There has been a wonderful flurry of activity behind the scenes on my blog in the last 48 hours. My phone began to ping – indicating a new ‘follower’ and ‘buzz’ when a new like happened. They were happening more regularly than usual to the extent I began to wonder what on earth was going on. After a little digging around I realised that my blog had been selected as one of the ‘Editors’ Picks’ – The best of WordPress, selected by Editors at Automatic. I am beyond ecstatic as I have watched in awe over the years at the fascinating, motivating and uplifting blogs that are selected across a wide selection of genres.
So welcome to all the new followers of my blog. I hope you get the chance to have a good virtual wander around. I have so many recipes in my ‘recipe library’ that I hope to appeal to a wide audience. The common thread with all of them is that they will have herbs or spices working their magic within them. I am passionate about them and adore dishes from across the globe. When I come across a new ingredient I am the first to give it a whirl and see for myself if it is something that I can incorporate in my cooking going forward. In the last year I tried (and loved) kokum, (or as one sweet reader corrected me kodampuli) – see here which has a tangy, distinct flavour, as well as sea urchin which I have been meaning to try for years – it was as delicious as I had envisaged.
To get you started how about having a look and trying one of my Sunday go-to dishes Bengali red split lentil dal or perhaps you are more of a meat eater then try one of my fav Mexican dishes – Mexican chilli beef with butternut squash. Keeping on the theme of butternut squash how about this vegetarian curry using the squash as the star ingredient – butternut squash, lemongrass, coconut and spinach curry . If you have more of a sweet tooth then this one is rather good and even made it’s way into the Telegraph newspaper in the UK – chocolate, chilli and cinnamon fondants with cardamom chantilly cream. If you can’t find what you are looking for just send me an email or leave a comment and I will try and point you in the right direction or will come up with a recipe for you in a future post
Today however I wanted to share a south Indian chicken recipe with you that actually originates from Chettinadu. As Bengal is famous for cooking with mustard, so Chettinadu is renown for using black pepper to heat their dishes. This dish is one with great heat and packs a punch. If you are feeling a bit low with a cold then I can assure you this dish will more than perk you up again. You need to make your own masala, which takes minutes, and is so worth it, and then the actually cooking of the dish is completed within 40-45 minutes max. I have another Chettinadu dish on my blog (which requires more ingredients than this dish), which you may also want to check out if this recipe turns out to be a hit for you. Let me know how you get on in the comments box below.
Chettinad Pepper Chicken
3 tbsp olive oil
3 pods of cardamom, opened
1x 3 inch piece of cinnamon bark/dalchini
2 white onions, finely chopped
3 tomatoes, finely chopped
3 tsp ginger-garlic paste
1.2 kilo of chicken thighs, on the bone (or whole chicken, skinned and cut into 10/12 pieces)
4 dried chillies
4 tsp black peppercorns
3 tsp green aniseed *
3 tsp cumin seeds
3 tsp coriander seeds
*if you do not have green aniseed you can add fennel seeds instead.
- First warm the oil and then add the cardamom pods and the cinnamon bark. Move around the pan for 10 seconds before adding the onions and move around the pan so that they begin to bronze. Add a little salt at this stage. This will take about 10-15 minutes.
- Meanwhile heat a large frying pan and when the pan is hot add the masala ingredients and move around the pan for a minute. You will smell their wonderful aromas, but be careful not to let them burn. Take off the heat and then blend in your spice grinder/pestle and mortar. Place to one side
- Returning to the main pan, once the onions are lightly bronzing add the garlic ginger paste, tomatoes and the ground masala. You may need to add a little more oil at this stage. Allow the tomatoes to soften completely before adding the chicken.
- Now add the chicken and mix with all the ingredients. Add a little water so that a sauce is created and the chicken can cook easily. You will find the chicken naturally releases some water so only add a very little. Place a lid on the pan. Stir intermittently for the next 40 mins, adding a little more water if it becomes too dry. Taste test and add more salt if required.
- I often find it useful to let it rest for a while to allow the flavours to infuse and relax.
If you are cooking in advance, allow to cool completely before placing in the fridge. Before eating, remove from the fridge an hour before and then gently warm up. Do not add lots of water as it will naturally loosen up once it is heated up.