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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Chicken and Chickpea Tagine

I started watching this arabic cooking programme that is aired on Abu dhabi tv called Manaal Al alam. A friend of mine recommended it . The recipes were quite interesting but I had a hard time with the language because I knew just a handful of arabic words.
I could figure out most of the ingrediants but when it comes to dry spices thats when the trouble starts. So if I come across a recipe I want to try I would call my friend up ( who understands the language) for help. The chef, also has a website but google translation can sometimes be  a bit crazy when translating.
 Anyway, I had some saffron strands which I brought along when coming back from Malaysia ( I came home   with little spice bottles and condiments ).  This recipe is delicious!! Very simple too. If you dont have saffron make without it . I added some addtional fresh  herbs for colour and extra flavour.

Recipe : Chicken and Chickpea Tagine- Adapted from chicken and chick pea recipe from the tv show  Manaal Alam

3 whole chicken legs, thighs and drumsticks jointed
3 fat cloves of garlic, finely chopped or grated
1 1/2 inch piece of ginger, grated
2 plum tomatoes or 3 if they seem small, chopped
1 can of chick peas, drained and rinsed under running water.
1/2 tsp chilli powder or you can use chilli flakes
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp tumeric
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp saffron strands
about 1 1/2 cups hot water
Finely chopped parsley or coriander leaves ( or a mixture of both)
Olive oil

1. Place cumin, tumeric, pepper, tiny bit of salt, and chilli powder in a large bowl , Rub onto the chicken.  I like to have the skin on my chicken but you can remove it ifyou  want. If removing the skin, slash across the flesh with a knife to let the spice rub into the meat. Set  aside.

2.  Heat oil in a large casserole pot  or a regular thick bottomed pot with a tight lid.  Fry your chicken pieces ( dont wash your bowl  that kept your chicken in yet). Fry till golden. When frying dont play with the chicken, leave it to brown , if you play with it and keep fiddling it , it will stick to the pan, once it starts to turn golden you can easily turn it over to cook the other side. Remove to a plate.

3. Pour hot water into the bowl that you used to rub the spice rub onto your chicken and add the saffron strand. Give a stir and leave for the saffron to infuse into the hot water.

4. In to the same pot that you cooked the chicken, remove any excess oil and in just 2 tbsps of oil, saute your chicken and tomatoes till they start to soft. Add your chick peas, cook for 1 minute.

5. Return the chicken into the pot, along with the juices collected at the bottom of the plate. Pour the saffron infused water into pot.

6. Bring to a boil, then simmer, over a gentle heat  , covered tightly with an aluminium foil and a lid. Or you can pop it into a preheated oven at Gas mark 3  for 45 minutes till chicken is tender.

7. Remove from oven,  taste and add salt and adjust seasoning, Place on stove top and cook 1 extra minute. I personelly found the gravy a little too thin so I stired in a  little cornflour starch ( 1 tsp of cornflour mixed with about 1/4 cup water).

8. Stir in your finely chopped herbs. Serve on a bed of plain couscous.

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