Eight Bells

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Baked Moroccan Chicken with Pumpkin and Rice

This recipe is taken from the Aug-Sept edition of "Dish" magazine.
We used Rangitikei corn fed free range chickens thighs.
This is a fantastic one pot winter dish with delicious and exotic flavours.
I'll transcribe the recipe exactly as it appears in the magazine and note any changes we made.

Baked Moroccan Chicken with Pumpkin and Rice

6 chicken thighs, bone in, skin on (we used eight boneless, skinless chicken thighs)
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 onions, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon each of ground ginger, turmeric, paprika and cinnamon
Finely grated zest of one lemon
500 grams of crown pumpkin, peeled and diced into 2cm pieces (we used butternut pumpkin)
2 1/2 cups of chicken stock
1 cup of basmati rice, washed and drained
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 180C
Tie the chicken thighs with kitchen string to give an even shape (we omitted this step, it is unnecessary). Season.
Heat the olive oil in a 30cm ovenproof saute pan or cazuela (as you can see from the picture we used a le creuset casserole) and cook the chicken on both sides until a good golden colour. Remove to a plate.
Spoon off any excess fat, leaving 3 tablespooons in the pan. Add the onions, carrots and garlic, season and cook for 10 minutes. Add all the spices and lemon zest and cook for 2 minutes. Add a splash of water if the pan is too dry.
Stir in the pumpkin to coat in the spices. Pour in the stock, scraping the base of the pan to release all the sticky bits on the bottom.
Stir in the rice then place the chicken thighs on top along with any resting juices.
Cover tightly and bake for 45 minutes. Uncover and gently fluff up the rice with a fork. Serves 4-6.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Prawn Patia (Sweet, Hot and Sour Prawn Curry)

The following is taken directly from "50 Great Curries of India" by Camellia Panjabi.

The Parsees fled Persia about 1300 years ago and settled on the coast of Gujarat in India. Others who in recent centuries gradually arrived from Persia formed a small but distinct communities in Bombay and Dahanu, just to the north, where they are known as Iranis and cultivate fruit orchards of mangoes, chicoos (sapotas) and lychees. This patia recipe is an Irani one from Dahanu. The Parsees also have a version of patia.

A patia is a curry with sweet, hot and sour flavours equally balanced. Both Parsees and Iranis serve the patia on auspicious family occasions, along with yellow rice and lentils, calling it by its traditional name - dahn, dar or patio. The Irani patia is slightly spicier and hotter than the Parsee one. There are many chillis in this recipe but the heat is offset by the sour tamarind and the sugar.

Prawn Patia

450g shelled, uncooked prawns
1 1/2 teaspoons of tamarind pulp (we used about 4 teaspoons of pulp)
5 green chillis, chopped
3 plump garlic cloves
1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
50ml oil (we used rice bran oil)
2 large onions, finely chopped (we used three onions)
1/2 teaspoons of cumin powder
3/4 teaspoon of coriander powder
3/4 teaspoon of red chilli powder
1 teaspoon of garam masala powder
1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder
2 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
1 teaspoon of jaggery (jaggery is palm sugar, we used about a tablespoon)
10 curry leaves
1/4 cup of coriander leaves (we used about half a cup)

Wash the prawns and devein.
Soak the tamarind pulp in 100ml of hot water for at least 30 minutes.
Grind the green chillies, two of the garlic cloves and the cumin seeds to a paste (a large mortar and pestle is best for this)
Heat the oil in a cooking pot and cook the onions slowly until deep pink/brown (you're not frying the onions you are very slowly browning them, this should take about an hour).
Add the ground paste and fry for two minutes then add the cumin, coriander, red chilli, garam masala and tumeric powders. Stir constantly for one minute then add the tomatoes and fry for a further five minutes.
Add the tamarind water (not the pulp), the jaggery, curry and coriander leaves and about 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt. Add 150ml of water and bring to the boil. Simmer for five minutes and then add the prawns. Cook until the prawns are done, remembering that prawns cook very quickly, as soon as they turn pink they are done.
You should have a thick, non runny gravy and in India it is always served with moong dal.
Serve with cucumber and yoghurt raita, and papadums

Moong Dal

200g moong dal
2 large tomatoes chopped (we used a tin of chopped tomatoes, drained)
2 green chillis chopped (if the curry you are serving this with is a hot one you can leave out the chillis)
1" square piece of fresh ginger chopped
3 large garlic cloves
1/4 tsp tumeric powder
1 Tbs fresh coriander leaves chopped
6 fresh curry leaves
1 Tbs butter

Wash the dal well and then soak for 15 mins.
Bring 5 cups of water to the boil in a large pot. Add the dal with the tomatoes, chillies, ginger, 2 of the garlic cloves, minced and the tumeric powder. Return to the boil, then add salt. Cook partially covered (or the dal will splash every where) for 40 mins or until thick, like a runny porridge. Remove from the heat and whisk with an egg beater, until the grains of dal are completely mashed. Add coriander and curry leaves and cook a further 5 mins.
Heat the butter in a small frying pan, add the rest of the chopped garlic and fry until golden. Pour into the dal, which is now ready to serve. The consistency should be like thick soup.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

World's Best Roast Chicken

Although I'm sure I have previously claimed a roast chicken recipe as the world's best, this one really is. We use Rangitikei corn fed free range chickens, they cost a bit more than your average chook but it is well worth the extra money to get a bird that has lead a relatively happy life and tastes like chicken should taste.
This dish is based on a recipe from Tessa Kiros' "Falling Cloudberries". Tessa has produced a beautiful range of cookbooks quite unlike anything else on the market. They are full of the most wonderful recipes, pictures and stories from her life, I highly recommend them all.

Ludi's Chicken

4 or 5 large potatoes, peeled
2 large carrots, thickly sliced
2 heaped tablespoons of grainy mustard
Juice of two large lemons (but save the squeezed lemon halves)
1 tablespoon of dried oregano or thyme
4 tablespoons of olive oil
1 medium sized chicken (about 1.3kg)
3 onions, peeled and cut into quarters
2 bay leaves
12 garlic cloves (with the skin left on)
125ml of white wine

Preheat the oven to 180C. Halve the potatoes length ways and then cut into large wedges.
Mix together the mustard, lemon juice, oregano and olive oil to make a marinade. Put the chicken, potatoes, onion wedges, bay leaves and eight garlic cloves in a large oven dish. Season the potatoes and chicken with plenty of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Put two of the squeezed lemon halves and the remaining garlic in the chicken cavity. Splash the marinade over the chicken and potatoes, shuffling them around with your hands so they are well coated. Gently pour a cup full of water into the dish (trying not to wash away the marinade) Roast for about one hour.
After an hour the top of the chicken should be getting brown. Add the carrots and pour the wine over the top of the chicken. Turn the potatoes and onions and roast for another hour. If the tray is too dry add a little more water and place tin foil over the top of the chicken if it starts to brown too much.
Serve with something green. Delicious.