We Tried Cooking from the United Polaris Cookbook – Here’s What Happened

In December, United Airlines released a cookbook inspired by their onboard Polaris dining experience. Naturally, I had to purchase one. If you’re considering acquiring one, United is still selling them on their United Shop website. But be warned, shipping will not come cheap!

After waiting just over a week, I finally received my shiny new cookbook!

My family, however, did not share the excitement I did and approached my meal with some trepidation.

Unboxing United’s Polaris Cookbook

I started going through all of the recipes and culled a menu that I thought my family and I would enjoy.

My menu for the United Polaris Dining Experience

My criteria for choosing the menu was simple: what could I actually make? Remember, I was cooking a four-course meal for my four-person family with limited assistance.

Appetizer

For the appetizer, I chose to make Crispy Brussels Sprouts with Lebni, Saba, Hazelnut, and Dill.

Crispy Brussels Sprouts with Lebni, Saba, Hazelnut, and Dill

This was one of the quicker and easier recipes in United’s cookbook. It calls for frying the brussels sprouts and garnishing with an aged balsamic vinegar, hazelnuts, and dill. It can be served on the side with lebni yogurt which served as a nice complement to the dish.

The flavors actually worked quite well together. Saba, the aged balsamic vinegar, was something I had never tried before. It’s difficult to describe the taste, but it rounded out the appetizer well. Granted, if I didn’t know it was there, I probably wouldn’t have acknowledged the taste much.

The rest of my family also liked the appetizer. Brussels sprouts are not the most popular food in my family, but everyone did enjoy it.

Salad

For the salad, I decided to go with something fruity since I was missing that food group from my menu. United’s cookbook had a Tomato, Peach, and Asparagus Salad which was easy to make and seemed quite delectable.

Tomato, Peach, and Asparagus salad

One thing to note about this meal is that just about everything is from scratch. That included the dressing and pickled shallots.

The dressing and pickled shallots required time to marinate so I prepared those ahead of time. This was a super easy recipe to follow. If you’re more of a novice at cooking, like me, you’d be able to follow this recipe closely.

Because I was cooking with the intent to write an article on it, I wanted to follow the recipes very closely. If I were to make this again, I think it would be very easy to substitute peaches for other fruits like nectarines or even apples.

We had some leftover salad which my mom happily packed for her lunch the next day. My grandfather is normally not a fan of salads, but he thought the dressing and shallots paired very nicely with the tomatoes.

Entrée

For the entree, I chose to make Coconut Soup with Sambal Oelek Chicken.

There were two reasons I went with this choice. First off, I didn’t have any meat in my appetizer or salad. I also thought the safest bet for the main meal would be a chicken dish.

Coconut Soup with Sambal Oelek Chicken

This was the second most difficult dish to make. I was a bit confused at first since the cookbook stated the entire dish took 24 hours to prepare. However, the longest span of time I could find written into the recipe was an 8-hour marinating period for the chicken.

I decided to marinate my chicken for the full 24-hours since I knew I’d be pressed for time with making the rest of the meal. In the end, I’m glad I made that choice.

First off, in my opinion, the recipe was not terribly well written for proportion. The recipe called for about 2 pounds of chicken. I used 2.25 pounds and didn’t want to throw away the excess. The broth, however, was quite excessive in volume. The menu gave the option of adding rice noodles which, in the future, I would definitely add the rice noodles since there was just too much broth.

The broth, however, was amazing! As was the recipe for preparing the chicken. The chicken and broth are prepared separately and combined in the end for serving.

My parents were hesitant about a coconut-themed chicken dish, but they actually found it very enjoyable. The broth was nicely spiced from the recipe and the entire dish worked very nicely.

I was initially concerned about feuding flavors from the dressing on the salad, but the coconut overpowered just enough over the dressing. Granted, if you were to serve the meal with a bit of a gap between the salad and the main dish would also help.

Dessert

I don’t know what I was thinking when I decided to make Affogato. Well, that’s a lie. I chose the affogato since I wanted to retain the coconut flavoring from the entree since I figured it would be difficult to switch from the coconut soup to a mango-powered sticky rice. Also, who doesn’t like sorbet?

Affogato

Well, I bought all the ingredients and came home. I knew this had an overnight component to it so I started preparing it the night before.

This turned out to be the most difficult dish to make. I didn’t read the recipe very closely since it turned out the recipe required making your own ice cream. I didn’t have an ice cream maker, so I hopped online and found an easy way to make ice cream without a machine.

On the bright side, now I have a ton of homemade coconut sorbet that is actually quite delectable.

Luckily, it worked quite well. The recipe called for a shot of espresso and rum. I switched it up to espresso or chocolate syrup since no one was very interested in the rum.

My family has a sweet tooth and everyone loved the dessert. It was a nice finishing touch to the coconut soup.

Overall

I was pleasantly surprised by the Polaris cookbook. The dishes were actually quite delectable!

I was completely and utterly exhausted after cooking!

Just be warned, some of these dishes can be quite an endeavor to cook. Running from my salad to my appetizer to my broth was exhausting, but worth it. I just wish I had some crew members to assist me!

As far as my knowledge goes, United doesn’t serve any dishes in the Polaris cookbook onboard, hence the “inspired by” wording.

Do you want to try out the Polaris cookbook? Let us know in the comments!

2 comments
    1. Unfortunately, since the recipe is not something I created or own, I cannot publish it here online. I would recommend ordering the Polaris Cookbook. There are plenty of fantastic recipes in there. My family, friends, and I have enjoyed quite a few different dishes from the book!

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