Sunday, January 8, 2012

Happy New Year & Happy Sunday

Happy New Year, folks!  So it's been a few weeks, but I was away for the holidays and returned to only 3 days of work this past week.  I did manage to grab a couple of my favorite lunches this week, from both Goode's and Hula Girl.  But this weekend, as I often find myself craving some of my favorite lunchtime treats when I'm home, I occasionally attempt to re-produce them myself, and this weekend's project, halal!

Now, of course I did not use chicken killed properly or anything, but rather whatever well trimmed, boneless, skinless chicken thighs were at the market.  I found two recipes on the Internet which sounded like they might be close, and luckily both came with a version of the white sauce, so that was attempted too.  In the end, I used combined variations of each of the two recipes, and realized when I am shoveling my favorite halal in to my pie-hole, the flavors have already combined, so it was now hard to think about the separate components uniquely to come up with the proper seasonings.  This was particularly true for the white sauce.  Both white sauce recipes used yogurt and mayo for a base, but they both also called for garlic, which I never recall tasting in the white sauces from HGP/HG or DCK&G.  Anyway, I winged it and used my own cooking skills to come up with the closest I could think was correct.  Just as with the real stuff from the trucks, once combined, (rice, chicken, white & red sauces,) the result of my project was pretty close, although as I went and tasted individually as I was going, I surely had my doubts.

A couple things I know weren't right.  All the halal chicken in DC arrives more orange-y-towards-red than yellowish-towards-brown when coming off the griddle, and I still can't figure out what creates that color.  I used paprika, saffron, a dash of chili powder, and even some hot sauce when cooking, but the turmeric, coriander, and cumin dampened those brighter colors.  Another wrong: one of the recipes also called for a dash of curry (which I didn't think was right) but it was such a small amount, I didn't see it as a big deal.  When it hit the pan though, as you might imagine, the curry smell was pretty powerful.  No big deal for me because I love curry, but I'll definitely leave it out next time and just stick with the little bit of turmeric. 

Anyway, all in all, not a bad first try in my opinion.  Any advice to correct my wrongs would be well appreciated.  Next time I hit a halal truck, I may have to think harder and separately reconsider my spices in anticipation of my next attempt.