As I’ve said before, I absolutely hate wasting food and even if I don’t like a dish, I refuse to throw it away. Instead, I’ll try to figure out a way to make it better. If the end result is still not good, then I don’t feel so bad tossing it because at least I tried my best to salvage it.
So after we had pretty terrible alu chaat at Indus Express, with bland, almost raw potatoes, I took home the leftovers and tried to think of a way to “fix” it. Inspiration struck after our delivery meal from Pearls, where we got some mediocre curry chicken with almost raw onion slices. Why not combine the two and cook it together, so that the almost raw ingredients are cooked through and each adds an extra layer of flavor to the other?
And so that’s exactly what I did. I cut the curry chicken down into smaller chunks and heated it in a pan, letting the onions cook through more fully. I didn’t want to lose the freshness of the ingredients in the alu chaat, like the cucumber and mango pieces, so I waited until the chicken was heated through first before tossing in the chaat. I mixed everything together, so that the spices from both dishes mingled, and cooked it just enough for the potatoes to soften a bit.
To finish, I spooned everything over leftover white rice from Pearls that I had reheated, and mixed it all together. The result was an interesting and complex-tasting dish that leaned more toward the Indian side than the Chinese side, but the curry chicken and the alu chaat complemented each other perfectly, and any issues they had as individual dishes were resolved in the mash-up. The potatoes and onions were no longer almost raw, and the spices from each dish eliminated the previous blandness and lack of seasoning.
Overall I was thrilled with the results, and pleased that I didn’t have to waste any food. The dish I wound up with was interesting, tasty, and flavorful – exactly what I was looking for!