This is Sanjiv’s first article on this blog. We’re happy he’s chosen to share his writing with us and look forward to learning more from his vast experience in cooking and hospitality management. Chicken is not only easy but quite fast too. One only needs to ensure lean cuts like the chicken breast are not overcooked. Easily available, economical, nourishing and tasty, chicken is probably one of the most popular foods the world over. Chicken recipes are easy to find too! – Ed
Sometimes the easiest of things are the most difficult.
Sometimes we take it for granted that we know it all but there’s always plenty to learn and cooking is a never ending process that ensures we never stop learning.
A few tips on working with Chicken
- Never pressure cook your chicken or cook it on high heat. The protein in chicken coagulates fast and sheds a lot of water that may spoil your curry.
- Don’t cook a chicken for more than 9-12 minutes. Anything more would see your chicken becoming fibrous and chewy.
- While buying whole chicken for curry ensure that the whole dressed chicken is no more than 750 – 800 grams in weight without the liver and gizzard.
- Don’t buy very big chunks of boneless chicken as they tend to be less tender
- Cook your chicken on a slow fire.
- Chicken breast is more fibrous and dry than chicken on the bone. The leg is juicier and less fibrous.
- Use chicken breast for sliced chicken dishes.
- While frying chicken slow cooking is advisable. Hot oil will cook the chicken from outside leaving the inner part raw.
- While grilling or roasting chicken see that the grill or roast is not too hot. Preferably double cook it. 9 minutes per side.
- If raw chicken has to be added to a curry or sauce, preferably cook the chicken outside the gravy and mix the two, as the water from the chicken will thin your sauce or curry. (You can dry roast your chicken or cook it in very little water before adding).
- Canned cheese or processed cheddar cheese is the best chicken tenderizer I have known.
Here are some quick recipes to get you started.
- Chicken 1 kg
- 400 gms Tomatoes
- 200 gms Onions
- Garlic paste 2 tbsp
- Ginger finely chopped 2 tbsp
- Whole Red Chillies dry 4 pieces
- Dhania whole 1 tsp crushed
- Dhania Powder 1 tbsp
- Green Chilli chopped 2 pieces
- Powder 1 tsp
- Coriander leaves chopped 2 tbsp
- Oil 4 tbsp
- 100 gms Cream
- Salt to taste
- Take the chicken and cut into pieces.
- Coarsely grind the whole red chillies and dhania together.
- Chop the onions
- Put some oil in a Kadai/Wok. Add whole cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, coarsely ground dhania and red chillies. Fry for a while.
- Add sliced onions and fry till golden brown.
- Add garlic, ginger, red chili powder, dhania powder stir it. Then to this add tomatoes. Stir it till the oil separates.
- Add to it chicken pieces, salt & coriander leaves.
- Mix garam masala powder & cover it.
- Cook for 10 minutes in low flame.
- Add Cream and serve hot.
Murg Tandoori / Tandoori Chicken
- Chicken – 1 whole (700 – 900 gms)
- Green Chillies – 20 gms
- Ginger – 10 gms
- Garlic – 10 gms
- Juice of 1/2 lime
- Salt – to taste
For the Marinade
- Curd / Yogurt – 390 ml (hang in muslin cloth for 2 hrs)
- Red Chilli Powder – 5 gms
- Deghi Chilli Powder – 10 gms
- Oil – 15 ml
- Processed cheese 25 gms
- Garam Masala 5 gms
- Jeera powder 3 gms
- Dhania powder 5 gms
- Prepare the chicken.
- Cut slits lengthwise over the breasts and legs
- Apply salt and sprinkle lime juice all over. Keep aside.
- Grind green chillies, ginger and garlic to a paste.
- Beat hung curds thoroughly. Add ground spices. Grate cheese and add. Beat well again.
- Add the chilli powder and beat well.
- Add oil and strain through a fine sieve.
- Rub the batter all over the body of the chicken and well inside the slits. Let it soak in the batter for at least 2 hours.
- Thread chicken on to a thin iron rod and place it well inside the tandoor or barbecue
- Remove when well done. (on pricking it you should see clear juices)
- Serve hot with onion rings and pieces of lime.