Restaurant brings unique taste of the coast to Metro Atlanta: We all know that Metro Atlanta is a true melting pot, which means it’s easy to find restaurants catering to just about every style of cuisine. But folks looking for an authentic taste of the coast – specifically the Gullah and Geechee cultures of South Carolina and Georgia – haven’t had many local options.
That has now changed, thanks to Virgil’s Gullah Kitchen & Bar, a brand-new restaurant in College Park owned by Juan and Gee Smalls. The restaurant is named after Gee’s late father, and features a menu described by the owners as “Gullah Geechee-inspired soul food” derived from family recipes. So…what exactly is Gullah Geechee cuisine and culture? It derives from the enslaved Africans who were brought to the South Carolina and Georgia coasts, and who developed a unique language and culture that’s still kept alive in the region today. You can read more about the history of the Gullah Geechee people on the website of Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Commission.
Now…to the food. Expect a lot of rice-based dishes (including red rice and okra and rice) and seafood, much of which is sourced from the Gullah Geechee region.
Virgil’s Gullah Kitchen & Bar is located at 3721 Main Street in College Park. The restaurant is currently open for lunch on Mondays and Tuesdays (11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.) and lunch and dinner on Wednesday and Thursdays (from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.), Fridays (11 a.m. to 1 a.m.), Saturdays (3 p.m. to 1 a.m.) and Sundays (3 p.m. to Midnight).
Curry Up Now is opening up a new restaurant in Decatur this week. Akash Kapoor founder and CEO of Curry Up Now stops by Good Day Atlanta to share a recipe for making a Chicken Tikka Masala Burrito. For more information on Curry Up Now click here. For today's recipe see below.
CHICKEN TIKKA MASALA BURRITO RECIPE:
Chicken Tikka Masala:
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch chunks
2 tbsp Cinnamon Powder
1/2 cup Coriander powder
1/4 cup Cumin powder
1/4 cup Black Cardamom powder
1/4 cup Red Chili Powder
1/2 cup Fennel powder
1/4 cup Fenugreek Leaves
1/2 cup White Granulated Sugar
Kosher Salt to taste
6 cups Caramelized Onion Paste
1 Can Tomato Sauce
1/2 Can Tomato Puree
2 Sticks Butter, Blended
4 cups milk
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup olive oil
1/4 cup ginger garlic paste
- Heat oil in a heavy bottom pan like a Dutch oven or cast iron.
- Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper to taste. Add chicken to the pot and cook until golden, about 4-5 minutes. Set aside.
- Add all the dry ingredients except sugar and salt and cook for 10 mins.
- Add onion paste and cook for another 30 minutes. Stir frequently.
- Add tomato sauce and tomato puree and cook for another 30 minutes or until the oil rises to the surface.
- Add chicken, cream, milk, butter, sugar and salt and cook for another 30 mins.
- Once the oil floats on the top, add the fenugreek leaves and stir.
Chana Garbanzo Masala:
2 medium onions, chopped finely
1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
1/2 cup tomato purée
2 red tea bags
2 (15-ounce) cans of garbanzo beans
1 lemon juice
2 tsp fresh cilantro chopped for garnish
¼ cup olive oil or ghee
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp coriander
½ tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp pomegranate seed
2 black cardamom
4 green cardamom
½ stick cinnamon
2 small bay leaves
4 dried red chillies
Salt to taste
- Drain the garbanzo beans and add to a large pot with 4 cups of water. Add 2 tea bags and bring to a boil, then turn off the heat and set aside for about 10 mins. Remove the tea bags and reserve the water.
- Grind all spices into a fine powder.
- Saute the onions with the ginger and garlic paste. Then add a pinch of salt and cook for 8-10 mins, until softened.
- Stir in the spice blend, and cook for 10 more mins. Add a tablespoon of garbanzo water to stop them from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- Add the tomato puree and cook for 5 mins. Add in the garbanzo beans, along with their cooking water. Cook for 20 mins or until the gravy thickens. Add the lemon juice.
1 cup basmati rice
1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 and 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- In a large saucepan, add rice and turmeric and cook according to package instructions, with option to substitute water for low sodium chicken broth.
1/2 medium sweet onion, sliced
4 large flour tortillas
- Once all above items are fully cooked, toast tortilla on open burner, flipping after 30 seconds.
- Scoop turmeric rice and chicken tikka masala with garbanzos onto toasted tortilla. Top with sliced onion and roll into a burrito. Enjoy!
Back to school lunchboxes with cookbook author Lisa Washington: She is a grandmother, cookbook author and former contestant on Food Network's "All-star Academy." Lisa Washington stops by Good Day Atlanta with her grandkids to share healthy and easy school lunch ideas that you can pack at home. See her top ideas below. For more information on Lisa Washington or upcoming appearance at Williams Sonoma at The Forum in Norcross, August 3, 2019. Visit her blog here. You can also follow her on social media @lifewithlisawashington .
Healthy lunch boxes with Lisa Washington
Turkey + Mozzarella Roll-ups
Homemade yogurt at the bottom cups
Homemade Trail Mix
Pasta Salad with veggies and fruit Cups
Cheese Strings, homemade cinnamon sugar popcorn, natural fruit juice
Pita bread slices
Carrots/ red bell pepper slices
Strawberry and Mango Smoothie
More healthy options:
Turkey slices and cheese to make roll ups
Almond Butter and Jelly sandwiches
Hummus with Pita bread slices
Cheese, Crackers and Turkey to make homemade lunchables
Fruit and Veggie:
Baby cherry tomatoes
Grapes, all colors
Homemade Trail Mix
Homemade Yogurt cups with the fruit at the bottom
Homemade Popcorn, sprinkle with a little cinnamon sugar and a pinch of sea salt
Homemade Baked Cookies
Fruit cups or fruit kabobs
Use a Yeti and add water, or coconut water, natural fruit juices or their favorite smoothie.