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Chicken & Cherry Tomato Balti

20 Aug

This is a delicious quick chicken curry; sweet, sour and aromatic full of flavour but not too hot. Chicken breast is marinated in a mixture of sour tamarind, sweet tomato, sesame seeds and coconut then cooked quickly in a karhi or hot wok with some wonderful aromatic Indian spices and fresh cherry tomatoes. Serve with rice for a simple family meal or with breads, raita and a potato or vegetable side dish for a great dinner party.

  • 1 tbsp tamarind concentrate
  • 4 tbsp tomato passata or 4- 6  tomatoes crushed and pushed through a sieve
  • 4 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp chilli powder or to taste
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp ginger paste or grated ginger
  • 2 tsp garlic paste or crushed garlic
  • 2 tbsp desiccated coconut
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin, roasted and ground
  • 1.5 tsp coriander, ground
  • 1 lb chicken, thigh or breast meat
  • 5 tbsp veg oil
  • 25 curry leaves
  • ½ tsp nigella seeds
  • 2-3 cardamom pods
  • 3 large dried chillis
  • ½ tsp fenugreek seed
  • 10-12 cherry tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp fresh coriander
  • 2 fresh green chillis, sliced

Put the tomato passata and tamarind in a bowl along with the chilli powder, salt, sugar, ginger, garlic, coconut, sesame seeds, cumin and coriander. Stir well then add the chicken cut into bit size pieces stir well to coat then set aside. (at this point you could leave the dish in the fridge until it is time to eat so it is a great one to prepare in advance for dinner with friends so that you can concentrate on them and not cooking). Heat oil in a wide pan or wok and when hot add the curry leaves, nigella seed, dried chillies, and cardamom a few seconds later add the fenugreek seeds and fry until aroma rises. Lower heat and gently add the chicken along with the sauce, stir well and simmer gently for 12-15 mins. Add the fresh tomatoes and green chillies cook for 3 mins or until the cherry tomatoes begin to burst then add the coriander stir and serve.

Source  This recipe originally came from a book called  The Definitive Cook’s Collection of Indian Recipes by Shehzad Husain and Rafi Fernandez  that my um bought for Rachel. I liked the idea of up front prep then fast cooking method so have adapted it over the years. NB original recipe called for 4 tbsp tomato ketchup but I could not bear to use it myself, so I use pasatta or pureed fresh tomatoes.


Chicken Dumpling Soup (Thai)

22 May

Chicken and rice dumplings simmered in a spicy coconut broth with vegetables.

I came up with this recipe when I wanted to make  Tom Kha Gai or chicken in coconut soup but I did not have enough chicken to feed everyone so I used rice to mix with the chicken and make tasty dumplings instead.  Delicious!

For the dumplings

  • 1 cup cooked cold white rice
  • 1 chicken breast
  • fresh coriander
  • 1 clove garlic
  • garlic chives or spring/green onions
  • a splash of fish sauce
  • a splash of soy sauce or pinch of salt
  • pinch freshly ground white or black pepper
  • 1 red or green chilli minced (optional)
  • 1 egg white
Bung the whole lot in a food process and pulse or finely mince all the ingredients together. Take a heaped tsp at a time, shape into balls then drop into the hot broth gently. The dumplings will rise to the surface when cooked, in about 5-7 minutes.
For the soup broth
  • chicken stock
  • 1 tin coconut milk
  • red chilli sliced
  • sliced galangal
  • 1 stalk lemon grass
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves
Put the ingredients for the soup broth into a roomy pan and bring to a simmer, drop the dumplings in to cook. After 5 minutes or so add some green vegetables. As soon as the vegetables are just cooked the soup is ready to serve. Check the seasoning and add a dash of fish sauce and / or a squeeze of lime to taste, ladle into bowls and scatter with a bit of fresh coriander, a few slices of red chilli or sliced spring onions.
Vegetables Use any green vegetables for colour and flavour such as green beans, runner beans, asparagus, garden peas, broccoli, mangetout peas, cabbage or pak choi
Noodles I sometimes serve this soup over noodles to make more of a meal of it. It is best to cook the noodles seperately to ensure that they don’t get over cooked any kind of oriental noodle works well, soba, vermicelli, yellow wheat noodles or big fat rice noodles. Just put a serving into each bowl and ladle the soup over them.
Tip To make your own stock simmer chicken bones with an onion, galangal, lemongrass and a few peppercorns.

Spicy Chicken Wings (Thai)

7 Aug

Delicious wings marinated in coriander seed and leaf along with chilli, lemon, garlic and black pepper. Cook over coals or under a grill and cook until crisp. Serve as a main dish with rice or salad or one or two pieces as a starter.

Marinade for about 600g of chicken.
  • 4-6 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp pepper flakes
  • 1 tp coriander seeds, crushed
  • lemon zest & juice of half lemon
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • coriander leaf, minced
  • 2-3 tbsp fish sauce (optional)

Prick the chicken pieces with a knife or sharp fork to help get the flavours into the wings and lay in a dish. Mix the marinade ingredients together and pour over the chicken and rub into each piece. Leave in a cool place to marinate over night or for at least 4 hours.
  1. Barbecue When the barbecue coals or grill are good and hot, put the pieces over the hot coals.  Turn and brush with any remaining marinade until the chicken is cooked and the skin is crisp, about 10-15 mins depending on the size of the chicken pieces and heat of the coals.
  2. Grill Cook under a hot grill for 15-20mins, checking and turning, until the chicken is cooked and the skin is crisp.
  3. Oven Roast Put pieces on a rack over a baking tray and brush with marinade. Bake in a preheated oven 220c/Gas 6 for 15-20mins until the chicken is cooked through and golden brown.
Cooks Tip
Mix up the chicken and marinade in a plastic bag as it will make it easier to rub the marinade in and to carry it out to the barbecue.

Chicken and Leek Soup

11 Nov

We eat a lot of soup, well made soup can be great; healthy, tasty, seaonal and easy to make. Using leftovers from a roast chicken this soup turned out to be a real winner, delicious and warming with a hint of Spanish luxury. I’ve also added rice to give it that extra carb power and make a substantial lunch. Perfect for a cold autumn day.

  • Chicken leftovers
  • olive oil
  • 1-2 litres home made chicken stock
  • 1-2 tbsp verdurette or 1 tsp of celery salt
  • 2-3 large leeks
  • 1/2 cup rice
  • pinch of saffron and/or paella mix
  • flatleaf parsley
Clean and slice the leeks. Pick over the chicken and chop the meat. Put a tiny bit of olive oil in a large soup pot add the sliced leeks with a pinch of cracked black pepper and a pinch of sea salt. Sweat the leeks slowly then add the rice, stir to coat, add the stock, verdurette or celery salt saffron or paella spice mix and chicken. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until the rice is cooked.
Cooks Note Paella is very popular in the south of France and ready ground spice blends are available everywhere.

Chicken Curry (red)

13 Oct

There must be as many chicken curries as there are kitchens and this is mine, it is red from paprika, tomatoes and pureed red peppers. Simple robust and a great winter dish. I make it in a slow cooker so that it is ready at the end of the day but you could also cook it in an oven or the stove top in a heavy pan in less time.

  • 1 free range chicken
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 1 stick cinammon
  • 2 large onions
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 4cm piece of ginger
  • 4 tomatoes
  • 2 hot green chillis
  • 3 dried hot chillis
  • 2 tbsp red pepper paste
  • water

1/4 tsp black pepper corns
1 tsp cumin seed
1/2 tsp fenugreek seed (optional)
1 tsp fennel seed
1 tsp coriander seed
4 cloves
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp turmeric
Wash the chicken and butcher into small portions. Dust the chicken with 1/2 tsp salt and 1 tsp turmeric and set aside while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. To make the masala grind the whole spices to a powder then add the paprika and turmeric. Grate or blitz in a blender the ginger, garlic and onion, the paste will give the curry a thick sauce, if you don’t want a thick sauce just chop the onions, ginger and garlic. Peel and chop the tomatoes. De-seed and chop the fresh chillis.
In a large wide pan heat a little vegetable oil and fry the chicken pieces, turning until they are browned on all sides, then remove and lay in a large cooking pot (a heavy bottomed stove top, a slow cooker or covered oven dish; something that can cook the curry slowly for several hours). Into the same pan the chicken came out of put the cardamom pods and cinnamon stick, then add the onion paste and fry until golden and the raw smell has cooked out. Add the masala powder and fry for two or three minutes add the tomatoes and chillis, both fresh & dried and add a little water. Stir to mix well then tip the whole lot over the chicken pieces. Stir, cover and cook for 4-6 hours in a slow cooker or 1-2 hours on the stove or in the oven. Serve sprinkled with coriander and along with rice or chapatis.

Variations I sometimes add a little anis powder, mace blades or grated nutmeg to the masala. This recipe makes a fine chicken curry without the tomatoes and peppers too but it won’t be red.

Cook’s Note Add enough water to cover the chicken if using stove top or oven methods. If using a slow cooker you only need to use a little water as the slow cooker retains most of the liquid. In the winter months I use frozen or bottled tomatoes. If you don’t have red pepper paste just add a fresh sweet red pepper or jar of preserved red peppers when making the onion paste.

Chicken in Spiced Yogurt Sauce

23 Sep

A quick fragrant dish of chicken cooked in Indian inspired spices with a coriander and yogurt sauce. I would normally use chicken breast or leg meat off the bone for this dish, if you use chicken pieces on the bone it will take longer to cook.

Serves 2 or 4 with other dishes

  • 3 tbsp oil 
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped 
  • 2 green peppers 
  • 2cm cube of ginger, grated 
  • Green Coriander Seeds 
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed 
  • 4 hot green chillis (or to taste) 
  • pinch salt 
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper 
  • 2 large chicken breasts 
  • 2 big handfuls of coriander leaves washed and chopped 
  • 1 tsp garam masala 
  • 1-2 tubs plain yogurt 

Heat oil to a high heat in a large cast iron pan or wok, fry onion until it is starting to brown then add the green peppers, garlic, ginger, salt and pepper, stir and fry for a minute or so. Cut the chicken breast into bite size peices and add this to the pan, fry quickly to seal and cook for 3-4 minutes until the chicken is nearly cooked. Reduce the heat, sprinkle in the fresh coriander leaves and seeds and spoon in the yogurt slowly stirring to encorporate stir and simmer gently for one or two minutes until the sauce is warmed through and the chicken is completely cooked. Serve with rice and a side vegetable dish.

See Indian Recipes for more recipes for dals, vegetable dishes, curries, Indian breads, chutnies pickles and relishes.

Chicken Curry (Jalfrezi)

20 Aug

A great summer or early autumn curry of caramelised capsicum, combined with tender chicken, fresh sweet tomatoes and coriander leaf. It is a light, fragrant and fairly delicate dish the star of which are the peppers so use the best you can find. It also makes a great vegetarian curry leave the chicken out or use potatoes, aubergines or squash instead.
Serves 2-4 Marinade 1 hour or overnight Cook 20minutes

  • 300g chicken breast
  • marinade
  • 3cm piece of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 4-5 fat cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp sweet red paprika powder
  • 1 tsp home made garam masala
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

  • 3 tbsp peanut oil
  • 1 large onion, minced
  • 300g peppers a mix of sweet, medium and hot to taste
  • 8 dried curry leaves, crumbled (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin (optional)
  • 3 large tomatoes peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1-2 fresh hot chillis, thinly sliced (optional)
  • 1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves

Slice the chicken breast into bite size pieces and put them into a bowl, along with the marinade ingredients and mix to make sure the chicken is well coated. Set aside for an hour or overnight for the flavours to penetrate the chicken. Heat the oil in a large heavy pan, when it is very hot add the onions and peppers and fry stirring over a high heat until the vegetables are cooked and starting to blacken at the edges 10mins, add the curry leaves and marinaded chicken and stir fry until the chicken becomes opaque then add the chopped tomato and cook for a few more minutes until the tomato is soft and the chicken is just cooked through. Stir in the coriander and fresh chilli slices, serve with chapati breads or rice.

Cook’s Tip Most of the cooking in this dish is done before the chicken and tomatoes are added, the chicken should only just be cooked through and the tomatoes soft but still fresh tasting. Whatever you do not overcook the chicken or it or it will become hard, rubbery and ruin the dish.

Recipe Source There is no authentic source for his recipe I just took the idea of a jalfrezi because it is one of my favourite Indian restaurant dishes, but this one is pretty unique because of the peppers I grow. I’ve used sweet green peppers, sweet red peppers, mildly hot paprika peppers, medium hot red and green chillis, yellow sweet peppers and super hot yellow chillis because I wanted the peppers to be the real flavour of this dish.

Masala Roast Chicken

5 Aug

Masala means a mixture of spices in Indian/Pakistani cooking and that is where the inspiration for this dish comes from. One thing we really miss about England, living in France, is Indian/Pakistani food. We have tried the few Indian restaurants near here but the food was, on all occasions, disappointing if not inedible. This dish has no authentic origin as far as i know, I made it up, and is just a nod to the taste of home.
Serves 4 prep 6mins cook 45mins

  • 1 whole chicken jointed or 4 chicken legs

Masala Paste

  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp mustard oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 heaped tbsp black mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp home made garam masala

Make the paste by combining all the ingredients either in a food processor or in a mortar. Put the chicken in an oven dish and make 3 slashes in each leg with a sharp knife. Rub in the masala paste into the chicken making sure it is well coated. Set aside for at least 1hour. Heat the oven to 200c and bake covered with foil for the first 30mins then remove and continue baking for another 15mins to crisp the skin. Serve with rice and a vegetable dish.

Grilled Mustard Chicken

29 Jul

Chicken pieces are first marinaded in a spicy, pungent mixture of garlic, mustard, chilli and turmeric then cooked in the oven, grill or barbecue. This dish works equally well with Indian food or served with a simple salad or rice and a vegetable on the side.
Serves 6 Marinade overnight cook 45min

  • 1 chicken or 6 chicken pieces
  • 1 tbsp yellow mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp mustard powder
  • 3-6 cloves Garlic
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp hot chill, roughly ground (or to taste)
  • 1 tsp coarse sea salt
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 2 tbsp mustard oil

Joint the chicken into 6 pieces, score the pieces with a knife right down to the bone so that the spices will go right through the chicken. Mix the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl and put the chicken in with the spices. Rub the chicken pieces well to make sure the spices get into all the creases cover and put in the fridge to marinade for at least 24 hours.

Grilled Chicken Wings (Thai)

19 Jul

I love oriental style grilled chicken particularly the wings when grilled over coals and cooked until crisp. These ones are marinated in lime, chilli and Thai basil. Thai basil has a deep peppery aniseed flavour it is delicious and really worth growing.  Serve as a main dish with rice or salad or one or two pieces as a starter.

Marinade for about 600g of chicken.
  • Handful of Thai basil shredded
  • rind and juice of 1 lime
  • 3 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
Prick the chicken pieces with a knife or sharp fork and lay in a dish. Pour the marinade over and rub into each piece. Leave in a cool place to marinate over night or for at least 4 hours.
  1. Barbecue When the barbecue is good and hot, put the pieces over the hot coals and brush with the marinade as they are turned until the chicken is cooked 15-20 mins depending on the size of the chicken pieces and heat of the coals.
  2. Grill  Cook under a hot grill for 15-30mins, checking constantly and turning so as not to burn them, until the chicken is cooked through and the skin is golden brown.
  3. Oven Roast Put pieces on a rack over a baking tray and brush with marinade. Bake in a preheated oven 220c/Gas 6 for 20-30mins until the chicken is cooked through and golden brown.