Monday, March 17, 2008

Icebox Experiment: Chicken Dhanshak

My husband has often stated American culture is fixated on the status quo and insuring a population focused on mediocrity. As evidence, he cites all the self-help shows. In one weekend, you can look ten years younger, dress thinner, make your home over, and plan your ideal wedding. He particularly hates shows that change the different person, the goth, the indie chick, the librarian, into the average All-American. When the before and after pictures come up, he clicks his tongue and reminds me that our Belle will be allowed to be different.

This is still food blog, I assure you. So, tonight, I decided to perfect (picture perfect) cabbage curry. A few weeks ago, I made a Thaish curry with cabbage, frozen tofu, steamed silken tofu, carrots, galangal, and onions. It was very tasty, but the cabbage turned a grayish-purple. The whole dish had a vague blueness.

Tonight, I was planning to repurpose the fillings from Pot Pie night. I decided to make Dhanshak. I am not quite sure why. I am not Parsi, the Zoroastrians of Gujurat, and I have never actually eaten it. They put chicken and dal; the vegetables are my addition. But, with everything in front of me, it just came to me. This is why the Icebox Experiment is such joy. It is a mental exercise made tangible/ edible.

We had a curry sauce, some spinach sauce from the weekend, poached free-range chicken, boiled potatoes, boiled carrots, and sliced onion. I combine the lot with 1 T coconut milk and water and warmed it through. I cooked some masoor dal in a separate sauce pan seasoned with ginger root. I steamed the shredded cabbage separately.

I combine the cooked dal, curry, and some organic frozen spinach. As I let it simmer, I attempted to make the sounds the baby rabbit and turtle make. (Mostly just facial expressions and jabbing tongues.) Once we were ready to eat, I plated the dish with the cabbage on top—it made for a much prettier cabbage salad. You judge the before and after, and remember that I value difference, but do enjoy a nice picture on my blog.

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