Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Tastes of the Caribbean: Chicken and rice.

I really enjoy cooking. I like experimenting a bit in the kitchen but recently I started to realize that I'm mostly returning to my several "tried and true" recipes. I cook mostly European and Asian, and among those mostly Italian, French and Chinese.

I thought it might be a great idea to expand a little, make some new recipes that I've never tried before, from cuisines that I'm not so familiar with. Expand the spice cupboard a bit and in the process try some new things.

My philosophy with this has been to look for recipes that don't go over the top. I have a full time job and these meals have to feed me and my partner, it's not a Saturday dinner party, it's dinner. So I'm looking for relatively quick and simple meals, the kind of stuff that gets eaten on a daily basis. That's the approach I want to take to learn about these cuisines.

I've done two so far and this is my third, it's only now occurred to me that this might be fun to blog. Don't worry, I'll post the 1st two when I make them again sooner or later.

So tonight I present, Caribbean: Chicken and rice.

I usually just search for "simple *pick a cuisine* recipes" and go from there. I found a few rice and bean recipes and a few chicken recipes and I took what I liked from each and made a bit of a mash up. 

This made about 3 portions. There are three elements to this dish: 

The Rice:
2 cups of rice. The recipe said basmati, but I buy big bags of jasmin, so that's what I used. 
1 tin of beans (black or red kidney beans)
1 clove or garlic crushed
some thyme
2/3 of a cup of coconut milk

The Chicken
600g skinless chicken thigs, it was about 6.
curry powder

The Dressing
1 Green chili, no seeds.
1 clove of garlic crushed
a lime - I couldn't get a lime so I used a lemon.
6 spring onions
The recipe called for some shallots but I didn't have any.

Trim and chop the thighs in half, rub them down with the curry powder and allspice. I was quite generous with both. Let them sit. 

Finely slice the spring onions and chili, (we like spicy but the big green chilies are actually very mild) mix it with the garlic and lime juice. Mix and let it sit too. 

Cook the rice in a rice cooker, and BBQ or grill the chicken.
I BBQ'd by moonlight tonight.

Fry up the garlic in a pan with a little bit of oil. Then add the beans and thyme and soon after the coconut milk.

Once it's reduced a bit, mix through the cooked rice and cook it just for a couple more minutes. 

Then put the chicken on the rice and spoon a good serve of the dressing on top. The recipe said to garnish with some lime zest right at the end but since I was using lemon I decided to leave it off. 

I'm very happy with the way it turned out. If I was going to change anything, I'd think about putting one more element into the rice, it has a sweetness to it which is nice but I thought it was just a bit bland. I can't quite work out what would go in there that wouldn't ruin the balance. Some obvious things I'd add to rice are onion or capsicum but I don't think that would work in this case. Actually having a bit more of a think about it, I bet corn kernels would do the trick! I'll definitely try that next time. 


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