“Would you like Naan with that?” The Delicious Rise of Global Flavors in the U.S.
Global flavors , and taste buds across the nation are reaping the benefits. Americans are growing more diverse by the minute, and at the same time, we are growing more open, creative, and curious about what we eat. In the past twenty years, there has been a massive increase in the amount of international food consumption in the U.S. as well as an increased interest in alternative food options like vegan, vegetarian, halal, and kosher. These increases are steady, and they show no signs of slowing down.
Alongside our growing interest in global cuisines comes a growing interest in understanding the deeper meaning behind our food. Convenience is being swapped out for consciousness when it comes to what we value in our food choices.
As a testament to our growing curiosity, this blog post offers some fun facts and tips for preparing five of America’s new favorite international classics: Chicken Tikka Masala, Biryani, Lemongrass Basil Chicken, Pad Thai, and Enchiladas al Chipotle. Read on to discover more about your favorite world cuisines and continue the adventure of discovering new favorites from across the world.
Chicken Tikka Masala
Think your favorite Indian dish was created in, well, India? Think again! Chicken Tikka Masala was actually thought to be created in Glasgow, Scotland. This blog post recounts the story of how Asif Ali claims to have invented Chicken Tikka Masala in Glasgow in order to please a disgruntled customer:
“In 2009, the Labour MP for Glasgow, Mohammad Sarwar called for the city to be officially recognised as the home of the Chicken Tikka Masala, he tabled a motion in the House of Commons calling for others to back his campaign, in the end nothing came of it but it did highlight the strong feelings towards this institutional dish. Asif Ali told the story of how a Glasgow bus driver came off a shift and asked and ordered a chicken curry, he sent it back because it was too dry and Ali’s Dad told the chef to throw in a plate of tomato soup and some spices.”
In fact, it is among the United Kingdom’s most popular dishes, and in 2001, government minister Robin Cook claimed it was “a true British national dish.”
The reason this possible origin of Chicken Tikka Masala is so relevant to the flavor of the dish is that the addition of tomato sauce is considered to be a “western twist” on the more traditional Indian dishes. There is no doubt that Chicken Tikka Masala’s combination of eastern and western roots makes it the epitome of an international dish, and the epitome of tasty. Next time you’re thinking about whipping up a UK-themed dish, consider swapping out the fish-n-chips for some good old Chicken Tikka Masala!
Do you ever get home from a long, hard day at work and crave a big bowl of Biryani? If so, there may be a historical reason for this that goes back to why Biryani was thought to be created in the first place.
There are a few different theories as to how this dish came to be, but the most popular tale is this one: Queen Mumtaz Mahal, the inspiration behind the Taj Mahal, was visiting Mughal soldiers and noticed that they looked weak and malnourished. She asked the chef to prepare a special dish that combined meat and rice that would provide the soldiers with balanced nutrition and that could be created to feed hundreds of men at the same time – the dish that became Biryani.
Another tale supposes that Biryani was first used as the war campaign diet of the Turk-Mongol conqueror Timur’s army in the fourteenth century. They would bury the rice, meat, and spices in a hot pit, and then dig it up to serve it to the warriors.
Perfected over generations, it is traditionally prepared by cooking Basmati rice, layered between succulent chunks of dark meat and delicately caramelized onions, infused with an aromatic blend of enticing spices. Different regions of India and Pakistan proudly boast to have the best Biryani, and while “Hyderabadi Biryani” is considered the gold standard, many other versions are also popular, such as Bohri Biryani, Delhi Biryani, Sindhi Biryani, Memon/Kutchi Biryani, Kolkata Biryani, and Afghan Biryan.
No matter how the dish was created, it seems nearly certain that Biryani was originally meant to fuel countless soldiers as they worked. Today, Biryani is a favorite of the overworked, underfed college student. Coincidence? I think not.
Lemongrass Basil Chicken
The combination of lemongrass and basil has become so common that a simple Google search will reveal a plethora of recipes dedicated to this dynamic duo. When used together, lemongrass and basil create a zesty, lively flavoring that goes perfectly with chicken and seafood.
What you might not know is that lemongrass has benefits that go far beyond its delicious taste. Lemongrass can be used as a mild astringent, it can reduce fevers, relieve digestive troubles, and work as a pain reliever in various forms. The benefits of eating lemongrass are countless, and it is a bit of a miracle plant. But for our purposes, it is best used as a delicious ingredient in a Thai-inspired stir fry, soup, or marinade.
Explore Thailand’s true noodle mastery with Pad Thai.
Did you know that Pad Thai isn’t so Thai after all!? Originating in China, it’s full name is “kway teow pad Thai”, which in Chinese means “Thai-style stir-fried noodles”. However, once Pad Thai was adopted as Thailand’s national dish in the 1930’s, local chefs included traditional Thai chilis- giving it the distinct flavor we know and love today, and catapulting it into gastronomic superstardom.
For an easy Saffron Road shrimp Pad Thai recipe you can make at home, click here!
Enchiladas al Chipotle
Enchiladas. We know them. We love them. But do we realize just how much goes into making those delicious corn tortillas that we rely on for our weekly (or daily) Mexican food fix?
This beautifully filmed video shows you the process that Mexican farmers on Milpa farm go through to turn organically grown corn into corn tortillas for food companies all over the world (including Saffron Road!)
Getting the best corn for enchiladas, and finding the right balance of spice and sweetness for your chipotle sauce, is the key to a great Enchiladas al Chipotle. However, whether you’re cooking up Enchiladas al Chipotle or Pad Thai tonight, being reassured that the ingredients in your food are fresh, ethically sourced, and healthy is the most important thing. That is why you can always count on Saffron Road to provide these international dishes for you and your family.
Our international meals are conveniently packaged and ready to go, but never sacrifice conscious production. For a coupon for a frozen entrée in any of the above flavors, click here, and join us on the Journey to Better™.