I was lucky enough to be visiting Waiheke Island for a pot luck dinner, when this dish turned up. I had never eaten a Biryani that I had liked before – from Indian takeaway joints, always too stodgy, or overpowered. I didn’t realise it was supposed to be a fragrant, light and pleasing dish. Hence, I’ve labelled this recipe “E tu chicken biryani”, because it’s the first one to stand-up for me (e tu is stand up in Te Reo).
I’ve since experienced other nice Biryani, though never from a takeaway – it seems they miss out on some form of love quotient when preparing food. Or perhaps I just need to visit more upmarket Indian restaurants…
This recipe seems much simpler (less ingredients and steps) than other recipes I’ve seen on the web, but I am very happy with the results. Next on the agenda is to try Mamta Gupta’s Lamb Biryani recipe. And without further ado…
The basic idea is to make two dishes (the chicken and the rice) separately, then combine them before serving. When preparing your shopping list, remember to account for all quantities of cardamom, cloves and cinnamon sticks, there are two lists of ingredients – about the same amount go into each dish. I almost ran out of cinnamon making a double recipe which needs 6 sticks in total!
Don’t let the list of ingredients scare you either, it really is a simple dish that packs so much flavour.
1 kg chicken pieces (medium sized) or 1 medium sized chicken (cut into pieces)
2 onions, finely chopped
1 can of (peeled and chopped) tomatoes (approx. 400g)
2 cinnamon sticks
2 cloves (whole)
2 cardamom pods (whole)
3 bay leaves (optional)
6 tbsp oil (for frying)
Spices for Chicken
2 tsp ginger (crushed)
2 tsp garlic (crushed)
2 tsp dry chili powder
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground tumeric
½ tsp garam masala
2 tsp salt
In a wide saucepan, heat oil on high.
Add cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods and cloves and fry until they turn a dark brown.
Add the bay leaves and onions, fry until light brown.
Add the tomatoes, all the spices. Stir and cook on a medium heat until the juice/water from the tomatoes has mostly evaporated.
Add the chicken pieces, stir and cover with a lid. Simmer on medium heat. Do not add any water. Stir occasionally. Allow 40 – 45 minutes for the chicken to cook through.
2 cups Basmati Rice
3 ½ cups of water (if rice is not soaked), or 3 cups if soaked an hour before
3 tbsp desiccated coconut
3 tbsp ghee or clarified butter
2 tsp salt
1 cinnamon stick
2 cardamom pods (whole)
2 cloves (whole)
Wash rice (until water is clean)
In a pan, add the ghee, cinnamon stick, cloves and cardamom pods. Fry until dark brown.
Add the rice and water, then mix in the salt and coconut.
Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to medium to simmer until water content is halved. Reduce heat to low, cover with a lid and cook for 10 minutes.
Mix the chicken and rice dishes together in a tray. Garnish with fresh coriander. Serve with riata or plain yoghurt, as well as some crispy fried onions as a garnish that will make this dish really hum!
Last time I cooked this dish, I de-boned all the chicken pieces before serving. It’s important to have the bones in during the cooking for added flavour, but found it nice and simple (and even) for feeding a large group of people.
A short while ago, I realised I’d never cooked a Stroganoff before. I guess I’m not really that into mushrooms. (Isn’t that a recent romantic comedy or something?) I had a look at what the interweb masses seem to agree on for ingredients and gave the following a whurl as an experimental treat for my Mum. I have to say it was a pretty damned nice, I even think she had two helpings.
When cooking like this I also tend to taste the sauce as I’m making it and only using small approximate amounts for the mustard and tomato paste, then tasting and adding more if needed. I think the cut of meat is important too – I usually choose to use scotch fillet which always seems to give a very tender result.
What you’ll need (although these values are approximations):
500 – 700gms of thinly sliced beef (I used a thick cut Scotch Fillet and sliced it very thinly, but you could use Eye Fillet or Rump too)
1 small Onion (sliced)
1 clove of Garlic
a bunch of Mushrooms (sliced, about the same mass as the beef)
1 tbsp Paprika (Smoked if you have it, but normal will do nicely – Use more to taste)
2 tsp Dijon Mustard
1 tbsp of Tomato Paste
a knob of Butter
Oil for frying
about 2 shots of Brandy (no, not one for you, one for the recipe – they both go in)
a cup of beef stock (real stock if you can)
2-3 tbsp of Sour Cream
Flour (for dusting)
Salt and Pepper
How to do it:
Heat a large frying pan, and fry onion in butter until softened a little, add mushrooms and garlic, and brown. Remove from pan.
Season flour with salt, pepper (I prefer white pepper here) and a dash of paprika. Dust the thin beef strips in flour, and fry in batches over a medium high heat, adding a little oil as needed. The thin meat cooks quick, so be attentive and if you don’t crowd the pan, it’ll brown much easier. Remove to a warmed plate as the pieces of beef are browned.
Deglaze the pan with brandy, add mustard, tomato paste, paprika and beef stock, stir until combined and simmering, then add the browned beef, onions and mushrooms back to the pan. Coat the meat with the sauce, and simmer gently for a few minutes. You may need to add more stock or hot water, if it doesn’t look saucy enough.
Taste and adjust seasoning. You want just a hint of paprika to come through, so you might want add a little more to taste.
Before serving, stir in the sour cream to make the colour a pale brown.
Traditionally pasta was served with this yummy dish. I’d recommend cutting some nice thick ribbons from a fresh lasagne sheet of pasta (Parpadelle). We serve ours with boiled rice which I think is more commonly accepted 🙂
While I didn’t think too much of the movie “Once Upon a Time in Mexico“, I have the utmost respect for Robert Rodriguez’s 10 minute cooking school in the DVD extras for the movie. This dish is the one Johnny Depp’s assassin character (Agent Sands) is always eating in the movie and ends up ‘whacking’ the chef of some exceptionally good Puerco Pibil.
Ever since seeing the snippet, I’ve wanted to cook this dish and recently at my 30th birthday I finally did, and with great result. Everyone seemed to love it, and it disappeared pretty bloody quick.
We didn’t get a photo of the end result because it disappeared waaaaaaay to quick. So here’s me, the banana leaves from down the back of the yard, and my marinaded pork that I had ‘set aside’ earlier.
In New Zealand, getting hold of the key ingredient (besides the pork) was a bit of a mission. I found the Annato seeds from Mexi Foods in Dunedun and orders a descent size bag for $10 (although I didn’t use the credit card form, because they don’t t say what company takes the payments – they possibly just email your credit card info to themselves, which isn’t too good, but that’s just my assumption).
Then, once you’ve got those (and some banana leaves from my back yard) you’re good to go. Here is the 10 minute cooking school clip from youtube. Although, whoever uploaded this cut out the scene when Robert tells us to marinade the pork overnight.
Here’s what you’ll need:
Oh wait, that was the idea I wanted to send in to play school.
Here’s what you’ll really need:
For the Achiote Paste:
5 tbsp annatto seeds
2 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp black peppercorns
8 pieces allspice
½ tsp cloves
In a spice grinder/mill grind all the ingredients for the Achiote Paste into a fine powder.
The the dish itself:
2.6kg of pork shoulder or scotch cut into 5cm cubes (Americans say 5lbs pork butt, cut into 2 inch cubes – those crazy yanks)
½ cup fresh orange juice
½ cup white vinegar
2 tbsp salt
Juice of 5 lemons
8 cloves garlic
2 habanero peppers, chopped (habanero’s are pretty hard to find in New Zealand, just use 2-4 available chillies according to taste – although how you taste a chilli I’m unsure)
1 shot (or so) of the finest quality tequila you can manage
In a blender, blend annatto paste (spices), garlic, orange juice, vinegar, lemon juice, chillies, tequilia and salt until smooth and well mixed.
In a large zip lock bag, add pork and the blended mixture and jiggle until evenly coated.
Leave in the fridge overnight to marinade.
Preheat oven to 175°C 160°C (325°F).
Line a deep roasting dish with the banana leaves, dump the pork mixture into the disk and cover with another layer of banana leaves.
Cover tightly with tin foil so the steam can’t escape and bake for 4 hours.
When it finally comes out, it should all fall apart when you dig a fork into it.
Serve on a bed of white rice, and some nice crunchy mild peppers, or try shredding the meat and eat it like a fajita in a flour tortilla with lettuce, tomato and sour cream.
PS: I have loads of annato seeds left if someone close want to try the recipe out 🙂
This one is an awesome tasty dish for when you’re busy – and its really simple. The preparation is quick and most of the cooking can happen simultaneously. If you haven’t got a nice cast iron frying pan, you might as well go get some KFC now and save yourself some culinary heartache – no wait – oh never mind.
What you’ll need for serving 2 (or even three for a light meal):
2 Scotch Fillet Steaks
2-3 heads of Bok Choy (The smaller Shanghai variety is the best)
A handful of pinenuts, or a mix of sunflower and pumpkin seeds, or crushed peanuts, or some chili cashews
Seasalt, Pepper and preferably garlic flakes (or fresh garlic)
A glug of oil (for cooking, I use grapeseed or olive oil)
A drizzle of good quality olive oil
Preheat your frying pan (hopefully you have a nice thick bottom cast-iron frying pan or skillet, there is no guarantee your steak will be very nice if you use one of those horrible non-stick aluminum ones, yuk!) and prepare a large pot of salted water to boil the Bok Choy.
Season the steaks evenly on both sides with the salt, pepper and garlic flakes. Then thinly coat with oil and let sit until the pan is hot hot.
When the pan is hot hot, add the oiled steaks. You won’t need more oil. Be careful not to overcrowd the pan or you’ll suck the life out of your heat and end up with something tough.
Cook quickly for a few minutes on each side according to your preference (but turn it only once!). We like ours medium-rare, so it stays nice and tender.
Pull the Bok Choy leaves apart and wash. Slice down the middle, so they become long bite-size-esque slivers, and add to the boiling water. Cook for about 2 minutes, then drain in a colander.
Remove the steaks and let rest on a warm plate until you’re ready to carve.
Thow the pinenuts or mixed pumpkin and sunflower seeds into the still hot pan and wiggle around in the juices and oils left from the steak. Careful not to burn them. If you’re using crushed peanuts or chili cashews, they’re okay not heated.
Place a lump (there is no better word!) of Bok Choy, heaped, in the middle of each plate.
Slice the steaks into thin strips (hopefully the outside is nice and brown and the inside has a nice strip of red) and arrange over the top of the Bok Choy.
Sprinkle with the seeds or nuts, a smidge of freshly ground pepper and a little dribble of good quality olive oil and serve.
The juices from the steak will mix into the Bok Choy as you eat it, and the seeds add a little bit of texture to the dish. It’s soooo good.
This is a really mild, creamy curry that we love served with rice and Dhal.
2 Tablespoons of oil
1 small onion
2 cloves of garlic
About 1cm piece of root ginger
½ teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon ground coriander
¼ – ½ teaspoon ground chilli
¼ teaspoon garam masala
2 ripe tomatoes
800 grams boneless chicken (breast/thigh, cut into chunks)
150mls thick cream
200 grams baby spinach (I use a bag of pre-washed baby spinach)
Heat oil in a large saucepan over moderate heat. Fry the chopped onion then add the crushed garlic and finely chopped ginger. Add the spices and cook for a further minute.
Roughly chop the tomatoes and add to the saucepan. Fry over a gently heat for about 7 minutes, or until cooked down to a pulp.
Increase the heat to high and add the chicken. Fry until pieces turn white.
Season with salt and black pepper, pour in the cream and simmer for about 6 minutes.
1.5kg of chicken thighs (bone in)
1 large onion
2 cloves of garlic
1.5cm piece of ginger
½ teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon ground pepper
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon salt
3 strips lemon rind or 3 Kaffir lime leaves
1 x 400ml can coconut cream (We prefer Samoan)
1 cup water
2 teaspoons soft brown sugar (I use light brown muscovado)
Wash the chicken under cold water and pat dry. Trim off excess fat.
Roughly chop the onion, garlic and ginger and place in food processor. Process until smooth, adding a little water, if necessary.
Place the chicken, onion mixture and remaining ingredients in a large pan and bring slowly to the boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally for 45 minutes or until chicken is tender.
Remove chicken from pan, and place on cold oven tray.
Discard lemon rind/Kaffir leaves and bring sauce to the boil. Cook uncovered until sauce reduces and is quite thick.
Brown the chicken thighs on both sides under grill.
Serve chicken pieces and sauce with rice and garnish with fresh coriander.