Low on Patience: Mint Coriander Roasted Chicken

Sometimes being low on patience while cooking is a good thing; it results in a no fuss recipe. I came up with this marinate recipe while trying to think up of food to pack for Arvind to take to St John’s. A week later when he actually roasted the marinated chicken, he called to me to let me know that the chicken was yummy. Ironically that day was Valentine’s Day and Arvind is a good flirt!

Mint Coriander Roasted Chicken – serves 3
10 chicken drumsticks
3 tbsp of oil

25 sprigs of fresh coriander
5 sprigs of fresh mint, leaves picked
4 – 5 cloves of garlic
2 inch piece of fresh ginger
3 – 4 green chilies
6 tbsp yogurt
3 tbsp chickpea flour (besan)
2 tsp coriander powder
1½ tsp garam masala
½ tsp cardamom powder
½ tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp salt

1. Put all of the marinate ingredients into a blender and blend until you have a fine paste.
2. I like to skin the chicken drumsticks but you don’t have to. Cut slits into the chicken drumstick. Mix the marinate into the drumsticks and let it rest for at least 30 minutes.
3. Pre-heat the oven to 400ºF on broil.
4. Grease a baking tray with 1 tbsp of oil. Then place the marinated chicken onto the baking try and drizzle another tbsp of the oil onto the chicken.
5. Place the chicken into the oven. After 15 – 20 minutes, flip the chicken drumsticks and drizzle rest the oil onto the chicken. Remove from the oven after 15 – 20 minutes. Garnish with fresh lemon slices. Serve with rice and a side of yogurt.

Thai Chicken Satays and Cucumber Onion Sauce

I use to shy away from serving satays / kebabs to houseguests because it takes too long to skewer the meat. This week we had Paru and uncle over for dinner and I was determined to find a quick way to skewer chicken. That’s when I discovered this video. When I tried it the, chicken pieces turned out to be of different sizes. The larger pieces turned out fine, but the smaller pieces were overcooked and dry.

So the next day I decided to come up with my own technique. I slice the thicker side of the breast off and then skewer the pieces of the chicken. Everyone at home agreed that this time the chicken was not overdone.

Thai Chicken Satays
adapted from Jamie Oliver’s Meals In Minutes
1 1/2 tbsp peanut butter
1 tsp soya sauce
1/3 bunch of coriander
2 cm piece of fresh ginger
1 tbsp of chilie garlic paste*
1 lime

4 chicken breasts
2 – 3 tbsp honey
pinch of salt

Soak the skewers in water to prevent them from burning.

Set the oven to boiler at high or 500ºF. Cut the chicken breast and skewer it as mentioned above. Flatten the chicken by lightly tapping on it using a knife or a rolling pin. This will increase the surface area of the meat and decreasing cooking time. Add all the marinate ingredients to a blender. Blend the ingredients and add about 3 tbsp of water so that the mixture is runny. Line a baking tray with foil and then place the chicken skewers in it. Sprinkle salt onto the chicken and then pour the marinate over it. Massage the marinate into the chicken using your hands.

Place the tray into the oven on the middle rake. After about 8 – 10 minutes remove the tray from the oven. Glaze with honey, flip the chicken and then glaze the other side. Place the tray back into the oven. Keep an eye on the oven as chicken breasts cook fast and the oven is very hot. After another 6 – 8 minutes remove the tray from the oven. Serve with Cucumber Onion Sauce.
* Garlic chilie paste can be replaced with chopped red chilies

Cucumber Onion Sauce
adapted from Thai Food Tonight
1/2 cup of white vinegar
1/4 cup of sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 cup of chopped cucumber
1/4 cup of chopped red onion
2 chopped jalapenos
bunch of chopped coriander

Cook sugar, vinegar, and salt in a pan over low heat. Once the sugar is dissolved, let the sauce cool to room temperature. Then add chopped cucumbers, onions, jalapeno, and coriander to the sauce.

My verdict: To me finding a shortcut in the kitchen is like getting a super power. A few extra minutes spent on slicing the chicken breast was worth the difference it made in taste.

A lunch story: Thai Chicken Fried Rice

Basil Thai Chicken Fried Rice

Vikkie is always looking for different lunch options to take to work. So I made him Thai Chicken Fried Rice with Basil. I had leftover basmati rice, and decided to use that instead of jasmine.

Even though this was my first time making fried rice from start to finish, it only took me 30 – 35 minutes. I took Jamie’s advice and assembled all the ingredients before starting the cooking process.

When cooking a recipe for the first time, I have a tendency to forget the next step. So I always try to come up with an approach to remember the steps. Today, I arranged the ingredients on the counter, in the sequence that they are to be used. This way I stayed focused on the hot wok instead of trying to figure out what to do next.

My verdict: Almost a meal in itself, this 30-minute recipe is a keeper. Especially since I usually don’t have jasmine rice at home and this works fine with basmati rice.

How do you BBQ chicken drumsticks?

BBQ chicken Technique

Having a balcony to BBQ was a must when we were buying an apartment. If I marinate chicken drumsticks on the weekend, then we are guaranteed home cooked meals for most weeknights. For me, well-barbecued chicken has three distinct qualities:

1. Does not stick to the grill: I grease the grill with oil that has a high smoking point. Avoid dripping any oil onto the flame else it will catch on fire.

2. Has good sear marks: Good searing happens at ~450ºF. I have a dual burner, so I set one side to high and keep the other side on low. I grease the grill and quickly place the chicken on the direct heat side. After a couple of minutes, flip the chicken to get sear marks on the other side. Once the chicken is seared, I move it to the indirect heat side.

3. Is moist and juicy: A bowl of water or a can of beer, on the grill, keeps the humidity level high which keeps the chicken moist. Cooking the chicken over indirect heat will retain those juices.

My verdict: External influences like temperature and wind affect the technique. But, once you have spent the time to figure out a technique that works then you can tweak it based on that day. Let us know if you have any other tricks for a perfect barbecue.