Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Sticky, Spicy Chicken with Pea + Cinnamon Rice.

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu!

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Why, oh why, don't I use cinnamon in savoury dishes more often?

This is exactly what I was thinking when I began cooking the rice in this recipe. The scent of cinnamon, usually frying with onions, ginger and garlic, as in this pea + cinnamon rice, is delicious. So warming, comforting and perfect for September. Guys, I am so excited that it's September - autumn is my favourite.

Anyhoo, back to the cinnamon. I love using ground cinnamon in sweet things but had very rarely added it into savoury ones. I mean sure, most Pakistani rice dishes use cinnamon sticks in some way or other but I had never come across use of it in ground form.
Until, that is, I tried a recipe from a food blog that I have been following for quite some time - Nosaiba's Food. When this recipe was first cooked, it was delicious central - a welcome dinner after a long day.

I knew I had to cook it again and this time, photograph the process to share with all of you. So, here you go: sticky, spicy chicken served on a bed of pea and cinnamon scented rice. Together, this combination is one I did not forget in a hurry. The chicken is cooked with a sauce that is reduced down until sticky and concentrated. Cinnamon rice is definitely one of my new favourites - we cooked extra and I can tell you that the leftovers on their own make for a very satisfying lunch.

Chicken and Rice, previously: oregano lemon chicken with turmeric rice, white sauce + chilli oilspicy chicken with zesty rice saladchicken pulaochicken biryani.


A Simple List of Ingredients:
For the Pea + Cinnamon Rice:
1. Basmati Rice
2. Vegetable Oil
3. Onion
4. Ginger
5. Garlic
6. Salt and Pepper
7. Ground Cinnamon
8. Water
9. Frozen Peas
10. Baby Spinach

For the Sticky, Spicy Chicken:
1. Ginger
2. Garlic
3. Salt and Pepper
4. Chilli Sauce
5. Soy Sauce
6. Brown Sugar
7. Honey
8. Plain Flour
9. Vegetable Oil
10. Chicken Breast

Bismillah, let's begin!

First, let's make the rice. Take 200 grams Basmati Rice.

Wash the rice in a few changes of water until the water runs clear. Soak in a bowl filled with water for at least 30 minutes before using.

Meanwhile, take a deep pan and place over a medium heat.

Pour in 2 tablespoons Vegetable Oil.

Let the oil heat up whilst you get to chopping.

The base of this rice is super simple - onion, garlic and ginger.

Peel 1 Onion. Side note: this onion made me cry.

Give it a dice.

And, add it into the pan. Let it lightly brown and soften for about 7 minutes.

While the onion browns, we can crush things! Take a small piece of Ginger, peeled and roughly chopped.

And, 2 Garlic Cloves, peeled.

Get bashing until both the ginger and garlic are crushed.

Once the onion has just begun to turn brown at the edges, scoop up your ginger and garlic.

And, throw it in.

Stir-fry for a few minutes until fragrant.

Next, it's time to season the rice. As you can see, especially if you're used to heavily-spiced food, this rice is on the lighter side. And, you kind of need that since the chicken will be packing the punch in this recipe.
But guys, don't be afraid to experiment with the ground spices. I used ground cinnamon in this recipe because I LOVE the smell of it when frying. But you? You do you.
I highly recommend the cinnamon though. 
Just saying.

To season the rice, I used:
1 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
1/2 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

In go the spices.

Give them a good stir around for a minute or two. Inhale that cinnamon smell!

Then, it's time to add water. 590 ml Water, to be precise.

Stir in the water ..

... and bring to the boil.

Drain the rice.

And, add it in.

With the rice goes, 120 grams Frozen Peas. Again, you can add any vegetable you like but I have a thing for peas.

Stir in the peas and bring the whole thing to a boil.

Let it boil for 5 minutes.

Then, it's spinach time. This time, I used a small handful of Baby Spinach - about 15 grams, but feel free to add more or less.
Also, you can use any greens you like. Currently, I'm loving Savoy cabbage, thinly sliced.

Add in the spinach.

Give it a stir and it's time to steam.

Cover the rice with a tight-fitting lid and turn the heat right down. Let the rice cook like this for 15 minutes until cooked through.


Once it's cooked, uncover.


Give it a gentle toss.


And, set aside until needed.

To make the chicken, first we must make this sauce. And, it could not be easier.

We begin with a small piece of Ginger and 2 Garlic Cloves.

We'll use the pestle and mortar again to crush the ginger and garlic. In goes the ginger, peeled and roughly chopped.

And, the garlic, peeled.

Crush both well.

To make the sauce, I used a jug but you can also use a bowl.

In goes the crushed ginger and garlic.

Followed by 1/2 teaspoon Salt.

1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper

Time for the spice, in the form of chilli sauce. Use your favourite which for me is this chilli garlic one.

Add in 1 tablespoon Chilli Sauce. Or, to taste.

In goes, 2 tablespoons Soy Sauce.

2 teaspoons Brown Sugar

Finally, 1 teaspoon Honey. Any will do - even Brazilian eucalyptus. 

Once everything is in ..

.. give it a good stir. Set aside until needed.

The chicken! I used 1 large Chicken Breast, cut into small pieces.

To it, add 1 tablespoon Plain Flour. If you're gluten-free, the same amount of cornflour would also work here.

Give it stir.

And, it's time to cook! Place a pan over a medium heat.

Pour in 1 tablespoon Vegetable Oil and let it heat up.

Once hot, add in the chicken.

Spread it out and fry until light brown.

Like so.

Add the sauce, in stages.

Letting the first addition thicken up before the next.

Once all the sauce is in ..

.. cover the chicken and let it cook for 10 minutes over a low heat.

Once the chicken is cooked and the sauce has thickened up, we're done.
The sauce in this recipe is more concentrated so feel free to add a splash of water, where you see fit.

Grab the rice and it's time to eat.
Enjoy!

Full Written Recipe:


Sticky, Spicy Chicken with Pea + Cinnamon Rice.

Prep Time: About 30 minutes.
Cook Time: About 30 minutes.
Serves: About 2 people with rice leftover.

Ingredients

For the Pea + Cinnamon Rice
200 grams Basmati Rice
2 tablespoons Vegetable Oil
1 Onion, peeled and diced
Small piece Ginger, peeled and crushed
2 Garlic Cloves, peeled and crushed
1 teaspoon Salt
½ teaspoon Black Pepper
½ teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
590 ml Water
120 grams Frozen Peas
Baby Spinach, to taste (I put in a small handful – about 15 grams)

For the Sticky, Spicy Chicken
Small piece Ginger, peeled and crushed
2 Garlic Cloves, peeled and crushed
½ teaspoon Salt
½ teaspoon Black Pepper
1 tablespoon Chilli Sauce
2 tablespoons Soy Sauce
2 teaspoons Brown Sugar
1 teaspoon Honey
1 large Chicken Breast, cut into small cubes
1 tablespoon Plain Flour
1 tablespoon Vegetable Oil

Method

To cook the pea + cinnamon rice, wash the rice in a few changes of water until the water runs clear. Then, soak the rice in water to cover it for at least 30 minutes.

Heat the vegetable oil in a deep pan over a medium heat. Add the diced onion and let it lightly brown and soften for about 7 minutes. Then, add in the crushed ginger and garlic. Stir-fry for a few minutes until fragrant.

Next, add in the salt, black pepper and ground cinnamon. Stir for a minute to wake everything up. Then, pour in the water. Stir and bring the water to the boil.

Once boiling, drain the rice and add to the pan. Add the peas in too. Stir and bring to the boil. Boil for 5 minutes.

Then, add in the spinach and stir. Cover the rice with a tight-fitting lid and turn the heat right down. Let the rice cook like this for 15 minutes until cooked through.

Gently toss and set aside until needed.

To make the sticky, spicy chicken, take a small mixing bowl or jug. Into it, place the crushed ginger, crushed garlic, salt, black pepper, chilli sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar and honey. Stir well and set aside.

Add the plain flour to the chicken and stir well.

Heat the oil in a pan over a medium heat. Once hot, add the chicken and fry until light brown.

Add the chilli sauce mixture gradually to the chicken, stirring, until the sauce begins to thicken.
Once all the sauce is in, cover the chicken for about 10 minutes over a low until it’s fully cooked through and the sauce is thick and sticky.

Serve immediately over the pea + cinnamon rice. Enjoy!

{Adapted from Nosaiba's Food}

This Time One Year Ago:

This Time Two Years Ago:

Keep me in your duas, please, and enjoy your chicken and rice,

Wasalaam!

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