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November 6, 2006
New bento box!

[Left bento tier with royal chicken in yogurt; carrot, tofu, and tuna salad; blueberries for dessert. Right bento tier with brown rice with steamed edamame.]

Left: royal chicken cooked in yogurt; carrot, tofu, and tuna salad; fresh blueberries for dessert
Right: brown rice with steamed edamame

This is the first new bento of the many that I've recently added to my collection. I like the roundness and simplicity, as well as the fact that it is both microwave and dishwasher safe. Hooray for that! I purchased this one from ebay seller Japan Souvenir. They have one of the best selections of bento boxes on the internet and the prices are pretty decent, but I have to say the shipping costs are higher than for other sellers in Japan. If they had more reasonable shipping fees, I'd probably have to work really hard not to buy out their whole selection.

I am still busy at work and haven't had time to do any picture-taking of the new collection. Someday . . . someday . . . In the meantime, I will introduce the newbies piece-by-piece.

Today's recipe comes from Madhur Jaffrey's Quick And Easy Indian Cooking (with minor modifications). It was easy to make and delicious. The flavors really pop in your mouth! I think this is the only yogurt-based curry recipe that I've tried.

1 cup plain yogurt
1 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
1-1/2 lbs chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/4 cup vegetable oil
8 cardamom pods
6 whole cloves
2-inch stick of cinnamon
3 bay leaves
2-1/2 tbsp blanched, slivered almonds
2-1/2 tbsp golden raisins
  1. Put the yogurt into a bowl. Beat it lightly until it is smooth and creamy. And 1/2 tsp of the salt, some black pepper, and the ground cumin, ground coriander, cayenne, and cilantro. Mix and set aside..
  2. Using the remaining 1/2 tsp salt, season the chicken pieces on both sides and sprinkle on some freshly ground black pepper.
  3. Put the oil in a large skillet or pot and set over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, put in the cardamom pods, cloves, cinnamon, and bay leaves. Stir once and put in the chicken pieces. Brown on all sides and remove to a large bowl. Put the almonds and raisins into the same hot oil and stir quickly. When the almonds turn golden and the raisins plump up, put the chicken and its accumulated juices back into the pan.
  4. Add the seasoned yogurt. Stir to mix andbring to a simmer. Cover, turn the heat to low, and simmer gently for 20 minutes, stirring once or twice during this time. Remove the cover, turn the heat up, and reduce the sauce until it is thick and just clings tothe chicken pieces. Turn the chicken pieces over gently as you do this..

Note: The large, whole spices--cardamom pods,whole cloves, cinnamon stick, and bay leaves--are not meant to be eaten. Serves 4.

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