From my cookbook collection: Chicken Jalfrezi

Happy Birthday Bryan (The Official Taste Tester here at The Cook’s Sister)! Today, I’m going to celebrate his birthday by sharing links back to some of his favourite foods that I’ve blogged about and share a new recipe that he was very fond of. Check out some of Bryan’s favourites:

As you can probably tell, he really likes Southwest inspired foods and flavours. But… today I’m going to share a recipe from an Indian food cook book that I received as a birthday gift from my best friend a few years ago.

The book is Cooking School: Indian (ISBN 978-1-4075-6263-6 from Parragon Books). Why do I love this book? All of the recipes are formatted to fit on one page. There are beautiful pictures of the dish on the 2-page fold. The directions are broken down to be simple and clear. And best of all, everything I’ve made from this book has bee delicious, tasting just as good as the Indian food at our local restaurants (sometimes the recipes are a variation of what we’re used to, but always fantastic). I’ve made the Tandoori chicken, butter chicken, and now, the chicken jalfrezi.

This book has sat on my shelf for a while. I’ve read through and bookmarked recipes of my favourite dishes at restaurants when I first got it. I’ve thought about giving a few things a try, always dismissing it for one reason or another. It looks too time consuming, I don’t have time to marinate the meat, or I don’t want the apartment to smell like curry for a week were a few of my excuses. So, about a month ago, I finally cracked the cookbook, leafed through the recipes I had bookmarked, and decided on one that I would make.

Afterwards, I contacted the publisher to see if I could share the recipe with you (and, as I’m sure you’ve already guessed, they said yes!). And so the cooking began. I’m not very familiar with cooking Indian food, so I made a  trip to the grocery store and stuck mostly to the original recipe. I added some yellow pepper for colour and used fresh grape tomatoes instead of canned tomatoes. The result? A yummy chicken jalfrezi!

This recipe is about a medium-spicy dish. If you want to turn up the heat,  add more tumeric, cumin, coriander, chili powder, and garam masala. Similarly, use less of these ingredients if you want the dish to be more mild.

Do you stick to a recipe when making new dishes? Or do you feel comfortable making substitutions?

Chicken Jalfrezi

Recipe from Cooking School: Indian (ISBN 978-1-4075-6263-6, http://www.parragon.com), posted with permission from the publisher

Ingredients

  • 1 pound /9 ounces /500 grams skinless, boneless chicken thighs (or breasts) – approximate cost $4.50
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced – approximate cost $0.50
  • 1 teaspoon salt – approximate cost $0.05
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil – approximate cost $0.50
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped – approximate cost $0.75
  • 2 teaspoons garlic paste – approximate cost $0.10
  • 2 teaspoons ginger paste – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1/2 teaspoon tumeric – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon chili powder – approximate cost $0.10
  • 5 1/2 ounces / 150 grams canned chopped tomatoes – approximate cost $1.10
  • 2/3 cup warm water
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 small or 1/2 large red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch / 2.5 centimeter pieces – approximate cost $1.50
  • 1 small or 1/2 large green bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch / 2.5 centimeter pieces – approximate cost $1.00
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala – approximate cost $0.10
  • Indian (naan) bread or cooked basmati rice to serve – approximate cost $0.50

Method

  1. Cut the chicken into  1-inch / 2.5 centimeter cubes and put in a nonmetallic bowl. Add the lemon juice and half the salt and rub well into the chicken. Cover and let marinate in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes.
  2. Heat 4 tablespoons of the oil in a medium, heavy-bottom saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, for 8-9 minutes, until lightly browned. Add the garlic paste and ginger paste and cook, stirring for 3 minutes. Add the tumeric, cumin, coriander, and chili powder and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently, until the oil seperates from the spice paste.
  3. Add the marinated chicken, increase the heat slightly, and cook, stirring, until it changes colour. Add the warm water and bring to a boil, Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 25 minutes.
  4. Heat the remaining oil in a small saucepan or skillet over low heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until browned. Add the bell peppers, increase the heat to medium, and stir-fry for 2 minutes, the, stir in the garam masala. Fold the bell pepper mixture into the curry. Remove from the heat, and serve immediately with Indian bread or cooked basmati rice.

Makes about 4 servings (approximate cost: $2.80 per serving).

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Steamed Mussels in Coconut Milk from Relish Cooking Studio

As promised, This week (and probably next week), I’ll be sharing recipes with you from a class that I attended at Relish Cooking Studio in Waterloo.   I attended their Sustainable Seafood class back in March, only one week after attending the Tour of Thailand class. Why did I wait so long to tell you about this class? Mostly, I wanted to change up the blog posts for a bit. We learn to prepare so many dishes in each of the classes, I wanted a few weeks to post my own recipes before diving back into a collection. However, I did briefly write about this class earlier when writing about how to choose and buy a fish.

While I enjoyed both of the classes very much, this one has had a bit more influence on the food I cook at home. The ingredients for Thai food are further away at a specialty grocery store, whereas I can get most of the ingredients for these recipes closer to home.

Today’s recipe for steamed mussels was probably my favourite one from the bunch. Maybe this is because I was very hungry when I arrived. I think it’s because it was so different from my usual way of enjoying mussels (I’ve enjoyed them with a tomato and wine broth or with a black bean sauce prior to the class). Also, the mussels were cooked to perfection. They were tender and flavourful. Not rubbery in the slightest. I’m working on not over-cooking mussels when preparing them at home.

What is your favourite way to enjoy mussels? I think this is mine!

Steamed Mussels in Coconut Milk

Recipe by (and posted with permission from) Chef Mark Brown, demonstration at Relish Cooking Studio

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons canola oil – approximate cost $0.25
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced – approximate cost $0.75
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and minced – approximate cost $0.15
  • 1 tablespoon coriander – approximate cost $0.10
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves – approximate cost $0.25
  • 1 teaspoon sliced red chili – approximate cost $0.15
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt – approximate cost $0.08
  • 2 cups canned coconut milk – approximate cost $4.00
  • 3 pounds mussels, scrubbed and de-bearded – approximate cost $12.00
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice – approximate cost $0.10
  • Handful of fresh cilantro, chopped – approximate cost $0.50
  • 1 cup water

Method

  1. Pour the oil into a large pot and bring to medium-high heat.
  2. Toss in the onion slices and cook, stirring often, until lightly browned.
  3. Add the ginger and cook for 1 minute, stirring often.
  4. Add the coriander, kaffir lime leaves, and chili, and again cook for 1 minute while stirring often.
  5. Pour in the coconut milk and 1 cup of water.
  6. Bring to a boil.
  7. Add the mussels and salt.
  8. Stir until mussels are well coated with the sauce.
  9. Cover the pot with a lid and reduce heat to medium.
  10. Cook for about 7 minutes (or until the mussels have opened).
  11. Discard any mussels that do not open (these are not safe to eat).
  12. Remove the pot from heat and add the lemon juice and cilantro.
  13. Spoon the mussels and sauce into bowls.
  14. Serve and enjoy!

Makes 4 servings (approximate cost: $4.58 per serving).

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