The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. These days, it’s all about fusion. Peking duck tacos and curry vinaigrette. An affiliate of reinvention, sometimes it’s all that’s left to forge ahead. Using new ingredients in unexpected ways not only crosses cultural barriers, but elevates our taste buds as well.
A method used by pros to forge new ground, in an expat’s situation it’s built right in. Substitution is the name of the game and if you can’t get creative you’re doomed to a life of cereal and steamed rice.
Ample time spent with my new English, Irish, Kiwi and South African comrades made me aware of one area in which the US is lacking. It’s ability to employ pastry for more than just after-dinner delights. Sure, we’ve all been to a party with pastry-wrapped brie, but it would probably cause a stir to break through a crust and puncture a mushroom.
Happy to have been introduced to the realm of steak and ale, chicken and mushroom and Shepard’s pies, I embrace them wholeheartedly. Particularly when it rolls around to the comfort food time of year.
I’d been craving a pie recently, and I had some cream of mushroom soup to use up. I was thinking it’d be just the thing to whip together a filling, but I was faced with one glaring void regarding the crust. The lack of an oven.
Realizing I had just the thing, I scurried home and pulled out the parathas from my freezer. Now, these are a discovery I made about a year ago. Available from both Emart and Homeplus, they’re a tasty little treat. With Indian roots, they’re a flat bread intended to serve with curry. The ones of the Korean variety I’ve noticed have a particularly buttery crispness. One that would perfectly jive as puff pastry.
I threw together the filling, quickly browned the paratha and we were in business. The next best thing to a warm bubble bath on a cold autumn eve. Stay tuned for my alternative for a tub.
Chicken and Mushroom Paratha Pie
1 tbsp oil
1/2 onion, diced
4 button mushrooms, quartered
1 chicken breast, cubed
1/4 can cream of mushroom soup
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp mixed herbs
salt and pepper, to taste
1 frozen parantha
cream cheese, optional
Heat onion in a medium-sized skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until softened and beginning to brown. Add mushrooms and continue to cook another 3-5 minutes. Toss in the chicken. Continue to cook until all bits are cooked through.
Pour in soup, Worcestershire, herbs and stir to mix. Season to taste. Allow to heat through, about 2-3 minutes. For a treat, you could also stir in some cream cheese. Season with salt and pepper and remove from pan. Set aside.
Heat another dry skillet (or wash and heat the same one) to medium heat. Place the frozen paratha flat in the pan. Allow to cook until starting to crisp around the edges and puff slightly, then flip. Repeat until paratha is browned on both sides. Remove from heat and cut a circle out of the middle. Fill the hole with the reserved filling and top off with the crispy circle.