OK so you’ve caught me in the act! Well, those who know me well know that it’s no secret that I do favor Indian spices, so it’s not unusual for me to throw in some pungent and aromatic spices in some of my non-Indian dishes. I do love all types of cuisines from around the world, and being a food blogger, I love to bring in some new and exciting dishes that not only benefit my Readers, but is also a great way to learn about other cultures and cuisines through this medium. East meets west is just a fusion of flavors bursting in your mouth.
One such dish I created last week was a take on Shepherds Pie, which is pretty popular in our home. But this time I tried a new approach. I cooked up some ground chicken with an Indian sauce that I prepared and topped it with some seasonal vegetables and a layer of mozzarella, parmesan and Italian seasonings. Ground chicken or turkey on its own is pretty bland, so to spice it up a bit, I usually add a ton of spices to make it more palatable.
In my mini food processor, I ground up some fresh cilantro, fresh ginger, fresh garlic, jalapeño and fresh turmeric (orange root) with some cumin powder, mild madras powder, fennel powder and vinegar. You can totally use whatever you feel like throwing in 🙂 I’ve started to use fresh turmeric in my cooking now. Fresh turmeric hails from the ginger family. It has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and has a ton of healing properties. It is also known to help calm acne and other scarring if used as a face mask, but I’m not about to try that 🙂
I sautéd the onion, green onion and green pepper till brown and cooked. I then added some fresh tomato and also some pureed tomato followed by the mixture from the mini food processor and let that cook for a bit, later I added the ground chicken breaking it up with a wooden spoon and let it simmer for a while to take in the juices and marry the flavors. At the same time, I chopped up some green zucchini and yellow squash and pan fried it for a bit with some oregano, Italian seasonings, salt and pepper.
When ready, I spread the spicy ground chicken in the bottom of a casserole dish, then layered it with the zucchini and squash, followed by some mozzarella cheese, freshly grated parmesan cheese and some additional Italian seasonings.
There you have it. Doesn’t it look wonderful? I baked it in the oven just for a bit, then placed it under the broiler to get the burnt bits… just because I love burnt bits 🙂
A layer of East meets a layer of West
- 1 lb ground chicken
- 1 large zucchini
- 1 large yellow squash
- 1/2 bunch of cilantro leaves (or to suit your tastebuds)
- 3 pods of garlic peeled and chopped
- 1 inch ginger chopped
- jalapeño (to suit your tastebuds)
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon mild Madras powder
- 1 teaspoon fennel powder
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh turmeric grated
- 2 tablespoons vinegar
- 1 chopped tomato
- 1/2 cup tomato puree
- 1 large onion peeled and chopped
- 1 green onion stalk
- 1/2 green pepper chopped
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasonings
- 1/2 tablespoon oregano
- 2 cups Low Moisture Part skim mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan
- a small handful of breadcrumbs
- In a food processor or blender, combine the cilantro leaves, garlic, ginger, jalapeño, cumin powder, Madras powder, fennel powder and turmeric powder, pour in the vinegar and pulse till it forms a paste. Keep aside.
- In a saucepan, chop up the onion and sauté with some olive oil. When cooked, add the chopped tomato, green pepper, tomato and tomato puree. Add oregano and Italian seasonings and cook on a low flame to let the flavors meld.
- Add the mixture from the food processor, let it cook for a while, now add the ground chicken and break it up with a wooden spoon. Cook for a bit till the ground chicken is cooked and fully incorporated.
- Chop the zucchini and squash into rounds or vertical strips. Pan fry with a little olive oil, sprinkle some oregano and Italian seasonings.
- Tumble out the contents of the pan into a casserole dish. Now add the pan fried vegetables, then top with mozzarella cheese and right at the end some grated parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs.
- Bake for a few minutes on 350deg (maybe 10 minutes), then under the broiler for that crispy and burnt top.