Cycle 3 – Item 150
3 (Sun) June 2012
Chicken Masala with Paratha
-Oksu, Seongdong, Seoul, Republic of Korea-
with W and DJ
In a dilemma as to whether this meal should be classified “Indian” or “Pakistani,” I’m going with the latter for two reasons. First, the spice mix masala is claimed by and consumed extensively in both countries, as well as other countries in the region. Elsewhere in the world, it’s probably associated most with Indian food, the most prevalent of South Asian cuisines internationally. And really, when it comes down to it, India and Pakistan, as well as Bangladesh and Burma (Myanmar), were all one country sharing a common food culture until just 1947. In any case, the masala for the curry here was from a package produced by the Pakistani company Shan, recommended by a Pakistani schoolmate of mine (see 3.103 Broast Masala Chicken). On the other hand, the flatbread paratha is clearly Indian in origin and in practice. The product here was manufactured in Korea and labeled as a type of Indian bread. But the highlight of the meal, as far as I’m concerned, was the masala. And so “Pakistani” it is.
Either way, I was very pleased with the outcome of my first from-scratch South Asian-style curry. At least to my admittedly inexperienced palate, it tasted like the real thing. The process involved sautéeing garlic-ginger-onion-tomato-chicken in oil, adding water and masala, and simmering everything for about 30 minutes until the vegetables had broken down to achieve a thick consistency. Amazingly simple. And amazingly good. I look forward to experimenting with different meats, like lamb, and maybe adding coconut milk. Fortunately, the masala package cost just 2,600 won but includes enough spice for 10 dishes.
The paratha wasn’t so great. Never having tried it before, I didn’t know what to expect at the time of purchase. I thought it’d be like naan. It was more like pastry, sweet and flaky. Not really my thing. It came as flat pieces of dough separated by plastic film, requiring a few minutes of cooking in a pan. Simple. But not that good.
(See also FOOD GLOSSARY)
(See also RESTAURANTS IN KOREA)