17 (Tue) April 2012
Broast Masala Chicken
-Oksu, Seongdong, Seoul, Republic of Korea-
In a local expat supermarket the other day, I came across a product for something called “broast” chicken. Made in Pakistan by the company National Foods, it was a boxed spice mix. According to the instructions on the back: just add water to make batter, coat chicken, deep-fry, done. Though completely clueless as to what broast would or should taste like, I bought it – a compelling factor being that the guy behind the counter was brown, likely of the South Asian persuasion, which I took to mean, I suppose, that the stuff in the store had been vetted for quality/authenticity – please, yes, I realize now how unsound the reasoning sounds.
Since then, I’ve learned the following: (1) “broast” (lowercase) is a generic word referring to the combined broiling + roasting of food; (2) “Broast” (uppercase) is a registered trademark referring to the marinating + deep-frying of food in a patented Broaster pressure cooker made by the duly incorporated Broaster Company; and (3) “broast chicken” (lowercase), which involves marinating + deep-frying, but not necessarily in a pressure cooker, and specifically not related to the Broaster brand, is widely popular in Pakistan and India (the trademark perhaps was genericized at some point, in the same way that “Kentucky” came to be synonymous with “fried chicken” in Korea back in the day (see generally 3.093 Kentucky)).
Anyway, the chicken turned out pretty good. It had a strong curry flavor, along with a pleasantly tart kick, as if fresh lemon juice had been squeezed into the batter. The product, which I still have a packet of, is definitely worth keeping on hand.
This was the 2nd Pakistani meal in my life.
The 1st was in high school, when I had the honor of having dinner at the Pakistan Embassy Residence in Seoul. Attending an international school, a number of my classmates were family members of the diplomatic corps, including a guy named FS, whose father was Pakistan’s Ambassador to Korea at the time. For some reason, a school project probably, a group of us went to the residence and stayed there through dinner time, when the resident chef whipped up a multi-course extravanganza that ended in a dessert laced with actual silver flakes. If I’d been interested in food back then, I would’ve made an effort to become closer with certain embassy kids, at least those with whom I was already friends, such as FS. Such a wasted opportunity to stock up on food memories.
As I was writing this post, FS came to mind. I asked him via FB about broast chicken and National Foods. He responded as follows: “yeah for sure. its a Paki dish. we love this stuff. pressure cooked mainly. National foods is big. we use Shan brand. if you are in Korea, not sure what you get there but here in the states, we get both and prefer Shan brand. love it. very healthy. skin is taken off. pakistanis dont like skin on chicken.”
Pakistanis don’t like the skin on chicken? What?!?!?
(See also FOODS)
(See also PLACES)