What is it about food from a mother’s kitchen that always seems to make it so therapeutic, nourishing, satisfying, and delicious? Maybe it’s the evocation of memories of wonderful shared meals with family and friends. Or, perhaps it’s the evident amount of love and care that went into a motherly preparation. At the least, I know those two elements are apparent in the culinary delights I enjoy at home. On my most recent pilgrimage to mom’s kitchen, we feasted on grilled grouper tacos with fresh cabbage slaw and black bean-corn-tomato salsa, cheese enchiladas, and homemade guacamole.
Another highlight from the springtime visit to Minnesota: grilled marinated lamb kebabs with homemade tzatziki sauce. Oh, how I’ve missed charcoal grilling while in NYC!
If I was the Slumdog Millionaire, I’d want to celebrate reuniting with my true love (and winning the millions) by enjoying a feast of Chicken Jalfrezi. This take on a traditional Indian curry is absolutely one of my top ten all-time favorite dishes.
The tomato-based curry is a taste explosion of grated fresh ginger, garlic, onion and cilantro. The tender chicken thighs are lightly dry-fried in olive oil, curry and chili powders before stewing with the tomatoes and spices until the meat just falls apart.
Unlike a traditional Jalfrezi, I’m told, this recipe lacks green peppers or green chillies. But in my opinion, the simplicity of this take is its strong suit: your taste buds can focus in on the intense medley of flavors. Served over basmati rice with a side of naan bread, this is a wonderful dish.
It’s first appearance on Peanutbuttermilk has the recipe.
Sip Sak (928 2nd Ave near E 51st) is a great place to explore Turkish cuisine at a reasonable price. The unassuming restaurant was packed at 8:15 on a recent Thursday night, but the service was friendly and quick. More importantly, the food was fresh and flavorful. The ground lamb meatballs with middle eastern spices were chargrilled and served over rice. Chunks of spicy lamb kebab came atop a pita and onion salad. And the hearty Musakka, ground beef baked with tomato and garlic on top of roasted eggplant puree, was particularly tasty, topped off with a dollop of homemade yogurt.
La Kabbr, on 9th Ave between W 47th and 48th, is known as New York’s only Iraqi restaurant, dishing up traditional Baghdad fare and other Middle Eastern classics. Inside, eclectic artifacts decorate the walls, including several Iraqi flags hanging between hookahs, Christmas lights and framed restaurant reviews.
The menu features Masgoof, Iraq’s national dish of roasted white fish topped with onion, tomatoes and green peppers; Tashreeb, and Iraqi lamb stew; Kibbee, a ground beef and lamb version of falafel; and other marinated, chargrilled kabobs.