Sunday, March 11, 2012

Marsala is NOT Masala!

You would think after being with a foodie (such as myself) for over 7 years, my hubby would know the difference between Marsala and Masala. NOPE! When I said that I was making Lamb Marsala for dinner, he said "Oh I love Indian lamb!" (*sigh) Then I explained to him that I actually meant I was cooking the lamb is a reduced wine sauce and NOT in a mixture of Indian spices. "That sounds good too!" he replied. Oh well, at least my man's not a picky eater! In fact, I love that he's willing to try new recipes that I find or come up with and most of the time really enjoys them! I guess that's why we're a match made in yummy heaven!


2 lamb shoulder chops
Salt and pepper
1/4 c flour
1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 Tbsp butter
1/2 c diced carrots
1/4 c diced onions
1 clove minced garlic
1/2 c Marsala wine (or Sherry)
1/4 c beef broth


1. Season chops with salt and pepper and dredge in flour.

2. Heat oil and butter on medium-high in a Dutch oven until butter is melted. Add chops and brown for 2-3 minutes per side. Remove and keep warm.

3. Add carros and onions and cook until browned, 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 more minute.

4. Pour in wine and broth and bring to a boil. Deglaze and add chops back. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Simmer until chops are tender, 20-30 minutes.

5. Remove chops to serving platter. Turn heat up to high and boil until thickened, 5 minutes. Pour over chops and serve.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Masala is a combination of predominantly Indian spices. Using various proportions/ratios of many of these in permutations and combinations suited to your particular taste and liking, you can end up with rest variety.
North and South Indian curries and other dishes tend to vary from slight to drastically different flavor and appeal. Generally Southern Indian cooking yields flavorful and hot spicy dishes not tolerated by palates unaccustomed to it. Northern Indian dishes, although very flavorful as well can tend to be milder on the hotness scale and more people can handle it well. This I believe is one of the main reasons that North Indian restaurants (generally referred to as Desi food joints or dhabas by Indians) were more predominant in the U.S. and the U.K. for a very long time. Only fairly recently did authentic South Indian restaurants start popping up in these countries.
People then started to make the distinction between the two. Dishes like masala dosa, idily, appam, uppuma/upma, vadda, bonda, rasam (mulligatawny soup), sambar (lentil soups) etc. previously untested we're completely different and unfamiliar to the western palate. Soon they became very highly popular with numbers of people looking for more interesting dishes on the Indian food horizon. The appearance, texture, taste and flavors were a nice addition to their limited vision and perception of Indian food. Now having tried these new culinary delights some were hooked on South Indian menus, others on North Indian and yet others on both who could make the distinction and the connection as well between the two. Now they became curious and studied some of the history behind them and the origins of various dishes. South Indian food (some insiders consider authentic) was unaffected by invasions in the north which impacted the foods above the Deccan plateau. The invaders like Genghis Khan, Kublai Khan, Attila the Hun, Alexander the Great (Sikander), Xerxes (Persian) to name a few invaded through the Khyber Pass in the Himalayan mountain range. They made the spice route famous but created a blending of their foods with North Indian foods. Mughalai Indian food biriyanis (exotic rice dishes) made with Basmati rice (premium rice of the emperors) made its advent and is one example of the evolutionary dishes that took hold from there.
Truth be known, the Indian subcontinent was colonized several times before the final long and arduous British Raj (monarchy/rule) that ended in 1947. Outside of India, only England or the U.K. boasts more Indian restaurants worldwide. London is an Indian foodie capital and is undergoing attrition of established restaurant master chefs. These Michelin and James Beard decorated masters are looking to teach and cultivate a new generation group of young chefs to succeed them. Some cook/prepare fusion foods which are also embraced and celebrated by millennial foodies looking for more dimension in Indian cuisine. A place in London called Tiffin Bites uses the age old and historic legacy of India's famous Dabbawallas (worlds largest and most efficient food carrying/distribution system). The tiffin carriers the restaurant utilizes are a modern moulded plastic version of the original stainless steel, aluminum stackable multi container system.
Nice touch by a visionary proprietor that is pretty successful.
Lots of interesting heritage in India's epic food journey. I turned my friends onto South Indian food by explaining the more subtle difference between Italian and Sicilian food which they were already somewhat familiar with. I'll leave it there but will say that Indian food has a lot more to it than one would imagine. As someone once said, you don't just cook Indian food but labor over preparing it. It's very labor intensive but well worth the rewards.

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