Syrian lemon n ginger chicken
Sometimes you reach a stage when using a particular item of food becomes a yawn!! Its like you’d like to eat that food item but you are simply so bored of using the same old recipes to prepare the item that you’d rather not prepare it!! I’d reached that stage with chicken!!
It was a weekend and weekends are extremely lazy days for me especially when it comes to cooking. Well….honestly, yes, any day is a lazy day for me when it comes to cooking!! But on weekends I turn extra lazy……..so breakfast is at 11 and lunch at 4 and dinner…….never mind!! (I know, that confession there must’ve called for a lot of head shaking and exclamations of “tsk tsk”! But you’d agree that if you’re wired a particular way then you are so….much rather accept it and get moving!) Anyway, we’d finished breakfast and I had to start planning for lunch. My daughter loves chicken and I’d had some fresh chicken delivered home from this shop nearby. I’d cleaned it and was about to start preparing some standard chicken curry when at that moment I simply went blank. I couldn’t get myself to make any of the same old chicken curries that I knew of. I had to get hold of a new recipe…..i just had to!! And this time I did not open my box of recipes but instead sought out a new recipe from the internet. (God bless Tim Berners-Lee!!)
I knew I wanted to use lots of ginger and lemon in my chicken coz I’d never prepared a chicken dish with those. As usual Google threw up some several hundred thousand results (…….no thanks there to the world wide web for adding more confusion to an already confused brain!!) and I had to painstakingly run through several of those recipes to see which one would be THE ONE!! Anyhow, I persevered and there my dearies! was this one particular recipe that caught my eye – that really stood apart from the other recipes…….Syrian Lemon and Ginger Chicken. There was this one ingredient in the recipe that really did it for me….and it was cinnamon powder!! Yup…..the recipe called for marinading the chicken with cinnamon powder and that really intrigued me. How would chicken marinaded with cinnamon powder taste like?? Well, there was only one way to know….to make it!! Yup….so here goes the recipe (with some minor modifications!)
2 tsps cumin powder
2 tsps cinnamon powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsps pepper powder
2 onions sliced
2 tomatoes roughly chopped
5-6 cloves garlic crushed
2 in. piece of ginger julienned or cut into matchsticks
2 red chillies slit lengthwise
1 lemon, juiced and zested (see tips)
2 tbsps honey
2 cubes vegetable stock powder
A few sprigs Coriander
Fresh Thyme leaves or dried thyme (I used dried thyme)
A fistful of black currants
Marinade the chicken with salt, turmeric, pepper, cumin powder and cinnamon powder. I just can’t tell you how exotic this marinade smells…. the cinnamon really does the trick!! Keep aside for atleast half an hour. With marinades, the rule is always – the longer the better!! But in my case, my marinades never end up longer than half an hour to an hour at the most!! (Thanks of course to my impeccable meal planning! Chuckle!)
Heat some olive oil in a heavy bottomed pan and fry the chicken pieces. Make sure that the chicken is just browned. Turn the chicken over until well browned on all sides. Keep aside.
Now heat the remaining olive oil in the same pan and add the onions, ginger, garlic and red chillies. Stir fry until the raw smell is gone. Add the tomatoes, thyme, honey, lemon juice and zest, stock cubes, currants and enough water and cook for a minute or two.
Return the chicken to the curry and cook on a medium flame with the lid on for about 10-12 minutes. Then open the lid and cook again for another 10-15 minutes until the chicken turns soft and the gravy has reduced a bit. Check for seasoning and garnish with coriander leaves. Serve hot with some white rice………….sublime!!!
1. When you zest a lemon or other citrus fruit, be careful not to zest the white parts of the skin. The white parts are bitter and only the yellow or orange parts of the skin have the distinct citrus flavour to them.
2. When a recipe calls for frying any meat or even sea food before adding it to a curry make sure not to completely cook them on the pan, since they’ll cook in the curry too for a while; and meat or sea food tends to go all chewy and/or dry if you over cook it.