Sunday, 23 January 2011

Sunday Tubby Sunday with coincidental yoghurt

Chicken with cumin cardamom, yoghurt and black pepper
Sunday morning and I feel sluggish, after a night out with friends at a local hostelry renowned for the quality of its meat and the skill and panache of Ze its chef owner. It is grey and drizzly outside and the temperature has dropped again. Its going to be 7º and it doesn´t feel far off that at the moment. The windchill factor isn´t helping with a cold North easterly wind blowing at 37km/h.I need some food that will warm the inner soul.I have read the Observer online and now I am going to tackle the Portuguese stack of newspaper sections and magazines in the form of the Expresso.This is one way I I have found of getting to grips with the Portuguese language. I latch onto news items or lifestyle pieces that I am familiar with and then with the dictionary as back up, my Portuguese moves a little further forward. Watching the televison news in Portuguese is another great way to learn, and also watching movies in their original language but following the Portuguese sub-titles.Oh well I think its a day for curling up by the fire with the papers,and being mindful of my own middle page spread.
I noticed Nigel Slater has written in the Observer a similar spiced yoghurt recipe for pork fillets. Our two recipes follow the same principal, and draw their influences from the Indian subcontinent. Mine is of Goan origin, with a couple of my own alterations to the original.

Frango Elaichi Jirey Mirey malai masala
This is a Goan Speciality and a real tongue tingler. Jirey means cumin, Mirey means black peppercorns and Elaichi is Caradamom. Malai means cream and this is exactly how the meat turns out too, rich and creamy.This is so easy, and all the better for being prepared in advance.You won´t be pushed busywise until the last minute activity which involves nothing more than putting the dish in the oven and chopping the garnish and herbs for the rice. A real winner on the healthy eating front.This kind of dish is really going to help me with my fitness programme.

4 large,free range chicken breasts
250ml home made or good quality Bio yoghurt

For the masala
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 heaped teaspoons coriander seeds
2 teaspoons water
2 teaspoons flor de sal
thumb-sized piece of ginger
3 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
a cinnamon stick
large bunch of coriander and mint leaves
Put the whole peppercorns,the cardamom cuminand coriander seeds in apestle and mortar and grind them to a fine powder. The true goan tradition would have specified roasting the spices first, but I have taken a short cut at no expense to the finished dish.Put the water into a food processor, then add the salt, the peeled and choppped ginger, peeled garlic, the cayenne, vinegar and finally the ground spices. Blitz to a smoothish paste.
Put the yoghurt in a bowl large enough to take the chicken breasts and stir in the spice paste. Add the chicken breasts and make sure the masala covers it completely. Break the cinnamon stick in half and and add it to the masala. Cover with clingfilm and leave to marinade for a minimum of 2 hours, but ideally overnight.Set the oven to 220C / gas mark 9. Transfer the chicken and masala to a shallow oven proof dish. Bake for 30 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the yoghurt has a golden dark brown crust. Scatter with
leaves and mix the rest of the leaves into an accompanying rice dish.



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