June 04, 2015

Vacation tales and recipe for tamarind & pepper chicken

The blog hiatus was not planned. We were taking a vacation end of May and things got really busy before and after vacation. Work to be finished, clothes to be packed etc. I look at the blog and see it's almost been a month.

Let me tell you about our vacation briefly. We went to San Juan, Puerto Rico and spent about 5 days there. The beach was a couple of blocks from the apartment and the kids were ready to go to the beach at 8:00 in the morning. We were there by 9:00 and spent the next couple of hours digging sand, wading in the waves and came back tired and hungry.

In the evening, the kids went to a park close by and chased pigeons and jumped from bronze shells. It was a lot of fun.

The food was amazing too. Papayas and mango for breakfast, and a whole variety of empanadas, coconut water was to be had. The chicken in the empanadas were nicely spiced and I quickly became a fan.

If you are in Puerto Rico, you have to try mofungo, part of Puerto Rican cuisine. My favorite was the one I had in El Jiberito, a long-standing popular restaurant in Old San Juan. Theirs had raw plantain, sweet plantain and cassava.

The biggest revelation was Lil A's food choice. I ordered plain rice, chicken tenders, you know, kids meals. Instead, I ended up sharing most of my meals with him. He was more interested in Salmon with tamarind sauce, chicken with creole sauce.

We came back happy and tanned and are slowly getting back to the routine. How has your month been?

Tamarind and pepper chicken
Today, I want to share the recipe of tamarind and pepper chicken the one I made for Kerrytown Saturday. I used fresh ground black pepper and the sour comes from tamarind and some tomatoes. The tomato sweet and sour balances out the tang of the tamarind.

Ingredients:
6-7 pieces of chicken thighs, cut in long strips
2 medium onions, cut in long thin slice
1 1/2 potatoes slice long
5-6 curry leaves 
1 tomato - chopped
3-4 garlic cloves - grated
1 tspoon grated ginger
2-3 bay leaves
1 1/2 tspoon fresh ground black pepper
2 dry red chillies
3/4 tspoon of garam masala powder + 1/2 tspoon for marinating chicken
3/4 tspoon tamarind paste
1 tspoon turmeric powder
1 tspoon cumin seeds
Salt to taste
1/4 cup oil

Garam Masala powder
3-4 green cardamoms
2 sticks of cinnamon
2-3 cloves
1/2 star anise
1 tspoon coriander seeds

Method:
Tamarind and pepper chicken
Add 2-3 tbspoon oil and saute slices from one onion for about 5-6 minutes till they start to turn brown. Take it out and keep it aside.

Then dry roast the garam masala powder ingerdients till the aroma comes and grind it. If there is anything extra, keep it in an air tight box and use it later.

Marinate the chicken pieces in salt, half of the turmeric powder, 1/2 tspoon black pepper and 1/2 tspoon garam masala powder, half of the ginger, garlic paste and keep it aside for an hour.

Cut the potatoes in long slices. Heat oil and saute the potatoes for a couple of minutes till the raw smell goes. Then take it out and keep it aside.

Tamarind and pepper chicken
Heat the rest of the oil and temper it with cumin seeds, curry leaves and bay leaves. Then add the ginger garlic, paste, the dry red chillies. Saute for a couple of minutes.

Then add the slice onions and saute till it starts to turn soft. Add the tomatoes, turmeric powder and 1/2 tspoon garam masala powder and 1 tspoon black pepper powder.

Let it cook on low heat for good 5-6 minutes till it all comes together nicely. Now add the chicken pieces and let it mix together with the spices. Add the tamarind paste and cook it covered for 3-4 minutes till the chicken starts to brown.

Tamarind and pepper chicken
Now add the browned onions, with a cup and half of water, potato slices. Mix it all together and cook on low heat for 8-10 minutes till the chicken turns soft.

Add the rest 1/4 cup garam masala powder, cook for a minute and take it off the heat.

Tamarind and pepper chicken
Taste best with some plain rice.


1 comment:

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