Thursday, 14 March 2013

Cheat's Pilau

My cheat's pilau is exactly that- cheating your way to making a short version of the spice filled rice but tastes just as yummy and requires hardly any effort at all !

Traditionally in pilau you have several spices, it's often made for big family get togethers and can be quite time consuming, but this recipe really doesn't take up much time and is a definite winner with my girl friends when we're having a get together.

The amounts below will serve 4-6 people and it goes well with practically any curry but really compliments my recipe for saffron chicken

so to make Cheat's Pilau you'll need

5 cups basmati rice
9 cups fresh boiled water
1 large onion
1 tsp cumin seeds
1bay leaf
small piece of cinnamon
1 bay leaf
3 cloves
1 star anise
2 tsp salt

  • start by slicing your onion as finely as you can, then add into a large heavy based pan with some oil and on a high heat you need to cook the onions till they are dark brown. (You will need to stand by the pan to keep your eyes on the onions as you want them quite dark but not burnt.
  • Add in your bay leaf, and cumin seeds. On a medium heat, cook until the cumin seeds have slightly browned, pour in your water then add in your salt, cinnamon paprika & food colouring. 
  • When the gets to boiling point, add in the rice. Boil the rice until almost all the water has absorbed, lower the heat and place a lid on the pan- cover the lid with a tea towel*
  • leave to rest on a low heat for about 20-30 minutes, remove the lid and fluff up with either a fork or gently with a fish slice and serve !

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Saffron Chicken

In my last post Sweet Chilli Chicken Noodles I mentioned about chicken making regular appearances at our table and having to find different ways to cook with it. This a is one of those recipes that is just that. I like to serve it as a starter for guests but if we're having it for our main meal it's great with salad on the side or with a bit of my cheat's pilau

For this recipe I've used a whole leg piece per person, as chicken on the bone really does give you more flavour, but if you prefer you can use chicken breast - one per person is more than enough. To serve 4 people you will need :
         large pinch of saffron 
         50ml/2fl oz boiling water
         4 chicken legs / chicken breasts
         1 green chilli (chopped)
         1/2 tsp coriander seeds
         1 bay leaf
         1 inch piece cinnamon stick
         1 tsp smoked paprika
         2 tsp mustard seeds
         250ml of greek style yogurt
         2 tbsp flaked almonds 
  • Start by combining the saffron & water in a bowl and leave to soak. Next make  a few small cuts with a knife in the chicken (this helps the chicken cook through )  then in a large frying pan, heat a little oil, add your salt and green chillies and stir on a medium heat till the chillies have slightly softened.
  • Add your chicken and brown on both sides - you can do the pieces in batches rather than all in one go.
  • Once the chicken has browned, remove from the pan and put aside. In the same frying pan on a low heat add the coriander seeds, bay leaf, cinnamon & paprika. Stir for a couple of minutes.
  • Add the mustard seeds to the pan, when they start to pop, put the chicken pieces back in, add the yogurt & saffron water, (and the strands) stir through and cover. Leave to simmer on a low heat for about 40 - 50 minutes 
  • toast the almond flakes by putting them in a small frying pan and stirring on a low heat for no more than 2 minutes - keep your eye on them as they catch easily ! Garnish the chicken with the almond flakes & serve 

** if you'd like the sauce slightly thicker simmer for an extra 15/20 minutes  

Friday, 8 March 2013

Sweet Chilli Chicken & Noodles

Today's post is one of those dishes that comes about from just experimenting with bits that are either left overs from the day before or just plain & simply ingredients that need to be used up as they are about to expire - I really am one of those 'waste not want not' types.

Chicken  definitely makes regular appearances at our table, so I've always got some in the freezer and am always trying to do something different with it. This recipe was literally made with 10 ingredients, which was eaten for tea and we even had left overs which served as lunch the next day

Now this recipe technically isn't an Asian dish, but it does have a touch of spice ! The 10 ingredients you will need are :

2 x 300g pack of pre cooked noodles

1 kilo / 2 lb chicken breast - cut into chunks/strips
1 medium onion
1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes/powder
BBQ sauce
1/2 yello sweet pepper
1 tbsp sesame seeds 
coriander to garnish (optional)

  • start by dicing your onion, then fry till golden brown on a medium heat in a heavy based pan or wok, when the onions have browed, add your chicken and cook till browned and no pinkness remains.
  • add the chilli flakes and pepper. Sprinkle in a pinch of salt, lower the heat and stirring occasionally,  cook till the  pepper has cooked but still has a slight crunch. (soggy peppers for me are a no )
  • add a good squirt of honey and BBQ sauce of your preference. Keeping on a low heat, add in the noodles, stir through.
  • at this point I normally do a taste test to see if I want to add more honey, sauce or chilli flakes.
  • finally sprinkle over the sesame seeds and coriander & serve