Tag Archives: chicken

Kerala Chicken Curry

30 Jul

Kerala Chicken CurryI recently discovered ‘god’s own secret’ in ‘god’s own country’*……..

No it wasn’t a religious pilgrimage; it was a weekend retreat in an enigmatic paradise- Vivanta by Taj – Bekal, Kerala . It’s a parallel universe of natural and man-made beauty where extensive natural foliage unites with beautifully manicured lawns and the alluring backwaters rally around lotus filled ponds. It’s an escape from reality with a chance to rejuvenate and stimulate all your senses.

Photo Credit: Hotel Website

Photo Credit: Hotel Website

If you think the landscape and the world class spa are the only draw to reinvigorate you here, wait till your taste buds are tantalized in the dining room. As expected at a Taj hotel the chefs are experts in global cuisine but since we were in Kerala my prime focus was traditional costal cuisine. Their fluffy appams (pancake made with fermented rice batter and coconut milk), coconut kissed piquant vegetable and meat curries, and fresh seafood further reinforced my love affair with food from the Malabar Coast.

Serving Suggestion

Serving Suggestion

This chicken curry recipe is a slightly adapted version of a Nadan Kozhi Curry (Local Chicken Curry) that I learnt from Chef Dhandapani on this trip. It embodies what I love about Indian coastal curries – several layers of spices that come together harmoniously with a touch of coconut milk. Consider this aromatic and flavorful chicken curry an ode to a wonderful weekend at The Vivanta by Taj, Bekal and a sneak preview to your potential trip to discover “god’s own secret” in “god’s own country”. Continue reading

Spicy Thai Fried Rice

21 Feb

IMG_2480

What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you think leftover rice? I bet its “fried rice” –the widespread solution for leftover rice. Any disagreements on fried rice being the common answer for leftover rice can be resolved by the 36million plus results on Google for “fried rice”.IMG_2476

While rice and vegetables or meat are common to this classic one-pot dish the herbs and spices used vary by region and personal taste. This recipe uses Thai Basil, fish sauce and bird’s eye chilies to create a “Thai” version of a favorite one-pot meal. The “Thai” touch adds a little oomph to a comfort classic, creating a dish that will tantalize your taste-buds and satisfy your soul.

Spicy Thai Fried Rice
Recipe adapted from Food.com’s Thai Spicy Basil Fried Rice by Chef Bolistoli
Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons Oyster sauce
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon low sodium soy
1-2 thinly sliced bird’s eye chilies
1.5 tablespoons of vegetable oil
½ cup sliced green onions
6 cloves of garlic, minced
½ medium red pepper, sliced
½ medium yellow pepper, sliced
1/3 cup bean sprouts
¼ frozen green peas, thawed
3 cups of a day old jasmine, basmati or brown rice
1/3 cup Thai basil, roughly chopped
1 cup boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed (Optional)
1 egg
Salt and white pepper to taste

Method:
1) In a small bowl mix the oyster sauce, fish sauce and soy sauce and bird’s eye chilies and set aside.
2) In a wok or large frying pan, heat the oil on medium-high heat. Add the green onions and garlic and cook for a minute.
3) Add the red and yellow pepper and cook for 1-2 minutes until the peppers are slightly tender. If using chicken add it now and cook until the chicken is fully cooked through.
4) Add the peas and bean sprouts and cook for another minute.
5) Move all the ingredients to the side and break the egg into the center of the wok. Stir constantly to quickly scramble the egg.
6) Add the oyster, fish and soy sauce mixture and stir well with all the ingredients.
7) Turn the heat to high and add the rice and blend everything well together. Add salt and white pepper per your taste. You can also add more fish sauce or soy sauce at this time.
8) Once the rice is heated through remove from the heat and stir in the basil. Serve hot.

Spicy Chicken Noodle Soup for the Soul

8 Feb

IMG_2487My Facebook news feed is flooded with updates of plans and preparations for the potential historical blizzard – winter storm Nemo. Since you cannot really beat Mother Nature at her game, why not stay in and warm up with an effortless, delicious and hearty one-pot soup-based meal? And even if you are not caught in the eye of this storm this is the ideal flavorful and healthful one-pot meal for any chilly night.

This soup is a detour from a classic chicken noodle soup; it is in fact a Far East variation of it. Ginger, lemongrass, lime and Thai birds-eye chilies breathe new life into a classic chicken broth, while the bacon adds a layer of smokiness to it. The chicken, noodles, bok choy and mushrooms come together to create a well-balanced meal. There’s nothing wrong with a traditional chicken and egg-noodle soup, but this feisty and flamboyant cousin is sure to gratify your soul on a cold and dreary day.

Spicy Chicken Noodle Soup for the Soul
Recipe Adapted from Serious Eats: Spicy Chicken Noodle Soup with Lime and Ginger Recipe
Yield: 4 servings
Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:
5 cups low-sodium chicken broth (Store bought or homemade)
1 stalk fresh lemongrass, cut into 2 inch pieces (see note)
2, 1 inch pieces of ginger, peeled
2 -3 whole cloves of garlic, peeled
2 Thai birds-eye chilies, seeded and diced
1 large boneless skinless chicken breast (or 2 small ones)
½ tablespoon of good olive oil
3 slices of center cut bacon, diced
½ cup scallions (whites and greens), minced
2-3 bunches of baby bok choy, roughly chopped
6-8 thinly sliced shitake mushrooms (see note)
1/3 cup thin Thai basil, shredded (see note)
2 tablespoons of fish sauce
4 ounces of rice noodles or ramen-style Japanese noodles, cooked al dente per package instructions
Salt to taste
White pepper to taste
2-3 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon of cilantro
Optional condiment: Siracha sauce, to be added per taste at the time of serving

Notes:

  • Fresh lemongrass is available at all Asian grocery stores and several large grocery chains. If you cannot find fresh lemon grass then, substitute it with the bottled kind that can be found in the international aisles of most grocery stores.
  • Thai basil is available at all Asian grocery stores and several large grocery chains.
  • You can substitute the shitakes with crimini or white button mushrooms.
  • The fish sauce and broth are salty, so make sure before you add any additional salt you taste the soup to determine how much you need.

Method:
1) Pour the chicken broth into a large stock pot. To this add the lemongrass, ginger, garlic cloves and birds eye chilies. Bring these ingredients to a boil over medium-high heat. Once the broth reaches a roaring boil, reduce the heat to low and add the chicken breast. Cover and simmer until the chicken breast is fully cooked.
2) Turn-off the heat and remove the pot from heat. Remove the chicken breast and it set aside to cool. Remove the ginger pieces and garlic cloves from the broth and discard. At this point you can even discard the lemon grass, but I prefer to remove it right at the end as it keeps infusing the soup with flavor. Set the broth aside to use in the soup. Use a fork to shred the chicken once it has cooled and is easy to work with.
3) In a medium Dutch-Oven or soup-pot, heat the olive oil on medium heat. Add the diced bacon and cook it through. Now add the scallions and sauté for 1-2 minutes.
4) Add the broth to the Dutch oven and bring to a boil (uncovered). Once it reaches a rolling boil, reduce the heat to low and add the bok choy and mushrooms. Cook for a minute and then add the shredded basil, chicken, noodles, fish sauce and salt and pepper to taste. Give everything a good stir and then turn-off the heat.
5) Stir in the lime juice and garnish with cilantro. Serve with Siracha sauce for some extra heat!

Thanksgiving Leftovers Hash with Fried Eggs

23 Nov

If you cooked a holiday meal yesterday, it is safe to assume you have leftovers that may include turkey (or chicken or ham), herbs, gravy and chicken stock. We had some herb-roasted turkey breast, fresh herbs and gravy leftover. Here is the recipe of what I did with our leftovers today. I love a good breakfast hash that’s topped with fried eggs. There is something divine about runny yolks on slightly charred and crispy potatoes and onions. Granted this is not a diet recipe, but it’s still Thanksgiving weekend – so go ahead and indulge a little more.

Thanksgiving Leftovers Hash with Fried Eggs Recipe
Serves: 2
Time: 25-30 minutes (start to finish)

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons of vegetable or canola oil
1 small red onion, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
2 small Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cubed into small pieces (See note)
1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary
1 tablespoon finely chopped thyme
¼ – ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
Salt and pepper to taste
¾ cup leftover cooked turkey, ham or chicken, cubed (See note)
2 tablespoons of leftover, gravy or chicken broth (See note)
1 tablespoon grated parmesan or asiago cheese
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon of parsley for garnish

Notes:

  • Cut the potatoes into really small cubes. This will reduce the cooking time significantly.
  • Use whatever leftover cooked meat you have – turkey (white or dark meat), chicken (white or dark meat) or cooked ham.
  • If you have gravy or chicken stock leftover, it’s great to use it to warm up the leftover meat without drying out the juices. If you do not have any left, just use some water.
  • The bottoms of the potatoes (touching the skillet) will get dark brown, while you are cooking the eggs. Do not worry – the slightly charred taste is amazing!

Method:
1) In a 10 inch non-stick skillet, heat the oil on medium heat. Add the chopped onion and jalapeno to the oil and cook till the onion is soft.
2) Now add the potatoes and stir them to coat them well with the oil. Add the chopped rosemary and thyme, crushed red pepper, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix everything together. Keep cooking, stirring occasionally till the potatoes are fork tender. If the potatoes start to stick to the bottom, add a little more oil and stir them more frequently.
3) While the potatoes are cooking in a small saucepan heat the broth, gravy or water and add the turkey to it. Cook for 3-4 minutes until the turkey/chicken/ham is warm and slightly moist.
4) Once the potatoes are cooked, add the turkey/chicken/ham to the potatoes and toss everything together. Add the cheese and stir for 30 seconds.
5) Now make a nice even bed of everything in the skillet and break the eggs (one by one) on the hash. Cover and cook for 3 minutes. Now uncover and complete cooking the eggs till the whites are fully formed and the yolks are still slightly runny (or to the doneness that you prefer). Season the eggs with salt and pepper once they are cooked.
6) Garnish with parsley and serve with a salad or leftover dinner rolls for a complete meal.

Dinner for Two: Skillet Chicken and Rice

26 Oct

Ever faced a conundrum where you need 2 chicken breasts for dinner and have a package of three chicken breasts? I have had more than my share of these nights when I have a package of three chicken breasts and only need to grill or bake two for our dinner. The third is usually saved for a salad or a soup except per chance I stumble upon a great dinner idea.

I recently purchased Monica Bhide’s latest cook book – Modern Spice: Inspired Indian Flavors for the Contemporary Kitchen and have a running list of all its recipes that I have to try. Earlier this year, I also took a food writing course with Monica. She has been a great source of inspiration for me and was the final push I needed to start writing this blog.

The Sunday Night Skillet Chicken and Rice recipe from the book was one of the top recipes on my list. It so turned out that I recently found myself with one chicken breast in the fridge and had the ingenious idea to use that recipe to create a hearty meal for two. I scaled down Modern Spice’s recipe to feed two, and made only a few minor modifications. This is really a heartwarming meal with big, bold flavors and is easy enough to make on any night of the week.

Skillet Chicken and Rice Recipe
Recipe adapted for Modern Spice’s Sunday Night Skillet Chicken and Rice
Yields: 2 servings
Time: Active 20 minutes Inactive 20 minutes

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon of vegetable or canola oil
1-inch cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
½ large red onion, finely diced
1 teaspoon ginger paste
1 teaspoon garlic paste
1 green chili, seeded and diced (optional)
1 medium-large Roma tomato, diced
½ teaspoon red chili powder
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground coriander powder
Salt to taste
½ pound of boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into bite size pieces (See note)
½ cup basmati rice, rinsed and drained
1 cup + 2 tablespoons of water
Cilantro, chopped for garnish

Notes:

  • Depending on the size of the chicken breasts ½ pound is either one large chicken breast or 2 smaller ones. You can also use boneless skinless thighs.
  • This recipe is very easy to scale up. Just double all the ingredients and use 2 cups of water. Cooking times will vary very minimally.

Method:
1) In a 10-12 inch deep lidded skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the cinnamon stick and bay leaf. Within 1-2 minutes when you get the aroma of these spices, add the onion, ginger paste and garlic paste. Sauté for 5-7 minutes, until the onions soften and change color. Add the green chili (if using it) and cook for 1 minute.
2) Add the tomatoes along with a pinch of salt and cook for 8-10 minutes, until the tomatoes are soft and the oil separates from the side of the mixture. Adding a pinch of salt at this stage speeds up the process of breaking down the tomatoes. Use a wooden spoon or a potato masher to mash the tomatoes as they cook. Make sure you stir this mixture occasionally to ensure it does not stick to the skillet.
3) Add the chili powder, turmeric, coriander and salt to taste. Cook stirring constantly for another minute.
4) Add the chicken pieces and cook for 3-4 minutes, until all the pieces are white on the outside and almost cooked through.
5) Add the rice and water and bring to a rolling boil. Once is has reached a rolling boil, reduce the heat cover and cook for about 16-18 minutes on low heat, until the water is completely absorbed and the rice is fully cooked. The final dish will be barely moist.
6) Fluff the rice with a fork, garnish with cilantro and serve.

Thai Noodle & Chicken Salad

1 Oct

If you roast a whole chicken or buy a rotisserie chicken for a meal, it’s extremely plausible that you are left contemplating about what to do with the leftovers. Leftover classic roast chicken is one of the most versatile ingredients that can be pieced into a multitude of recipes.

Last week I was working on creating a recipe of a fall inspired whole roast chicken (recipe to follow in a few weeks) and found myself with plenty of leftovers. I decided that we would use the leftovers in a chicken salad the following night. The next day I found myself overcome by an urge to indulge in some Thai food and opted to give the leftover chicken a Thai twist.

My favorite Thai salad is Yum Woon Sen Salad – a bean thread salad tossed with a tangy and spicy dressing and crunchy peanuts. The protein in the salad is typically shrimp and occasionally ground chicken or ground pork. I was confident that the cooked chicken would absorb all the wonderful flavors of the dressing and would make a great substitute for the shrimp.

I used Rasa Malaysia’s Yum Woon Sen(Thai Noodle Salad with Shrimp) Recipe, but made several modifications as I wanted to work with ingredients in my pantry and fridge. This is usually a first course, but it makes a delectable and well-rounded one pot entrée for 2 people.

Thai Noodle & Chicken Salad
Adapted from Rasa Malaysia’s Yum Woon Sen Recipe
Serves: 2 (as a main course), 4 (as a salad course)
Time: 20 minutes from start to finish

Salad Ingredients:

4 oz rice sticks/rice vermicelli (See note)
1 ½ cups of shredded cooked chicken
⅓ cup peeled and thinly sliced red onions (See note)
½ cup diced tomatoes
1 ½ tablespoon coarsely chopped mint leaves
1 ½ tablespoon coarsely chopped cilantro leaves
2 peeled cloves of garlic, minced and fried
2 tablespoons of either roasted peanuts or fried noodles (See note)

Dressing Ingredients:

1 ½ tablespoons of fish sauce
1 tablespoon of chili garlic paste (See note)
1 ½ tablespoons of lime juice
1 ½ tablespoons of light brown sugar
2 tablespoons of warm water

Notes:

  • Traditionally a Yum Woon Sen salad is made with cellophane or bean thread noodles. Feel free to use those, if you have them on hand.
  • If you do not like raw red onions, shallots are a great milder option.
  • Traditionally this salad is topped with slightly crushed roasted peanuts. I had a box of La Choy Fried noodles, so decided to use those instead. You can use roasted peanuts or fried noodles.
  • Chili Garlic Paste can be found in the international aisle of major grocery stores and in Asian markets.

Method:

1) Cook the noodles per the package instructions and set aside.
2) In a medium bowl, mix together all the dressing ingredients. Make sure that the sugar is completely dissolved.
3) Toss the shredded chicken in the dressing.
4) Place the cooked noodles in the bowl that you are going to serve the salad. To this add the onions, tomatoes, mint, cilantro, fried garlic, dressing and chicken.
5) Toss everything together to blend well. Taste and adjust the lime juice, chili garlic sauce or fish sauce as needed.
6) Top with the crunch of your choice (fried noodles or peanuts) and serve immediately at room temperature.

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