Spicy Recipes Roundup: Comfort Foods

Hi everyone! I’m starting a new weekly series titled “Spicy Recipes Roundup” where I’ll feature some of the best spicy food recipes around the web! This new feature will showcase five spicy recipes from some of my favorite magazines and food blogs so you don’t have to go scouring the web looking for great spicy recipes. To get things started I’m kicking off this week with spicy comfort foods to warm your soul, just in time for those chilly Fall nights!

 

1. This Curry Chicken Pot Pie recipe from Alton Brown looks great! Since I like things a little extra spicy I would double the curry and ground pepper then toss in a chopped scotch bonnet pepper while cooking.

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2. This is one hearty and “meaty” Vegetarian Chile from Food52, add extra heat if you like but boy is this an awesome recipe if you want to go meatless!  3. Try this Smokey Chipotle Meatloaf from Delicious on a Dime cookbook from the All You magazine editors. The chipotles in adobo sauce will kick up this classic recipe.

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4. Shrimp fra Diavolo is one of my favorite things to order at Italian restaurants, it’s flavorful, hearty and spicy so I just drooled when I saw this Lobster fra Diavolo version from the From Away blog. Go ahead and double the red pepper flakes seasoning in recipe or add an entire sliced serrano chile pepper! 5. Stir fry may not scream comfort food to some but for me a steaming bowl of this Chicken and Vegetable Stir Fry is what I want on a chilly night.

 

Thanks for checking these out and let me know if you make any of them. What are your favorite spicy comfort foods?

My Food Adventures at the Varli Food Festival in NYC

I attended the Varli Food Festival in NYC this past Thursday and what an amazing food experience it was. The scent of wonderful Indian spices, bold and vibrant colors at every turn, and the food, oh the food…I was in heaven! I had this whole strategy leading up to the event, thinking oh I’ll start with small appetizers, then sample mini version of my favorite curries and heavy dishes then on to dessert. Well needless to say, that strategy lasted about 2 seconds and you’ll see why. There was food everywhere, and finger lickin’ good food! They even had a spice market where you could go in and pick up all the spices you wanted, on the house! See my swag bag at the end of post. OK, I’ll stop writing now and just let you see for yourself…

As soon as you walk in…

This papaya salad was amazing…tangy, a little sweet and spicy. Oh and those lotus root crunchy snacks were just yummy. I was tempted to bite into one of those chiles but glad I didn’t, definitely wanted to actually taste the next few dishes…

Some Pani Puri filled with yogurt, tamarind, mint and chickpeas, one of my favorite flavor combinations.

Thinks that’s a lot? Well there’s more, much more…

This chicken cooked on a Himalayan salt slab was probably the most tender and moist chicken I had. The chicken was marinated without salt and cooking the chicken on the slab gave it a nice flavor.

Lots of mango treats and desserts. This mango mousse was lovely from Amiya in Jersey City.

Let’s not forget the drinks. The booze was flowing all night but these little lovelies here stole the show…let’s see if I remember correctly…ginger vodka cocktail with rose petals frozen into round ice cubes and rimmed with tajin. I have to do this rose petal ice, just makes you feel so pretty when drinking it!

Check out this gorgeous cake! Love the color, the details and intricate design.

Last but not least, some of the talent…

Chefs Mehta, Khanna, Chauhan, Kapur, and Vij

Hope you enjoyed the photos! I would’ve had more but my camera battery bailed on me. I did get to try some other amazing dishes like fried cauliflower, chicken tikka, various types of breads, lotus root three ways from Junoon, kati rolls, seared Kangaroo meat with curry. Yes, I said Kangaroo…I figured why not, it was there and it looked so good. It’s very similar to beef and was so tender, very nice dish. So I basically rolled out of there, seriously, I ate way too much! The portions were so big so just wound up taking a bite or two and moving on but there were so many good spots to try. Next time I’ll post a few of my favorite restaurants from the event.

So all in all the event was a huge success and was worth every penny! I would certainly do it again if it comes back to the NYC area! Especially when most of the proceeds from event will be donated to charity, love that! I heard next year they’re heading over to  Dubai so I’m glad I made it to this one. If you can, definitely check them out! Oh, check out the swag too!

Meatless Mondays: Curry Chickpeas with Basmati Rice

The Meatless Mondays movement has been spreading like wildfire. Organizations across the country, corporations, schools, celebrities, chefs, and people from all walks of life are embracing the idea of going without meat at least one day a week.

I think a single day out of the week is pretty manageable and great for those wanting to make a change in their diets but don’t want to give up the foods they love. I don’t even buy much red meat anymore and have switched to mostly chicken and fish but once in a while I love a great steak. I also know for a fact that I could never give up bacon but definitely like the idea of going vegetarian a few times a month, just as long as it’s full of flavor, filling and easy to make.

I make this Curry Chickpea dish whenever I don’t have any meat in the freezer. It’s easy to make, hearty and incredibly tasty!

I learned how to make this dish from my old college roommate. We were always penny pinching back then so loved the idea of having another dish to make on a budget. All you need are a few spices, chickpeas and rice.

I’ve tweaked this recipe over the years now that I can afford to buy as many spices as I want but when I made this back then it was pretty basic. I would use milk instead of cream, tomatoes if I didn’t have tomato paste or use a combination of both. For me, the ginger, chiles and cilantro give this curry such a bold flavor. It’s a definite hit in my book.

I balance out the meal by serving the curry chickpeas over basmati rice, with a side of mango chutney and roasted papad. Papad is a thin Indian crisp and can be purchased from an Indian grocery store or marketplace. You can have it before your meal as an appetizer or just have it with a bit of chutney as a snack. The papads are roasted on stove top similar to how you would roast peppers.  It’s such a flavorful meal that you’ll forget you’re not eating meat!

Curry Chickpeas (Garbanzo beans) with Basmati Rice

Ingredients:
small onion, diced
1 jalapeno, diced (or 1-2 Thai birds eye chiles)
3 tbsp of olive oil
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tbsp curry powder
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp salt
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 heaping tbsp of tomato paste
1 cup of water
1 16oz can of Chickpeas (or 1 lb of dried chickpeas soaked overnight and cooked until soft)
1 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
2 tbsp of heavy cream (or 1/4 cup of yogurt for a lighter version)

Directions:
1. Saute the onions in olive oil on medium heat until translucent. Add the jalapenos, coriander, chili powder, curry powder, ginger, bay leaves and salt and stir. Mix in the tomato paste and water to form a thick sauce.

2. Add the chickpeas, stir and then add the fresh cilantro and cream and stir some more. Lower heat and let beans cook for about 8-10 minutes. Add a bit more water if too dry and adjust the salt to taste.

Basmati Rice
1. While chickpeas are cooking, boil 2 cups of water on high heat in a separate pot and add 1 tsp of salt and 1 tbsp of olive oil.

2. Add 1 cup of rinsed basmati rice and stir. Let most of water boil off, turn heat down to low and cover pot. Let rice cook for about 15-20 minutes until light and fluffy.

When done, serve the curry chickpeas over rice and serve with a side salad, papad and mango chutney.