So here's a dinner I veganized from Bal Arneson, The Cooking Channel's "The Spice Goddess." I had put this up about 7 weeks ago and really liked it. Plus I enjoy her show and "Indian Cooking," on the Cooking Channel and have been just starting a ton of dishes by heating up some oil and tossing in a variety of spices. Cardamom, fennel, cumin, fenugreek, coriander seeds. I think it's a great way to learn to use various flavors. I still haven't figured out when to use the seed and when to use the powder. I have had a few dishes with the seeds still a bit ... crunchy ... and of course been on my hands and knees looking for popped seeds on the floor but I've been having a ton of fun making the apartment smell like an Indian restaurant. I can't seem to get the fenugreek to soften up. Ferris?
I've been going on a Soy Curls binge and this chicken dish definitely looked like my next victim. The dish, not the chicken! Last time I used up some seitan and this time I wanted to see if the convenience of the soy curls would work in this dish too.
Starting with another of Bal's recipes:
I followed the recipe with the exception of instead of using brown lentils I had red lentils and used a cup of canned diced organic tomatoes instead of fresh. When the soup was simmering down I thought the flavor was a bit shallow so I added a few teaspoons of No Chicken Base, (probably about 2-3), and the whole thing came together deliciously. Not really much to do here because this is basically a vegan recipe to start with.
Chicken South Indian Style
This was a bit more challenging and the end results, while delicious, didn't come out exactly as I had imagined. I wanted to put a crisp on the curls and come to think of it, haven't been able to really do that with Soy Curls in any dish yet. I think what happens is the curls, even after I strain them and squeeze them, are still very wet and they tend to steam instead of caramelize. Perhaps there's no sugar in them to crisp up. Maybe I need a coating and to precook them. Any ideas? Anyone? Ferris?
|After adding the tomatoes and coconut milk.|
The dish was also missing something so I grabbed the Butler (same people who make Soy Curls) Chik-Style seasoning and gave it a couple of shakes. That was all the salt I needed. Also, I remembered the Sambar powder had a bit of heat and after all was said and done gave it a few shakes of cayenne powder. The heat was perfect. The soy curls were meaty and soft. They held the sauce very well. I think I want to really get the curls to crip for a better texture contrast but there was no sending this finished dish back.
|Not sure which looks better, the seitan version or this one.|