Last night I dreamt of Chaat Masala. Really. And yet, its not quite as odd as it seems. You see, I've spent the better part of this weekend devouring Monica Bhide's wonderful new cookbook - Modern Spice. I'm reading it cover to cover and enjoying every blessed word. Modern Spice has been making its way around more than a few blogs this past week and the attention is well-deserved. Its charming, informative and altogether delicious.
I must extend a huge measure of thanks to Charmian Christie of Christie's Corner for making the introductions. She wrote about Modern Spice last week and I ordered a copy as soon as I finished reading her post. I couldn't be happier with the purchase. Thanks, Charmian!
While I'm nothing if not intrepid in the kitchen, I must admit that I've always been a bit intimidated by Indian cuisine. I adore Indian food, but have never attempted to make it at home. Its not as if I'm unfamiliar with the spices, so I'm not sure what was holding me back. Fortunately, that's about to change - with the help of Modern Spice, I'm happily embracing these heretofore uncharted waters!
After reading Ms. Bhide's glorious description of "The Modern Spice Pantry" I set off on a field trip to my favorite local spice market, Kalustyan's, and am now happily in possession of great quantities of Chaat Masala, turmeric, Paanch Phoron and cumin seeds. Whee ... let the cooking begin!
And begin it did, with this gorgeous and spicy shrimp stir-fry. Actually, I made this insanely good dish prior to my trip to Kalustyan's, and had to substitute some tandoori masala for the turmeric. No matter really, the finished dish was gloriously seasoned, multi-layered in flavor and, honestly, one of the best meals I've ever cooked.
The recipe is called: "Hot, Hotter, Hottest Shrimp" ... and with good reason! The combination of fresh serrano chiles, dried red chiles (I used chile d'arbol) and crushed red pepper flakes really packs a punch! But make no mistake, this spicy concoction offers more than simple heat. The flavors are so deep and intriguing they nearly defy description. Suffice it to say the husband and I finished every last bit of it and I cannot wait to make it again.
While I'd like to offer the recipe here, I don't yet have permission from the author. You can find the recipe on page 183 of Modern Spice and with an introduction like this, I'm certain this book is destined to become a Diva favorite. I recommend it, highly!
So, where do you stand on Indian cuisine ... are you comfortable cooking it at home? Curious Diva wants to know.
Whether you're comfortable or not, I urge you to take a spin though this book. Its a wonderful resource and a mighty good read.