Feast from the East – Clay Pot Chicken Rice

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (February 2017) and taken from “Malaysia : Recipes from a Family Kitchen” written by MasterChef 2014 winner, Ping Coombes.

It’s mesmerizing watching street vendors make this dish with 10 charcoal stoves on the go.  They place the pots with rice on top of the hob, which gives the dish its smokiness.

Claypot chicken

Serves : 2

Ingredients :
3 dried shiitake mushrooms
150g boneless chicken thighs, sliced
1 tblsp vegetable oil
10g fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 Chinese sausage (lap cheong), sliced
4 tblsp sweet soy sauce
1 tblsp light soy sauce
3 tblsp water
200g jasmine rice
Birds-Eye Chilli and Soy Dip and Stir-Fried Lettuce, to serve (Optional)

For the marinade :
1/2 tsp light soy sauce
large pinch of caster sugar
1/2 tblsp cornflour

Step One : Put the dried shiitake mushrooms in a bowl, cover with cold water and set aside to rehydrate for 2 hours.  You can speed up the rehydration by covering them with just-boiled water.  Drain the mushrooms, squeeze them to discard any excess water and cut off and discard the stalks.  Quarter the mushrooms and set aside.

Step Two : Meanwhile, put the chicken in a bowl and add the marinade ingredients.  Stir and leave to marinate for at least 20 minutes at room temperature, or 2 hours (covered) in the fridge.

Step Three : Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the ginger and garlic and fry until fragrant, then add the sliced sausage and fry for a further minute.  Add the marinated chicken and the mushrooms to the pan and continue to fry until the chicken turns opaque.  Add half the sweet soy sauce and all the water.  Continue to fry for 2 minutes more (the chicken needs to be nearly cooked through).  Set aside.

Step Four : Wash the rice in cold water and drain, then repeat twice with fresh cold water.  This will get rid of excess starch.  Transfer the drained rice to the clay pot, then fill it with water, until the water sits about 2.5cm above the rice.  Bring it to the boil over a medium heat, then turn down to a low simmer.

Step Five : For about 10 minutes, once the rice has absorbed nearly all the water, put the chicken mixture on top of the rice and cover the clay pot.  Continue to cook on the hob over a low heat for a further 10-13 minutes.  The rice will form a crust at the bottom of the pot.   If using:  serve with Bird’s Eye Chilli and Soy Dip and the Stir-Fried Lettuce on the side.

Mushroom and Chicken Risotto

Risotto rice gives this updated classic a deliciously creamy texture.

Serves : 4

Prep time : 15 mins
Cook time : 40 mins

Ingredients:
12oz (350g) chicken breast
3oz (75g) butter
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
6oz (175g) button mushrooms, quartered
11oz (300g) risotto rice
Salt and pepper
2 1/2pt (1.4 litre) hot chicken stock
2 tblsp (30ml) chopped fresh parsley

Step One : Cut the chicken into dice sized chunks. Melt half the butter in a large saucepan, add the onion and garlic and fry gently for 2 minutes.

Step Two : Add the chunks of chicken and the quartered mushrooms and fry together for about 5 minutes.

Step Three : Stir in the risotto rice and season well. Add 1/4pt (150ml) of the chicken stock and stir well. When the liquid has completely absorbed, add more stock, stirring continuously. Add all the stock in this way, letting it evaporate fully before adding more (after 20 minutes, the rice should be soft and swollen).

Step Four : Remove mixture from the heat and stir in the remaining butter and parsley. Season to taste and serve hot.

Thai Chicken Curry

Serves : 4

Ingredients:
175g (6oz) open mushrooms
6 spring onions
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, about 125g (4 ½ oz) each
1 tblsp olive oil
4 level tsp thai red or green curry paste
150ml (¼ pt) water
2 tblsp light soy sauce
400ml (2/3 pt) can coconut milk
Salt and ground black pepper
Fresh coriander to garnish

Step One : Wipe the mushrooms clean with damp kitchen paper. Cut each mushroom in half, then each into four.

Step Two : Trim 6 spring onions just above root end then peel away outer layer. Cut off the dark green leaves. Cut diagonally into 5mm slices.

Step Three : Using a small sharp knife, and working on the cutting board, cut 4 chicken breasts and fillets into bite size pieces.

Step Four : Heat 1 tblsp oil and 4 tsp curry paste in a large frying pan. Add the chicken and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes.

Step Five : Pour in the water, the soy sauce and the contents of the can of coconut milk and bring to the boil, stirring to mix thoroughly.

Step Six : Stir in the mushrooms, spring onions, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for about 8 minutes or until the chicken is cooked. Serve garnished with coriander.

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Easy Paella

You can make and serve this great family favourite all in the same dish

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Serves : 6
Prep time : 40 mins
Cook time : 50 mins

Ingredients:
¼ tsp saffron
900ml (1 ½ pints) boiling chicken stock
8 chicken thighs, skinless
225g (8oz) chicken or turkey sausages
1 tblsp paprika
2 tsp sunflower oil
¼ tsp chilli powder
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1 red pepper, deseeded and chopped
2 courgettes, sliced
250g (9oz) American easy cook rice
400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 tblsp sun-dried tomato paste or ordinary tomato puree
125g (4oz) stuffed green olives
2 tblsp parsley, chopped

Step One : Dissolve saffron in boiling stock. Coat the chicken and sausages with paprika. Heat oil in a large pan, add chicken, sausages and chilli powder and brown for 5 mins. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Step Two : Fry onions, garlic, pepper and courgettes for 10 mins. Add rice and stir for 1 minute, then mix in tomatoes, tomato puree, olives and 1 tbsp parsley. Pour on the stock, stir and return the chicken and sausages to the pan. Bring to the boil.

Step Three : Simmer paella uncovered for 30 mins, then sprinkle with the remaining chopped parsley and serve immediately.

Tip: Turkey or chicken sausages have only half the calories of the traditional pork and beef sausages and they’re really tasty too.

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Blackened Hot Chicken Breasts

Blackened chickenServes: 6

Ingredients:
6 skinless boneless chicken breasts
6 tblsp butter or margarine
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp sweet paprika
1 ½ tsp salt
½ tsp white pepper
1 tsp ground black pepper
¼ tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried thyme

Step One : Slice each chicken breast piece in half horizontally, making two pieces of about the same thickness. Flatten slightly with the heel of your hand. Melt the butter or margarine in a small saucepan.

Step Two : Combine all the remaining ingredients in a shallow bowl and stir to blend well. Brush the chicken pieces on both sides with melted butter or margarine, then sprinkle evenly with the seasoning mixture.

Step Three : Heat a large heavy frying pan over a high heat until a drop of water sprinkled on the surface sizzles. This will take 5-8 minutes. Drizzle 1 tsp melted butter on each chicken piece. Place them in the pan in an even layer, two or three at a time. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the underside begins to blacken. turn and cook the other side for another 2-3 minutes. Serve hot.

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Chicken Stuffed with Mango & Ginger

Serves: 6

Ingredients:
6 chicken breasts
1 ripe mango, sliced
1 tsp root ginger, finely grated
Juice of 1 lime
2 shallots, finely chopped
25g butter
1 small carrot, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tsp coriander seeds
3 cardamom pods
1 tsp cumin seeds
3 cloves
1 tsp ground cinnamon
225g crème fraiche
Salt and pepper

Step One : Preheat oven to 190oC/375oF/Gas 5.

Step Two : Slice the pockets of the chicken breasts to enlarge the cavities for stuffing, then season. Fill the cavities with slices of mango (reserving a little for garnishing) and half the ginger. Sprinkle lime juice over the chicken and bake in individual buttered tin foil parcels for 20 minutes.

Step Three
: Meanwhile, sweat the shallots in the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add carrot and garlic and remove from the heat.

Step Four
: In a grinder, crush the coriander seeds, the seeds from the cardamom pods, the cumin seeds and the cloves.

Step Five : Add this spice mixture, the cinnamon and the rest of the ginger to the pan. Stir well and then liquidise with the crème fraiche.

Step Six
: Return to the pan to gently reheat. Remove the chicken breasts from their parcels and pour over the spicy sauce.

Step Seven
: Garnish with mango, lime slices and coriander leaves.

Orecchiette with Broccoli, Chicken Sausage and Harissa Paste

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (Spring 2019) and taken from Skinny Pasta by Julia Azzarello.

This dish is a healthier version of the traditional sausage and broccoli because it is made with lean chicken. It still packs a lot of flavour into one meal, especially with the zing of harissa and lemon.

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Serves : 4

Ingredients:
250g chicken sausages, removed from casings and cut into 2 cm chunks
320g dried orecchiette or 400g fresh
125g Tenderstem broccoli, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 tblsp olive oil
2-3 garlic cloves, sliced
2-3 tblsp harissa paste
2 tblsp chopped parsley
1 lemon, cut into wedges
40g Parmesan cheese, grated

Step One : Saute the chicken sausage chunks in a non-stick pan for about 3-4 minutes, until cooked through. Drain on kitchen paper and set aside until needed. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil, add salt and cook the pasta for 1-2 minutes less than the packet states, or until just al dente.

Step Two : Add the broccoli to the pasta for the last 2 minutes of its cooking time. Drain, reserving a little of the cooking water.

Step Three : Meanwhile, heat a frying pan over a medium heat, add the oil and garlic and cook for 1 minute, then remove from the heat.

Step Four : Add the pasta, broccoli and sausage chunks to the pan and toss with the harissa paste and a little of the reserved pasta water. Serve in bowls with a squeeze of lemon and a sprinkle of grated Parmesan and parsley.

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Tastes of Ghana – Ghana-Fied Caesar Salad

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (June 2017) and taken from Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen by Zoe Adjonyoh.

How about putting a little extra bag into everyone’s favourite dish, the classic Caesar salad, with some tasty Ghanaian ingredients?

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Serves : 4

Ingredients:
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
1 heaped tablespoon Jollof Dry Spice Mix
1 tblsp rapeseed oil
5-6 dried smoked herring, soaked in boiling water for 30 minutes, or 1 can of anchovies
1 large Cos (Romaine) lettuce, leaves separated and roughly chopped or torn into large pieces
1 tblsp sustainable palm oil or carotene oil, for drizzling

For the croutons:
4 thick slices of hard dough bread (butter bread), or crusty white bread
4 tblsp rapeseed oil or olive oil

For the dressing:
50g (1 3/4 oz) Parmesan, shaved
5 tblsp Shito Mayo
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 tblsp white wine vinegar
1 tblsp rapeseed oil and olive oil

Step One : Make the croutons. Preheat the oven to 180oC / 356oF. Cut the bread into 2-3 cm cubes and spread on a tray. Sprinkle over the oil and some sea salt, then toss together. Bake for 7-8 minutes, turning halfway so that they brown evenly. Remove from the oven and set aside.

Step Two : Season the chicken with the Spice Mix in a bowl, then add the oil and toss.

Step Three : Heat a frying pan, add the chicken and fry for about 4 minutes on each side. Set aside. Drain the fish and break up into smaller pieces.

Step Four : For the dressing, mix half the cheese with the Shit Mayo, garlic and vinegar in a bowl. Loosen with the oil and season to taste with sea salt.

Step Five : Put the lettuce in a large bowl and scatter over the chicken with half the croutons. Add half the dressing and toss together lightly. Top with the remaining chicken, croutons and fish, then drizzle with the dressing. Sprinkle the cheese on top and, or a dash of Ghanaian flavour, drizzle over the palm oil. Serve.

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Mixed Grill (Meshwi)

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (August 2017) and taken from Syria: Recipes from Home by Itab Azzam and Dina Mousawi.

Syrians love a barbecue and it can occur anywhere; in a park or even by the side of the road!  Place a metal grilling rack over two stones with charcoal underneath and that’s all you need to start making the juiciest meat dishes you can imagine.

Beef or veal ribs is one of the most popular cuts.  You can grill any cut of chicken and, for lamb, the neck or shoulder is the best.  These grilled meats and chicken are usually eaten with flatbread brushed with pepper paste and thinly sliced onion mixed with parsley and sumac.

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Serves : 4

Ingredients for the 7 spices (Baharat Mix)
1 tblsp each ground cardamom, ground cinnamon, ground cumin, ground coriander, ground black pepper
½ tblsp each ground cloves and ground nutmeg

Ingredients for the beef kebabs
½ onion, quartered
Handful of parsley
250g minced fatty beef
½ tsp 7 spices (Baharat Mix)
¼ tsp Pomegranate Molasses
1 tsp salt

Ingredients for the Lamb Skewers
250g diced leg or shoulder of lamb
5 small green peppers, deseeded and cut into chunks
2 small onions, quartered
4 tomatoes, quartered

For the chicken skewers
3 tsp oil
3 garlic cloves, crushed
½ tsp 7 spices (Baharat Mix)
¼ tsp cardamom
2 chicken breasts, diced
1 small onion, quartered
1 tomato, quartered
5 baby green peppers

Step One : Heat the oven to 200oC / 400oF / Gas Mark 6. First make the beef kebabs. In a food processor, mix the onion with the parsley. Tip out into a bowl with the minced meat, add the other ingredients and mix together well with your hands. Wrap the beef around metal skewers, then roast in the oven for 4-10 minutes or grill for 4 minutes on each side.

Step Two : For the lamb skewers, thread the lamb pieces onto the skewer, alternating with pieces of pepper, onion and tomatoes. Season, then cook under a preheat grill for 4 minutes on each side.

Step Three : For the chicken skewers, mix the oil, garlic and spices in a bowl. Season, add the chicken and vegetables and combine. Thread the chicken and vegetables onto the skewer, then grill for 4 minutes on each side.

Roast Chicken with Pomegranate, Pancetta and Brandy

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (Dec 2015) and taken from At Home with Umami: Home-cooked recipes unlocking the magic of super-savory deliciousness by Laura Santtini.

This is a real showstopper, especially if you are generous with the brandy.  Serve with basmati rice steamed with cardamom pods to make the rice extra fragrant.

Chicken and pomegranate

Serves : 4

Ingredients:
3 tblsp olive oil
1 medium chicken, jointed into 8 pieces by a butcher
3 shallots (2 quartered, 1 chopped finely)
1 bunch fresh sage
4 garlic cloves
30g dried porcini mushrooms, soaked in 250ml boiling water, drained and chopped
4 medium pomegranates
25g butter
100g pancetta
generous splash of brandy
250ml double cream
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
basmati rice, to serve

Step One : Preheat the oven to 180oC (350oF) Gas 4. Heat the oil in a cast-iron casserole dish over a medium-high heat. Add the chicken and brown on all sides. Season.

Step Two : Once browned, remove from the heat. Add the quartered shallots, half the sage, garlic and the liquid from the mushrooms. Replace the chicken, cover with a tight-fitting lid and roast in a preheated oven for 1 hour.

Step Three : Meanwhile, deseed the pomegranates by slicing them in half and bashing them with a wooden spoon over a bowl so that the seeds fall out. Crush the seeds slightly with a potato masher to release their juices.

Step Four : Take out the chicken and pour the pomegranate juices into the pan, reserving the seeds for later. Pop the chicken back into the oven.

Step Five : Make the sauce. Heat the butter in a medium saucepan over a medium heat. Once it has melted, add the chopped shallot and cook until translucent. Add the mushrooms, the rest of the sage and pancetta, and cook until the pancetta begins to crisp and the fat melts. Once the chicken is cooked, pour off its sauce into the mushrooms pan. Cover the chicken with foil to keep it warm.

Step Six : Add the brandy and the double cream to the sauce. Simmer until the sauce has reduced enough to coat the back of a spoon, then pour it back over the chicken, sprinkle with the reserved pomegranate seeds, and serve immediately with bowls of hot basmati rice.