Thursday, June 20, 2013

Goan Style Chicken

I got this idea for Goan Style Chicken from the knowledge that in Goa, in the west part of India, was populated by Portuguese long ago. Goa is one of the few places in India that uses recipes for pork or beef. Another ingredient I have seen in marinades is vinegar, which gives a nice piquancy. With these things in mind, along with a love of all Indian spices, I threw together a marinade for some chicken I had. I used cilantro, some onion and garlic, along with some of the more common spices such as coriander, cumin,  cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and a little curry powder, moistened with coconut oil and vinegar.

Goan Style Chicken, baked
The first time I tried making this recipe was shortly after moving in to our new home and things were such a mess that I couldn't even get the grill out of the garage, much less use it in the spring showers we were having at the time. So, this first time, while the marinade smelled heavenly, once baked it left a lot of liquid in the baking sheet, so the chicken was more steamed than baked or roasted. Don't get me wrong - it was very delicious! I served it with a chutney I had just made up a few days prior, along with saffron rice and peas and it was a delightful dinner.

However, I couldn't help thinking that it would be better if grilled. I had butterflied the chicken breasts the first time, but left them still connected. The second time, I cut through the boneless, skinless breasts, making two pieces. I also bought some boneless, skinless chicken thighs, as my husband prefers dark meat. With all the extra meat, I made about 1 1/2 times the recipe for the marinade and set the chicken in the marinade for about an hour while preparing the chutney and rice.

My suspicion was spot-on, because the flavors of the chicken done on the grill were spectacular. I made a repeat of the meal with the chutney, saffron rice and peas, to ensure that the flavors would be the same. sometimes, when making the same dish but with different accompaniments, it can taste different, much like with wines. The grilled version is clearly the winner in this comparison, but even if you cannot grill, though I would recommend using a rack a rack in the pan, baking the chicken is still a really fine option. Do try this recipe if at all possible because it is a Harmony of Flavors in the mouth! 

Goan Style Chicken

Goan Style Chicken, grilled

Serves 4

1 cup cilantro, loosely packed
2 - 3 cloves garlic
1 large chunk fresh ginger, peeled, loosely chopped
½ large onion, or 1 small onion, in chunks
2 teaspoons curry powder of choice
2 teaspoons coriander seed
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon cumin seed
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cardamom seed
2 inches true cinnamon stick
4 whole cloves
2 - 4 tablespoons white vinegar
2 tablespoons oil or melted coconut oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or thighs)

Prepare the chicken breasts by butterflying to make them of even thickness. Alternately, pound the breasts or thighs to an even thinness. Make shallow slashes in the meat on both sides, not cutting all the way through. Set aside.

Place the first 12 ingredients into a blender container and blend to break up large pieces. Add in the oil or coconut oil, then the vinegar to allow the mixture to become a thick paste. Scrape out the marinade onto the prepared chicken and rub the marinade into the chicken, including into the shallow cuts on both sides. Set aside to marinate for at least ½ hour, or longer if you have the time.Preheat oven to 425. If baking the chicken, place onto a greased baking sheet with sides. This will be best on a rack, though not necessary. Drizzle oil or melted coconut oil over the chicken. Bake for about 10 to 12 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Alternatively, grill the chicken until done.

This is great served with saffron rice and a chutney of choice. I served it with Apple Onion Chutney with Sultanas.

NOTE: Hot chilies may be added to the marinade as desired. Two to 6 jalapenos or serranos will impart a nice heat.
Apple Onion Chutney with Sultanas
Apple Onion Chutney with Sultanas
Makes about 2 cups

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large white onion
1 large Fuji apple, or apple of choice
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
½ cup sultanas (white raisins)
¼ cup light brown sugar

Cut off root end of onion and peel off skin. Cut onion in half lengthwise and then slice across into ¼ inch slices.

In a large skillet, melt the butter with the olive oil and add the onions. Over medium heat or lower, slowly saute the onions until nicely golden brown, stirring very often, about 15 minutes. Peel and core the apple. Quarter the apple and cut each quarter in half again. Slice thinly across and add to the onions along with the salt and Worcestershire. Cook about 10 minutes until apples are tender, stirring occasionally. Add the sultanas and toss for about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the brown sugar and cook just until the sugar is completely melted and the sauce is syrupy.

My passion is to teach people how to create a harmony of flavors with their cooking, and help pass along my love and joy of food, both simple and exotic, plain or fancy. I continue my journey in ethnic and domestic cuisines, trying new things weekly. Join me at A Harmony of Flavors Website and Marketplace, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. I am also on a spiritual journey and hope you will join me at my new blog, An Eagle Flies. 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Sloppy Joe Conundrum

Uniquely Fine Chicken Salad
Hi again! It seems like that old saying about that road paved with good intentions. I keep wanting to get to this blog, and I am still so bogged down with unpacking. Admittedly, I have too much stuff. No question. And now, with a large enough house to really unpack it all, one month later and I am still working on it. On top of that, I have a wedding cake to make. I have finally gotten a little preliminary work done, but there's a lot to do, and the wedding is less than a month away.

Sweet Smoky Pork Tenderloin

I have also been busy trying out new recipes and getting photos of some that have been around quite some time in  my kitchen, like my Uniquely Fine Chicken Salad. A couple days back I made Goan Style Chicken. Before that, I had made Sweet Smoky Pork Tenderloin, accompanied by Apple Onion Chutney with Sultanas. 

But on to the title of this blog: Sloppy Joe Conundrum. Last evening I thought I would make something quick and easy; Sloppy Joes. We have a lot of hamburger meat left from the side of beef we bought 2 years back, so I look for new ways to use it, but often just fall back onto old standbys. My husband is picky about certain sauces like spaghetti or Sloppy Joes. If they are too thin, he just doesn't like them. Store bought ones do have thickeners, such as flour or Guar Gum or Xanthan Gum, among others. He likes the Manwich original so that is what I buy. My preference would be to make a recipe of my own, but have not bothered.

Goan Style Chicken
Okay, so I had thawed a package of what I thought was hamburger, only to find it was pork sausage instead! Great. I usually don't thaw too much ahead, so it wasn't like I couldn't just substitute some ground beef. I heat a pot, add some oil, set the frozen meat in there, allow to brown a bit, flip, scrape off the cooked part flip again and scrape, repeating until I have cooked the whole package of frozen meat. It works.

My original thought was to just make the one pound of ground beef, since I only had one can of the Manwich. I would just save the sausage meat for something else. Then I started reading the ingredients on the can. I got thinking I'd like to try out some semblance of the canned flavor by creating a sauce of my own. Granted, once I did this, it was combined with the actual Manwich, so I couldn't be completely impartial about the flavors. I added in the ground pork sausage to brown with the beef. I will have to give this a go all on its own to see how it tastes. However, that said, my husband and sister did not know the difference. I guess that says something.

Having gone on to remake this on its own, using just ground beef, this is the recipe:

Sloppy Joes

Sloppy Joes
Sloppy Joes, served with Oven Fries

1 pound hamburger meat
1 (14.5 or 15 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
I large onion, chopped
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 green pepper, finely chopped
1 tablespoon white corn syrup
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1/4 cup double concentrated tomato paste (from a tube)
2 teaspoons Barbecue Spice Mix
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In a 6 quart pot, brown the hamburger meat well. Add in the onion and continue to stir and cook for about 10 minutes more. Add in all the rest of the ingredients and stir well. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for at least a half hour for flavors to meld. Serve on hamburger buns.

My passion is to teach people how to create a harmony of flavors with their cooking, and help pass along my love and joy of food, both simple and exotic, plain or fancy. I continue my journey in ethnic and domestic cuisines, trying new things weekly. Join me at A Harmony of Flavors Website and Marketplace, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. I am also on a spiritual journey and hope you will join me at my new blog, An Eagle Flies.