Category Archives: Chicken

Warm stir-fried chicken salad

chicken-stirfry-saladThe third salad in a row for my husband – I’m quite pleased with myself, because this salad turned out to be really tasty too. It’s actually cross between a stir-fry and a salad, and the marinade for the chicken becomes the sauce which turns into the salad dressing. Neat trick or what!

Ingredients:

1 chicken breast, cut into thin strips
2 tsp peanut or vegetable oil
4 cups mixed salad leaves of choice (I used rocket, baby spinach, Chinese cabbage, lambs lettuce and romaine hearts)
1 medium tomato, chopped
1/4 cup cucumber, chopped
1 small carrot, cut or grated into matchsticks

For the marinade/sauce
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 level tsp cornflour
2 tsp soy sauce
1 clove garlic, minced (I used smoked garlic)
3/4 tsp sugar
1 tbsp rice vinegar

Garnishes
1 tsp toasted sesame seeds
1 tbsp roasted salted peanuts, crushed
1 rasher bacon, cooked until crisp, then crumbled
1 tbsp chopped coriander

Method:

1. Whisk together the ingredients for the marinade in a bowl and put the chicken breast strips in it. Set this aside for 10 minutes.

2. Heat the oil in a skillet. Remove the chicken from the marinade and add it to the oil (reserve the marinade).

3. Stir fry the chicken for 5 minutes on medium high heat, until it turns opaque. Now pour in the leftover marinade and turn the heat down to medium and let the sauce thicken for 2-3 minutes.

4. Turn off the heat and let the chicken cool a little.

5. Place all the salad ingredients in a bowl, add the chicken and the sauce on top. Sprinkle with any or all of the garnishes, and serve.

Verdict: Very tasty

 

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Oven-baked “KFC” mini chicken fillets

kfc chicken

I happened on a food blog called RecipeTinEats while looking for a recipe for southern-fried chicken that was not actually fried, as Pete had bought a pack of chicken breast mini fillets. This blog had great photos – and does anyone else feel that practically every food blog one sees nowadays has fantastic photographs? The food itself doesn’t look doable by lazy/incompetent me, but my oh my, the photos! But that’s by the by – as I was saying, the photos were sensational and when I read the write-up and the recipe, I was thrilled that it really did seem easy.

The recipe below is pretty much what Nagi of RecipeTinEats posted on her blog. I used a 50:50 mixture of Greek yogurt and milk in place of the buttermilk (because I didn’t have any buttermilk handy), and added some cumin powder and coriander powder to the spice mix… because why not. While the spices probably don’t add up to the number that KFC boast of in their “secret” mix of spices and herbs, they are more than adequate for the chicken.

I guess I should say that the chicken didn’t get as crisp in the oven as Nagi mentioned, but perhaps that was my fault. I was just concerned that the chicken strips might become dry and tasteless if I left them too long in the oven in the hope that they would crisp up. So I removed them when they were a golden brown and a knife inserted in the thickest part showed that the chicken was cooked.

I didn’t tell Pete that the chicken was meant to be KFC-style. I just served it up with home-made coleslaw. And guess what? When I asked him if the chicken was good, he said – and this is gospel truth – that it was the best chicken he’d tasted short of being an actual KFC takeaway! Sweet! And he made the KFC connection all on his own. So thank you, Nagi of RecipeTinEats, for the inspiration.

Recipe for: Oven-baked KFC chicken

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Chicken in creamy mushroom sauce

Pretty much every evening starts the same way, with me asking Pete what he wants for dinner. Sometimes I have an idea in mind for a cooked meal, but he vetoes it (ok, he’s allowed an opinion, after all he has to eat it). Other times, he says “I don’t know”, but then again vetoes any suggestions I come up with (annoying! VERY!). The days I like best are those where I’ve decided on a new dish I want to try out on him, and he has no choice in the matter. I’m forever trawling the Internet for easy non-vegetarian recipes to make, the food columns by various chefs in various newspapers being some of my favourite sources. Some recipes seem far too complicated and time-consuming, but there are plenty that seem doable. These I print off… but that said, probably only one in five recipes makes the transition from paper to reality. The printouts I slip into my recipe folders, perhaps to try one day… but it’s more likely they will end up in the wastepaper basket during my occasional “culls” of the folders.

Today’s easy dish is not one of those recipes. It just arose from a basic cream sauce recipe that I had noted down – it actually required heavy cream but I subbed creme fraiche instead, because that was what I had. I’m sure the recipe would work as well with cream cheese. Mushrooms and garlicky cream sauce go very nicely together, after all.

Chicken with creamy mushroom sauce
Ingredients:
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Easy chicken korma, UK-style

I’ll be honest, I don’t like korma. I’m not even particularly fond of proper Indian kurma, but it’s the British korma that I really do NOT like. Why not? Because it’s usually far too sweet (almost like a pudding) and usually far too greasy as well, and it has no chillies to counter that cloying taste. But Pete likes korma rather a lot for precisely that reason. Well, each to his – or her – own. I’m happy enough to make korma at home for Pete as long as I don’t have to eat it. I do not add extra sugar (which is something I’m sure is done in restaurants), which probably allows the coconut milk to provide its own natural sweetness. I say probably, but that’s because I don’t taste it at all and never have. So it’s kind of tricky, really, cooking non-vegetarian items for my husband… but more often than not, whatever I cook turns out rather well. It’s quite rare that he has to add extra seasoning. Touch wood.

So, enough of blowing my own trumpet and on with today’s recipe. This korma is quite simple and is perfect for a weeknight supper. Yes, it looks like a long list of ingredients, but I promise that if you exercise due diligence with your mise en place before you start cooking, this curry can be ready in 20 minutes. The more complicated, authentic Indian kurma is a recipe for another day, and another blog.

photo (20)

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Chicken schnitzel with parmesan-herb crust

This recipe is from a TV programme that I watched without the first idea of who the chef was or which channel or even which programme. I like watching cooking shows, even the hardcore ones which have recipes I’ll never try and ingredients that I’ve not heard of – actually, those are the ones I like. It’s like watching a fantasy show. So this recipe was demonstrated by a couple of Australians… come to think of it, I might have watched them on YouTube. In any case, I made this recipe because it sounded ridiculously easy – and it was. I didn’t even bother to write down the ingredients or method, because it was all straightforward.

Recipe for: Chicken schnitzel with parmesan-herb crust
photo 1
Ingredients

For the chicken:
2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
1/3 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
1 tbsp finely grated lemon rind
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 cup plain flour
1 egg
1 tbsp milk
2 skinless chicken breasts
Oil for shallow frying

For the salad:
10 baby plum tomatoes, halved vertically
A good few handfuls of mixed salad leaves (little gem lettuce, rocket, baby chard, baby spinach, etc)
1/2 small red onion, sliced very thinly
1 boiled egg, quartered (optional)
Your favourite salad dressing (I used French dressing)

Method:

1, Combine breadcrumbs, parmesan, lemon rind, parsley and garlic powder on a plate. Season with salt and pepper.

2. Place flour on a plate.

3. Whisk egg and milk together in a shallow bowl.

4. Place the chicken breasts in a sturdy ziploc bag and use a meat mallet or rolling pin to flatten them to an even thickness all over. Do this carefully. They need to be about 1/2 cm thick all over.

5. Take the chicken breasts one by one and dip them first in the flour, shaking off the excess; then in the egg mixture, and finally in the breadcrumbs mixture. Pat the breadcrumbs with your fingers on the chicken breasts where necessary.

6. Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken schnitzel for 4 to 5 minutes each side or until golden and cooked through. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel to drain while you make the salad.

7. Slice the schnitzel on the diagonal into 1-cm wide strips. Mix the salad with the dressing, place the sliced schnitzel on top and serve immediately.

Verdict: Pete loved it. 

Healthy General Tso’s chicken

I’d never heard of General Tso’s chicken before I stumbled across the recipe on a website (which I now can’t for the life of me remember). I like to check out as many recipes as possible until I can cobble together something a little different from any of them… But once I googled for other General Tso recipes, I found there were dozens.
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This recipe is pretty much as I saw it on various sites, including Martha Stewart’s. So I’m going to assume that this is HER original recipe, faithfully but not-very-honestly adopted by various bloggers as their own concoction. I can’t claim that, because it sure ain’t… but the next recipe coming up on this blog IS my own. That’s not for this post, though, so here’s the recipe for a non-deep-fried General Tso’s breast of chicken.

I must say I was pretty impressed with the way the egg-white and cornflour mixture sealed the chicken (like batter does when deep-frying) the second it hit the hot fat in the pan. Quite impressive, I must say. The recipe itself came up trumps. Thanks, Martha!

Ingredients:

1/4 cup cornflour
200gm snow peas or sugar-snap peas, trimmed and halved crosswise
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1 tsp fresh ginger, peeled and peeled
1.5 tbsp light-brown sugar
2 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp red-pepper flakes
2 large egg whites
Salt and pepper to taste
1 large boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces
2 tbsp vegetable or peanut oil

Method:

1. In a large bowl, stir together 1 tbsp cornstarch and 1/2 cup cold water until smooth.

2. Add snow peas, garlic, ginger, sugar, soy sauce, and red-pepper flakes; toss to combine, and set aside.
tso
3. In another bowl, whisk together egg whites, remaining cornstarch, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper.

4. Add the cubed chicken, and toss to coat.
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5. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tbsp oil over medium-high.

6. Place a few pieces of chicken in the skillet without crowding, after shaking off the excess egg-white mixture. It will immediately form a “skin”.

7. Cook the chicken, turning occasionally, until golden, 6 to 8 minutes. (Check that the pieces are cooked inside – they should be opaque all through.) Transfer to a plate; repeat with remaining oil and chicken, and set aside.
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8. Now, in the same pan, add the snow-pea mixture. Cover; cook until snow peas are tender and sauce has thickened, 3 to 5 minutes.

9. Return the cooked chicken to the pan with any juices. Stir well. Serve with simple etso3gg-fried rice.

Verdict: Pete had nothing but praise for this recipe. Score!

Sweet and sour chicken

Pete’s favourite cuisine of all is Chinese. I’ve cooked Chinese stir fries for him at home… but here’s a confession – the sauce has always come from a bottle, so strictly speaking, it’s not cooking as such. It’s just prepping the veg and meat or chicken. When he says “Babe, this is good”, I get a sneaking feeling of guilt at the praise because I feel it’s undeserved. Hell, anyone can “cook” like that.

So this recipe is my attempt at a sauce that’s not from a bottle – it’s from several bottles and a can, haha. No, seriously – I know that sweet’n’sour is probably the most ubiquitous of all Chinese takeaway items. I don’t know if “real” Chinese would be surprised to learn that this is “their” cuisine, much as Madrasis would be surprised to learn that there’s a “Madras curry” in the UK that has literally nothing to do with South Indian food!

Authentic or not, sweet’n’sour is Pete’s favourite recipe, so I’ve tried to make it, with no extra sugar added. All the sweetness is strictly from the pineapple (and whatever is in the ketchup).

One extra tip: Before you add the chicken pieces, taste the marinade sauce to make sure it’s to your liking. You can add a bit more of whatever you feel is lacking. 

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