spiced chickpeas and chicken pilaf

spiced chickpeas and chicken pilaf | A Brown Table

For the past few weeks, I've realized I'm terrible when it comes to saving time during the week and for that matter sticking to clean eating habits. Don't get me wrong, I love to eat out and try new things whenever possible but it starts to add up and things can get rather expensive. Consequently, I've been trying to get my act together and start planning out our weekly meals. There are a bunch of new one pot meals that I've been working on and I've kept one recurring theme in mind, little effort but bold flavors.

Though I can cook for hours, I hate, hate washing dishes and wiping the kitchen table down after I'm done. There are times when I want to snap my fingers or twitch my nose in the hope that my mess cleans itself up. Unfortunately, it doesn't but there is one thing that can happen to make all of this a little less crazy.  Through trial and error, I've figured out what works best for me and I've learned to set realistic goals with a more practical approach. Less prep work and cooking time translates to more free time to do other things and it makes me very, very happy!

By using a rotisserie chicken, I've cut back on a lot of time that would have otherwise been spent at the stove/oven. From shredding to chopping to simply serving it as is, the meat can be used in lots of tasty ways and you can add it to dishes such as this pilaf to make a hearty meal..  

This one pot meal is very aromatic and flavorful. Basmati rice has it's own floral scent and that fragrance when infused with cardamom and bay leaves makes one spectacular dish. The chickpeas and chicken in the pilaf are infused with an extra layer of flavor from this  delicious Progresso stock, turmeric and ginger root. I prefer to use the unsalted version of Progresso's chicken stock to control the taste of the dish but you can use their regular one too.

spiced chickpeas and chicken pilaf | A Brown Table
spiced chickpeas and chicken pilaf | A Brown Table
spiced chickpeas and chicken pilaf | A Brown Table
spiced chickpeas and chicken pilaf | A Brown Table
spiced chickpeas and chicken pilaf | A Brown Table
spiced chickpeas and chicken pilaf | A Brown Table
spiced chickpeas and chicken pilaf | A Brown Table

Here are some of my kitchen notes that you might find helpful when preparing this dish;

  • Use a good rotisserie chicken. I like to use the herb seasoned or lemon seasoned ones in this particular dish as they add great flavor to the rice and chickpeas.
  • As always, I recommend leaving the whole spices in the rice when serving. It showcases what to expect in terms of flavor and taste and makes a great garnish.
  • Use long grain basmati rice, preferably the Indian one. The other varieties don't taste as good and don't give the same aroma or flavor.
spiced chickpeas and chicken pilaf | A Brown Table

spiced chickpeas an chicken pilaf

yields: 4 to 6 servings

ingredients

2 tablespoons ghee or olive oil

1 cup red onion, diced

2 tablespoons julienned peeled ginger root

1 teaspoon turmeric powder

2 15 ounce cans chickpeas, drained

1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

1/2 teaspoon red chili powder or cayenne powder

2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped

1 cup basmati/long grain rice, washed and drained

4 black peppercorns or 2 long black peppercorns

2 green cardamom pods, cracked

3 bay leaves

2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken, skin discarded

2 cups Progresso unsalted chicken stock

  

1. Heat 1 tablespoon of ghee/olive oil in a dutch oven on medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes  until light pink. Then add the ginger and turmeric and cook for 1 minute. Fold in the chickpeas, salt, and chili powder, cover the dutch oven with its lid and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Remove the dutch oven from stove and transfer the contents to a large mixing bowl, add 1 tablespoon of cilantro and keep aside

2. In the same dutch oven, heat the remaining ghee/oil. Add the drained rice, peppercorns, green cardamom, and bay leaves. Cook the rice and spices constantly stirring for about 2 minutes. Add the shredded chicken and stock to the rice and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover the dutch oven with its lid and allow the rice to cook, undisturbed for about 15 to 20 minutes. The rice is cooked when the water has completely evaporated and the grains are tender. Fold in the chickpeas and cook for another minute. Remove from stove, garnish with remaining cilantro and serve warm.

 Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Progresso and FeedFeed. The opinions expressed are solely my own. 

saffron and coriander chicken fricassee

saffron and coriander chicken fricassee| A Brown Table

We suck at hanging art work at home, it's one of the hardest things to do and the commercials of course make it looks easy. And clearly, it's one of the most stressful things you can do together as a couple! Getting equal spacing between random pieces of art on wall, maintaining some sort of uniformity and to keep it pleasing, is anxiety on my soul. And though M says no one will notice, I know I will. A slightly crooked frame will be an eye sore for eternity. So there we were, measuring tape, pencil, nails and a hammer. 4 frames, each hung at least twice! And we still have 12 more to go... and spots and stains to fix and repaint...

I've taken a lot of liberties with this fricassee and if you see my notes below, though the technique is similar, I've adapted it to make it easier and a little lighter and tried to give the dish a little Indian vibe. There's a pinch of saffron threads and smoky coriander for that rich color and flavor. A fricassee is a richly flavored one-pot French dish that gets flavored at different levels, the mirepoix, the herbs and spice add their magic to the chicken. There are a few steps to making it but it's one of the large batch dishes that you can make it in advance and save yourself some time during the week!

Usually, you should cook a fricasse in a medium-size heavy Dutch oven. Honestly, it does wonders for this dish because of it's heavy cast iron base and lid. The chicken cooks fast due to the uniform heat distribution and the steam, the chicken will have a tender texture once it is cooked. I used Le Creuset's new mix and match cast-iron dutch oven that comes with either a red or blue lid to match the colors of the French flag!

saffron and coriander chicken fricassee| A Brown Table
saffron and coriander chicken fricassee| A Brown Table
saffron and coriander chicken fricassee| A Brown Table
saffron and coriander chicken fricassee| A Brown Table
saffron and coriander chicken fricassee| A Brown Table
saffron and coriander chicken fricassee| A Brown Table
saffron and coriander chicken fricassee| A Brown Table
saffron and coriander chicken fricassee| A Brown Table

Here are some of my kitchen tips that you might find useful when preparing this fricassee;

  • I cheat a little in this fricassee. I've skipped the boquet garni and the liasion. A fricassee can be pretty rich and heavy with cream and eggs, I skipped all of this and made the sauce creamy by emulsifying the liquid in the Dutch oven to give a creamy and silky sauce. 
  • If I'm craving a little bit of heat, I'll add a teaspoon of red chili flakes to the Dutch oven when I add the coriander. 
  • This is a great one pot meal, one you can prepare in advance and eat during the week. I also sometimes throw in a can of beans or some chopped char.
saffron and coriander chicken fricassee| A Brown Table

saffron and coriander chicken fricassee

yields: 6 servings

ingredients

4 lbs chicken legs with bone and skin, whole

1 tablespoon kosher sea salt

1 tablespoon black pepper, freshly ground

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup carrots, diced

1 cup white onion, diced

1 cup celery stalks, diced

1 tablespoon flour

1 teaspoon coriander seeds, ground

1/4 teaspoon saffron strands

1 cup white wine (I used a sauvignon blanc)

1 quart chicken broth, unsalted

2 bay leaves

2 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed

2 tablespoons tarragon, fresh chopped

2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, chopped

1. Pat the chicken dry with clean paper towels. Season with salt and pepper on both sides. Melt the butter and the olive oil in a medium-sized Dutch oven (5.5 quarts) on medium-high heat. When the butter starts to foam, place the chicken skin down and brown on each side for about 5 minutes. The chicken pieces can be fried in batches. Remove from Dutch oven and keep the chicken aside on a clean plate. 

2. Reduce the heat to low and to the same Dutch oven, add the diced carrots, onions and celery. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes until almost the vegetables start to just brown. Then add coriander and saffron and cook for another 30 seconds with constant stirring. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and mix until the no visible flecks of flour can be seen. 

3. Pour the wine and chicken broth into the Dutch oven and stir to mix. Increase heat to high and bring the contents to a a boil. Now return the browned chicken pieces to the Dutch oven along with the bay leaves. Cover with the lid and reduced heat to medium-high. Cook for 25 to 30 minutes or until the chicken is completely cooked (internal temperature 165F). Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and remove the chicken pieces and bay leaves. Now transfer 3/4 of this liquid left in the Dutch oven to a blender and pulse until almost smooth. Return the liquid to the Dutch oven, stir in the lemon juice. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Now return the chicken back to the Dutch oven. Garnish with the chopped tarragon and parsley. Serve hot with a good rustic country bread. 

Disclaimer: This post sponsored by Le Creuset and Williams Sonoma. All opinions expressed are solely my own. 

Turmeric and Yogurt Spiced Oven Roasted Chicken

Turmeric and Yogurt Spiced Oven Roasted Chicken | A Brown Table

I had a hard time finding thai chili peppers at almost every farmer's market or grocery store in my vicinity this year. Since they're pretty easy to grow, I sun dried a couple of peppers (from the one time I found them) and sowed them into a small pot. Some made it while some didn't but I'm now the proud dad to a few plants with tiny little white flowers that eventually morphed into tapering little green and red chilis. Some of which found their way into this chicken roast. 

This roast also saved me a lot of time in the kitchen during an intensely busy week. It might take some time to prep (which I do over the weekend) but it's a tasty chicken to eat during the week. 

Yogurt makes everything better and it flavors this chicken pretty darn good. There's a generous amount of turmeric and a few spices that might sound intimidating but it will be well worth it.

You might notice that I've kept the skin on this bird which is something I do less often because the skin is considered unclean in Indian cooking. But in a roast the skin helps to keep the chicken juicy and it will get crispy!

And before I forget, the winner of Food52's latest Baking cookbook is Sarah! She wants to make the Arnold Palmer cake which has been on my mind ever since I saw Christina Tossi make it on TV!

Turmeric and Yogurt Spiced Oven Roasted Chicken| A Brown Table
Thai Chili Peppers | A Brown Table
Turmeric and Yogurt Spiced Oven Roasted Chicken| A Brown Table
Turmeric and Yogurt Spiced Oven Roasted Chicken| A Brown Table
Turmeric and Yogurt Spiced Oven Roasted Chicken| A Brown Table
Turmeric and Yogurt Spiced Oven Roasted Chicken| A Brown Table
Turmeric and Yogurt Spiced Oven Roasted Chicken| A Brown Table
Turmeric and Yogurt Spiced Oven Roasted Chicken| A Brown Table
Turmeric and Yogurt Spiced Oven Roasted Chicken| A Brown Table
Turmeric and Yogurt Spiced Oven Roasted Chicken| A Brown Table
Turmeric and Yogurt Spiced Oven Roasted Chicken| A Brown Table

Here are some of my kitchen tips that you might find useful when preparing this chicken,

  • Marinade the chicken overnight but if you're short on time, a 2 hour interval will do.
  • Choose low-fat or full-fat yogurt, fat-free doesn't do as good a job. 
  • I use Le Creuset's 5 quart braiser to roast the chicken. The heavy base of the pan does great job evenly cooking the bird. 
  • While roasting the chicken and basting the liquid might start to dry out, you can add a little warm water to prevent it from drying. (I add warm water over cool water as the latter will increase the time required to cook the chicken).
  • I've suggested two options below when it comes to serving the left over sauce in the braiser. You can serve it as is or blend it to get a smooth gravy like consistency. 
  • This recipe also works for a turkey, just adjust the amounts of the ingredients based on the weight of the bird.
Turmeric and Yogurt Spiced Oven Roasted Chicken| A Brown Table

turmeric and yogurt spiced oven roasted chicken (adapted from Indian cooking - Hamlyn)

yields: 4lbs chicken

ingredients 

1 1/2 cups full fat or low-fat yogurt

2 cups red onion, diced

4 garlic cloves

1/2 teaspoon black pepper powder, freshly ground

3 red thai chili peppers

1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric powder

1 1/2 teaspoons fine grain sea salt

4 lb whole chicken with skin

2 tablespoons ghee (or olive oil)

2 inch piece cinnamon stick

1 teaspoon garam masala

8 cloves, lightly crushed

8 green cardamom pods, lightly crushed

2 inch piece ginger root, peeled and cut into thin strips

2 cups low-sodium chicken stock

4 lemon wedges, for garnish

1 bunch of fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish

1. Place the yogurt, 1 cup of the diced red onions, garlic, black pepper, chili peppers, turmeric and salt in a blender and pulse until completely smooth and combined. Keep this marinade aside until ready to use.

2. Place the chicken in a large roasting pan or glass bowl. Dab it dry with clean paper towels. Insert your fingers between the skin and the flesh of the chicken to create space between the two. Make a few deep cuts in the chicken using a sharp paring knife. Pour the marinade (from step 1) over the chicken and using your fingers coat the chicken completely with the marinade. Take care to rub the marinade between the skin and the flesh of the chicken. Cover the chicken in the roasting pan with cling film or transfer it to a large bowl or place it a turkey oven bag. Refrigerate this overnight, taking care to coat the chicken every few hours with the marinade (if you're using the oven bag, just shake the bag gently to recirculate the marinade, if you use a bowl or roasting pan, using a large spoon to spread the marinade).

3. After the chicken has marinaded for the appropriate time, place a wire rack at midlevel in the oven and preheat to 375F. Heat the ghee in a large braiser on medium-high heat. Add the remaining onions and sauté until light pink and translucent. Then add the rest of the spices from the cinnamon to the ginger strips and cook for 1 minute with constant stirring. Pour the chicken broth into the pan and increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Remove the pan from the stove.

4. Place the chicken in the center of the pan. Pour the leftover marinade over the chicken. Place the pan in the oven, baste it with the liquid in the pan and cook for 2 hours or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165F.  Remove from oven and allow to rest in the leftover gravy that sits at the bottom of the braiser for at least 10 minutes before serving. You have two options here, you can serve the roast chicken as is with the gravy/sauce that's left behind in the pan, or alternatively, transfer the sauce to a blender and pulse to get a smooth gravy. Serve the roasted chicken with the sauce on the side. Garnish with the fresh lemon wedges and cilantro before serving.

Disclaimer: Thanks to Le Creuset for sponsoring this post, all opinions stated here are solely mine. 

 

chicken biryani tagine

chicken biryani tagine | A Brown Table

A few weeks ago, we started the mortifying challenge of trying to find a home to purchase in the Bay. If you've watched Million Dollar Listing: San Francisco on Bravo, you'll get my drift. It's a stressful experience with all the competitiveness . It's similar to taking a test without knowing what the topics are so you might as well study everything you can think of. But the one part I do love, is to take a sneak peek at all the different homes on the market. For a brief moment it gives me the option to take a peek into someone else's life and imagine it as my own. What a future home could look like and the endless possibilities that lie ahead when it comes to decorating and styling a home. Let's see what happens in the days to come. (Also, what's with the upside down photographs of homes ?)

Some of you have asked me previously about my experience making the transition to working as a pastry cook. It has been one of the most rewarding experiences in my life and career. I didn't go to pastry school and I've decided that for now, I won't. The cost of attending culinary school and the current loan rates make it difficult for me to justify attending school. But working in a pastry shop kitchen gave me a lot of those tools from cooking to styling but also in other aspects such as customer service and paying attention to detail. And of course, speed, that's an important skill you will acquire on the job. Since, I had no experience prior to this and culinary education to back my work, it was hard finding a job. But be persistent it will pay off! I made a list of all the bakeries and pastry shops that were in a 15 mile radius from where I live and called each and everyone one of them. I was fortunate that one person, finally called me back and gave me a chance to come in and try out. I decided to go part-time at my pharmaceutical job and then see if I would actually last at the pastry shop. After a month, I knew that this was exactly the kind of education and work experience I needed and my time there has been rewarding. Working in a kitchen has its moments, it's not all "diamonds and rosé".

We work long hours and you're on your feet all day long, you tend to make the same things all the time but remember every time you remake a dessert you learn from the previous experience and it will be better than the previous time. Your clothes will get messy but you do build muscles because you lift heavy sheets of sweet goodness. You learn how to style and be clean and appreciate what the elements in a dessert garnish. Apply practicality when styling and think of how it will make the dessert stand out and taste but also how your customer will react to out and want to come back for more. This experience has made me think about creating food in more ways than I could have ever imagined. 

I now start a new chapter in my life, I've accepted a job as a food photographer in the city and will be working at Sprig where I get the opportunity to not only style and shoot food but also work closely with a talented team of chefs and creative people who's mission is to bring affordable and healthy meals to everyone created from locally sourced organic ingredients. This is going to be one exciting journey!

Speaking of new experiences, I'm sharing one of my favorite Indian recipes today. Chicken biryani, it's the one pot wonder dish that I make often when I have a lot of guests over and I'm short on time. Biryani is a layered rice and meat (beef/lamb)/poultry dish (there are other versions with vegetables, shrimp, fish and even eggs), though the components of the seasoning used change a little depending on the type of protein. Traditionally, you would cook the rice and meat in a large pot but I've found a new way to do this. I'm using my tagine from Le Creuset. The base is made of strong cast-iron which ensures even heating when frying the spices and cooking the chicken but the very nature of tagine helps to lock in the steam and cook the meat and rice and make it even more tender and flavorful. 

Chicken biryani is a very flavorful and aromatic dish. The meat is seasoned with a rich combination of spices and then mixed in with basmati rice that's been seasoned with a lot of green cardamom, black cardamom, cloves and bay leaves. Imagine all those rich and sweet fragrances separately and then imagine them combined, that's what make biryani special. Not only is it a one pot meal, it's also one of the most fragrant and tastiest dishes to impress people with and it doesn't really require much effort other than cooking the components and putting them together. 

chicken biryani tagine | A Brown Table
chicken biryani tagine | A Brown Table
chicken biryani tagine | A Brown Table
chicken biryani tagine | A Brown Table

Here are some of my kitchen tips that you might find useful when preparing this dish,

  • There are two ways to cook biryani, one involves cooking everything together and the other way (which I use here) is to cook everything separately and then add the components together. I like the second method because I know the meat is completely cooked before I serve it. 
  • Marinade your chicken for at least 2 hours, I prefer to do this overnight in a ziplock bag and perhaps shake the bag every 10 to 12 hours to mix things up.
  • I recommend using full fat or low-fat greek yogurt in the marinade for a tastier chicken and sauce.
  • I use whole spices to flavor the rice. Just remember to avoid eating them. You could also remove them from the rice before adding the chicken but I like the interesting textures they add to the dish.
  • Use good quality long grain basmati rice only in this dish. Any other type of rice won't do this justice. I don't recommend using wild rice or the multicolored basmati rice here as the rice takes on various colors from the chicken sauce and turmeric when it comes into contact making a fun and interesting color palette. 
  • You can also grab 1/4  cup of the rice after it is cooked (just before you add the chicken) and mix it with 2 tablespoons of hot water mixed with a tiny pinch of saffron. The rice will take on a pretty orange color. Sprinkle this randomly over the rice and then add the chicken and garnishes.
  • I've used chicken drumsticks here but the breast or thigh will also work here. I like to use chicken with bones in this dish because the meat is much more tender after it is cooked. You don't need to use the skin if you don't like it.

Here are some accompaniments that you can serve with this chicken biryani;

chicken biryani tagine | A Brown Table

chicken biryani tagine

servings: 6

equipment: 4 3/4 quart tagine

ingredients

for the chicken

6 large chicken drumsticks (with/without skin) (approximately 1 lb)

1/2 cup greek yogurt

4 tablespoons lime juice, freshly squeezed

1 teaspoon kosher sea salt

1 teaspoon  red chili powder or cayenne powder

1/2 teaspoon black pepper powder, freshly ground

1 teaspoon garam masala

1 tablespoon grated ginger root, fresh

1 tablespoon grated garlic, fresh

1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

for the garnish

1 1/2 cups red onion, thinly sliced

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

4 green or red thai chili peppers, sliced in half

2 cups white potatoes, peeled and diced into 1 inch cubes

1/4 cup vegetable oil /ghee

for the rice

1 tablespoon vegetable oil/ghee

3 bay leaves

10 green cardamom pods, whole, gently crushed

2 black cardamom pods, whole, gently crushed

10 cloves, whole

1 1/2 cups basmati rice, rinsed and soaked for 20 minutes in cold tap water

2 cups water

1 teaspoon sea salt

garnish

1 tablespoon fresh cilantro leaves, julienned or chopped

1. Pat the chicken dry with a clean paper towel. Make a couple of gashes in each drumstick and keep aside. Mix all the ingredients for the marinade from the yogurt to the turmeric in a large gallon ziploc bag. Add the chicken to this marinade and seal the bag. Mix to coat the chicken and then place it in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours preferably overnight. 

2. On the day of preparation: Take the cast iron base of the tagine and heat 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil/ghee on medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot add the onions and salt and stir to coat with the oil. Cover the tagine base with the lid and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook the onions for about 15 to 20 minutes until they have caramelized and turned completely brown.  You will need to open the tagine and stir the onions occasionally to ensure they don't burn. Add a little more oil if necessary. Add the chilies in the last two minutes and cook. Remove the caramelized onions and chilies from the tagine and keep aside until ready to use. 

3. In the same tagine, add the remaining oil and fry the potatoes until they are crispy and golden brown. This will take about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove and place them on a clean paper towel to drain the excess oil.

4. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator after marination. Heat about 2 tablespoons of oil in the same tagine, on medium-high heat. Add the chicken pieces with the marinade and cover the tagine with the lid and cook for about 12-15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked and tender. Remove the chicken and the gravy separately, and keep aside until ready to use. 

5. Heat the one tablespoon of oil in the same tagine on medium-high heat. Add the green cardamom, black cardamom and cloves. Fry them in the oil for 30 seconds. Drain the soaked rice and add it to the tagine. Add the salt and water and mix. Cover the tagine with the lid and cook the rice on medium-high heat for about 10-12 minutes until all the water has almost just evaporated. Reduce the heat to a medium-low.

6. Arrange the chicken pieces over the rice, drizzle the remaining gravy over the chicken. Sprinkle the onions and potatoes over the rice and chicken. Cover the tagine back with its lid and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove from stove and keep aside. Just before serving garnish the biryani with the cilantro. Serve with cold yogurt/raita and a chilled salad.

 

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Le Creuset and all opinions stated here are purely my own.

homemade tandoori chicken

easy homemade tandoori chicken

One of the most popular meats to eat grilled or watch people barbecue in their homes in India, is probably without a doubt, tandoori chicken! It's definitely popular because it is also one of the most requested recipes I've been asked to share and I finally pegged a recipe that I love that tastes good and is easy to make. 

easy homemade tandoori chicken

Tandoori is derived from the word tandoor or the large clay oven where long skewers of marinated meat and poultry are cooked to perfection and where deliciously blistered pieces of naan (Indian flat bread are cooked). We never owned a tandoor at home (they can be pretty huge) and most people in India don't but there are a few tricks to make this popular chicken dish at home. 

Instead of using artificial food colorings to give the chicken its traditional red color, I used a beet which does work very well without affecting the taste though I will admit, I wish it were a deeper shade of red. However, too much beet could also end up sweetening the chicken which is something I wanted to avoid, the marinade gets a deep dark pink color and you will be able to smell the fragrance of the freshly ground spices in it. To cook the chicken in two stages, bake first and then broil to get those characteristic tandoor marks on the chicken. A good piece of tandoori chicken is succulent and juicy with complex spicy flavors mingled with notes of fresh lemon juice, spicy and sour all rolled into one. 

easy homemade tandoori chicken

My version of tandoori chicken calls for a large amount of chicken as you will see below but this way you can prepare the marinate the chicken ahead of time and freeze some for later. Just thaw a batch in the refrigerator before you are ready to cook. Freezing the chicken in batches is also a great way to save some time over the week. Serve your tandoori chicken with flatbreads such as naan, roti or rice, a refreshing salad and some plain yogurt. 

My instructions here are for the oven but you can also toss these on the grill to cook them. 

Good accompaniments to this dish are: Cucumber Mint Raita, Pumpkin Raita, Quick Onion Relish 

Recipes for Naan can be found here: Skillet Naan and Garlic Naan, Spelt Skillet Naan

easy homemade tandoori chicken

homemade tandoori chicken

yields: 6lbs chicken drumsticks

ingredients

6lbs chicken drumsticks

2 cups plain yogurt

1/2 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed

1 cup red onion, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup beet, peeled and chopped 

4 garlic cloves, peeled

2 inch piece ginger root, peeled and diced

1 teaspoon green cardamom seeds

2 teaspoons cumin seeds

2 tablespoons turmeric powder

2 tablespoons coriander seeds

12 black peppercorns

1 tablespoon paprika

12 whole cloves

4 dried red chilies (I used Kashmiri chilies but feel free to use any spicy kind you prefer/you can also substitute with 5-6 fresh red/green thai chili peppers)

1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon kosher sea salt

extra lemons for serving

1. Remove any skin from the chicken, rinse under cold water and pat them dry with a clean paper towel. Make two deep slits across the flesh of each chicken drumstick and keep aside in a large mixing bowl.

2. Using a food processor/blender/immersion blender, pulse all the ingredients from the yogurt to the salt until completely smooth. Pour the marinade over the chicken and coat the meat evenly. Cover with cling film and allow to marinade in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours (maximum overnight) before cooking. (At this point you can do what I did if you don't want to cook all 6 lbs of chicken, I divided the marinaded chicken after 2 hours and froze half of it in a ziploc bag, the rest I kept to marinate). 

3. Place one wire rack in the middle of the oven and another rack closest to the top and preheat to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place about 6 pieces of the chicken drumstick about an inch apart from each other. Pour about 1-2 tablespoons of the left over marinade from the chicken over each piece of meat and cook in the oven on the middle rack for about 30 minutes, turning the chicken pieces over half-way through the cooking. The chicken is cooked when the internal temperature reaches 160F. At this stage, immediately switch the broiler on and transfer the rack with the chicken to the top shelf. Broil for about 3-5 minutes until the chicken pieces get slightly charred. Remove the chicken drumsticks and place in a plate, cover and allow to rest for 2-3 minutes before serving. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over the tandoori chicken before serving. Cook the rest of the tandoori chicken drumsticks and serve similarly.

indian walnut curry

Indian walnut curry #indian #curry #walnut #food #foodphotography #foodstyling

This is one of those recipes where it's easy to make, there are a few "shortcuts" and the end result is delicious. But before we get to the recipe, let me just take a moment to talk about the mathematical wonder that is a Romanesco broccoli (technically it's a cauliflower and not a broccoli). But those damn fractals, they get me every single time! (for some reason they remind me of pine forests on a globe)

Indian walnut curry #indian #curry #walnut #food #foodphotography #foodstyling
Indian walnut curry #indian #curry #walnut #food #foodphotography #foodstyling

Now let's get back to this curry, this is definitely a very different type of Indian curry that I've shared with you. The base of the curry is made with walnuts and then seasoned with a melange of spices to create a rich and creamy sauce. Arkhot (walnuts in Hindi) curry is a rather easy dish to prepare, I use a few shortcuts here because it makes life easy and when you're short on time, you can use a rotisserie chicken like I did. Since rotisserie chicken is precooked you don't need to cook it for too long in the walnut curry base which is helpful because ground nut pastes can burn quickly so stir it carefully and often.

I realize that it might be hard for some of you to find a Romanesco but you can substitute the same amount of cauliflower or broccoli florets in the recipe. I decided to boil the Romanesco because I wanted a tender texture to go with the soft chicken otherwise I felt it might be too complex. If you're vegetarian you can skip the chicken and chicken stock (use vegetable stock) and add a couple of chopped carrots and peas as the meat replacement. 

Indian walnut curry #indian #curry #walnut #food #foodphotography #foodstyling

I ended up serving this with some left over walnut bread that I picked up from the Tartine bakery but if you want to keep the dinner Indian themed, serve it hot with Indian rotis, naan or plain rice.  

Indian walnut curry #indian #curry #walnut #food #foodphotography #foodstyling

walnut (arkhot) Curry with romanesco and chicken

yields: 4-6 servings

ingredients

2 teaspoons kosher sea salt

1 lb romanesco, cut the florets

1 lb rotisserie chicken

2 cups (4 7/8 ounces) chopped raw walnuts 

4 cups low sodium chicken (vegetable) stock

2 cloves of garlic

1 inch root of ginger, peeled and chopped

1/2 cup red onion, chopped

1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds

2 green Thai chili peppers (use one if you prefer it less hot, you can also leave the seeds out)

2 cloves

4 black peppercorns

1/2 " piece cinnamon stick

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 tablespoons walnuts toasted for garnish (optional)

1. Add 1 teaspoon of the salt to a large pot of water to boil. Add the romanesco florets to the water and boil for about 8-10 minutes until tender. Test with the tip a knife to make sure the florets are tender but not overcooked. Remove the florets and drain the excess liquid. Keep aside.

2. Separate and shred the meat from the rotisserie chicken, discard the skin. Keep aside.

3. In a food processor, add the 2 cups of walnuts, 2 cups of the chicken stock, garlic, ginger, onion, cumin, chili, cloves, peppercorns and cinnamon. Pulse until you get a fine and smooth paste. You might need to add more stock to keep things moving in the blender. 

3. Add the vegetable oil in a large non-stick pan or cast iron skillet and heat on a medium-low flame. Add the ground walnut paste and cook for about 1 minute with constant stirring. Add the remaining chicken stock and remaining salt and stir together. Bring the contents to a boil and constantly stir the contents of the pan as the walnut paste can burn easily. Immediately reduce the flame to a gentle simmer, fold in the chicken and romanesco florets, cook for one minute. Remove from flame and garnish with toasted walnuts and serve immediately.

Note: You can adjust the consistency of the curry to suit your preference by adding a little more stock. Don't make it too thin or it will be very runny.