For more than a decade, I searched for the best make-it-at-home chicken tikka masala recipe. I’d tried every sauce mix I could find, from jars to packets to powders, to no avail.
Then, in 2015, I took an Indian cooking class, and it all started to make sense. I could make my own curries at home! It no longer felt futile!
With my new-found skills at hand, I’ve made curry a few times – and one of my favorite versions is chicken korma, the sweet, savory, flavorful national dish of Bangladesh.
I’m not going to run a recipe here, because I straight lifted it from the New York Times, and the Gray Lady needs the clicks. But check it out. Well worth your time, and a relatively easy weeknight meal.
Pizza is not the national dish of Tanzania.
Let’s get that out of the way right now. The national dish of Tanzania, by all accounts, is ugali, which should not surprise anyone reading this blog, since ugali or some variant of it is so popular in so much of sub-Saharan Africa.
Rolling the dough for Zanzibar pizza.
But when I watched the episode of Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown on Tanzania, I was mesmerized by the street food scene there, and nothing seemed more interesting than the pizza.
Fried, open face, ingredients slathered on, then folded together like a publicly acceptable version of a Taco Bell crunch wrap.
I had to have it, and it was delicious.
Some Zanzibar pizza ingredients: cream cheese, onions, tomato, eggs, ground meat.
Tanzania: Zanzibar pizza, via the Internet writ large
- 2 cups flour
- 1/2 ts salt
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 lb ground meat
- 1 onion, chopped
- tomato sauce
- cream cheese
- Knead together the flour, salt and water to make dough balls, roughly the size of a golf ball. Coat in oil and let stand for an hour.
- Cook the meat, and assemble the other ingredients.
- Roll the dough into circles about the size of a dinner plate, thick enough to have some structural integrity but thin enough that it isn’t oppressive.
- Toss one of those dough balls on a hot skillet, coated with ghee. Put a little more ghee inside the dough ball, then add your ingredients: first meat, then onion, cream cheese, tomato, and finally, an egg. Mayonnaise can also be added.
- Step 4 takes some practice. That’s a lot of stuff to put on any piece of dough. Plan on having some failed pizzas.
- This step is tricky, too – fold up the edges of the pizza to cover the ingredients – and then flip it, all without losing the ingredients inside the pizza. You’ll get the hang of it.
- Once fried on both sides, eat that bad boy. You will love it.
The last dish on Round One was kind of like the boss level of a video game: Something I knew I had to overcome, but wasn’t necessarily happy about it. Continue reading
I can’t imagine going dawn-to-dusk without a morsel. My respect for those who do is immense.
One of the unexpected pleasures of this project has been the joy of weekend visits to ethnic markets. Portland is hardly a multicultural utopia, but it has its share of great, friendly ethnic grocers who stock hard-to-find ingredients – usually at prices way lower than I could expect to find online.