Monday, 9 July 2012

A Persian Feast

It wasn't a Persian feast. It was a half Bengali/half-Persian-but-within-the-realms-of-flavour-that-my-mother-wouldn't-bitch-about feast. Why did I cook this? Well, frankly, I was getting quite bored. Birmingham hasn't been as soul-crushingly awful as it usually is. But that's because I've been busying myself with organising what I'm going to do when I leave. You know, house hunting, worrying about money, crying at the thought of funding my little projects (things which are fun that I want to do) from jobs which pay minimum wage. Minimum wage = not very much. I've also done some entirely useless things. Like sorting my room/wardrobe out even though it will all be tipped into turmoil again in a month or so. Although that turned out to be quite useful as it lead me to the conclusion that there is absolutely no need or justification for me to spend any money on clothes in the next (two) year(s).  I MISS MY STUDENT LOAN. Ergh. Anyway, this is dull. Let's talk about how I came to be cooking this particular food. Well, my mother was given some useless kitchen ornament which came with a little pot of salsa and a little pot of jalapenos. My mother demanded that I cook something that uses them up. Then someone mentioned this and I was all 'oh this is useful'. But then a wave of 'Do you really want to try baking again NOW?' came over me. And the chilli recipe is quite boring without the cornbread muffins. So then I started browsing Homesick Texan for recipes because she loves jalapenos. And the recipes all looked really great, full of meat and cheese and other deliciously base treats. But mother dearest kicked up a fuss. So I decided to make jalapeno macaroni cheese with smoky shredded barbecue chicken (no bacon in the Haque household, nuh-uh) but then my mother was all 'YOUR BROTHER NEVER EATS THINGS YOU MAKE WITH PASTA AND CHEESE' and I was all 'God, MY CREATIVITY CAN NEVER FLOURISH HERE' and then she was all 'hey we're having people to visit so why don't you cook a little something that we can serve with our NORMAL food?' (The cooking equivalent of giving someone a pound and saying 'go and buy yourself something pretty'.) So I was all 'FINE but it's going to be PERSIAN inspired'. Persian food uses lots of similar spices to Bengali food so I figured that she wouldn't complain too much about that. Then I read lots of this blog and decided that I would make an array of things and they'd all be more delicious than whatever my mother cooks and then she'd be irrationally moody and feel usurped. Yes. The chicken was the stand out dish although the Bengali chicken, mirza and kofta I did appeared to be a hit too. I also went to great lengths making meat dishes pretty with spring onions.
Persian(ish) Fried Chicken
5 chicken thighs and 5 chicken drumsticks, skin removed and washed
5 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large onion, finely sliced
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp turmeric
Large pinch saffron strands
25ml lemon juice
1 tsp mango chutney
Salt and pepper

Fry the onion and garlic in the oil for about 15 minutes on a medium heat until the onion is completely translucent and starting to brown.
Season the chicken with salt and pepper all over.
Add the chicken to the pan and fry one side for about 5 minutes. Whilst that side is frying, sprinkle turmeric over the other side.
Turn the chicken over and fry the other side. Sprinkle turmeric on the other side.
Continue to fry the chicken over a medium low heat, turning occasionally, until almost cooked.
This should take about 30 minutes.In a mug, mix the lemon juice, saffron, mango chutney and about 25ml of hot water.
When the chicken is almost done (about ten minutes from being done), add the saffron mixture to the pan.
Turn the heat up slightly and let the mixture get all the browned onions from the bottom of the pan.
Turn the chicken a couple of times in this mixture, basting it a little.
Check the seasoning of the sticky sauce and remove from the heat.

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