October 17, 2010

Two New Indian Dishes: Not the Greatest, But Not Bad

Saturday evening's dinner was a pair of Indian dishes I'd never made before, plus rice and naan bread.  Both of the dishes were taken from Manju Malhi's Easy Indian Cookbook: The Step-by-Step Guide to Deliciously Easy Indian Food at Home, which I've mentioned often and which I reviewed on 9/24/2010 (http://jeffreyandjulicook.blogspot.com/2010/09/this-book-got-me-started.html).  Both are, in fact, recipes I've planned to cook in the past, but had put off for one reason or another. 

The main dish was Goan Pork Meatballs in Spicy Curry.  Goa is an Indian state, and its cuisine is known for intensely flavorful, and often spicy, dishes.  This particular dish involves meatballs made from ground pork and minced chili peppers, served up in a spicy tomato gravy.   What's not to like about that idea?  To go with it, I prepared a vegetarian dish, Spiced Black-Eyed Peas.   This fast and simple curry is black-eyed peas in a spicy yogurt gravy.  Normally I when pairing up dishes, I go for a milder one to complement the spicy one, but these two seemed like a good match for each other, as they would have different textures, included different spices and had different gravy bases.  I figured we'd toss in some basmati rice and some naan and all would be good.

The result, unfortunately, was less than fantastic.  The Goan meatballs were indeed spicy and the gravy flavorful, but the gravy was so flavorful compared to the pork that the meatball flavor got lost in the mix.  This wasn't a bad dish by any means (Juli rated it at 4 stars, using her rating scale), but it just didn't stand out, especially when compared to the General Tso's Chicken I'd made earlier in the day and the pizza the night before, both of which were truly excellent.  If I'd ordered this dish in a restaurant, I would not have been very satisfied, though I suppose it would be fine as an offering in a buffet.

The Spiced Black-Eyed Peas were... well, to start, they weren't particularly spicy.  Beyond that, the dish was kind of boring.  Juli gave it two stars.  I think that's a bit unkind - as a side dish, it's adequate, though it would be really bland if one were to prepare it on its own as a main dish.  There was nothing outstanding about the dish at all.

So, this dinner was sort of disappointing.  Not bad, but not particularly memorable.  I don't foresee making either of these dishes again.   Still, the only way to know whether you'll like something is to give it a try.

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