South-Asian cuisine made simple

Muslims around the world and in the Chicago-land area celebrated Eid al-Adha this past weekend. One of the biggest religious holidays for Muslims, the celebrations often include music, dancing, visits with family and friends, and lots of food.

The past few years, Eid has taken a back seat for school work and my busy schedule, but with it taking place on a weekend this year, I was determined to celebrate properly. With my parents were oversees in Saudi Arabia to take part in the hajj pilgrimage, and my siblings busy with schoolwork, I decided to stay in with friends and cook up one of my favorite Pakistani dishes, but with a simpler twist.

During a trip to Whole Foods, I spotted this canned bottle of Calcutta Masala simmer sauce by Taj Ethnic Gourmet. After reading the ingredients, the sauce had all the spices and components I would normally put in the dish separately. Usually not a fan of canned sauces, I decided to give this a try as it meant about 50 less steps for me (Pakistani food is definitely a labor of love!)


So along with the sauce, I picked up some garbanzo beans and Jasmine rice, as well as 1 lb. chicken breast and a medium sized onion. That is all I needed to make this super delicious, easy Pakistani dish, perfect for the chilly fall-weather we are experiencing!


I started off my cubing the chicken and browning it, as well as adding in the chopped onion. The instructions on the sauce said to just toss in the raw meat, but I always like to be on the safe side by cooking it a little first.


Then I added in the garbanzo beans after a quick rinse with cold water. Rinsing the beans is an option step, but I prefer to wash off the liquid the beans are canned in so I can control the salt-level of the dish.


All the while, I had the Jasmine rice cooking according to the package instructions. After browning the chicken and cooking the garbanzo beans a bit, I poured in the simmer sauce, along with 8 oz of water (roughly half the jar full)

I let it simmer for about 20 minutes with the lid on, on low heat.


It was perfectly cooked and not too spicy, perfect for the average spice palette. For just under $4 for the bottle of simmer sauce, I would definitely purchase it again when in need of a short cut.


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