Four Clan Kitchen

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Archive for the ‘Poultry’ Category

Chicken Patiala

Posted by fourclankitchen on March 2, 2013

photoThis chicken dish is a classic of Mughlai cuisine,  the cuisine of the region surrounding New Delhi and its hinterland.  This was the cuisine of the Mughal royals, the muslim rulers who ruled from Delhi and  were of Persian (Uzhbeki) descent.  The cuisine of their courts was rich and a fusion on Indian and Persian themes.  It is the main cuisine seen in Indian restaurants around the world and is butchered by the addition of unsavory amounts of cream and nuts.  These dishes are meant to be rich and eaten at special occasions, but they are exquisitely delicate and balanced.  This particular version of chicken patiala is adapted from Madhur Jaffrey’s awesome book “Flavors of India”.  I have adapted it to my taste,  mostly by reducing the amounts of poppy seed used. I have made it with the amount the original recipe calls for in the past and found it too gummy.   The dish also calls was melon seeds (pepitas).  I used almonds instead, simply because I did not have pepitas (I think pepitas would be better).  Finally,  I switched the raisins for cranberries, because I taught their sweet-tart taste would better offset the richness of the dish.  Enjoy, but only once in a while.

photo 1


4 tbs ghee/clarified butter  (can use any cooking oil or butter,  but ghee is better)

2 lb bone skinless chicken thighs cut to bite size pieces

1 potato,  cubed into 1″ pieces (optional,  use if you want to stretch your dish a bit farther)

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped  (the original recipe does not call for this)

1 medium onion, finely chopped in the food processor

4 plum tomatoes,  finely chopped  (the original recipe asks for 2 large tomatoes)

2 tbs. poppy seeds + 2 tbs. almonds (optional), ground finely in a coffee grinder (the original recipe calls for 6 tbs of poppy seeds and 7 tbs of melon seeds).

2/3 cup full fat yoghurt

1 tsp Kashmiri chili powder (use Hungarian sweet paprika as a substitute)

1/4 tsp cayenne

1 tsp ground black pepper

1 tsp garam masala

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 cups water

1/2 cup half and half (can use milk)

2 tbs blanched slivered almonds

2 tbs. raisins or  sweetened cranberries

cilantro for garnish if desired

photo 2


1.  Make a paste of the crushed poppy seed and almonds with a small amount of water and set aside.

2.  Heat 4 tbs.  of ghee in a large heavy bottom pan (Dutch oven is perfect for this)

3.  Add onions and garlic and saute until onions are lightly browned.

4.  Add the tomatoes, lower the heat and cook until tomatoes are broken down and release the fat.  This caramelizes the onion and tomato paste and is absolutely key to that Indian food flavor that one might crave if one craved Indian food.

5.  Now add the almond and poppy seed paste and saute for a few minutes

6. Add the yoghurt a tbs at a time, until fully incorporated.

7.  Add all the spices and salt,  except garam masala.

8.  Now add the chicken and potato (if using) pieces and mix to combine thoroughly.  Stir and saute for a few minutes.

9.  Add the water, cover and cook until the chicken is cooked through, about 15-20 min.

10.  Add the garam masala, half and half (single cream), raisins and almonds and simmer on low heat.

11.  Garnish with cilantro if using.   Eat.

photo 3-2

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Enchiladas Tacuba Style

Posted by fourclankitchen on February 20, 2011

When I saw this recipe on Rick Bayless’ website.  I knew it had to be made. Now my son requests it every week and it has supplanted the tomato sauce based bean-stuffed enchilada that I used to routinely make.  You must try this, it is better than anything you have eaten at a restaurant.  Its a multi-step process, but really worth it.

Tacuba Enchiladas (adapted from Rick Bayless, Mexico -One Plate at a Time)
1 cup (lightly packed) roughly chopped spinach leaves

2 poblano peppers, cut into large strips (about 4-5 per pepper)

2 cups milk

2 cups chicken broth

6 tablespoons (3 ounces) butter—or you can use vegetable oil for the sauce + 1 tbs. more for roasting vegetables

4 fat garlic cloves, skin on (or 3 cloves garlic, minced)

1 onion, coarsely chopped for roasting (optional)

1/2 cup flour

 to taste (about 2 tsp. total)

3 cups coarsely shredded cooked chicken (A rotisserie chicken or leftover grilled chicken, a recipe is provided below)

12 corn tortillas

A little vegetable oil for brushing or spraying

About 1 cup Mexican melting cheese (Chihuahua, quesadila) or mild cheddar


1. Roast the chicken( if you dont have any that is pre-cooked).
I like the following version for these enchiladas:  Season 6-7 skinless, boneless chicken thighs generously with a mix of oil, oregano, lemon juice, cumin, salt and paprika (these ingredients are not listed above).  Marinade for 2 hours or more in the fridge, then grill as usual.  Coarsely chop or shred the chicken by hand/with a knife.  You can also shred chicken very gently in the food processor-Do not overprocess to a pulp.

2.    Roast the vegetables. Preheat oven to 375˚F. Generously coat the garlic, onions, poblanos with oil and salt.  Roast the vegetables, till nicely browned about 30 min.

Note: The original recipe calls for chopped fresh garlic and does not use any onion.  Instead it calls  for roasting the poblanos directly over a gas flame or on a baking sheet 4 inches below a very hot broiler, turning regularly, until the skins have blistered and blackened on all side, about 5 minutes for an open flame, about 10 minutes under the broiler. If you go with the latter option, place in a bowl, cover with a kitchen towel and, when handleable, rub off the blackened skin, tear open and pull out the seed pod and stem. Quickly rinse to remove any stray seeds or bits of skin. Roughly chop.

4. Make the sauce. Place the onions (if using) and poblano peppers in a blender jar/food processor.  Add the spinach.
In a medium (3-quart) saucepan, combine the milk and broth, set over medium-low heat to warm.
In a large (4-quart) saucepan, melt the butter (or heat the oil) over medium.  Squeeze out the garlic,  then add the flour and stir the mixture for a minute.  Raise the heat to medium-high.  Pour in the warm broth mixture and whisk constantly until the sauce boils.  Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes.  Remove from the heat.
Pour half the hot sauce into the blender with the peppers and spinach and blend until smooth.  Pour the mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining sauce.  Taste and season with salt, usually about 2 teaspoons.
5.    Finish the enchiladas.  Heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Smear about 1 cup of the sauce over the bottom of a 13×9-inch baking dish.  Stir 1 cup of the sauce into the chicken.
Lay half of the tortillas out on a baking sheet and lightly brush or spray both sides of the tortillas with oil; top each tortilla with another one and brush or spray those with oil.  Bake just to warm through and soften, about 3 minutes.  Stack the tortillas and cover with a towel to keep warm.
Alternatively, if you are in a hurry, soak a paper towel in water and wring out as much water as you can.  Wrap 6 tortillas at a time  in the wet towel and microwave on high for 30 sec.  Put together these tortillas together, before nuking the next six (This tip is courtesy Rick Bayless also)
Working quickly so that the tortillas stay hot and pliable, roll a portion of the chicken up in each tortilla, then line them all up in the baking dish.  Douse evenly with the remaining sauce and sprinkle with the cheese.  Bake until the enchiladas are hot through (the cheese will have begun to brown), about 20-30 minutes.

Posted in Main Dishes, Mexican, Poultry | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Chinese Minced Chicken with Cabbage (or Chicken in Lettuce Wraps)

Posted by fourclankitchen on June 5, 2010

This is a version of  the minced chicken in lettuce wraps sold as an appetizer in Chinese restaurants.  I have just added cabbage and carrots to this dish to make it a 1 pot meal. I used the soy chun (oyster flavored soy sauce, available at Whole Foods) for flavoring the dish. It is a sweet thick soy sauce, not unlike kecap manis, but any thick sweet soy sauce will do.   This dish makes no claims to being the “real deal”, but the taste comes pretty close.  Serve with lettuce leaves as an appetizer or eat as a main course with rice.


3 ½ tbs. vegetable oil divided

4 cloves garlic, minced

½ inch ginger, minced

1-2 thai bird peppers (optional).

1.5 lbs ground chicken

½ cup sliced carrots

1 tsp salt, divided (adjust according to taste)

4 tbs. oyster flavored sauce (soy chun)

1 small cabbage (about 3-4 cups, shredded in the food processor)

¼ cup cilantro, minced

Heat 1.5 tbs. of oil in a cast iron wok, till hot (use a thin-walled wok, where the temperatures get nice and high).  Add the peppers, garlic and ginger and stir till fragrant- 1 min at high heat.  Then add the carrots and the ground chicken.  Stir fry the carrots and the chicken till fully browned- this takes about 5 min.  Add 2 tbs. of the soychun, taste, adjust the salt, then remove from the wok.

Add 2 tbs. of oil to the wok.  When hot, add the shredded cabbage and stir fry at high heat till cabbage is somewhere in the transition zone between soft and crunchy, about 10 min.  Add salt  (1/2 tsp or to taste) and 2 tbs. of soy chun.  Then add in the chicken-carrot mix to the cabbage and stir fry for 1-2 min. to meld the flavors. Taste and adjust the salt and add more soy chun if needed.  Stir in the cilantro and serve.

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Tomatillo Chicken Stew

Posted by fourclankitchen on February 9, 2010

Chicken Tomatillo Stew (adapted from Simply Recipes)

Tomatillo sauces at Mexican restaurants often have a metallic taste that I I don’t like. I have a feeling these tomatillos are canned. But make your salsa with fresh roasted tomatillos and you have perfection, a taste that really cannot be replicated by other ingredients. The recipe has multiple steps, but is not complicated. I made several small changes to the original recipe. Also, I added roasted peppers and zucchini to it since the tomatillos did not occupy the entire roasting pan and I did not want to clean a half burnt pan. They added a caramelized dimension to the recipe, which I liked immensely. So they are here to stay.

Tomatillo Salsa

1 ½ lb. tomatillos
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp salt, or to taste
2 tbs lime juice
½ Serrano (or jalapeno) pepper (optional)
Pinch of sugar

The Stew

2 lbs bone skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1” pieces
1 large onion, finely chopped in the food processor
2 cloves garlic, minced
3-4 tbs vegetable oil
2 red peppers, quartered
2 small zucchinis, halved lengthwise
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp roasted cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp Hungarian sweet paprika
1 ½ cup chicken stock
Salt to taste
½ cup cilantro, finely chopped in the food processor

Move an oven rack to the top third of the oven and set the oven on broil (high). Husk and wash the tomatillos thoroughly to remove the alkaline film coating them. Cut the tomatillos and zucchini in half, and quarter the peppers. Lightly rub with all vegetables olive oil, sprinkle salt all over. Broil on high, 5-7 min. till the tomatillos develop black spots. Remove the tomatillos from the oven. Turn the peppers and zucchini over at this point and broil for 2-3 min longer, till the peppers and zucchini are partially charred on both sides. Coarsely chop the peppers and zucchini and set aside for the stew.
Make the salsa. Place the tomatillos into a food processor along with all the ingredients and whir till the salsa is smooth. This should yield about 2 cups.
Prepare the stew. Sprinkle salt and pepper on the chicken pieces. Add 2 tbs. of oil in a large heavy bottomed pan (I used a Dutch Oven) and brown both sides of the chicken in batches so that the chicken pieces do not touch while being browned. The chicken should not be cooked through at this point. Remove chicken pieces to a plate, add 1-2 tbs oil to the same pan and soften the onions and garlic for a few minutes. Add the peppers and zucchini; then add back the chicken pieces. Add the spices and mix thoroughly with the chicken. Add the salsa, coat the chicken, then add the stock. Cook the stew for 20 min. Taste and adjust the salt if needed. Garnish with cilantro and serve with rice.

Posted in Main Dishes, Mexican, Poultry | Leave a Comment »

Murg makhni (Butter Chicken) simplfied

Posted by fourclankitchen on January 8, 2010

This started with a desire to make murg makhni (butter chicken) based on a recipe on Sanjeev Kapur’s website.  But it was 22 ˚F outside, so grilling was not an option.  Also, I had neglected to marinade the chicken ahead of time and had no cream on hand.  So this dish emerged. I could not think of a grand name for it, so I gave it the inane title. However, it tastes anything but inane.

Start by cutting the chicken into 1 to 1.5” size pieces and place in the marinade.  Cook down the tomatoes with some spices, add the chicken, the peas and cook for 20 min.  Add some honey to round off the flavors.  Eat.

The Marinade

½ cup yogurt stirred till smooth

Salt to taste

1 tsp Hungarian Paprika (this has no heat, but adds flavor and color)

½ Serrano pepper (omit if you don’t want this to be hot)

2 tbs. ginger

4 cloves of garlic

1 tbs. lemon or lime juice

2 tbs. butter melted

1 tbs mustard oil or any vegetable oil

½ tsp garam masala (available at whole foods or Penzeys)

The spices

½ stick butter (4 tbss/50 gr)

2 sticks cinnamon broken into 4 pieces

4-5 green cardamom pods

4-5 cloves of cloves

4-5 whole peppercorns

½ tsp garam masala

1 tsp Hungarian Paprika

Salt to taste

Other ingredients

2 ¼ lbs of boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into small pieces

7 plum tomatoes, pureed in the food processor

½- ¾ cup frozen peas (optional)

1 tbs. honey (or brown sugar if you don’t have it)

For the marinade, finely mince pepper (if using), garlic, ginger in the food processor.  Add to the remaining marinade ingredients, then add to the chicken pieces. I marinaded this for about 15 min., but at least 3-4 hours to overnight in the fridge is preferable.

Meanwhile, brown butter in a 12” sauté /sauce pan and add all of the spices.  Cook for a couple minutes till fragrant.

Add the tomatoes and cook for about 5-7 mins, until the tomatoes have cooked down a bit.  Add the chicken to the tomato mix, then add the peas (if using).  Cook for about 20 min or until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce has begun to thicken and bind to the chicken.  Add the honey and mix.  Garnish with cilantro if using.

Serve with any kind of plain rice (I used a basmati+ wild rice mix), naan and raita (yogurt sauce).

Posted in Indian Food, Main Dishes, Poultry | Leave a Comment »

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