I had forgotten how much fun it is cooking with a friend. We settled easily into our routine - chopping, chatting, and sipping a glass of wine.
The kids were absent for the first hour and it helped us prep most of the food for the evening. To go along with the rice, we had a chickpea salad, dill and cucumber raita, alphabet pasta for kids and lemon cookies for dessert.
Once the kids arrived, it turned out to be a playdate for them too! They had fun making lemon cookies and then played together after dinner. It was a fun evening overall.
We tweaked the recipe a bit adding some cumin powder, little bit of cayenne powder and adding juice of one lemon and then cooking the lemon with the rice. I added some whole cranberries and it worked well.
The rice, ah! It was so delicious. Flavorful and fragrant, it is one of the best one-pot meal I've made and tasted in a while.
Here is how we did it.
(serves 4-6 people)
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
8 pieces chicken thigh
salt and freshly ground black pepper- according to taste
10 cardamom pods
1/4 teaspoon whole cloves
2 long cinnamon sticks, broken in two
2/3 tspoon cumin seed powder
1/2 tspoon cayenne powder
juice of 1 lemon, reserve the rest of the lemon
2 cups basmati rice
3 1/2 cups boiling water
1 1/2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley leaves - chopped
1/4 cup dill leaves - chopped
1/4 cup cilantro leaves - chopped
1/4 cup cranberries
Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan. Add onion slices and cook for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion has turned a deep golden brown. Transfer the onion to a small bowl and wipe the pan.
Next add salt and pepper generously to the thighs on each side. Heat the rest of the oil and temper it with cardamom, cloves and cinnamon. Then add the chicken pieces on the pan.
Sear the chicken 5 minutes on each side on medium heat (they get nice and brown) and remove it from the pan. It is OK if the spices stick to the chicken.
- Pour the boiling water over the rice and chicken,
cover the pan, and cook over very low heat for 30 minutes. Check the rice if it is done.
Serve hot or warm with a salad and/or a raita.