The New Comfort Food for People on the Move
by Kay Scarlett (Laurel Glen)
bowl, will travel. This tempting tome is your ticket
to tasty trips. From paella, to risotto, to Thai,
Japanese, Chinese, Malaysian, Indian, Greek, Middle
Eastern, European and, of course, American specialties,
plates may become a thing of your past.
isn't a niche topic. Simple bowl food is such a staple
around the world that nothing seems to be missing
from this book: It's one of the best ethnic cookbooks
I've ever read. Map your course by perusing the sumptuous
full-page color photographs. Decide on your destination
obviously doesn't have to mean boring: There are full
chapters on soups, salads, pasta, rice, wok dishes,
curries and one-pot meals. Almost every recipe is
a standout like Chicken-Pork Paella that gets snap
from chorizo, Sri Lanken Chicken Curry with Cashews,
Italian Beef Casserole with Polenta Dumplings, Pear
and Walnut Salad with Lime Vinaigrette and Thai Jungle
and exceptional flavor are hallmarks of the recipes:
Curry powder is homemade, as are touches like the
gremolata (garlic, parsley, finely grated lemon zest
and chopped anchovy) that tops a tempting osso bucco
and the garam masala (spices toasted until fragrant
in a dry frying pan) that accents a rice and red lentil
following Penne with Rustic Sauce is typical for the
book: Quick and simple to prepare, yet distinguished
WITH RUSTIC SAUCE
4 cups chicken stock
3/4 pound penne
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, diced
3 celery stalks, diced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon, chopped fresh thyme
1 (13-ounce) can lentils, drained, or 2-1/2 cups cooked
Yields 4 servings.
the chicken stock in a large saucepan for 10 minutes,
or until reduced to 2 cups of liquid. Cook the pasta
in a large saucepan of rapidly boiling water for 10
minutes, or until al dente. Drain and toss with 2
tablespoons of the olive oil.
Heat the remaining oil in a large, deep frying pan,
add the onion, carrots and celery and cook over medium
heat for 10 minutes or until browned. Add two thirds
of the crushed garlic and 1 tablespoon of the thyme
and cook for another minute. Add the stock, bring
to a boil and cook for 8 minutes or until reduced
slightly and the vegetables are tender. Gently stir
in the lentils until heated through.
Stir in the remaining garlic and thyme and season
with plenty of salt and black pepper --- the stock
should be slightly syrupy at this point. Combine the
pasta with the lentil sauce in a large bowl, drizzle
generously with extra-virgin olive oil and serve with
grated Parmesan, if desired.
AND RED LENTIL PILAF
Garam masala (see note):
1 tablespoon cilantro seeds
1 tablespoon cardamom pods
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1 small cinnamon stick, crushed
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup basmati rice
1 cup red lentils
3 cups hot vegetable stock
2 scallions, thinly sliced diagonally, to garnish
Yields 4 to 6 servings.
prepare garam masala: Place all of the garam masala
ingredients in a dry frying pan and shake over medium
heat for 1 minute, or until fragrant. Blend to a fine
powder in a spice grinder or blender.
To prepare rest of dish: Heat the oil in a
large saucepan. Add onion, garlic and 3 teaspoons
garam masala. (Save rest of garam masala for another
usage.) Cook over medium heat for 3 minutes, or until
the onion is soft.
Stir in the rice and lentils and cook for 2 minutes.
Add the hot stock and stir well. Slowly bring to a
boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for
15 to 20 minutes, or until the rice is cooked and
all the stock has been absorbed. Gently fluff the
rice with a fork. Garnish with scallions.
Note: Although homemade garam masala is outstanding,
a store-bought version can be substituted, if desired.
(Updated: 02/17/09 KR)