If you are at MOMA on West 53rd, exit onto 54th and have the steamed dumplings for 4.95 at the Thai restaurant across the street. They are perfect for eating when you don’t want to eat really, you just want to talk and taste something that will make you happy. I can’t recommend anything sauted; anything sauted had the flavor of nearly solid and slightly cooled crisco.
We sat and talked and listened for an hour and a half, my girlfriends and I, getting it all out over beautiful dumplings and bad pad thai; water refills flying over to the table when we welled up. There is nothing better than a table in the back of a cave like restaurant with 70’s game show music playing just loud enough to muffle conversation too personal to have anywhere else.
In case you can’t get to 53rd street, you can always make chicken sa-te. I add yogurt to the marinade to make the chicken a little more moist, and lime zest if I can’t find lemongrass.
For 1 pound of chicken breast cut into strips, use 1/2 teapsoon roasted coriander seed and 1 teaspoon of roasted cumin seed. Grind them in your mortar and pestle. Add a teaspoon of finely grated lime zest or a tablespoon of lemongrass, 1 teaspoon of turmeric, 1/2 cup of coconut milk, 1 teaspoon of sugar and 1/4 cup of yogurt. Mix all this together, and pour over the chicken to marinate for 30 minutes.
Skewer the pieces and either broil or grill them, turning and basting every few minutes until they are just done. (don’t overcook)
For the sauce, combine 1 cup of coconut milk, a teaspoon of chili garlic paste, 1/4 cup of creamy peanut butter, a pinch of cumin and coriander seed, roasted and ground, a teaspoon of fresh coriander, 1 tablepsoon of sugar, and lime juice to taste. Taste for salt and black pepper.
Make a salad of tiny greens, mango, shallot, fresh mint and avocado to go with, using lemon juice and olive oil as your dressing.