Ginger-Lime Chicken w/Bok Choy

I am sort of ashamed to admit this, but here goes:

I read Buzzfeed.

I know, I know. I’m working on it. That said, sometimes you find useful information there, like this recipe (under Day 1 in the list). The original is a good idea at its core, but it needed more flavor. So after a few tweaks, I think I got the flavors where I want them, while staying true to the concept. It probably doesn’t stay under the $10 that the article claims, but that’s probably a function of different availability of ingredients in Germany (bok choy is a little more exotic here). Click the link for the original, as I’m posting what I did.

Juice of two limes (about 1/4 c)
2 T olive oil, plus more for cooking
salt and white pepper to taste
1 lb (500 g) chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 in (5 cm) ginger, minced or julienned
4 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
2 bunches (about 10) green onions, sliced
5 small heads bok choy, sliced and rinsed well

Combine lime juice, olive oil, a pinch of salt and pepper and chicken pieces in a large Ziploc bag or lidded container, tossing chicken to coat all sides. Marinate in refrigerator for at least 20 minutes.

Heat one T olive oil in a deep skillet over medium high. Remove chicken from marinade with a slotted spoon, reserving liquid, and cook until just browned. Set cooked chicken aside in a bowl, add a little more oil to skillet, and quickly sauté ginger, garlic and green onion until just tender. Add bok choy and toss well to coat with oil. Add remaining marinade (it will boil almost immediately), season vegetables with a little salt and pepper and stir well. Cook vegetables for about 5 minutes, or until thick pices of bok choy start to get a little tender. Add chicken and its collected juices back in to finish cooking through and cover for at least 3 minutes. Serve over brown rice (it’s fine over white, but the flavor really pops with brown).

Chicken Nilgiri

This is partially invented. I use Jamie Oliver’s curry pastes when I want homemade Indian food. They’re very simple and easy to customize (after you’ve made them a couple of times and gotten a feel for them). So I used them as a template to prepare a copycat recipe from my favorite restaurant. I’ve never seen this dish in other Indian places (maybe it was invented by the restaurant itself!), so it was a bit of a crapshoot, but we really enjoyed the results.

This involves spices that aren’t necessarily pantry staples. If you make your own curry pastes, though, you will use these at a pretty good clip. Look at an Asian market for some of the odder ones.

Toasting Spices
1 t fenugreek, whole
1 t fennel, whole
1 t cumin, whole
1 t black peppercorns, whole
1 t coriander, whole

Other Paste Ingredients
2 cloves garlic
fresh ginger, peeled thumb-sized piece
2 fresh green Thai chilies
1 T turmeric
1/2 t cayenne pepper
1/2 t salt
1 T coconut milk
2 T groundnut oil (I use peanut)
equal amounts fresh cilantro and mint (about 3/4 c loosely packed of each should do)

Toast the whole spices in a skillet over medium-low heat until fragrant and slightly browned (watch the fenugreek, it’s usually yellow). Remove from heat and set aside to cool. When cooled, put them through a spice grinder or a strong food processor. Combine toasted spices and all the other ingredients in a food processor and blend to a smooth paste (you can drizzle in a little more oil if mixture seizes). If you’re not using the paste right away, put it in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to one week.

Curry Sauce
1-2 T ghee or vegetable oil
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
1/4 t asafoetida or hing powder
2/3 lb boneless, skinless chicken, cut into bite size pieces
1 recipe Nilgiri paste
2 c plain yogurt
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
pinch sugar

In a Dutch oven, heat ghee or oil over medium high. Add onion and hing and cook, stirring frequently until onion is starting to turn transparent. Add chicken and cook, stirring frequently for 3-5 minutes, then add paste. Stir to distribute paste and cook for 1-2 minutes. Pour in yogurt and chickpeas and stir well, then lower heat to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes. If any bitter flavors occur, add pinch of sugar. Serve hot with rice or naan.

Chicken Salad Wraps

I love wrap sandwiches. When we’re anywhere with a Marks & Spencer food hall, I live on the things (mostly because those happen to be in England and it’s hella expensive there). So I wanted to try making my own. Here’s my first iteration – we enjoyed the results!

Salad
1 lb cooled poached chicken, chopped or shredded
2 large heads romaine lettuce, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, finely diced
1 large bunch cilantro, chopped (about 1/3 c)
1 bunch green onions, chopped
2 small tomatoes, chopped
1/2 jalapeño pepper, finely chopped

Dressing
1/2 c olive oil
1/3 c lime juice (I used red wine vinegar instead)
2 small cloves garlic, pressed
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp chile powder

Large tortillas or lahvosh bread

Combine all salad ingredients in a bowl. Whisk together dressing and toss with salad. Spread desired toppings in a thin layer on a tortilla (sour cream, cheese, sliced avocado, etc.) and top with salad. This should be enough for 6 large wraps.

Curry Chicken Salad

I’m trying to make sure all of my recipes are in one, easy-to-find place, so several of them might be coming up at once. I found this one here and adapted it to our tastes. I generally don’t like creamy ‘salads,’ i.e. chicken salad, potato salad, macaroni salad (*shudder*), but the addition of curry here is really lovely. We like to eat this during the summer on croissant sandwiches.

1/4 c mayonnaise
1/2 c plain yogurt
5 tsp curry powder
1 T lime juice
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 lb skinless, boneless chicken breasts, poached and chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 c red seedless grapes, halved
1/2 c salted roasted cashews, coarsely chopped

Whisk together mayonnaise, yogurt, curry, lime juice, honey, ginger, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Add chicken, celery, grapes, and cashews and stir gently to combine.

Chicken Marsala For Reals

I made this a while back and just never got around to posting. Even bad chicken Marsala is still kind of good, but this stuff is on a whole ‘nother level. The sauce was deeply flavored and rich, the chicken tender and we had it over polenta, providing a wonderful texture contrast. Here’s the original recipe. Below is what I actually did when I made it.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 c flour
1 tsp dried oregano
1 T olive oil
1 T unsalted butter
4 strips bacon, chopped
1/2 lb cremini mushrooms, sliced
2 shallots, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 T dried sage
1 tsp tomato paste
1 c sweet Marsala wine
1 T unsalted butter
Juice of half a lemon

You’re supposed to pound the chicken, but I couldn’t be bothered. I just sliced it into large strips. Mix the salt, pepper, flour and oregano and dredge the chicken in the mixture, shaking off excess. Heat a deep skillet over medium-high and add the olive oil and butter. When the butter is melted and foamy, add the chicken to the skillet. Cook until browned, about 4 minutes each side. Remove chicken to a plate, cover to keep warm and set aside.

Add the chopped bacon to the pan and cook until just crisp, stirring occasionally. Remove the bacon to a plate with a paper towel to soak up the grease. Add the mushrooms to the skillet and cook until golden, making sure to scrape up any bits left in the pan from the chicken or bacon. Feel free to add a little more oil if the pan seems dry.

Add the shallots, garlic, sage and tomato paste and stir to combine. Cook until the shallots are tender – 2 to 3 minutes – then add the Marsala. Turn the heat up and bring the sauce to a hard simmer, cooking until the sauce is slightly thickened and reduced. Add the chicken (and any juices collected on the plate) and bacon to the sauce and heat thoroughly. Add last tablespoon of butter and lemon juice and stir until just combined. Serve with pasta or polenta.

General Tso’s Chicken

A favorite of American and Canadian Chinese restaurants, General Tso’s chicken isn’t actually Chinese. But it is awfully tasty. I’ve been looking around for copycat recipes for a long time before actually attempting one. This one was the jumping off point for my crack at the dish. My version is below.

Sauce
1/4 c white sugar
1/2 c soy sauce
1/4 c rice wine vinegar
1/4 c cornstarch
1/4 c white wine or sherry
2 c chicken or vegetable broth
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 in ginger, peeled and minced

2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 egg, beaten
3 T soy sauce
1/4 c cornstarch
1/4-1/2 c oil for frying (1/2 inch deep in skillet)
1 small bunch (about 8) green onions, sliced
2-3 red Thai chilies, sliced (remove seeds to decrease heat)

To prepare sauce, put all ingredients into a large jar with a leakproof lid. BE CERTAIN to put the cornstarch somewhere in the middle, preferably between two layers of liquid. If you put it on the bottom or top of the ingredients, it won’t fully integrate and you’ll be choking down starch lumps. After all ingredients are in the jar, seal it and shake it until completely blended. Set aside.

Heat the oil to medium high. Combine the beaten egg with the soy sauce. Put the cornstarch in a large Ziploc. Dip the chicken pieces in the egg first, then drop several coated chicken pieces into the cornstarch bag and shake vigorously. Remove chicken from bag, shaking off excess cornstarch and fry until golden and crispy, turning once (this is horrifically messy – sorry). Set cooked chicken aside to drain on paper towels.

In another deep skillet, heat one tablespoon oil to medium high. Quickly stir-fry green onion and chili for 30 seconds to one minute – just until green onion starts to become tender. Shake sauce mixture again and add to onion and chili, stirring frequently until thickened. Lower heat and add chicken to sauce, stirring until chicken is well coated and heated through. Serve over rice with steamed broccoli.

Variation

You can use this recipe as a template for a Spicy Peanut sauce. When preparing the sauce jar, reduce the sugar to one tablespoon and the vinegar to 1.5 tablespoons, then add 1/3 cup of peanut butter. Instead of just shaking the jar, whisk the contents until there are no large lumps of peanut butter. Continue preparing as usual.

Chicken Shawarma

Oh boy, a little bit of Dearborn right here in our German kitchen!

Pita bread
1kg or 2.2 lbs. boneless chicken without skin
1 tsp. salt or to taste
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. ground red pepper
1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
2 tbsp. lemon juice

Garlic dip:
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup plain yogurt
2 cloves minced garlic
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Rub spices and lemon juice into meat. Marinate 1-2 hours. Arrange meat in 2 layers in a shallow baking dish. Bake at 450 degrees until top is light brown, about 15-20 minutes. Turn chicken and brown other side.

For the garlic dip, mix all that stuff together.

Let chicken cool slightly. Cut in thin strips and return to pan with drippings. Mix well. Spread a piece of warm pita bread with a small amount of garlic dip. Add chopped chicken. Roll into a sandwich.