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.