This will not be a blog about cooking machboos.
I’ve already written about machboos, and I did not much change the recipe from when I made it for Qatar last August. The only real change I made was to use chicken thighs, which somehow made an excellent dish even better.
After 18 dishes in the last 10 months, we’ve hit a milestone: A repeat dish.
It’s been fun to expand my spice collection – and to use what I have.
We’re all guilty of spice hoarding. Deep in the back of your spice cabinet is something you don’t use – cloves, mace, in my case, cinnamon. And then there’s the stuff you see at specialty markets, thinking you’ll find a day when you need that exotic-named, richly-colored powder you’d never heard of before.
After spending two weeks in Europe, it was back to the grindstone – with another trip to the Muslim world.
This time, I was cooking Nihari, a national dish of Pakistan, and a contrast from the rice-and-meat heavy influence of most of the Middle East. Hell, in the U.S., we’d call this fusion cuisine – a mix of Indian and Middle Eastern influences.
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.