Everyone knows about the food traditionally eaten during Thanksgiving. There is a roast turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans, cranberry relish and a pumpkin pie to finish off the heavy meal. How about something different this year? Traditional Thanksgiving dinner has its origin in the meal the Pilgrims ate in New England. However Phoenix weather is very different from the weather in New England. When the people in the East Coast are digging up coats and jackets, we are basking in the sunshine with some occasional light showers. So here are some ideas about a Thanksgiving dinner that is inspired by the cuisine of the Southwest, Indian spices and the ingredients native to Phoenix.
Entrée “Spicy Minty Turkey”: We can stick with turkey but instead of the traditional recipe for roast turkey how about some spicy turkey with chili peppers and Indian cuisine inspired marinating in spices? Here is the recipe for spicy turkey http://lodeplus.com/indian-food-in-phoenix/spicy-minty-twist-to-your-thanksgiving-turkey
Fish anyone? If you are willing to make a complete break from tradition you could substitute the turkey with some fish. It is certainly a healthier option. Here is the recipe for baked pomfret fish stuffed with spices http://lodeplus.com/indian-food-in-phoenix/stuffed-and-baked-fish-entr-e-for-thanksgiving
Appetizers “Spicy cheese sticks”: I am going for mozzarella cheese sticks. No, not the store brought, frozen, heat in the microwave kind. You can make your own Southwest inspired mozzarella cheese sticks by making your own batter. Take a few 2% mozzarella sticks, cut them in half, dip them first in all purpose flour and corn starch mix (1:1 ratio), then in beaten egg and finally coat them with bread crumbs. I like to add some paprika, chili powder and parmesan cheese to the bread crumbs. Pop them into the freezer overnight (to prevent oozing) and bake them at 350 F oven for 15 minutes after spraying with Pam spray.
Sides “Sonoran Chile Cornbread”: Substitute stuffings with Sonoran chili corn bread. This corn bread is healthy, flavorful and you can bake it in a cast iron or stainless steel skillet directly in the oven. Here is the recipe: (Modified from the recipes of Chile knights and Savor the Southwest from AZ republic)
Sonoran Chile Cornbread
- 2 cups yellow cornmeal
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tbsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 5-6 green chili peppers (diced)
- 4 eggs
- ½ cup Monterey Jack cheese
- 2 cups milk
- 1 cup canola oil
Heat the oven to 400 F. Sift the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt and sugar together. In another bowl beat the eggs, ½ cup oil, milk, corn, chili pieces and cheese. Stir in the dry ingredients with the wet mixture. Add a little more milk if it gets too dry (should be like cake batter). Heat the remaining ½ cup oil in a 10” skillet (cast iron or stainless steel, not nonstick). Pour the batter in the hot oil. If you are using a smaller skillet do this in two batches. Now bake the cornbread in the oven for about 30-40 minutes till the top is light brown and a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean. Serve hot with butter or maple syrup.
Dessert “Sweet potato pudding”: Ditch the pumpkin and apple pies this year and go for sweet potato pudding. Sweet potatoes, another Thanksgiving favorite and usually eaten fried, roasted or baked. Instead make a dessert using these yams. Get the recipe at http://lodeplus.com/indian-food-in-phoenix/sweet-potato-pudding-for-thanksgiving