Thursday, February 26, 2009

Urban Foraging for Pomegranate Molasses

Pomegranates are so good. I found a recipe for honey-pomegranate chicken from Cooking Light magazine, but I couldn't figure out where to get the pomegranate molasses. I checked at Fairway and Trader Joe's, but no luck. I googled it along with NYC, and came up with Kalustyan's, at 28th and Lexington. THIS was the place I'd been thinking of when I was looking for tamarind concentrate, but the name just wouldn't come to me. When I walked in, I realized I had been there before--a time that seems so far from now. It was the day of the huge anti-war demonstration after September 11, and I had just been dumped. The guy that I was trying to get with at the time came with me to the demonstration in midtown (it was the first demonstration that he'd ever been to!) and he told me that he only wanted to be friends. It was my first foray into romance after a serious heartbreak, and I think I was overly optimistic. I liked him and that was a big risk. The thing hadn't even gotten off the ground, but I was kind of crushed.

I remember wandering about after we said goodbye at the subway, and I somehow "wandered" into Kalustyan's. I wasn't as into cooking as I am now, so I didn't appreciate what I was walking into. I remember buying some spices for dal, lentils, rice, and halvah--and then subsisting on it for a week while I licked my wounds. It was a strange sensation walking into Kalustyan's again last weekend as I recalled that time. It didn't take long to shake off the bittersweet memory, and before long I was just wide-eyed and gaping at the wonders on the shelves. It was astounding. It made me think about how much I will miss when we finally leave New York. But for now, I thought, I better stock up!

It wasn't hard to find the pomegranate molasses, and about a dozen other ingredients along the way. I also made note of the fact that they sell cookware and posters of spices and grains, and place to find presents. Check it out for yourself: I told some people that I work with about the recipe, and one of my coworkers reminded me of the Afghan dish called fesenjan, which I've seen on the menu at Khyber Pass in the East Village. Now I want to make plans to go there again. In the meantime, I made this for us for dinner.

Honey-Pomegranate Chicken

3/4 cup honey
1/3 cup finely chopped shallots
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 3 small lemons)
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
3 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Sriracha hot sauce
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 chicken breasts, bone in with skin
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon water
olive oil

Combine first 9 ingredients in a large bowl. Pour over the two chicken breasts and marinate overnight. When you are ready to begin cooking, preheat your oven to 425°. Remove the chicken breasts from the bowl, reserving the marinade. Combine cornstarch and water in a small bowl. Place the reserved marinade in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir in cornstarch mixture, and cook for 3 minutes or until thickened, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Place the chicken in a pan coated with olive oil. Bake at 400° for 45 minutes or until chicken is done, basting with reserved marinade every 10 minutes or so. I served the chicken with jasmine rice and spinach, with a garnish of toasted walnuts. If I make this recipe again, I would add more Sriracha sauce and garnish with pomegranate seeds with the walnuts.


Daisy said...

That store looks awesome. I can just picture the people around here if they ever went into a shop like that. Too funny for words. They would probably think they were in a foreign country. I am sure that when you move away you will make a shopping list and visit that place at least once a year

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