Saturday, February 17, 2018

Re-Inventing The Wheel

থাইম, মধু ও সৃরাচা দিয়ে মুরগি  

Chicken with Honey, Thyme & Sriracha

Serving challenges when you have no dining table! 

I discovered how well Sriracha and thyme compliment each other by accident. I was basting some chicken in thyme-butter one day, and the Sriracha was just sitting there on the counter...calling to me. I added some to the frying pan, purely because I always love a little heat in my food. I realised the combination was a success with my first mouthful, and made a mental note to try it again in the future. Fast forward to early 2018, and I started to make mom's chicken ketchup curry, only to realise there was no tomato ketchup at home. I quickly decided substitute in Sriracha, and as soon as I did I recalled my previous positive experience with thyme. 

I wondered how to incorporate the herb into my curry, eventually deciding to stir it in towards the end of the cooking process. The thyme didn't impart a pronounced enough flavour in this first try. In subsequent iterations, I've also scattered an extra portion into the pot before taking the dish off the heat. All in all, I end up using quite a bit of thyme because it's easily overpowered by the other spices. The herb gives the dish quite a nice after-kick of flavour, but I do recognise this is probably a rather esoteric, acquired taste. I don't think I'd be a fan had I not learned to love thyme while living in the UK. Of course, feel free to leave the thyme out completely if you so desire, and the end result will be a strong, garlicky version of my mom's original curry.  

  • 750.00 g of chicken breast
  • 1.00 white onion
  • 1.00 red onion
  • 1.00 tablespoon of garlic paste
  • 1.00 tablespoon of ginger paste
  • Chilli powder, to taste (I used 1.00 tablespoon)
  • 6 or 7 cardamoms
  • 4 or 5 2.00 cm pieces of cinnamon
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste (I used 1.50 tablespoons)
  • 2.50 tablespoons of Sriracha sauce
  • 2.00 palmfuls fresh thyme, tough branches removed
  • Salt, to taste

  • Roughly chop the fresh thyme and set aside
  • Cut the chicken breast into bite-sizes pieces, and set aside in a bowl. Thoroughly wash hands and any utensils after handling the meat 
  • In a kettle, boil 500.00 ml of water
  • Quarter the white onion, then pop into a food processor or blender to make onion paste. Alternatively, grate the quarters into a bowl to achieve a similar result
  • Mix the garlic, ginger and chilli powder into the onion paste
  • Place a large non-stick saucepan on medium heat, adding 2.00 tablespoons of cooking oil
  • Once the oil is hot, add the onion-garlic-ginger mixture and fry for 9 to 10 minutes. Add some of the previously boiled water to the mixture if if dries out too much. Do this in small batches, a tablespoon at a time 

Chicken breast and hard spices,
just added to the pastes

  • Add the chicken breast to the pastes, along with the cardamom, cinnamon and black pepper
  • Raise the heat to high, and stir continuously to mix the pastes, chicken and spices.
  • Cook for a couple of minutes, then add about 250.00 ml of the previously boiled water to the saucepan
  • Allow the dish to come to boil, then turn the heat back down to medium. Leave the saucepan uncovered, and allow to cook for around 10 minutes
  • While the chicken is cooking, finely slice the red onion
  • Place a non-stick frying pan on medium heat, and add 1.00 tablespoon of cooking oil
  • Once the oil is hot, add the onions. Leave to fry on medium heat for a couple of minutes, then turn the heat down low and cover
  • Let the onions cook this way until the soften and start to caramelise. This should take a little over 5 minutes

Caramelised red onion and thyme,
just added to the dish

  • Once the chicken has cooked for around 10 minutes, add the caramelised onion and 1.00 palmful of chopped thyme
  • Stir to mix in, then add about 100.00 ml of the previously boiled water to the dish. Leave to cook uncovered for around 10 minutes
  • Add 1.00 tablespoon of honey and 2.50 tablespoons of sriracha sauce to the saucepan, and cook for a final 5 or 6 minutes

All done and off the heat!

  • Turn the heat off, and sprinkle the remaining chopped thyme over the chicken. Mix in, then cover and let the dish sit like this until serving
  • Serve warm with rice or flat breads

Additional Info:
If you have no access to fresh thyme, substitute in two teaspoons of dried thyme. This will give the dish a more gentle flavour. 

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