Recipes from Iron Chef Competition: Indian Rice Fritter and Shrimp Curry

Back in February, Michael, my friend Gwen and I competed in the university Iron Chef competition, where we had a few days to plan a two course menu involving various rices. We all love Indian food so that’s the route we went. Then we had one hour and two burners to prepare the dishes for four judges with the help of campus chef Jeremy Elmore. We wished we placed better than third, but we were very proud of the food we made and think you’d like it, too. The menu:

  • Vegetable and Brown Basmati Fritter with Three Sauces: Curry-Lime Yogurt, Coconut-Mango Chutney and Chili-Garlic Tomato Paste
  • Gulf Shrimp in Coconut-Tamarind Curry Sauce with Red Himalayan Rice Pilaf and Cucumber Raita

Continue reading “Recipes from Iron Chef Competition: Indian Rice Fritter and Shrimp Curry”

Iron Chef: He Said

We each have something to say about the university Iron Chef competition, but we broke it up into two posts: He Said and She Said.

I’m not a terribly competitive person.  The only sport I ever played was Track and Field and it was only because my best friends threw shotput and discus too.  I don’t get broken up about losing, though it does feel good to win.  So when we came in third place at Iron Chef, I felt kinda disappointed, but losing without discussion was even more disappointing.  We were very comfortable on time, we could probably have finished 15 minutes earlier, but the judges came around to talk to us about our dishes while we were prepping and making sure everything was going according to plan.  Not the ideal time, and had I realized that was our only chance to explain our process, I would definitely stopped what I was doing to talk.

 

I suppose never having cooked under pressure like that, I had not assumed that they were going to be interacting with us while we were in the zone.  (I had never minced garlic so meticulously!)

Other Notes:

I will say it was kinda nice that we didn’t have a lot of room to move, since my kitchen is a tiny galley and I’m used to that atmosphere.  Helps make sure you have everything within reach too.

I’ve found a large part of doing well in anything is preparation.  We were about as prepared as a team could be, so I can live with our performance.  The bottom line is that we eat very well probably 6 nights a week, and regardless of what the judges said, our mouths and bellies are still happy.

I also learned that its hard as hell to cook with multiple people in the same space.  Blame becomes assignable (I’d rather blame myself than anyone else), and nerves run much higher.  Communication becomes essential to not wasting time or materials.  Jeremy and I both measured out same spices at one point, and when Jeremy told me to put shrimp over the fryer to keep them warm, Britt thought I was going to actually fry them and nearly took my head off.  Granted both situations were resolved quickly, but little things become much bigger under the stress.

michael

Also, this is the first time in a while I’ve had the whole nervous heartbeat/sweating/butterflies feeling.  I forgot how much it sucked.  The entire time I was mincing that garlic (like a pro), I kept thinking, “Don’t cut yourself and bleed all over that nicely minced ginger and garlic,” and it worked.  My trusty Wusthofs didn’t give me any ‘tude.  I will say, I couldn’t watch the kid at the table next to me, I thought he was gonna take his hand off the way he was chopping that onion.  It was a mess.

If you are reading this and are thinking to yourself, “There’s a way to chop an onion?” do your fingers a big favor and pop over to Rouxbe, its an online cooking school with a 30 day free trial.  If you watch nothing else, check out the knife skills.  I also recommend the section on pan frying as I smelled many people burning their things at the competition, and before I watched the lesson, I was definitely doing it wrong too.  If you like Rouxbe, you can purchase a $99 subscription for a full year (that’s what I did because I use it so much).

Iron Chef: She Said

We each have something to say about the university Iron Chef competition, but we broke it up into two posts: He Said and She Said.

chef-britt

It’s a day after Battle Rice, and I’m still bummed. I very sincerely feel that we deserved better scores than we received. Overall we came in third place (second in taste). We received no feedback from the judges beyond numbered scores, so it’s hard to tell what they didn’t like. My best guess is that the shrimp curry was too different and spicy for their tastebuds. We knew our menu was risky since the judges were administrators and students, not food experts. But we weren’t going to dumb down the flavors we knew the food should have.

We went with Indian-style dishes because we’re most comfortable with those ingredients and tastes. We wanted to give the judges something different, something that would hit every note on the palate.

The Menu

  • Vegetable and Brown Basmati Fritter with Three Sauces: Curry-Lime Yogurt, Coconut-Mango Chutney and Chili-Garlic Tomato Paste
  • Gulf Shrimp in Coconut-Tamarind Curry Sauce with Red Himalayan Rice Pilaf and Cucumber Raita

Continue reading “Iron Chef: She Said”

Battle Rice

rice

After last night’s Top Chef finale, I am so excited that today is the Campus Dining Iron Chef competition. Michael, my friend Gwen and I have been paired with a professional campus chef, Jeremy Elmore. Officials told us on Friday that today will be Battle Rice. They will have certain rices available to us, such as brown basmati and red Himalayan, and some standard ingredients. The others we will bring ourselves.

Five teams have one hour to do all prep and cooking for two dishes to be served to five judges. We’ve decided to do Indian food, which will be judged on taste, creativity and appearance.

This weekend, Michael and I

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tested out some sauces. On Tuesday night our whole team got together and cooked both dishes. We’ve decided to make some adjustments,

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but I think we’re ready to go. We have two sophisticated dishes full of flavor. The biggest issue will be time and the limited amount of space to work at. An 8-foot table, I think.

If you’re in Columbia, the competition is 4:30 in downstairs Bingham (the area between Schurz and Hatch residence halls). It should be aired on MUTV as well. But we’ll have a big update here after we win, so don’t worry.

Going for Gold

chef_hat

We are proud to announce that He and She and our friend Gwen will compete against four other teams in the University of Missouri Iron Chef battle next week. The three of us are confident in our cooking skills, but we’ve never been in much of a pressure situation. It will be interesting to see how we adapt to having a time limit and working in a new kitchen.

Continue reading “Going for Gold”