Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Chicken with Garlic & Ginger

Chicken with Garlic & Ginger
Photograph by Leticia Alaniz © 2015
On a quick trip to an Indopak tiny market, or better said an Indian & Pakistani market, I bought among a few spices and middle eastern bread, a halal cut, skinless, whole little chicken.  It was perfectly packaged without a single piece of skin or fat, for which I thought the butcher seemed to cater to my delight, for the gourmet or discriminating cooks.  I did not have time to cook it that evening but overnight I thought about how to cook it the next day.  I wanted to try something new.  I flipped thru a few recipes in my cookbook collection and nothing really popped out for the moment.  

A french country cedar shed
built and designed by Larry Ivy
Photograph by Leticia Alaniz © 2015 
Recently, on a visit to a friend’s house over easter dinner, we talked a lot about the beauty and most amazing food of Southern France and in conversation, the very famous dish, Coq au vin was delectably and anecdotally talked about while sipping on rich, red wine and having the most fragrant, heritage-filled Spanish paella.  It was lovingly cooked in a very large cast iron skillet by my lovely friend (whom is a filmmaker and writer) of many years, Lauren.  The entire garden setting was a custom, hand built, french style shed built by Lauren’s parents.  I was transported to France which reminded me of some of my favorite films that were filmed in the region like, To Catch a Thief, Jean de Florette, and Manon of the Spring.  It’s one of the best paella’s I’ve ever had!    
Lauren Ivy Chiong's traditional Paella Valenciana

Coq au vin is one of my favorite dishes, especially since it includes wine in the sauce and so I was determined to prepare the halal chicken the french way.  In the kitchen while laying out ingredients, somehow, one thing led to another and I ended up getting exited by seeing and smelling fresh ingredients that led me to create a dish in another form.  I had a very large piece of fresh ginger, I let my nose guide me and that is how I came up with this savory version of chicken with garlic and ginger.  The recipe is so simple to make and I think it works well to make ahead if you want to prepare it for a dinner party the night before.  Oh, and did I mention the perfume of this dish?  You won't be able to resist.

I’ll save the coq au vin for another day with guests that will enjoy it with me.  Hopefully in the company of Lauren and family! 

Chicken with Garlic & Ginger 


1 whole skinless chicken, about three pounds, cut into 8 pieces
1/4 of plain yoghurt (I used greek strained yoghurt)
2 small limes - juice
1 tablespoon - honey
4 garlic cloves - crushed
2 tablespoons or 2 inch piece - grated ginger 
1 tablespoon - whole coriander seeds
1 tablespoon - crushed fenugreek seeds
1/4 - teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon - ground black pepper
1 teaspoon - ground red chile 
salt - to taste
1 jalapeño - seeded and diced small for garnishing
1 to 2 tablespoons of cooking oil
2 to 3 - tablespoons of water

Method of Preparation:
  1. Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper.  
  2. Heat the oil in a pan and braise all the chicken pieces until browned.  Once     browned, remove pieces and let rest on a plate.
  3. In remaining oil, roast coriander and crushed fenugreek seeds.
  4. Add ground turmeric
  5. Lower heat, add crushed garlic and ginger, continue to roast.
  6. Add honey
  7. Add lime juice
  8. Slowly add yoghurt and heat until it looks smooth
  9. Add ground chile and continue cooking sauce
  10. Add water
  11. Add the chicken pieces and coat with the sauce.  Continue cooking covered another 15 to 20 minutes until fully cooked.
  12. Serve and garnish with the diced jalapeño 

Enjoy with a serving of rice or a flat bread such as a thin pita, wheat tortilla, or naan perfect for mopping all the sauce off the plate.

A perfect paring would be a glass of pinot noir or a malbec.

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