Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Too Spicy for a Man, but Just Right for a Woman!

Last night my mom and her beau came over for an impromptu dinner.  We served the Pan-Fried Zucchini and Yellow Squash with Cumin from my new cookbook, Modern Spice by Monica Bhide, which combined perfectly with my mom's Tandoori-Spiced Chicken Cutlets.  On the side, I served two chutneys: mango chutney from Trader Joe's, and a homemade Green Chile Chutney that I adapted from Modern Spice.  I rounded the meal out with a quick rice pilaf.  Now that Green Chile Chutney really did the guys in!  My husband loves spicy food, but I did see some leftover on his plate.  My mom and I polished ours off, however, though I will confess there were a few runny noses.  I actually really liked it, and am looking forward to using the rest with omelets later this week.  Though maybe I will invest in a little yogurt to serve with it to cool things off!

The main dish, the Pan-Fried Zucchini and Yellow Squash with Tandoori Chicken Cutlets was wonderful.  The two dishes combined easily, and were flavorful, fresh, and light.  That is what I've loved about this new cookbook so far -- the dishes are all light, healthy, but very flavorful. 

Pan-Fried Zucchini and Yellow Squash with Cumin
Serves 5

From Modern Spice, by Monica Bhide, with minor adaptations

2 Tbsp canola oil
1 Tbsp cumin seeds
1 large zucchini, diced
2 large summer squash, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp red chile flakes
sea salt
1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the cumin seeds.  When the seeds begin to sizzle, add the diced zucchini, yellow squash, and red bell pepper.
2. Fry the vegetables over high heat until they are crisp tender, about 8 minutes or so.
3. Add the turmeric and chile flakes and cook for another minute, until the spices are well mixed with the vegetables.  Stir in the salt to taste.  Sprinkle with the fresh lemon juice. 

My mom adapted her chicken recipe from the cookbook that I got her for her birthday, a new Cook's Illustrated cookbook called More Best Recipes.  Last year for my birthday she got meThe New Best Recipes , so we now we have both between the two of us. 

My Mom's Tandoori Chicken Cutlets
Serves 5-6
adapted from More Best Recipes, by Cook's Illustrated

1 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 medium garlic cloves, minced and pressed through a garlic press
2 tsp minced or grated fresh ginger
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/3 cup plain nonfat greek yogurt
1 Tbsp lime juice
1/2 tsp salt
5 chicken cutlets

1. Heat the oil in a small skillet over medium heat until shimmer.  Addd the garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant (about 30 seconds).  Add the garam masala, cumin, and chili powder; cook another 30-60 seconds.  Transfer half of the garlic-spice mixture to a small bowl.  Add in the yogurt and 1/2 Tbsp of the lime juice and set aside.
2. In a second bowl, combine the remaining garlic-spice mixture with the remaining 1/2 Tbsp of lime juice and salt.  Drizzle it over the chicken cutlets, and then cover them loosely with saran.  Use a meat tenderizer to pound the marinade into the chicken cutlets. 
3. Preheat the grill.  Pour the yogurt mixture over the chicken, and coat each cutlet on both sids.  These grill quickly because they are so thing -- about 3-5 minutes.  They came out perfectly tender and juicy!

To combine the chicken and sqaushes, we sliced the chicken and then added it to the skillet with the squash for a minute or two on low heat to blend and heat through. 

If anyone is interested in the super spicy Green Chile Chutney, let me know and I can post it! 


  1. I handled my chutney just fine, thank you very much! That smoke coming from my ears was just your imagination!

  2. Just a note on cooking time. My cutlets were extremely thin - about 1/4 inch thickness. All five only weighed about one pound. If you use thicker boneless breasts, either pound them thinner or increase cooking time. If you have the time, marinate the chicken for 1/2 hour before grilling. Also, use a gentle touch when working in the marinade - don't pulverize the meat. Mom

  3. What? Impromptu dinner at the Cook's and the Dishwasher's and I wasn't invited?? It looks and sounds delicious! And Mom--where's the fun if I can't pulverize my food before eating it?

  4. I LOVE spicy food and both of these recipes sound awesome! I've heard such good things about Modern Spice and I really need to check it out!

  5. I am completely interested in this cookbook! I see that Monica sometimes writes for NPR, and I've been printing her recipes.