Writing in this blog has forced me to begin thinking outside of the box in terms of recipes. I tend to use a short list of the same spices, cheeses, and vegetables for all of my recipes. There is an entire world of food out there that I haven’t even though of making before. This is my resolution: I will teach myself new cooking styles, learn new spices, and try to make cuisines I have never tried before. My first stop, India.
I recently took my daughter to our first trip up to Devon Ave. here in Chicago. Devon is famously known for it’s rich culture surrounding South Asia. The street is lined with Indian and Pakistani grocers, restaurants, boutiques, and many other establishments. I only found out recently that I could so easily get a taste of a completely different culture than my neighborhood by driving a few miles. Let’s be honest though, I had a mission in mind. I went up there for the food.
I walked around a couple of grocery stores just looking at the various spices and sauces. My head was spinning. I didn’t even know where to begin. I had only wish that I had brought my friend Suha with me to assist me on what to buy. She has been my go-to person when asking about Indian food. I am bound and determined to learn more about Indian food and spices though, so I couldn’t walk away without buying anything. I picked up some garam masala, ground turmeric, and ground coriander. (I also picked up some frozen tandoori paneer parathas which I fell in love with, but I don’t think I’ll ever tackle that, so don’t expect to see them anywhere on my blog.)
As far as what to do with these spices, I was at a loss. So my only solution was to start with an American dish with Indian Flare. I had to pay dues to where I got the spices, so I appropriately named it…
The Devon Ave. Burger
3 hamburger buns
1 lb ground chicken
1 tsp chopped garlic
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp salt
1 cup fresh spinach
2 tsp store-bought mango chutney
2 Tb Plain Yogurt
1 tsp garam masala
1 Tb oil
3 2″ x 3″ slices of Paneer Cheese*
Preheat grill or grill pan. Mix all burger ingredients until spices are well distributed in the chicken. Evenly divide into 3 burger patties. Place on grill pan. It will take about 5 minutes per side to cook chicken all the way through.
Meanwhile, heat a small pan with oil. Place cheese slices in oil and cook until nicely browned on both sides. Paneer will keep it’s form and not melt like other cheese.
In a small bowl mix yogurt and garam masala.
Place burger on bun. Spread chutney on burger then drizzle with yogurt sauce. Top with cheese and fresh spinach. Enjoy!
*I have read in many places that Queso Blanco is a good replacement for Paneer if you cannot find it. Queso Blanco is usually available in the gourmet cheese section of your grocer.