Sunday, April 11, 2010

Tastes like burning bento


Sorry about the drought in posts. I took a week off because I had family visiting, and it's a bit hard to cook for a crowd when you've got people underfoot. Today's offerings coming from cooking for a dinner party last week. I had all these fresh spices from the Indian grocery and I felt I should churn out another Indian themed bento. Lindsay from Apron Adventures once Grapefruit fairy now brings me a nice bag of Ataulfo Mangos. This of course played into my bento theme nicely and basically fixed my dessert. Big thank you to her for the beautiful mangos!

It's very liberating cooking for my new audience. I've gotten a lot of restrictions lifted and my adventerous coworkers even requested to be hit with something spicy. Hopefully I don't disappoint with my Beef Vindaloo. I cobbled together a few versions and came up with this spicy dish that I slow cooked for eight hours. The beef was fall apart tender and the heat from the 40 thai bird chillies gave a kick that even I started sweating. This really came out more like a stew with the thinner sauce, I think many of the recipes called for finer cuts of onion and tomato puree to give more body to the sauce. I used golden potatoes hoping that the creamy texture (over the more mealy russets) would help thicken things up but that didn't happen. I'm very happy with the flavors that I conjured up just not the consistency. And yes I'll admit, just so I could quell my critics, I went ahead and dropped some Naga pepper sauce in this bad boy. Hopefully it's not so hot as to be inedible (tastes fine in my book) but should satisfy my chili heads.


Next up, this is one of my favorite lentil/Dal dishes, Dal Makhani. This is a northern India dish from the provence of Punjab. Like many Indian dishes this is full of spices (thus flavor) and slow cooking was the order of the day. I think I need to invest in a pressure cooker, I usually try to cheat with canned beans but when it comes to some of these lentils there's no short cutting as finding them in cans is next to impossible. Anyhow, I figured this would be a nice addition to mellow out the heat I dished at my eaters. Originally I was going to make this a small side dish, but ended up with a ton more than I expected so that left rice as very small side portion today.

I had some trouble with my rice, I think my rice cooker (I call her Ole Bessie) is on her last legs. I've had her since college and she's been really good to me. One button press and there's always perfect rice in the pot, but today, I smelled some electrical burny smell. I shall write a tribute to her if it comes to putting her to pasture.


Finally we have a nice mango puree. I took some time to understand the noble mango since I was gifted with such a nice bounty. The varietal I got was the Ataulfo Mango, unlike the usual Kent mango which I usually use with Indian cooking. The flesh was a bit firmer (despite being perfectly ripe), the seed to the Ataulfo is also smaller than the Kent (compared to size) such that you yield a lot more mango fruit flesh than the Kent cousin. Here, I pureed the mangos in my gratuitously powerful blender and simply added a bit of sugar and cardamom powder and garnished it with a bit of almond for texture. Very simple and very tasty.


I loved this bento. I'm so very glad I have a bunch of left over inferno hot curry. As always, thanks for dropping by and see you next time!

Box Contents
  • Beef Vindaloo
  • Makhani Dal
  • Mango Puree with Cardamom and almonds

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