Monday, December 23, 2013

It's Curry Night!

Before the big move Hub virtually introduced me to Annie, a talented American chef running her own catering company The Gringa from Ipanema in Rio. We finally met a few weeks ago at this cute cafe called Armazem do Cafe in Ipanema. Like Shanna and I, Annie's husband was relocated to Rio and she's been here for over a year. She got her foot in the cooking door by experimenting and working part-time in NYC kitchens whilst managing a full-time day job! I was in awe of Annie and all her food talk. When she invited us over to partake in an Indian curry night, I was really excited for lots of vegetables and spice. Bring on the chilies! 

Annie curated a great menu for the evening and a few of us came early to help with the cooking. Upon arriving there was an amazing assortment of homemade Indian breads with cucumber raita and a tangy mint chutney.

I got a sneak peak at Annie's creative baking skills. She created a pseudo clay oven with a hot iron skillet and a metal salad bowl. The combination generated more heat than her oven and this was a must in order to create those familiar air pockets in naan bread. They cooked within minutes and she topped them off with homemade ghee, a butter without the milk solids that burns at a higher temperature.

We split up into teams (team mango, team spinach) and went about our tasks whilst sipping Layer Cake Malbec wine. Very, very good. I never attempted to cook Indian in London, but it was surprisingly easy. Most of the recipes used similar ingredients like fresh coriander/cilantro, chilies, garam masala, tin tomatoes, onions, cumin, turmeric and dried coriander.We found most of our recipes online, but here is the saag aloo recipe we made. 

Saag Aloo
Pumpkin Tinda Masala
Annie created a marinade of her own garam masala mix, made up of 12 spices, which she used to marinate the chicken for a tikka masala dish. We hand shredded the pre-cooked chicken before tossing it into a fiery red sauce. I managed to steal a bowl of the sauce before the chicken when in. Absolutely delicious.

Chicken Tikka Masala

Let's serve! 

We managed to wait patiently as Annie explained each dish, but this picture really says it all.  Then we tucked in...

 and left nothing behind. 

We ended our feast with creamy mango lassi topped with a pinch of cinnamon, which was a really nice touch. It was a great evening with great company. Now all I need to do is stock up on dry ingredients and Indian recipes to test out at home.

We're off to the states now for the holidays and I look forward to cooking, eating, and learning new recipes from my Grandma. Happy HOlidays and see you soon!
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