Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Get Curried Away

As my moving day approaches, it has become increasingly difficult to use what's in my fridge, not to mention that I'm already milking leftovers for all they're worth. Fortunately, the Super Bowl left me with an excellent leftover ingredient: chicken wings. I'd made a nice spicy batch with a tofu dressing on the side (it's better than it sounds, trust me) for an all-girls Super Bowl party. Even after plowing like madwomen through spinach artichoke dip, stinky cheese on raisin bread toast and sweet and sour meatballs, in addition to the wings, there was still leftover food. After saving a few wings for the man of the house (who was forced to watch the game elsewhere--sorry Mike!), I still had a container full of wings to bring home with me.

After considering recipes for everything from a frittata to enchiladas and even dumplings, I finally came to the conclusion that I should probably be using as many items in my freezer as possible. As I dug through piles of frozen vegetables, steaks, chicken breasts, fish and even a random Cornish game hen, I came across a package of frozen Indian roti bread that I'd picked up during a recent chutney obsession (it was a major pre-blog failure, to say the least). Roti is an unleavened, unsalted flatbread, cooked on a griddle and then on intense high heat, where it puffs up slightly. Mine was frozen, so all I had to do was heat it in the oven and figure out exactly what I'd be topping it with. Since I'd started with Indian bread, I figured I could easily stay on that track by making a quick curried chicken salad.

I already had all of the necessary spices in my spice rack, and even some fresh cilantro and lemon juice in the fridge. All I had left to do was remove the meat from the wings, chop it into smaller pieces and combine it with all of the ingredients. Once the roti was warm and slightly plump I pulled it out of the oven, slathered it with butter (it's traditionally rubbed with ghee, also known as clarified butter) and piled on the curried chicken salad. The whole dinner was done in less than 20 minutes, and 10 of those were actually spent just picking the chicken off the bone. This would actually be a great way to use leftover poached or grilled chicken breast, leftover thigh meat, chicken used to make stock, or pretty much any chicken preparation. Here's the recipe I used:

Quick Curried Chicken Salad

2 1/2 cups cooked chicken, chopped
2 heaping Tbsp mayonnaise
2 Tbsp Madras curry powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander seed
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/4 tsp ground fennel seed
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
2 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
juice of 1/2 a lemon
2 tsp honey

1. Combine all of the ingredients except for the honey in a bowl and mix well.

2. Stir in honey and serve over warm, buttered roti or other flatbread. Enjoy!


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