Bindya Bedi’s chicken curry

Adapted from The Age and read at NewsELA

  • 1 kilogram chicken thighs 

Ingredients for the marinade:

  • 2 tablespoons of ginger garlic paste 
  • 1 squeeze of lime 
  • 1 teaspoon of salt 
  • 1 tbsp ghee

Ingredients for the curry:

  • 1/4 cup of neutral oil (coconut oil or ghee, my pref)
  • 4 medium-sized brown onions, peeled and roughly chopped 
  • 10 cloves of garlic, peeled 
  • 2 cm piece of ginger, peeled and finely diced 
  • 1 to 2 green chillies (we used 1 Jalapeño chili pepper)
  • 1 tablespoon of cumin seeds 
  • 2 bay leaves 
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick 
  • 4 to 5 cardamom pods 
  • 8 to 10 peppercorns 
  • 4 to 5 cloves
  • 4 tomatoes, or 1/2 a cup of tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder 
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder 
  • 2 tablespoons ground coriander 
  • 1 teaspoon ground garam masala 
  • Salt, to taste 
  • cilantro, to garnish

Directions:

  1. In a large glass bowl, marinate the chicken thighs in the ginger garlic paste, lime juice and salt. Cover and set aside for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, use a mortar and pestle (or food processor?) to grind the onions, garlic, ginger and green chillies to a paste and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pan and add the cumin seeds. Roughly pound all of the whole spices (bay leaves, cinnamon, cardamom, peppercorns and cloves) and add to the oil. Once they start to make popping sounds, add the onion paste. Heat over a low flame, stirring occasionally, until reduced to a golden-brown paste and the oil starts to separate. 
  3. Next, add the tomatoes, salt to taste, turmeric, red chili powder, and ground coriander. Cook until the tomatoes just start to form a paste. Add the chicken, garam masala and 1/2 cup of water. Bring the curry to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover with a lid and continue to cook over a medium heat.
  4. After 20 to 25 minutes, uncover the pan and cook for another 15 to 20 minutes until the water evaporates and the curry starts to thicken. Once the curry is ready, switch the flame off.
  5. Serve with your choice of naan or basmati rice and top with fresh cilantro leaves, if desired.

I read this in a NewsELA article, which I subscribed to as a science teacher. They offer loads of readable current news, including in science and health and social justice. Some changes from the original recipe: we used organic coconut oil, although I would have been equally happy with ghee. We speeded things up with using a garlic press and grater for the ginger for the marinade paste, and added a coconut oil to keep the chickens moist. I ran out of whole cloves, so I added some black mustard seed for appearances. And rather than the mortar and pestle method for the onion-garlic-ginger-chili mixture, we used a smoothie blender. We did use the mortar and pestle to grind the whole spices though! Make sure you turn on your ventilation — these are some powerful aromas when you start frying!

***Marinade reminder: we mixed ACID (lime) + SALT + OIL (ghee) + HERBS/SEASONINGS/SUGAR (ginger / garlic) + TIME (30 minutes).***

~Jessica

Baked chicken shawarma and rice

Adapted from Recipe Tin Eats

Ingredients:

Spice Rub

  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (optional — I will omit next time)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Black pepper
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
  • 5 chicken thigh fillets, bone in, skin on (~ 2 lbs / 1 kg)
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion , finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves , minced
  • 1 1/2 cups long grain rice, uncooked (I used Jasmine)
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth (or water)
  • 2 cups water
  • 3/4 – 1 tsp salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp cardamon powder
  • 2 cinnamon sticks (or 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder)
  • 400g (14oz) can chickpeas , drained
  • Yoghurt (plain)
  • Cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F.
  2. Mix the spice rub ingredients together in a small bowl. Slather onto the chicken, covering both sides. Marinate for at least 1 hour (up to 24 hours).
  3. During this time, we prepped the rest of the ingredients. Mince the garlic, dice the onion, fancy up the yogurt garnish with lemon + garlic + salt + pepper, etc.
  4. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the chicken, skin side down, and cook for 5 minutes on each side, or until light golden brown.
  5. Add garlic and onion. Cook for 2 minutes until translucent.
  6. Add rice and stir so the grains are coated in oil and become a bit translucent.
  7. Add remaining ingredients. Place the chicken on top – it should be half submerged with the skin above the surface. Pour in the juices from the plate as well.
  8. Bring to simmer, then place a lid on (or cover with foil) and transfer to oven.
  9. Bake for 35 minutes, then remove the lid and bake for a further 10 minutes.
  10. Remove from the oven. Let it rest for 5 minutes.
  11. Remove chicken from the rice and mix the rice quickly (to distribute flavor).
  12. Serve, garnished with cilantro and plain yoghurt.

This popped up because I was looking for a one skillet pan, to try my new Dutch oven my sister had recommended! I recommend omitting the cayenne / red pepper flakes unless you really really like spicy. The other spices already added so much variety and aroma.. Jesse really liked this one — so much that he went and made it for his family ASAP. Highly recommend!

~Jessica

Shrimp fried rice

Adapted from Just One Cookbook

Ingredients:

  • 6 shrimps (100 g or 3.7 oz; shelled and deveined)
  • 1 leaf iceberg lettuce (30 g or 1 oz)
  • 1 green onion/scallion
  • 2 Tbsp neutral-flavored oil (canola, etc)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil (roasted)
  • 1 tsp sake (subbed with Shaoxing wine)
  • ¼ tsp kosher/sea salt (use half for table salt)
  • 2 cups cooked Japanese short-grain rice (preferably day-old cold rice)
  • ⅛ tsp white pepper powder
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp soy sauce

Directions:

  1. Cut shrimp into ½ inch (1.3 cm) pieces.
  2. Cut iceberg lettuce and scallion into small pieces.
  3. Gently whisk the egg in a small bowl.
  4. Heat wok until surface almost smoking, add the oil and spread it around till it coats the surface evenly. Add the egg and cook over high heat. The egg will not stick to the pan as long as you put enough oil. Quickly mix it with a spatula and when it’s 80% cooked, take it out and put on a plate.
  5. In the same wok, add shrimp and then sake and salt. Cook until shrimp change color outside. The inside doesn’t have to be cooked through at this time. Take shrimp out onto the plate.
  6. Add sesame oil and cook scallion, stir until nicely coated with oil.
  7. Add the rice and break up the chunks of rice. Toss the wok and mix well together.
  8. When rice is coated with oil, put the egg and shrimp back in the wok again and toss all together. Add lettuce, white pepper, freshly ground black pepper, and soy sauce. Toss the wok frequently and mix it all together. Serve immediately.

But just in case anyone forgets, limit your seafood intake (if you’re concerned about mercury, by all means), because of this: Will the ocean ever run out of fish? I’m a huge fan of TedEd videos, especially in education. Feel free to sub with chicken, or tofu instead, just make sure to marinate the chicken well ahead of time (salt and pepper, minimum), or fry the tofu. Consumer decision has huge influence on overfishing practices. I used 1/4 lb. of “sustainably farmed” shrimp (although Thai — carbon footprint) from Whole Foods, used 2 eggs instead of just one, and subbed the sake with Shaoxing rice wine. Probably could have used 2-3 lettuce leaves for more veg.

~Jessica

Punjene tikvice

Adapted from LMU München. Serves 4-6. Step by step photos and video here.

Ingredients:

  • 2 small onions, minced
  • 500 g ground bison (sub for beef)
  • 4 tablespoons oil
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 70 – 80 g rice (uncooked)
  • Salt, pepper, “Vegeta” seasoning, paprika
  • 4 tomatoes
  • 4 zucchini, halved lengthwise
  • Potato slices for closing the zucchini (optional)
  • 150 mL white wine
  • 200 mL tomato puree
  • 2 tbsp. ketchup
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp. sour cream
  • 150 g. Trappista cheese (or gouda)

Directions:

  1. Filling: Fry the 3/4 of the onion (minced carrot optional) in oil. Add the meat, then the wine, season with salt and pepper, and stir. Cook until the liquid evaporates. Add the tomato puree, ketchup, 2 dL of water, and simmer over medium heat for 20 minutes.
  2. Zucchini: While the filling cooks, cut in half and scrape out the seeds from the zucchinis with a small spoon until you have a boat. Save the insides for later. Blanche the zucchini in salted water for 3 minutes each. While this is blanching, take the reserved zucchini innards, chop them fine, then add half of it to the meat sauce. 
  3. Salsa: Peel the tomatoes, chop it fine. Sauté it in olive oil and 1/4 of the onion and garlic. Add spices to taste. This “salsa” is finished after cooking 15-20 minutes.
  4. Roux: In a separate bowl, whisk 1 egg and 2 tbsp. sour cream and some Vegeta seasoning.
  5. Layer the tomato sauce in the bottom of the baking pan. Then place the zucchini on top. Fill each zucchini half-full with the meat and cap off with a thin slice of potato (optional). Pour 2-3 tbsp. of roux over each. Sprinkle with the grated cheese.
  6. Bake at 200 deg. C (392 deg. F) for 20-30 minutes, until a golden color is achieved.

There were many suggestions from the PhD student who shared this recipe that varied from the original recipe, like adding raw rice to the meat (like arroz con pollo), which we did do, along with diced bacon, which we did not. Their roux also involved heating 50 ml of oil, then adding flour spoonful by spoonful until a pudding consistency is achieved (~ 15 seconds), as well as a half a teaspoon of paprika, while the faux roux we did was much easier. The zucchini in the other recipe was cooked in a pot of boiling water, so that the water didn’t touch the inside filling, but sort of steam cooked it? Which was confusing, so baking it seemed much more straightforward.

Serbian stuffed zucchini is not anything I’ve had the privilege to try before, but it looked like all ingredients I would be into. We used one big red onion instead of two small white onions because it was on sale, and is healthier, but then I forgot to reserve some for the tomato sauce. We used ground bison instead of beef, Roasted Chicken Base instead of Vegeta, vinho verde instead of white wine, did not have tomato puree, and used leftover cheddar and Monterrey Jack cheese instead of Trappista cheese. Phew! We barely finished it in time before 8pm Pub Trivia virtual, and I blame the line at Hannaford market. Not as much a hit as the chili and soup this week, but still excellent.

~Jessica

Taiwanese fried rice

Adapted from Michelle Ferng and Farm to Table Baby Mama

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups cooked white rice, cooled overnight in fridge
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup Chinese sausage / bacon, cooked and finely chopped (can sub with mushrooms, quartered)
  • 1 large garlic, finely minced
  • 1/2 cup carrots, roughly chopped or diced
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • other vegetables (corn, chopped lettuce, spinach, etc.)
  • 4 stalks scallions (about 10 shoots total), chopped into 1/8″ segments
  • vegetable oil
  • sesame oil
  • soy sauce
  • rice or sherry wine (optional)
  • white pepper (optional)
  • salt

Directions:

  1. Heat up skillet over high heat. Add a drizzle of grape-seed oil or other neutral vegetable oil.
  2. Add garlic and then white and light green scallions to infuse the oil. Slightly sauté until the garlic turns golden.
  3. Once oil is ready, add the cooked rice and use a spoon or rice paddle to break up the rice and mix with the garlic and scallions. Add the salt and pepper. Mix.
  4. Fold in the veggies and dark green scallions.
  5. Pour the eggs over the rice and continue to mix until the egg and mixture is dry. Taste and top with extra slices of veggies.
  6. Serve hot

Fried rice (蛋炒飯, dàn chǎofàn) is an amazing standby, the perfect comfort food. I had spinach, and I garnished with just a bit of kimchi for some zing. With the pandemic shelter-in, I’m developing a fondness for eating preserved vegetables at my own pace (getting too many vegetables usually means some portion of rot before I can finish it on my own).

~Jessica

Chicken katsudon

Adapted from my favorite The Woks of Life

Plated

Ingredients:

  • 2x Applegate Farms chicken patty – sub for the typical pork katsu
  • 1/2 cup dashi stock or chicken stock (I used Better Than Bouillon vegetable base)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Mirin (didn’t have, subbed with rice wine)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 servings steamed white rice (I wanted Taiwan noodles instead)
  • 1 scallion, chopped (wish I had)

Directions:

  1. Carefully lay the chicken patty in the hot oil and cook for 5-6 minutes on one side, until golden brown. Flip and cook the other side for another 5-6 minutes. Drain on a plate lined with a paper towel.
  2. While the pork is resting, add the stock, sugar, soy sauce, and Mirin to a small bowl. In another bowl, lightly beat 2 eggs. Add a tablespoon of oil to a pan over medium heat, and add the sliced onion. Fry the onions until they’re translucent and slightly caramelized.
  3. Pour the stock mixture over the onions. Slice your tonkatsu into pieces and place on top of the onions.
  4. Drizzle the eggs over everything.
  5. Cook over medium low heat until the egg is just set. Serve over bowls of steamed rice, and garnish with scallions.

COVID-19 shopping has been wack, so I randomly picked up the not-on-sale chicken patties, because why not live a little. Chicken Katsu (チキンカツ) is probably not the same, but beggars can’t be choosers, and everywhere is closing down, or running out of supplies. I made this last week, but have been so busy with work I’m posting it now (when I’m ready to cook something new tonight!)

-Jessica

Ginger fried rice II

Adapted from The Woks of Life

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Heat your wok over high heat. Add ¼ cup oil to the wok and heat over medium-high heat. Add the ginger and fry until fragrant (the color will darken, but the ginger will not necessarily become crisp). Next, add the garlic. It should be lightly toasted; if it’s still white in color, it needs more cooking time. In total, it will take about 10 minutes time to cook the ginger and garlic.
  2. Next, turn the heat up to high and add the rice to the wok. Stir-fry the rice so the ginger-garlic mixture is evenly distributed. Spread the rice out in one layer so it can evenly toast. Occasionally stir-fry the rice and re-spread it. Next, season the rice with the soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, and white pepper. Continue to stir-fry for another 3-5 minutes.
  3. Next, pour the eggs evenly over the rice, and stir-fry quickly to distribute. The egg will coat the grains of rice, and you’ll have egg throughout instead of large clumps. If you’d prefer to pre-scramble the eggs and then stir them in at this step, you can do that too.
  4. I added some frozen vegetables (green peas to be exact) and pieces of soy sauce-stewed chicken my grandmother made.
  5. Add the scallions, stir-fry to combine, and serve!

I didn’t have shrimps. I ran out of scallions. I have been trying to be healthy cooking at home instead of always eating frozen dinners or Starbucks. It is hard though!

~Jessie

Tex-Mex chicken burrito (bowl)

Adapted from Mexican Please and My Latina Table

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup pico de gallo or fresh salsa (I chopped a Roma tomato and Vidalia onion to make one quick)
  • 1 14-ounce can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 6-7 chicken thighs, seasoned, baked, shredded
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 burrito-size flour tortillas
  • 1 1/3 cups cooked white rice, warmed
  • 1 1/3 cups shredded Monterrey jack cheese (I used mozzarella and cheddar)
  • Guacamole, for serving (whenever possible)
  • sour cream

For the Guajillo Salsa:

  • 3 Tomatoes
  • 1/4 Onion (white)
  • 2 cloves garlic (large)
  • 1/4 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1/4 cup Chicken Stock
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Pepper (to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin
  • 1/2 tsp Paprika

For the baked Mexican chicken:

  • 2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 juice of 1 lime (about 3 tablespoon)
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • 1 white onion, sliced (substituted from jalapeno — baby can’t handle too spicy)
  • 6-7 chicken thighs
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil (I used peanut oil)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 cup pico de gallo and peppers if you have on hand (we didn’t); cook until the mixture starts to sizzle, about 2 minutes. Add the beans and 3/4 cup water; bring to a low boil, then stir in the chicken and cook until the mixture is slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Stir in the cilantro and season with salt.
  2. Heat the tortillas as the label directs. Arrange the rice horizontally in the lower half of each tortilla, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border on all sides. Top evenly with the cheese, chicken mixture, sour cream and the remaining pico de gallo.
  3. Fold the bottom edge of each tortilla snugly over the filling, tuck in the sides and roll up tightly. Cut the burritos in half and serve with guacamole.

For the Guajillo Salsa:

  1. Roast the tomatoes, onions, and garlic together on a frying pan until slightly browned. 
  2. Put the tomatoes, onions, and garlic into a blender with the spices, the chicken stock, and the whipping cream and blend until smooth. (No blender, hence the orange sauce with tomato and onion you see in the photo — great topping for leftovers!)

For the baked Mexican chicken:

  1. In a small bowl, mix together chili powder, ground cumin, onion powder, dried oregano, paprika, garlic powder, lime juice, olive oil, sea salt, apple cider vinegar, cilantro and sliced onions.
  2. Place chicken thighs in the bowl and toss marinade over thighs. Mix well together. Let the chicken marinade in the refrigerator for 20 minutes or overnight. (We did it promptly.)
  3. When ready to cook, preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  4. Heat coconut oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Place chicken thighs skin side down and cook until skin begins to get crispy and slightly light brown, about 10-15 minutes.
  5. Flip thighs over, transfer skillet to oven and bake for 10 minutes. Season with more salt and pepper to taste and garnish with more cilantro and onion slices if desired.

My sister Jennifer likes easy to make meals, as a mother of two. She had some chicken thighs defrosting in the fridge, ready to go, so I tried to go extra authentic Mexican on this Tex-Mex favorite. I used the spice mixture from Isabel Eats to bake the chicken 35 minutes. Next time I’ll make the arroz rojo properly. To make the Goya black beans, I followed the back of the can recipe. So really this was three separate recipes: the baked Mexican chicken, the Guajillo salsa, and the black beans. Not bad for Spring Break full on meal.

~Jessica

Risi e bisi

IMG_20180804_180040.jpgAdapted from NYTimes and Simply Recipes

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced fine (or 3 shallots, if you have them)
  • 1/2 carrot, minced
  • 2 cups arborio (or carnaroli) rice
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1.5 boxes of hot chicken broth
  • some pancetta, diced (we used cooked pulled pork)
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
  • shucked English peas, about 1-2 cups
  • 1/2 red bell pepper
  • 2-3 brown mushrooms (porcini preferable)
  • pea tendrils or shoots (or use baby spinach) — didn’t use but sounds fab
  • chopped parsley
  • grated Parmesan

Directions:

  1. Melt butter in a heavy, wide saucepan over medium high heat. Add onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Or cook at lower heat for longer time.
  2. Stir in rice and season with salt and pepper. Continue cooking for 2 minutes, until translucent. Add the minced carrot and sliced garlic.
  3. Add the white wine, stirring, until it evaporates.
  4. Add 2 ladles of hot chicken broth (simmering in a separate pot, you can also dilute by rinsing the container with water) and bring to a brisk simmer. Cook 6 minutes, stirring regularly as broth is absorbed. Add 2 more ladles of broth and cook for another 6 minutes, until rice is cooked through, but firm. Every time all of the liquid is absorbed, add more stock — do not let dry out!
  5. Add pancetta (or prosciutto or pork of your choice) and cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add minced bell pepper, stir to coat and cook 1 minute. When you get to this last cup of water, add the peas and chopped mushrooms. Season generously with salt and pepper. Add 1/2 cup broth and simmer until peas are done, about 2 minutes. Add pea tendrils and cook until just wilted, about 1 minute.
  6. if the rice is still crunchy, don’t stop – you want the rice to be a little al dente, but not so much you’re gnawing on raw grain.
  7. Mix pea mixture with rice mixture and gently stir together. Add enough broth to keep rice a bit soupy. Check seasoning. Stir in parsley, lemon zest and Parmesan.
  8. Serve immediately.

Visiting family, wanted to use up the arborio rice I found in the back of their cupboard. They also had bought chicken stock in bulk so…

~Jessica

Risotto ai funghi

Adapted from Memorie di Angelina

250 g Arborio, Vialone Nano or Carnaroli risotto rice
25 g salted butter
1 small (150 g) white onion, finely chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/2 litre of vegetable/chicken stock
200 g of porcini mushrooms, fresh or about 50 g dried
a small bunch of flat-leaved parsley (I had dry thyme)
1 cupful of white, dry wine
100g freshly grated Parmesan Reggiano cheese

Soak dried mushroom in hot water for 20 minutes or, if fresh, chop up. Heat half the butter and olive oil in the saute pan over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook until fragrant. Heat the stock in a separate pot. Now toast the rice in the pan for a couple of minutes, stirring until coated in the oil. Add the wine and stir to evaporate. Now begin ladling the stock into the rice one ladle at a time. Continue stirring the rice and adding stock each time the liquid begins to dry up. Add the mushrooms. If you run out of stock, and need to cook the rice more, substitute the broth with hot water to avoid over-saltiness. When the rice grains are still al dente, add the rest of the butter, the parsley, and  freshly grated cheese. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.

~Jessica