Fill you up and cool you down curried chicken salad

Temperatures are holding steady at above 90°F (30°C) day after day, broken up occasionally by torrential but all too brief summer showers that push humidity levels up from tolerable to unbearable. Taking more than 15 minutes to cook a meal is quite simply a gargantuan effort. Quick foods are the  order of the day. Quick, filling, flavorful and most importantly cooling! This salad is best when made ahead of time and refrigerated overnight.

Prep time:  10 min | Total time: 5 minutes to make &  3 – 9 hours refrigeration time | Servings: 4 – 6

Curried Chicken Salad (by Jay)

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Spring rolls are only as bad as we make ’em

Spring rolls, the undesirable, unasked for extra that gets in the way when you’re reaching into your take out bag to retrieve the main item, does anyone actually eat them? Between the tendency of take out establishments to stuff leftover cabbage and who knows what other leftovers into spring rolls and the predictability of finding one in your take out bag every single time, it has to be the most tiresome finger food that is still churned out in such copious quantities. Despite all the evidence to the contrary I continue to love and believe in spring rolls. Like UFO enthusiasts or Yeti trackers hoping for that sighting I kept looking for that “tasting” that would validate my faith. I religiously took a bite of every spring roll that crossed my path, sometimes I did so with a foot on the trash can pedal. I usually got a mouthful of stale or just insipid cabbage or at least what I thought was cabbage and managed to be disappointed every time. The husband having grown a little weary of my clucking over spring rolls not being spring rolls any more wondered if I couldn’t just make my own if I like them so much. Spring rolls  are fresh, crunchy, savory and nowhere near as greasy when they’re home-made.

Prep time: 15 min | Total time: 25 min | Servings: 4 – 6

Spring Rolls (Jay)

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Dill-icious South Indian Lamb and Potato Fry (Varuval)

Varuval is a Tamil word that conjures up a whole genre of scrumptious fried food both vegetarian and non-vegetarian. Sunday lunches at my parents home often featured a varuval – Yera (Prawn) Varuval, Swara (Shark) Varuval, Meen (Fish) Varuval and Kari (lamb) Varuval were staples. Even vegetarian fare is way more fun as a Varuval (pronounced Vuroovul) than a Poriyal  which  typically involves sauteed and steamed food. The memory of mom’s unforgettable Karnakezhangu (Yam) Varuval will send me into deep depression knowing I have to fly half way around the world to taste it again.

This dill, lamb and potato varuval is a particular favorite of my father’s and Sammie lists it in his top 5 lamb dishes. Having heard that it’s on my father’s fave list might have biased him just a little bit. There’s a vegetarian  version that simply skips the lamb.

This lamb varuval is cooked in two stages, first the lamb is pressure cooked until it is close to being done then we bring the dill and potato in for the final frying session. A wide, thick bottomed pan with an air tight light is a good substitute although the cooking time is a bit longer than in a pressure cooker.

Never leave a Varuval unattended especially during the latter half of the final frying. Patience is a virtue with a varuval, the lower the heat and the longer you can stand all that stirring every few minutes the better your varuval.

Prep time: 5 min | Total time: 45 min (with a pressure cooker)| Servings: 4 – 6

South Indian Dill, Lamb and Potato Fry (Jay)

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