it instead of yogurt, or cream. Sometimes those vegans are crafty and smart (don’t tell Anthony Bourdain I said that!). I used regular paneer (a type of cheese), since that is what I had on hand, but it could easily be switched out for lightly-fried extra firm tofu, and it would be a full-on vegan dish.
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