Chicken or Chickpea Jalfrezi

Craving something a little different? We were a few nights ago and came across this delicious recipe on Allrecipes.com. While the original recipe calls solely for chicken and includes the addition of turmeric, we wanted to boost the servings a little (along with the amount of healthy ingredients) and didn’t realize we were out of turmeric until we were already cooking. Fortunately, our version still tasted great. The smell is so incredibly good that this is a dish that will make everyone else in the house hungry! Served over rice (and some extra cilantro) or with naan or pita bread. It was a bit spicy and some people liked it with some sour cream or fat-free plain greek yogurt. This was our first time cooking with ghee (clarified butter); we found a little jar at a local Indian grocery. If you can’t find it near where you live, you can try making it yourself (recipes are easy to find online).

Personal preference: We ended up liking the chickpeas best in this recipe, even more than the chicken. Next time we make it, we plan to leave out the chicken altogether and, by using the chickpeas as the protein, keep it vegetarian. The chicken wasn’t bad in the dish, just not as amazing as the chickpeas (and I’m not usually a fan of chickpeas). The texture and the way they absorbed the flavors of the sauce was wonderful. Taking out the chicken will also reduce the time it takes to cook the dish (give the onions and garlic a few more minutes of solo cooking time before adding the tomatoes).

Recipe:

Adapted from an Allrecipes.com by Alia Tasleem; original recipe makes 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 T vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, diced or grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 1/2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut in half
  • 1 t chili powder
  • 1 1/2 t salt
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons ghee 
  • 3 t ground cumin
  • 3 t ground coriander
  • 2 T grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves

Directions

  1. Heat the oil in a large deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic, and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the chicken, and season with chili powder and salt. Keep cooking, scraping the bottom of the pan frequently and turning the chicken.
  2. Pour in the tomatoes with their juice, cover the pan, and simmer over medium heat for 20 minutes. Uncover and add the chickpeas, and simmer for another 10 minutes to let the excess liquid evaporate.
  3. Add the ghee, cumin, ground coriander, ginger and cilantro, and simmer for another 5 to 7 minutes. Serve the chicken pieces with sauce spooned over the top.

New Kitchen Toy, New Hobby

Although I’m posting about both at the same time, my new kitchen toy has absolutely nothing to do with my new hobby (go figure).  First up, the new toy:

Berry Strainer from Sur La Table with one can of black beans.

While searching for a copper bowl to give as a present (who knew no one keeps them in stock in stores anymore?), we came across this awesome silicone collapsible berry strainer at Sur La Table for the splurge-worthy price of $4.00.  Considering I had a gift certificate burning a hole in my pocket at that moment, it was fate.  It’s currently my new favorite kitchen toy.  I don’t just use it for washing berries, though I have used it for strawberries and blueberries; it’s real handy trick is helping rinse canned beans and veggies.  This berry strainer is perfectly sized to hold 1-2 cans of whatever you need drained or rinsed.  One of my least favorite parts of cooking with canned beans was always the rinsing; I know how to use the can’s lid to hold in the beans while I fill and dump it with water, but I’m not fond of it.  It’s not worth digging out the colander and using it, but somehow holding a can under the faucet and letting the water run over the not so clean lid and into my food didn’t seem like it was the best way to get the job done. Enter the berry strainer: I dump the contents of the can into the strainer over the sink, run it under water, give it a couple shakes and wait till the water runs clear. End result: perfectly rinsed and rained beans. When making the Black Bean and Quinoa salad, I used the strainer to rinse the black beans, and to help me drain the canned tomatoes so the dish didn’t end up too liquidy. It’s dishwasher safe and collapses thin enough to fit in my gadget drawer so it’s easy to access while cooking.

New Hobby:

Completely unrelated to cooking, I’ve been having some fun lately with my nails.  It’s a bit strange really, since I’ve never been one for long nails and I’m not really into make up.  However, my skin has been acting up lately which doesn’t allow me to wear any jewelry on my hands and I miss having something sparkly or colorful to look at/play with.  Enter nail polish.  I’ve always had fun with random colors of nail polish, usually getting them for a couple bucks at the drug store and dealing with the endless chipping or flaking that comes with these no-name brands. My dad gave me a bottle of OPI nail polish, and I noticed how much smoother it went on, the higher gloss in the color, and how much longer it lasted before chipping.  My husband started encouraging me to stop spending money on the cheapies which just have to be touched up all the time or redone, and start getting the good stuff so I’ve been editing my nail polish stash.  Luckily, I came across a website that was liquidating it’s OPI stock, so I managed to pick up a few bottles at a great discount, and decided to try my hand at some of the nail art I’ve seen displayed on other people’s blogs and websites for the Fourth of July.  Here’s the result:

Fourth of July Nails

Fourth of July Fireworks Nails

The colors in the picture are a bit off (the background was actually a light blue, to give you an idea), but the fireworks actually looked pretty cute in person.

Trying to do a design on both hands proved to be a bit too complicated for me, so my left hand ended up with some fireworks, and some modified french manicure designs. Instead of the white for a traditional french manicure, I used the blue glitter nail polish I had used in the center of the fireworks on the other nails.