Thursday, January 19, 2012

Indian Style Pilaf

I think the book (which one, I forgot. look up Madhur Jaffrey) intended for the chicken and the pilaf to be served together, so I might as well share the pilaf recipe, too. I would be careful if you choose to use ground spices in lieu of some of the whole ones. You would probably have to use very little, as the effect you're going for is subtle and fragrant. Also, I specified a sweet onion to give the pilaf something to directly contrast with the spicy chicken. Trust, it's worth it.

  • 1 cup basmati rice (or other long grain rice)
  • 1 medium sized sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter (or vegetable oil)
  • 4 whole cardamom pods
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tsp salt

In a medium-sized pot over medium-high heat, saute the onion in butter until golden. Add the cardamom pods, cinnamon, cloves, turmeric and bay leaves and saute for 2 minutes or until your kitchen begins to smell like a buttery spice market. Add the rice and stir for another two minutes so that all the grains are coated. Add the water and salt, bring it to a boil, then turn the heat down to the lowest setting and cover. Let it simmer undisturbed for 20 minutes and then take it off the heat. Keep covered until ready to serve, at which point you can fluff with a fork. It's really fluffy!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Madhur Jaffrey's Spicy Indian Chicken

I loved this dish so much that I'm going to actually share a recipe! I don't normally cook Indian food at home because I don't like handling so many spices and oil over a stove, especially turmeric, but this one cooks in the oven. It's fast, and it's incredibly easy.

So much thanks to my friend Stephen for sharing. Here's the recipe as I have adapted it for my pantry. I would use more freshly ground spices if I had a grinder. Working on it!

  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp smoked hot paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground pepper
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • juice of one very large juicy lemon
  • 4 leg-thigh pieces of chicken, skinned and cut apart
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil

Combine cumin, paprika, cayenne, turmeric, pepper, salt, garlic and lemon juice and mix into a paste. Rub the paste all over the chicken pieces until they're well coated. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit in the fridge for several hours (I did this late at night and waited until the next day around lunchtime to cook).

Let the chicken temper for about half an hour before cooking.

Preheat the oven to 400degF. Place the chicken pieces on a baking dish and brush with the oil. Bake for 20 minutes, turn the pieces over and bake for about 20 minutes more or until done. Transfer to a serving platter and let rest for at least 5 minutes before serving with rice pilaf.

If you want to save all the tasty bits in the baking dish, add a little water and stir over high heat on the stove until the sauce comes together and is a bit reduced. If the dish isn't stove safe (like glass), add the water and place back in the oven, stirring occasionally until you reach the desired consistency of a sauce.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Homemade Pork Ribs in NY

I hate when I make something delicious and forget to photograph it because I'm so caught up stuffing my face. It's my last night in New York visiting family and friends. These two weeks have been kinda crazy. Yesterday my mom pointed at a huge package of frozen pork ribs in the freezer and told me I had free reign. Sure! Three giant racks of ribs? I didn't really put too much thought into a recipe (like I ever?), but I put something together with what was in the house.

1:30pm - Rinse and pat dry the ribs. Salt generously then rub with white pepper and Chinese five spice powder.

1:45pm - Place on a foil lined cookie sheet. Put in the oven at 450deg F.

2:15pm - Cover tightly with foil and then lower oven temp to 275deg F.

4:45pm - Check on ribs. OMFG it's really tender and tastes great even though it wasn't pre-rubbed or marinated.

5:00pm - Prepare sauce. Mom had frozen some super ripe pineapple a few months ago. Took 2 cups of that, pureed it in the Magic Bullet, then mixed in 1/2 cup Chinese BBQ Sauce, 1/2 cup soy sauce, and a 1/2 cup honey. Brushed the sauce on the ribs. Re-cover.

6:00pm - Remove foil cover, baste, and set oven to broil. Move oven racks up. Baste every 3 minutes until toasty and toasted looking.

6:15pm - Remove from oven. Let sit for a few minutes under tented foil. EAT.

You simple cannot avoid the amount of time it takes to cook ribs, but this was seriously very little effort for a whole lot of amazing product. Tender, fall-off-the-bone meat that was really porky with a nice crispy  and savory crust. You can't ask for much more. Except maybe for it to be smoked, but there's where more labor comes in. I'll settle for this.