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Fried Rice Amazingness

yumWarning: Objects On Screen Are Tastier Than They Appear

Sooo, my fav day to read the NYTimes is obviously Wednesday when the Dining & Wine section comes out. Last Wednesday, I came across this gem featured in Mark Bittman’s (LOVE) wonderful column, The Minimalist. If you are a frequent visitor to this blog (bless your patience/persistence in checking for new posts), you can probs guess that I have a sort of love affair with breakfast and eggs that borders on obsession. A friend recently referred to eggs as chicken period which I think is the most vile thing I’ve ever heard, and blasphemous to the sacred name of my dear egg.

EGGS ARE THE BEST. Srsly, I will eat them in any preparation, at any time of day. Recently I have come down with some sort of black plague which has prevented me from going to the market for food. Because I always have eggs in my fridge and rice in my cupboard, rice + eggs is my go-to meal when I’m in dire straits. It might make me feel somewhat homeless, but it is damn tasty, cheap and filling. So when I stumbled across this fancy schmancy version of my Snarky Recession Special (it has Jean-Georges’s stamp of approval!), I decided to make it ASAP. And guys, MAKE THIS IMMEDIATELY. It is so good. Like. Really. Good.

Ginger Fried Rice (recipe from the NYTimes)
Serves 4.

2 tablespoons minced garlic (like 4-5 fat cloves)
2 tablespoons minced ginger (a 1-2 in. piece of ginger)
Salt
2 cups thinly sliced leeks, white and light green parts only, rinsed and dried (1 large leek)
4 cups day-old cooked rice, preferably jasmine, at room temperature
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons sesame oil
4 teaspoons soy sauce

1. Place half the oil in a pan over medium heat and add the minced ginger and garlic. I didn’t have peanut oil so I just used canola and I don’t think it mattered. Also, you don’t want to make your mince too small or else your ginger and garlic will probably burn really quickly and also you want it to be a nice crunchy garnish, not powdery. I know it’s annoying but I wouldn’t recommend using a grater or a press to do this. Go with the good old fashioned chef’s knife and some elbow grease.

2. Brown the ginger and garlic until golden brown. DO NOT walk away during this, as this can go from white to dark brown burnanation in a matter of seconds. Also make sure to constantly stir once the mixture becomes golden to make sure it all browns evenly. Trust me, you don’t want to have to throw away any crunchies because you burned some. You will cry.

3. Use a slotted spoon to fish out all of the fried ginger and garlic and place on a paper towel to drain.

4. In another skillet (make sure it is big enough to hold all your rice), add the remaining oil and heat over medium low heat. Once hot, add your thinly sliced leeks. [Sidenote: I feel most people think leeks are scary because they look kind of weird. First off, you don't eat the dark green part, so the first step is to cut that part off (you should only be using the light green and white parts). Then cut the leek in half longways and rinse under running cold water to get rid of any sand and grit that might be trapped inside. Shake them off and place them on a paper towel to dry for a bit and then cut thin slices (the leek should be perpendicular to your knife so you're cutting it across instead of up and down) so that the leaks look like long green confetti.]

5. Stir the leeks to coat them evenly in the oil and saute until tender, but not browned. This should take about 10 minutes. Season lightly with salt.

6. Add the rice and raise the heat to medium. Stir to coat rice with oil and incorporate leeks. Cook until the rice starts to smell toasty but it should not be brown. Salt to taste.

7. NOW ITS TIME FOR THE EGGGG!! I used the same oil that I fried the ginger and garlic in, and just poured a bit out. If you don’t know how to cook a runny egg by now, I’m not sure you even read this blog. Try here, here or here. For this I prefer the straight up frying pan method, without even flipping the egg so that it is sunny-side up.

8. Spoon up a nice bowl of your delicious rice mixture. Flop the egg on top and throw a handful of ginger and garlic crunchies on the top (this is what makes it amazing). Drizzle with soy sauce to taste and a light drizzle of sesame oil. Go easy on the sesame oil since it’s quite strong.

The best way to eat this IMHO is to break the yolk and break up the egg while mixing the soy and sesame oil into the entire yummy fried rice mixture. Fo realz, this is heavenly. You won’t be disappointed. And its super easy! Also, I bet this would be good hangover food. Just sayin’

January 25, 2010   1 Comment

Pollo Pops!

Pollo Pops!

Remember when I went to Chinese Mirch and had mouth watering chicken lollipops?! Well after some internet investigation, my friend Bear found the recipe in an old NY Times article and obvs I had to try it out to see how close it was to the real thing.

OK, I’m not gonna lie. This recipe is pretty difficult and is for Snarky readers that have somewhat advanced culinary skills. It was a bitch to make. I had a close call with disfigurement when my knife slipped and there was alot of cursing involved. The following can be found on the Times website here. I’m adding helpful photos and my notes in red.

3 pounds chicken wing “drumettes” or whole wings, tips discarded
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon red Asian chili paste
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon canola cooking oil ½ cup water
1½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon white pepper
Peanut or canola oil for frying
Fresh cilantro sprigs for garnish.

1. Use a sharp knife to separate two joints if using whole wings. Cut tendons at narrower end of each “drumette” joint, hold that end with a kitchen towel, and scrape down meat as far as possible toward thicker end to make a plump lollipop shape. If using second joints, too, cut through cartilage at one end of each piece, separating the bones, scrape meat down the large bone to make a lollipop shape, and pull out and discard smaller bone.

Pollo Pops! Raw chicken is sorta gross

I got the buffalo style wings from Whole Foods, so some were drumettes and others were wings. At first I tried to use my trusty Chef’s knife to do this but realized it was just way too huge. So I ended up using a sharp paring knife which probs is the completely wrong thing to use but it’s the only knife I had that was small enough to get in between the wing joints. Finding and cutting the tendons (they are those hard white rubbery strings running all thru the chicken wing; they also connect the meat to the bone) was the hardest part. I had to use alot of crafty (read: barbaric) knifework that basically consisted of me hacking away at the top of the wing and cutting thru any of the connecting tissue that was preventing the meat from being scraped down. It’s pretty easy to tell when you’ve reached lollipop success because the bone should look totes clean.

Pollo Pops! Wingos require more grunt work

If I just had to deal with the drumsticks then I think this would have been a more pleasant experience, but the wings were soooo annoying. Basically you have to wiggle your knife in between the wing joints, cut through it, and then scrape the meat down from the smaller bone, while wiggling it free from the bottom joint until you can pop the bone out. At this point, you basically have a drumette and need to scrape the meat into a lollipop by following the directions above.

2. In bowl large enough to hold all the wings, whisk together all other ingredients, except frying oil and cilantro. Add wings, mix gently to coat, and refrigerate 1 hour.

Pollo Pops! Marination sensation

I forgot about the chicken and so it was marinating for more than an hour and I don’t think it made a difference. Next time I think I might add a crap-ton of hot sauce to the marinade because I remember the Mirch lollipops being a little more spicy and the chicken was tinted a slight red. Possibly also it needs to marinate for longer to really penetrate the meat (there has got to be a TWSS joke here somewhere), maybs overnight?

3. In large deep fryer or large deep kettle heat 2 inches of oil to 375 degrees. Working in batches to avoid crowding, fry wings until golden brown on both sides.

Pollo Pops! Lollipop, lollipop o lolli lolli lolli

OMG deep frying is hard, and dangerous. And not good dangerous like how I use dangerous sometimes to denote the intention to get aggressively, mind-numbingly hammered (see also: Palmarized). Dangerous like holy-third-degree-burns dangerous. Esp if you are a functional retard like me and deep fry while wearing a tank top. Next time I am wearing full body armor (see: armadillo or ankylosaur).

Pollo Pops! This ain’t no VO5

Obvs, I did not have a thermometer to test the temperature of the oil so I asked Jeeves “How do I know when frying oil is ready?” and he told me to throw a cube of bread in there and when it gets brown in 60 seconds then the oil is ready. That seemed to work pretty well and also the deep fried rye bread cube was a tasty little snack. I recommend using a pan with high sides because once you put the chicken in there, that shit gets volatile. Oil sputters will randomly happen and you must be vigilant (I suggest the duck and weave method), while you turn your lollipops.

Make sure when you drop the chicken in there to lower gently and slowly into the oil. Also, make sure to shake off most of the marinade from the chicken because any excess moisture will cause the oil to erupt a la Trogdor burnination like whoa. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t paying attention to the time so I’m not sure how long the pollo pops were frying for, but it was longer than I expected. I guess it was like 10-12 minutes total (halfway thru I would turn over the pop to get even browning). But, just keep them in the hot oil until they are a nice and crispy brown.

4. Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels. When oil returns to 375 degrees, add new batches until done. Arrange on a platter and garnish with cilantro. Serve immediately.

I suggest you wait at least 5 minutes before hossing a pollo pop; I know it will be excruciating to try and wait, but you know what’s even more excruciating? Burning the shit out of your mouth.

Also, forget the cilantro garnish. Garnishes are for wussies.

Pollo Pops!Dangerously delectable

Snarky’s Final Thought: All in all, making chicken lollies was quite the experience. I would say if you’re still a cooking noobie, don’t try this at home. But if you feel like an adventure and are confident you won’t kill yourself, then totes go for it. Turning the chicken into lollipops was the most time consuming (and annoying) part … possibly I am missing some sort of shortcut/secret method that takes less time, but these are def a labor of love. Taste-wise, these were similar to the lollies at Chinese Mirch, and def will satisfy a craving for spicy, fried deliciousness. I mean, it’s fried chicken, so obvs pollo pops are awesome. Also, this would be much easier if someone would just get me a Fry Daddy.

What do you think of deep frying? Are you gonna try these out or would you rather run to KFC and forget the hassle/grease burns?

September 6, 2009   2 Comments

Movin’ to the Country, Gonna Eat Alot of Peaches

Tomato, Peach, Feta SaladNo, you can’t use canned peaches.

I know summer is technically over, and like all Snarky posts, this one is about 2 months too late. Possibly I should start spending less time on non-post posts? Anyway, peaches are on sale now since its the end of peach season so I am going to lie and say I totally planned on posting this now and not 2 months ago when I first made it.

I got a little tomato happy at the farmer’s market and had an overabundance of tomatoes that were gonna go bad and so I wanted to try something other than bruschetta or caprese salad (boring). Really, this salad should be made when the ingredients are in season or else it will taste bad since it’s painfully simple/easy. I know the ingredients are kinda random and it doesn’t seem like this would taste good but it does. Fo’ realz. Trust.

1 tomato (make sure it’s ripe and sweet and amazing or else don’t even bother)
1 peach (same as tomato)
feta
basil
simple vinaigrette (see below for Cooking Impaired instructions)

1. Dice the tomato and the peach into bite sized chunks.
2. Add a handful of feta.
3. Chop up some basil (3-5 leaves is fine) and add that to the party.
4. Dress with the vinaigrette.
5. Scarf. (Crusty bread is good for sponging up all the good sauce. Just sayin’.)

Vinaigrette for Dummies
Basically the ratio I use is 3 to 1, oil to vinegar. For this recipe 3 T. olive oil and 1 T. white wine vinegar works marvelously. I have this Magic Bullet blender thing that I use but you could also just put it in a small container and shake it, sh-sh-shake it, shake it like a polaroid picture. Don’t forget to add salt and pepper to taste before you emulsify.

Snarky Note: You can also replace the peach with watermelon which is tasty. Also if you wanna get wild replace the basil with other things (mint, cilantro, whatevs).

September 5, 2009   No Comments

Question of the Day

Big Sky, MTSnarky at 7500 feet.

Who likes it when I post a non-post to tell them that a post is coming?

Updates are forthcoming but I was stuck in the mountains last weekend.

August 28, 2009   6 Comments

Sushi Taro 2.0

Tuna Sushi

I know I already wrote about Sushi Taro, but since then, it has received an expensive renovation and menu makeover. What was once my favorite neighborhood spot has transformed into a fancy, fine dining establishment (complete with the accompanying high price tag). My friend Jeff and I had decided to go on a whim after deciding we “deserved it” on Monday and making a last minute reservation for Wednesday. We really wanted to try the special omakase (literally translated it mean’s “it’s up to you” but really it ends up being the chef’s choice of what he’d like to serve you with an occassional suggestion from you) tasting menu. The general consensus is that ordering a la carte is a total ripoff and you should def go for one of the tasting menus (ranging from $60-100/person). After some initial confusion (apparently omakase can only be eaten in the private sushi bar in the back), we had our reservation but were still somewhat unclear of “the rules.” We were told that when seated at the back bar, you have to order at least $100 worth of food or else they charge you the difference. Butttt, it’s a tasting menu? Isn’t the point of a tasting menu to pay one price and then eat your face off? We were perplexed. It sounded like some sort of hybrid a la carte/tasting menu deal.

After 30 seconds of deliberation, we decided that we didn’t care. We were already super pumped to just have gotten a seat in the back room and there was no turning back now! With a burgeoning singer/songwriter career in the works, Jeff was unfazed by this small bump in the sushi road. We vowed to learn the rules before we started eating to avoid a massive bill. Clearly, that didn’t happen.

The moment we crossed the threshold from main dining room to private VIP sushi bar, we were sold. Hypnotized by the soft music and swaying bamboo garden, we completely forgot to ask about pricing and dove headfirst into our sushi education. Chef and owner, Nobu Yamazaki, was an enthusiastic and knowledgeable teacher. He knew everything! He was like a Japanese Rain Man. In the middle of the meal, he pulled out a stack of half a dozen boxes, and rattled off 30 different fish names along with place of origin, flavor notes and a couple of fun facts. Unbelievable.

Salmon Sashimi So fresh and so clean clean

I won’t go over the whole meal, since we ate at least 20+ different things, but there were some definite highlights and lowlights. The first thing set in front of us was this:

Sesame Seed Sesame Seed “Tofu”

This was called sesame seed “tofu” but the texture of it didn’t resemble tofu at all despite its namesake. Because its made from a root vegetable, the starchiness produced a smooth but elastic finish. The broth was made of bonito and kelp and it was topped with sea urchin, soy beans and pepper leaves. Eaten together, it was the perfect marriage of flavors. I had never tasted anything like it before. This type of play on textures/flavors was prevalent throughout the meal. The Japanese love sticky/gelantinous/jiggly things.

Fish Bubble Tea
Bubble tea, fish ball shooter or jello shot?

This was a shot glass full of these tiny plants that were surrounded by a jelly-like membrane. I guess they have to pick the plants at just the right time to get them with the membranes, and the result is a dish that was in between liquid and solid. At first we suspected it should be eaten in one shot (a la oyster shooters) but soon realized that would be impossible unless we wanted to choke. The wooden spoon was used to scoop out the jelly balls, but they were slippery little suckers and it was pretty difficult to eat. The fish ball was poached and super delicate with a mild flavor, and the colorful balls were made of turnips, providing a little flair as well as crunch. The resulting culinary experience was less about the taste (which was briny and complex) and more about the textures. This was also the case with the shrimpy Jello Jiggler, which was entertaining to eat but didn’t blow me away taste-wise. It basically just tasted like gelatin. With a shrimp trapped in it.

Shrimp: Jurassic Park style Weird, yah?

The shrimp Jiggler was served as part of the cooked portion of the meal, which followed the sashimi part. Basically, during the sashimi part, they display like every fish possible and tell you to pick whatevs! It was so overhwelming. Everything we ate was awesome, but the standout was definitely the Wagyu Kobe beef “sashimi.” The beef is displayed in the same case as the tuna and is virtually indistinguishable from the fatty toro because of it’s intense marbling. Anything that has lived its life being massaged with sake is going to taste MONEY, and this beef didn’t disappoint. The overwhelming flavor and complexity of the meat was phenomenal. It was buttery and smooth like the fatty toro (which we ate just before it) but meaty and amazing. Here’s a little photo montage:

Kobe Beef

Red Snapper Sashimi

Sushi

Cooked Food

The full slideshow can be viewed here in all of it’s yummy glory. [Sidenote: If you watch it in a slideshow, be sure to click "Show Info" so you can see the captions.]

The one lowlight of the meal came during the soup portion. We tried both the Fish Ball Soup and the Turtle Soup. It tasted exactly how I imagined it would taste if I slaughtered a Ninja Turtle and cooked it up for dinner. It was grisly, tough and the textures were … unfamiliar. Don’t even get me started on the shell. Apparently, like soft shell crabs, the turtles used for Turtle Soup are also soft shelled. It had like a fatty, oily mouthfeel and was slimey.

Turtle Soup Looks promising …

Turtle GristleTurtle may have been a poor choice…

Turtle Power Yes, definitely a poor choice.

I mean, I’ve eaten worse. But after eating a couple of hefty bites, I was picking turtle gristle and bone bits out of my mouth (lovely) for a good 10 minutes. But like one out of 20+ dishes that were a win is a pretty good record. And for $100, they really stuff you. Definitely like 75% into the meal, I was comfortably full. For the last quarter I had to eat thru the wall. And by the time dessert came out, I was like busting. Since most times dessert is a pretty uneventful affair at Asian restaurants (usually some fresh fruit or complimentary mints on top of the check), I wasn’t expecting much. BUT! The two things we ordered were SO GOOD.

Hojicha Pudding Hojicha Pudding

Cute Little SpoonSalty amazingness.

Hojicha pudding and SALTED CHERRY BLOSSOM ICE CREAM. Seriously, both were total standouts. Hojicha is just roasted green tea and imagine that flavor infused into an airy, amazingly light pudding. Mmm mmm mmm. The ice cream was salty with flowery notes from the cherry blossoms. It was definitely one of the most interesting flavors of ice cream I’ve ever tasted (and I’ve tasted alot). Asians are usually pretty adventurous when it comes to ice cream flavors. The Flips have a corn and cheese ice cream which is pretty popular (it’s tasty, I swear), and in Japan they love black sesame ice cream (I wasn’t a huge fan). Salty Cherry Blossom, FTW. So good.

Snarky’s Final Thought: In the midst of a recession, it seems foolish for Taro to raise prices when they had already built a solid customer base of rabid fans (like myself). We are the people who rushed there after work to try and get in without a reservation. We packed the tiny stairwell, waiting and waiting, for the sweet sound of our names being called out. What people need to realize is that Sushi Taro is dead. Part of me wishes they would just rename New Sushi Taro because it’s hard not to compare the two. It’s like trading your old boyfriend for a hotter one that resembles your ex and creepily has the same name. It just seems wrong.

Yes, the meal was ridiculously expensive. Was it worth it? Absolutely. But, I don’t think I could justify spending that much on a meal unless it was a special occassion. Sushi Taro 2.0 is one of those restaurants that you’ll probs go and try once, have an epically life-changing meal and never go back. I probably will, but most people won’t. My suggestion if you go: don’t even bother NOT doing the private omakase option. If you’re spending that much on a meal, you might as well go all out. And the theatrical fanfare that comes with a perfectly paced and interactive meal is definitely worth the price tag (and high tip). I tried so many things I’ve never had or would even think to order. Not to mention, I got all of the knowledge and anecdotes that Nobu, a sushi master, had to offer. In terms of the rules (which Nobu explained after we got the check that just had a flat charge of $100/person), basically the sushi chef keeps a mental tab of how much you’re eating. If you choose to eat kobe beef all night, probs you won’t be having alot more to eat. And if you order something super special (they have fresh lobsters sometimes, and some other seasonal items), they will tack on anything you eat that surpasses your $100 quota. It sounds kinda shady, but Nobu was nothing but super friendly and helpful. Also, we ate for THREE HOURS so I’m not sure how much someone has to eat to go past the $100 mark.

If you’ve got the dough, it’s but a small price to pay to reach epicurean utopia. You’ll leave with your palate enlightened, a full stomach, and a much lighter wallet.

August 14, 2009   4 Comments

Panzanella Caprese Salad

Panzanella Caprese Salad

Today it was 100 degrees out. Likeeee legit, oven-sweltering, uncontrollable sweating on the streets heat. I know 100 isn’t even that hot, but I live on top of a god-awful swamp. This means the air is THICK, humid and gross. So the last thing I want to do when I come home from an awful day spent at the dungeon office is make a hot meal.

I’m sweaty, I stink, and my apartment is hot as balls. Any attempt at turning on the oven or stove for extended periods of time will drive me mad. What I can manage, is this summery recipe that’s a snarky take on panzanella salad. (Panzanella is usually a good way to use up stale bread, but once I had a craving for it, and had to get creative with new bread.)

2 slices of good bread (I suppose you could use the store-bought mushy kind, but you’re better than that)
handful of shredded mozzarella (fresh and thinly sliced also works)
1 good-sized tomato
handful of basil chiffonade (fancy French word for shredded into long strips)
pat of butter
olive oil
balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper

Just FYI, this recipe is super easy and if you find yourself spending more than 15 minutes making this, you should probs reconsider whether or not you are allowed to wield sharp objects, like knives.

1. Dice the tomato into bite-sized pieces and throw them into a bowl.

2. Chiffonade the basil (3 leaves should do the trick). Stack them on top of each other, then roll them up like a cigar and slice into pretty thin strips. See? Easy-peasy. Add to the tomatoes.

3. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil, add a splash of balsamic, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix it up to get the flavors going.

4. Place a small skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle a handful of cheese over one slice of bread and cover with the other slice. I know this goes against everything I’ve ever told you, but don’t make it too cheesy. The trick is to have a thin cheesy layer holding the crispy bread together.

5. Grilled cheese time! Melt a pat of butter in the skillet. When it starts to bubble (but before it starts browning), gently place the sandwich in the pan. Press down on the sandwich every now and then to get it nice and crispy. It should take like 2-4 mins. per side to get it toasty brown and delicious.

6. Cut the grilled cheese into bite-sized squares. Toss with the tomato salad. The grilled cheese cubes will soak up all of that extra olive oil/balsamic sauce that you would usually lick up like a savage. It’s perf.

Panzanella Caprese Salad Toasty, cheesey, tomatoey goodness

[You could obvs just replace the bread in the recipe with old bread if you have it and eliminate the extra (but delicious) step of making the grilled cheese croutons.]

August 10, 2009   1 Comment

Ain’t No Party Like A Naptown Party

Annapolis[Admittedly, this post has little to do with cooking.]

Last weekend I went to Annapolis, MD and enjoyed yet another zen weekend around boats, water and good food. The entire weekend was basically made up of 4 things: cooking, eating, drinking, and hanging out. I ate oysters, visited the farmer’s market and enjoyed my very first sip of Baltimore’s finest Natty Boh (aka National Bohemian Beer).

The Perfect BiteThis was the tits.

The culinary theme of the weekend was taking a couple of high quality, fresh ingredients and simply preparing them so that they stood on their own. Likeeee this delicious grilled rib eye, with a little bleu cheese sitting on top of an heirloom tomato (aka The Perfect Bite). Orr grilled peaches with toasted (okay, I burned them a little because I wasn’t paying attention) nuts and a buttery brown sugar sauce (there was also a sweet creme fraiche drizzle but we hossed it all in .25 seconds before I could take a picture). Also, I didn’t have to cook! Upon further investigation, my friends confessed to wanting to make it on the blog.

Grilled PeachesHIIII HALLE AND ALI, YOUR FOOD WAS GREAT!!

The only things I did NOT like about Annapolis were the swarms of bugs that ate me alive, leaving me with possible cases of yet to be diagnosed dengue fever/malaria. Also, Halle’s barbeque grill and EVERYTHING LEEWARD MARKET. I hate those assholes.

August 9, 2009   No Comments

Summer Lovin’

Snarky: Hamptons EditionSnarky does the Hamptons

Hi, folks! Sorry for the lack of updates, but I’ve been really busy sunning myself and enjoying the last weeks of summer. Last weekend, I went on a boat! And we had some snarkylicious food:

Snarky: Hamptons EditionMmm mmm Chilean Sea Bass

Anyway, there are some fun things forthcoming (I’ve had some epic meals) but in the meantime, I’ve been updating the Flickr page. There are more pics from the Hamptons and everything else I’ve been eating this summer.

August 6, 2009   No Comments

Chinese Fire Drill

Last weekend I went home to NY, and my cousin had been raving about this Chinese-Indian (Chindian) fusion place, so I finally checked it out. Chinese Mirch is located at 28th and Lex, conveniently marked by a red and green neon sign. As a disclaimer, I have a mild obsession with Indian food and so I appreciate any fusion cuisine that chooses to include the Indians (dot not feather).

The first thing I noticed when we walked in was how PACKED it was. I mean, I know NYC is the city that never sleeps but it was already well past 9 when we finally got dinner and the place was bumpin’. Also, the clientele was overwhelmingly Indian. Since we are both somewhat brown, our presence wasn’t too conspicuous but we were totes the only non-Indians in the joint. This was a great indicator that the food would be amazing. Nobody goes out to eat their native cuisine unless they know it’s gonna be better than Mom’s home cooking (which is part of the reason I never eat Filipino food out).

The restaurant was modestly decorated, highlighting the minimalism of the Far East while also incorporating some Indian flair. We were seated upstairs and because of the narrow space, the tables were pretty close together. And because minorities are loud, everyone was screaming. My cousin and I felt right at home, as all of our family dinners consist of our relatives speaking at a level no lower than 100 decibals. I obvs fucking loved this place already.

OMFG, and the food. I let my cousin do the ordering since she was the expert. We got their signature Chicken Lollipops as an appetizer. Apparently you don’t go to Chinese Mirch and not get the Chicken Lollipops unless you are stupid. (Disclaimer: We are Chicken Lollipop connoisseurs. We had (incorrectly) assumed that Chicken Lollipops were unique only to our family get-togethers but we were wrong.) Because we eat Chicken Lollipops on every significant holiday, the bar was set high.

Chicken Lollipop
Chicken Lollipop: Further evidence that all meat tastes better on a stick.

Ummm, this chicken lollipop was lifechanging. I’m somewhat familiar with how they are made (having tried to learn the recipe basically since I’ve been born and failing miserably since apparently measuring anything is silly), and was amazed by how much flavor they had. I suspect the meat had been marinated in some sort of chili sauce, as it had a slight red tint to it, and was pretty spicy. The skin was perfectly crisp and delicious from a dip in the deep fryer (win) and was the perfect coating to protect the juicy chicken. The chicken was served with 2 dipping sauces, a gingery one and another one (pictured above) which was like a sweet Thai chili sauce. I confess; I would eat Chicken Lollipops no matter what they were dipped in.

For entrees, we got the Crispy Szechuan Lamb and the Chili Garlic Noodles.

Crispy Szechuan Lamb Garlic Noodles

Wooo, boy. First of all, don’t go to Chinese Mirch on a date because everything is hot as fuck (apparently “Mirch” means spicy in Hindi) and not only will your breath be kickin’ but also probs you will need a bathroom relatively soon after eating. Just sayin’. You won’t find any cow or pig on the menu because of the Indian part of the fusion, so we tried the lamb. If you’re not particularly into lamb, you’ll still be into Crispy Szechuan lamb. Crispy, fried and boldly flavored, the lamb at Chinese Mirch is a must-get. It has the familiarity of the Crispy Fried Beef commonly ordered for Chinese takeout, but with a spicy Indian kick. If Kelly Kapoor were food, she would be Crispy Szechuan Lamb. This lamb wins the Spicy Curry Award and schools Andy Bernard in a break dance fight.

The Chili Garlic Noodles tasted exactly like they sound — spicy, garlicky and noodley. They were basically lomein noodles tossed in garlic chili paste. Clearly that didn’t help in cooling the fire in my mouth, but the pain was delicious and worth it. I recommend everyone try Chindian food. It’s genius! Obvs, Chinese and Indian would make a tastylicious food baby.

Chinese Mirch
Mary had a yummy little lamb named Kumar

PS There is a Pinkberry(!) mere blocks from the restaurant on 3rd Ave. Obvs we ignored the dessert options at Chinese Mirch in lieu of tangy, frogurt amazingness.

July 22, 2009   4 Comments

Breakfast of Champions

So like forever ago, in the March issue of Esquire, they had this whole spread on breakfast and all the yummy places to eat the day’s most important meal. They had a bunch of quick breakfasts that you could make using leftovers and they were surprisingly easy, not to mention AMAZING. Breakfast is hands down totes the best meal of the day and I often eat breakfast for brunch, lunch, dinner, dessert, snacktime .. you get the idea. Both of these would be amazing hangover food, brunch with the parents food or trying to impress a sleepover buddy food. Snarky highly recommends.

I Want My Baby Back, Baby Back, Baby Back Ribs … BenedictAsian Ribs Eggs Benedict

OK, so this one is kind of ridiculous. I suppose it’s conceivable that you would have leftover baby back ribs and cornbread just laying around your apartment (like, if your mom was Paula Deen) but most likely you will have to go to the store to get some of this stuff. But, if you do happen to have all of this stuff at your disposal, this one is super easy. Shred the meat off the ribs (2-3 ribs should be enough meat, depending on how big they happen to be) and toss in a bath of bbq sauce and hoisin (this is like the Asian equivalent of bbq sauce and is most commonly seen as a condiment for pho or peking duck pancakes mmm). Roughly 2 parts bbq sauce to 1 part hoisin works best and then nuke it all for like half a minute to make it warm.  Hoisin is sort of an acquired taste so if you’re not into it, then I would just use all bbq sauce cause its probs still tasty sans the Asian flair. Now, throw this meaty mixture on top of some cornbread and top with a poached egg.

For the cooking impaired: Add a couple of teaspoons of white vinegar (this helps the whites to stay together) to a pot of aggressively simmering water. Crack each egg into a bowl and gently slide the egg into the pot of boiling water. It will most likely look like a white hot mess, reminiscent of egg drop soup gone wrong. It may or may not help at this point to pray that the egg lumps together to resemble a poached egg when you fish it out. Let it simmer for about 2 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon. As far as I can tell, there is no discernible way to guarantee success when poaching eggs (also, I think they are slightly overrated) so I think this would taste just as good using an over-easy jammy which we went over in a previous lesson. Eggs Benedict is made with poached eggs, which I find to be the most untrustworthy of them all, so if you want to stick with tradition go with the traitorous ovum.

Hungry Man Breakfast Grilled CheeseBreakfast Grilled Cheese

Umm, so I’m not sure why nobody thought of this sooner because it seems so obvious, but this is basically a breakfast sandwich that has been grilled (read: soaked in butter and toasted in a pan). Genius, right? Anyway, you can either construct this after cooking all the breakfast items, or just make this bad boy if you have any breakfast leftovers to recycle. Basically take 2 slices of bread (I would suggest getting some legit bread for this sandwich, as the generic white stuff is too soft and won’t be able to hold all the breakfasty goodness), throw a cheese slice on both sides (I only had shredded, which also works), throw your leftover scrambled eggs on one side and whatever breakfast meat (ha) you happen to have on hand (ha haaa). Cover with the other cheesy slice of bread. Then just cook it like you would a standard grilled cheese.

For the cooking impaired: Heat up your griddle/pan and add a pat of butter, when it starts to bubble, throw the sandwich on there. Cook until toasty brown (about 3-4 mins), flip and repeat.

July 14, 2009   1 Comment