I was in a mood to bake something different, something savoury. And I did not want to go by any established recipe. It had to be something original; it was my own ‘invention test’ (MasterChef hangover, can’t help).
I looked around the kitchen and the fridge and collected a few ingredients to start with — flour, eggs, boneless chicken, onions buttermilk et al. As I got on the job, the list went longer.
When I put the dish in the oven to bake, I was wondering if I wasted my one hour. But then, with so many good ingredients, a good amount of effort and above all a good intention going into it, the result could not be bad, could it?
Why don’t you check out for yourself?
Food for Thought: Chicken Bread
Flour: 1 cup
Butter milk: 1/2 cup
Brown sugar (ground to dust): 2 tea spoons
Olive oil/butter: 1 cup
Boneless chicken: 250 g
Ginger: 1 inch, chopped
Garlic: 3-4 cloves
Green chillies: 1-2, chopped
Dried oregano: 1 teaspoon
Chilli flakes: 1 teaspoon
Baking powder: 2 teaspoons
Sant and pepper: To taste
Processed cheese: 2 cubes
Olives: 4-5 (optional)
Preparation: Cut the chicken into small pieces. Heat oil in a pan and fry the onions till golden brown. Add the chillies, ginger, garlic and the chicken and cook it dry with salt, pepper, oregano and chilli flakes. Once the chicken is cooked, grind it and set aside. Sift the flour with baking powder, and mix in the brown sugar and salt and beat it smooth with the oil. Now whisk in the egg, butter milk and add the ground chicken mix and continue beating. If the mixture is still too thick, add another egg or soda water. Mix in the cheese cubes cut into small pieces. Once the batter is ready (it should fall from a spoon in dollops), pour it in a greased cake tin and put it in the oven preheated at 180 degrees C. Bake for around 30-40 minutes, or till the upper crust is golden. Keep checking by inserting a toothpick.
Last words: You can use grated cheese too, but the chunks taste heavenly when you bite into the bread. When the cake is in the oven and is only half-ready, and the upper crust is still soft, you can take it out and sprinkle sliced olives and chopped garlic on it, before putting it back. The olives and garlic will remain on the surface this way and you won’t need any special garnish for this savoury cake.
I WAS tired of the masala chicken that our cook prepares for us. So, when I was to venture into the kitchen last Saturday, I was sure it was not going to be the red chicken curry today.
I was making pasta for dinner and wanted a chicken dish to complement that. A recipe that I had read a couple of days on a food blog came to my mind and I made up my mind to try that.
The core ingredient of the dish is chicken, of course, but the dominating taste is that of the two great citrus beauties — orange and lemon — all intermingled. It is superbly easy and needs few ingredients — all usually available at home.
Food for Thought: Orangy lemony chicken
Chicken breast: 4 pieces
Onion: 1 (small), finely chopped
Garlic: 3-4 cloves, finely chopped
Capsicum: 1 (small), finely chopped
Coriander leaves: 1 tablespoon, finely chopped
Chicken stock: 1 cup
Orange juice: 1 + 1/2 cup
Lemon juice: 2 big lemons
Salt & pepper powder: To taste
Olive oil: 2 teaspoons
Preparation: Pound the chicken breasts a little and marinate them with salt and pepper powder. Fry the pieces after making a few holes in them with the help of a fork. Set aside once half cooked. In the remaining oil, shallow fry the garlic, onions and capsicum. Now add the orange juice and the stock. Once it boils, put the chicken pieces and let the juice reduce. Add the lemon juice and coriander leaves and serve hot with risotto or any pasta or bread.
Last words: If you don’t have chicken stock, you can use the Maggie cubes available in the market. Don’t worry if you don’t find the cubes either, just use water. You can also use small boneless pieces of chicken instead of breasts. In fact, the original recipe had pork as the core ingredient. You can find it here: http://rantingchef.com/2012/07/25/time-for-pulp-baby/
I OWE my love for baking to MasterChef Australia. Before that, cakes or nankhatais were all that I would put my oven to use for. If my horizon has expanded, it is all thanks to MasterChef Australia.
I was actually thanking the Star World show last week when I confidently served freshly baked shepherd’s pie to a guest and had him floored. Ah the creamy and cheesy and silky mashed potatoes that melt in your mouth, making way for the spicy meat underneath it to be savoured — this is one dish that makes my holiday.
The shepherd’s pie I make is inspired by the recipe of the one-and-only Gordon Ramsay. I am calling it ‘my’ because I use chicken, and not lamb, because chicken cooks faster and time is something short in supply thanks to my 11-month-old who demands all my waking hours when I am at home. Also, I have to use dried herbs because I just don’t know where do you get fresh ones.
Here goes the recipe.
Food for Thought: Shepherd’s Pie
Ingredients (for the mash):
Potatoes: 4 (medium)
Cream: 2 tablespoons
Butter: 2 tablespoons
Egg yolks: 1
Parmesan cheese: 3 tablespoons
Ingredients (for the filling):
Ground chicken: 250 g
Carrot: 1 (grated)
Onion: 2 (grated)
Capsicum: 1 (grated)
Dried rosemary: 1 tea spoon
Dried thyme: 1 tea spoon
Garlic: 4-5 cloves (minced)
Tomato: 2 (ground)
Red Wine: 1/2 cup (optional)
Chicken stock: 1/4 cup (optional)
Preparation: Peel the potatoes and mash them into a smooth paste, adding salt, pepper powder, cream, butter and the egg yolk. Clingwrap or just cover the bowl and set aside. In a pan, heat olive oil and throw in the grated onions, followed by the grated carrot and capsicum, garlic and the dried herbs. Cook for a while and add the ground chicken. Now put the tomatoes, followed by the wine and the stock. Add salt and pepper and cook till it reduces and completely dries up. In a greased oven-proof dish, layer the bottom with this meat. Now, spoon the mash on top of the meat and spread it evenly. Sprinkle grated cheese on the top and poke holes using a fork. Send the dish into the oven pre-heated at 200 degrees C and bake for 20-odd minutes, or till the top is brown. Serve hot. It tastes so yummy that I salivate as even I write about it. Thank you Gordon Ramsay for this!
Last words: To avoid lumps in the mash, grate the boiled potatoes instead of mashing it manually. Feel free to go without the wine and the chicken stock, use water instead. And just in case you were thinking what to do with the separated egg white, here is a suggestion: add it to the meat mixture, it will only add texture to the taste. You will love it.