Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Chicken Flavored with Garam Masala & Chili with Warm Cucumbers and Jasmine Rice Sprinkled with Toasted Coconut and Shredded Leeks

This is a recipe that I do dare to say is very good with the added bonus that it is the easiest thing to make in the world without any complicated steps or techniques that creates a big mess, leaving your kitchen looking like a war zone. It's like everyday food you can whip you really easily when you want to eat something delicious but don't want to spend the time or effort making it.

Now I could have sworn this recipe was inspired from something I saw in Steamy Kitchen, and it was something far more time consuming, complicated and fancy - but now I can't seem to find it. If anyone ever finds Jaden's Garam Masala flavored chicken, please give it a try, because I'm sure it's mouth watering delicious!

I've included a basic tutorial on how to cook rice without a rice cooker just in case some of you don't have one. The rice cooker was originally invented to cook rice this way for you so if you do have one, don't bother trying to cook it like I did. Also, if you already cook your rice in a certain way - just stick to what works.

Chicken Flavored with Garam Masala & Chili with Warm Cucumbers and Jasmine Rice Sprinkled with Toasted Coconut and Shredded Leeks


1 Breast or Thigh of Chicken (de-boned with no skin)

1 Clove Garlic (crushed)

2 Tbsp Garam Masala*

Chili Powder (to taste)

Black Pepper (to taste)

Salt (to taste)

2 - 3 Tsp Panela or Brown Sugar

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 Medium Cucumber

300 g Jasmin Rice

2 Tbsp Dessicated Coconut

1/2 Leek

Step 1: Wash the Jasmin rice very well and then put it into your pot or rice cooker with an equal amount of water. Let it sit for 1 hour.

Step 2: Chop up the chicken into bite sized cubes and marinate inside a bowl with garlic, Garam Masala, Chili powder, salt, black pepper and extra virgin olive oil.

Step 3: Start cooking the rice. You know how to use your rice cooker. If you're cooking it in a pot the old fashioned way - then put the lid on (make sure the lid does not have any holes in it and that it fits tightly but not too tightly. It should rattle when the rice begins to boil. Turn the heat on maximum and wait for for steam to start escaping from the sides. You might hear it coming to a roiling boil if you listen carefully. When this happens lower the heat to medium/low (so on a scale of 1- 12, maybe 4) and set your egg timer for 17 minutes. DO NOT REMOVE THE LID WHILE COOKING. The lid stays on until the rice is cooked.

Step 4: While the rice is cooking you might want to slice the leeks finely and put them in a bowl somewhere. You also might want to toast your dessicated coconut inside a pan. Toast them until they're golden brown but be careful not to burn them. Dice the cucumbers and set them aside in another bowl.

Step 5: When the rice is done - remove from the hot stove top, open the lid and place a cloth in between the lid and pot and close again. Let this sit for 15 minutes or until your chicken is ready. For round grain varieties I like to let it sit for 30 minutes.

Step 6: Put some olive oil in a small frying pan and when it's heated-up, start braising the chicken cubes. When they start to brown, sprinkle the Panela/brown sugar to give them that extra glossy sheen. When the chicken is cooked remove them onto your serving plates.

Step 7: Thow the diced cucumber into the pan with some salt and braise them for 50 seconds no more. You want them to just be covered in hot oil - no more.

Step 8: Put the cucumber on the plate with the chicken and some Jasmin rice, then sprinkle everything with the toasted dessicated coconut. Then put some leeks on top of the rice. Enjoy!

*I use Natco's Garam Masala.

Note: The way I've cooked rice is the way my grandmother and all the Japanese grandmothers used to cook rice before the time of the rice cooker. When cooking rice this way it's integral that you don't remove the lid until the rice is cooked. The amount of water is open for debate but I prefer to use a 1:1 ratio. Remember that when you wash your rice, the rice absorbs some water and it's almost impossible to remove all of the water so if you measure the water 1:1 in reality there is a little more than that in the pot. In addtion I might say that depending on your rice - you will need a little more water or a little less. If you want your rice to be more firm, use less water. If you think your rice lacks moisture, use more water. As a rule long grain varieties need more water and there's a larger margin for error when measuring the water. Round grain is very picky about the exact amount of water needed and if you put even a little more than is necessary - it can end-up being too soft and unappetizing.


Natashya said...

What a great dinner! I love my rice cooker, and am just getting comfortable eyeballing the water.
Jasmine is my favourite kind of rice, what an intoxicating scent.

Murasaki Shikibu said...

'Eyeballing the water' is exactly it!

Krista said...

I don't have a rice cooker at the moment... how do you ensure that the rice won't boil over if you make it in a pot on the stove? I have been struggling with this for awhile... I keep needing to lift the lid to let some of the steam out or else I get a mess, even if I turn the heat to simmer as soon as I get a rolling boil.

Murasaki Shikibu said...

Krista: To be honest, you're not supposed to let the steam out at all during cooking and it's SUPPOSED TO BOIL over a tiny bit. However, if your kitchen is quiet enough, you can turn down the heat slightly earlier. If you listen carefully you can hear the roiling boil building-up inside and at the first hint of any steam escaping TURN DOWN THE HEAT to low. It also depends on the size of your pot and the type or lid and how much rice and water you've put in, etc. It takes practice and even then sometimes you end-up with a mess...which is why rice cookers are so popular. Is your rice and water at a 1:1 ratio?

Murasaki Shikibu said...

I sound like I'm contradicting myself there when I said 'you're not supposed to let the steam out' but what I meant is that you're not supposed to open the lid until the rice is cooked. The lid should be light enough so that the steam can escape from the sides of the lid when it lifts the lid itself as the pressure builds up. Heavy glass lids don't work very nicely and a light metal lid with no holes in it is ideal.

Krista said...

No, the ratio wasn't 1:1. I usually do 2:1, so I tried 1:1.5 that time (I didn't have time to soak). Do you think it would boil over less if the ratio was 1:1?

Murasaki Shikibu said...

Krista: hmmm 2:1 sounds like the amount of water that's used when you don't put on the lid until it comes to a boil. I've read about this but have never cooked rice with so much water. :) Are you cooking long grain or short grain rice by the way? Long grain usually needs more water and short grain needs less. I can't promise you it won't boil over because it can even with very little water, but if you turn down the heat at the first signs of steam escaping from your lid (which I'm assuming isn't heavy duty) - then it shouldn't do that. On a dial of 1 - 12, I turn mine down to 4.
As for soaking it is better if you can wash the rice then soak it for at least 30 minutes. Putting more water usually can make the rice soggier but won't really make up for skipping this process. Good luck. :)