Indian at home: Chicken Vindaloo

Indian at home.
Indian at home.

Sadly, our town is lacking in good Indian cuisine. Which means, this fall J and I have decided to figure out how to make it at home. We’ll tackle naan soon, especially since we discovered how easy the main dishes can be. We tried Chicken Vindaloo from our new favorite site rasamalaysia.com. The directions were easy to follow, easier than finding all the ingredients! With a few modifications, we had a meal that rivaled any local Indian restaurant.

Ingredients:
1 whole chicken, cut up into 8 pieces and skin removed (We used about 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts because that’s what we had on hand)
1 onion, chopped (we used a large yellow onion)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/4 tsp each Salt and pepper
3 tablespoons oil (we used olive)

Spice Blend:
1/2 cup vinegar (white)
4-5 dried red Chile peppers (we used dried, whole red chilis)
4 cloves (we used ground)
8 garlic cloves, skin removed (we used minced about 2 tablespoons)
1 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled
1 teaspoon paprika powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon sugar

Directions:
Add vinegar and soak all the ingredients needed for the spice blend for 15-20 minutes. Then blend these into a fine paste using a blender. (we used the food processor and with the added vinegar, this turned very runny. Next time, we’ll remove the spices from the vinegar and then re-add it at the end). Add the spice mixture paste to the chicken and toss well to evenly coat all the chicken pieces. Let the chicken marinate for 4 to 6 hours. In a large wok heat the oil on medium heat. Add the marinated chicken and cook for 4 to 5 minutes. Stirring often. Add the chopped onions, tomato paste, salt and pepper to the chicken. Give everything a good stir. Finally add 1/2 cup of water (we omitted this step since it was already pretty runny), cover the lid of the skillet and lower the heat to low. Let the chicken simmer on low for 15 to 20 minutes or till well done and the oil start to ooze from the curry. If you prefer little thinner gravy add water as need and let it simmer for another 4 to 5 minutes before serving. Like the original author, we prefer the gravy to be thick and sticking to the meat pieces. Serve immediately over basmati rice.

My Opinion:
The sauce was a little runny for our tastes and it wasn’t quite as spicy as we like our vindaloo. Next time, we’ll use the spice blend as a run without the vinegar and add it at the end.

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Jamaican Jerk Chicken

Jamaican Jerk Chicken
Jamaican Jerk Chicken

I’ll admit I was skeptical about this recipe. But after one bite, I wasn’t skeptical at all. It was deliciously flavorful and less labor intensive than we thought it would be. Warning: it’s pretty filling.

Ingredients:
1 tb Ground allspice
1 tb Dried thyme
1 1/2 ts Cayenne pepper
1 1/2 ts Black Pepper freshly ground
1 1/2 ts Ground sage
3/4 ts Ground nutmeg
3/4 ts Ground cinnamon
2 tb Salt
2 tb Garlic powder
1 tb Sugar
1/4 c olive oil
1/4 c Soy sauce
3/4 c White vinegar
1/2 c Orange juice
Juice of 1 lime
1 Scotch bonnet pepper, Seeded and finely chopped (if you can’t find this, feel free to use a habanero)
1 c white onion Chopped
3 Green onions finely chopped
4 6-oz Chicken breasts Trimmed of fat, up to 8-oz each

Directions:
In a large bowl, combine the allspice, thyme, cayenne pepper, black pepper, sage, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, garlic powder and sugar. With a wire whisk, slowly add olive oil, soy sauce, vinegar, orange juice and lime  juice. Add the Scotch bonnet pepper (we used habaneros since we couldn’t find Scotch Bonnet), onion and green onions and mix well. Reserve about a cup or so of the marinade to use later. Add the chicken breasts, cover and marinate for at least an hour, but the longer the better! Remove the breasts from the marinade and bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. If you prefer a sear, turn on the broiler and broil each side first for a few minutes and then bake. Or if you prefer, fire up the grill and cook for 6 minutes on each side or until fully cooked. While grilling or baking, baste with the left over marinade. Heat the rest of the leftover marinade and serve on the side for dipping (we just did this on the stove). If you prefer more intense flavors, feel free to double the spices.

My opinion:
Even without doubling the spices, this was plenty hot. It was the right combination of sweet and spicy and the chicken was very moist. We will try this on the grill next time! The rice and slaw will be in another post. I”m having trouble locating the original recipes to link back to at the moment.

Day After Christmas Breakfast potatoes

This dish originally started as a Thanksgiving side dish, but after the trial run, we decided it was much more suited for breakfast. While Christmas morning usually gets all the hype, these potatoes are perfect for the next morning or for brunch. Super easy, filling and delicious. We found the original recipe here.

Ingredients
4 1/2 pounds russet potatoes rinsed and cut into 2-inch chunks (feel free to peel if you like, we liked the skins)
1 tablespoon white vinegar
Kosher salt
1/4 cup olive oil (the original recipe called for duck fat, which we didn’t have)
Freshly ground black pepper
12 sprigs thyme (fresh is best!)

Directions
Adjust oven racks to lower and upper position and preheat oven to 500°F. Place potatoes in a large saucepot and cover with cold water by 1-inch. Add 2 tablespoons salt and vinegar. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to a simmer, and cook until exteriors are tender, about 5 minutes. Potatoes should show a slight resistance when poked with a paring knife or a cake tester. Drain potatoes and transfer to a large mixing bowl.
Oven Roasted Breakfast Potatoes

Add olive oil to bowl with potatoes.

Add oil.

Season with pepper and more salt to taste then toss with a large metal spoon until exteriors are slightly bashed up and coated in a thin layer of potato/fat paste. Divide potatoes evenly between two heavy rimmed baking sheets. Spread thyme sprigs over potatoes.

Add fresh thyme.

Transfer baking sheets to the oven and roast until the bottoms of the potatoes are crisp and golden brown, about 20 minutes total, swapping top the trays top for bottom and rotating them once half way through roasting. Using a thin metal spatula, flip the potatoes and roast until the second side is golden brown, another 15 to 20 minutes.

Oven roasted potatoes, final.

My Opinion
Like I said above, filing, delicious and worth that extra little bit of effort for a great post holiday breakfast.

Homemade Gray’s Papaya Hot Dogs

Original from Gray’s Papaya.

On our recent trip to NYC, J and I had a culinary tour of the city fueled by recommendations by forum community members on ChowHound. One of the recommendations was for Gray’s Papaya and didn’t let us down. In fact, we liked it so much, we scoured the internet when we got home to find a recipe for the onion sauce. After a few trial and errors, we found this one on noshcookbook.com. It’s practically perfect!

Our Version

Ingredients:
1-2 Vidalia onions, sliced (we used a mandolin)
1 cup water
2 Tablespoons butter for sauteing onions.
1/4 cup of white vinegar
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon lite corn syrup
1 teaspoon cornstarch
few dashes of salt
1/4 teaspoon of Tabasco sauce
1/4 teaspoon paprika
couple of turns of fresh ground black pepper
2 cloves of garlic

Directions:
In a frying pan over medium-high heat melt butter and saute’ onions and garlic with a few dashes of salt and turns of fresh ground black pepper. Add the rest of the ingredients into a small mixing bowl. Once caramelized, add the rest of the ingredients and return to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally for 20 to 25 minutes or until thickened.

My opinion:
The ideal hot dog to use is Nathan’s, but living in the Midwest, they are hard to come by. A really, really close option is Oscar Mayer New York Style hot dogs. With the onion sauce, it’s so close to the original that if I close my eyes, I could be in NYC.