Chicken Biryani

Chicken Biryani

chicken biryani

Chicken Biryani

Briyani or biryani, (I’m never sure) can be very complex to make but here is my cheats version which does not involve layering and baking in the oven. Its really great and simple to prepare, just make sure you have all of the spices.

What you need

300g basmati rice
1kg chicken pieces
2 medium onions sliced finely
2 tablespoons garam masala
1 tablespoon minced garlic
6-8cm piece ginger grated finely
3 tablespoons red chili powder
1 tablespoon coriander powder
2 teaspoons Turmeric
1 bay leaf
2 tomatoes diced
1 small tub plain yogurt
125ml milk
2 tablespoons butter
oil for frying
handful of chopped mint

The process

Wash the rice as per pack instructions (usually until water runs clear)

Boil rice in water with the bay leaf until 1/2 cooked, drain and set aside.

In a pan with some oil add the onions and cook for a  minute or so. Add the garlic, ginger, garam masala powder, chili powder, coriander powder and turmeric. Stir to combine (it will seem dry but bear with it) for about 1 minutes. Add the tomatoes and combine well, covering the tomatoes with the mixture and stir for 2-3 minutes.

Add the chicken pieces, yogurt and milk and allow to simmer for about 15 minutes on a low to medium heat until the chicken is almost cooked through.

Add the rice, mix it all together, then place a lid or cover with tin foil and allow to cook on a low heat for a further 10-15 minutes.

The rice should be cooked through and the chicken tender.

To make it real special, fry off some more sliced onions in butter until soft and golden, sprinkle with chopped mint leaves and mix it in at the end.

Chicken pasta with peas and creamy mustard

Chicken pasta with peas and creamy mustard

chicken and pea pasta

Chicken and pea pasta

If you only have about 15 minutes to spare for dinner and feel like a chicken pasta that is very satisfying and offers a creamy, delicious sauce, then you are going to want to try this chicken pasta recipe. The sauce is a very unusual blend of cream with a hint of mustard that goes so well with the chicken that I can’t imagine why it is not seen in restaurants. ( for 4 people)

What you need

250g dry pasta, spaghetti or tagliatelle but any pasta will work
Olive oil
1 medium onion finely chopped or grated
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
1/2 cup white wine
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 cup fresh cream
2 cups peas (frozen and thawed)
2 cups or about 350g cooked chicken cubed or shredded
The process

Place your pasta in a large pot of salted water letting it boil until cooked while you prepare the sauce.

You can either poach the chicken by cutting it up and placing the pieces into some boiling chicken stock for about 2 minutes or simply stir fry the pieces until white. Set the cooked chicken aside.

In another pan on a medium heat cook the onions until transparent and soft, try not to let them brown. Add the garlic and stir for about a minute. Now add the wine and the mustard, put the heat on high and bring to the boil.

As soon as it boils, reduce the heat to medium low and allow to simmer for about 5 minutes to reduce the liquid. Stir in the cream and allow it to continue simmering for another 5 minutes or until the sauce begins to thick slightly.

Add the chicken and peas (make sure you have thawed the peas properly and that they are free of any water) and simmer for another 2 minutes until the mixture is hot.

Your pasta and your sauce should be ready at about the same time, so now drain your pasta and add it to the chicken and pea sauce, toss it to coat the pasta and you are done.

Easy Chicken pie in a pot

Easy Chicken pie in a pot

Chicken pie

This is a fantastic Chicken Pie recipe that is very easy to make and thanks to frozen puff pastry takes only minutes to prepare. It makes a large pie that can feed about 6 people but tastes so good, 4 hungry people will devour it in no time. There is something so good about the smell of pastry baking in the oven and your family will be at the door asking when it will be ready.

What you need

250g frozen puff pastry that is thawed
1 beaten egg

1 tablespoon butter
2 medium onions grated or finely chopped
1 tin corn kernels drained
100g sliced button mushrooms
1 cup frozen peas
1 whole cooked chicken chopped or shredded depending on how you like it

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
500ml chicken stock
250ml fresh cream

The process

Before you start this recipe, pop your frozen pastry in the fridge for about 2 hours to thaw. It is best to thaw it out in the freezer than on the counter or microwave, just seems to stay intact better.

Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a pan on a medium heat and fry the onions until they are soft, add the mushrooms and fry for about another 3 minutes stirring occasionally.

Now add the corn, frozen peas and chicken and cook for a few minutes to mix in all of the ingredients. Remove from the heat and set aside.

In another pot, melt 2 tablespoons of butter and add the flour. Stir or whisk well to cook the flour a little, be careful not to burn it, you want it to be better yellow not brown. Now remove it from the heat and add the chicken stock in a slow stream, whisk very well while adding the stock until all of the flour is mixed in and you have no lumps.

Pop it back on the stove and bring to the boil while you stir continuously, then reduce the heat to low, add the cream and stir until you feel it starting to thicken up. Remove from the heat, toss in the chicken mixture and give it a good mix.

Pour the mixture into a casserole dish that is about 20cm x 20cm x 10cm or a shallower one that is about 30cm x 20cm x 6cm and then place the pastry over the top. Tuck it in and fold any overlaps back onto the top. Cut 2 x 4cm slits in the pastry, wash the top with the beaten egg and place in a 180 Celsius oven for about 30 mins or until the pastry is crisp and browned.

It’s a fantastic meal folks, try it.

Take a look at the other easy chicken recipes.

Lancashire hotpot recipe

Lancashire hotpot recipe

Lancashire hotpot

A traditional Lancashire hotpot uses lamb kidneys but I am not a big fan of offal so have left them out and made it more like a really great lamb casserole that has a crunchy potato topping. There is a really great hotpot version made with Chicken which you should also try.  Chicken hotpot, Chinese Chicken hotpot. Serves about 5 or 6 people.

What you need

650g lamb meat cubed (leg of lamb is best)
4 medium onions sliced
1 tablespoon flour with a pinch of salt in it
approx 600g potatoes thinly sliced
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon fresh chopped thyme (1 teaspoon if you use dried thyme)
200g thickly sliced button mushrooms
Salt and pepper
about 6x 1cm square cubes of butter
1 1/2 cups chicken stock

The process

In a large pot on a medium to high heat, add the oil and onions and cook for about four or five minutes stirring from time to time. Add the meat that has been sprinkled with the seasoned flour and brown nicely on all sides. They should have a beautiful nutty brown colour on the outside.

Remove the meat and onions from the pot and place into the bottom of a casserole dish that is about 20cm square and about 10cm high.

Now add the mushrooms in a layer, sprinkle over the thyme and toss in the bay leaf and give it a season with salt and ground pepper.

Now pour over the chicken stock and place a layer of thinly sliced potatoes over the entire top. Overlap them a bit to use all or most of the potatoes and then place the butter cubes randomly over the top.

Put it into a 190 Celsius oven for about 2 hours, check after 1 1/2 hours and if the potatoes are browned and looking crisp, you are done. If not, leave it for another 1/2 hour.

Enjoy it folks and serve it with the best dessert on the planet, an Eaton Mess.

Pan fried chicken with mushroom sauce

Pan fried chicken with mushroom sauce

pan fried chicken with creamy mushroom sauce

Pan Fried Chicken

If you are dieting this one is not for you. By flattening out your chicken breasts as if you were making a chicken schnitzel they cook a lot quicker, are beautifully tender and smothered in a rich and creamy mushroom sauce, well what can I say, they are seriously good.(4 people)

What you need

4 – 6 skinless boneless chicken breasts butterflied
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons oil

Mushroom sauce

2 tablespoons butter
4 cups chopped mushrooms
1 medium onion grated
100ml dry white wine (or chicken stock)
200ml fresh cream

Tagliatelle pasta cooked

The process

Butterfly your chicken breasts by slicing them almost through, opening them out, placing a piece of cling film over them and giving them a pound with a rolling pin or wine bottle.

If you have a meat mallet, be gentle, you don’t want to break them.

Season with salt and pepper and cook in a pan on a medium to hot heat with the oil until browned on the outside. Be careful not to overcook them, they really do take just a few minutes.

Place the cooked chicken in a serving dish that has been warmed in the oven.

Now reduce the heat to medium, add the onion and butter to the same pan and cook for about 2 minutes, add the mushrooms and cook for a further 5 minutes stirring occasionally.

Pour in the white wine, bring the heat up to high and allow to simmer allowing the liquid to reduce by about half. Add in the cream and stir, stir, stir until it has reduced again by about half.

Place some pasta on a plate, cover with a little sauce, then a chicken piece and top with a generous amount of the mushroom sauce.

I like it with a salad, veg just seems wrong!

Try some of the other chicken recipes, or a healthy chicken recipe.

Baked chicken Parmigiana

Baked chicken Parmigiana

baked italian chicken

Baked Parmagiana

This is a real treat, it’s a variation of Chicken parmigiana that is rustic and very morish. I never mess with it too much and serve it with either a green salad or a pasta on the side that has also been tossed in a little marinara sauce.

It takes a little longer than some of the other Italian recipes but is worth every second.

What you need

1 egg well beaten (or half a cup of milk)
1/2 cup bread crumbs
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
marinara sauce
1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese
Parmesan cheese

The process

Heat your oven to 180 Celsius and have a non stick oven tray ready.

Take your chicken breasts and slice them so that you can open them and flatten them out like a Chicken Schnitzel. Give them a light pounding with a rolling pin or wine bottle to flatten a bit.

Have your beaten egg in a bowl and your bread crumbs on a plate. I recommend the corn flake bread crumbs from Kellogs.

Dip your flattened chicken breast into the egg(or milk), shake off the excess and then into the bread crumbs to coat well.

Place onto the oven tray and place into the oven for 20 minutes.

Once they are done, get a baking dish, pour a 1 cm deep layer of Marinara sauce into the bottom of the dish, place the cooked chicken on top and then cover with more of the Marinara sauce.

Sprinkle the Mozzarella over the top and then the Parmesan.

pop it back into the oven for another 15 minutes or so until the cheese has melted.

It’s rich, and seriously delicious.

You should always have Marinara sauce in the freezer, but if you don’t and you want a quick alternative, take a tin of chopped tomatoes and onion with basil in it, heat it up and use a potato masher to mash it up a bit.

Green peppercorn chicken casserole

Green peppercorn chicken casserole

chicken casserole with green peppercorns

Peppercorn chicken casserole

I had a green peppercorn sauce at a restaurant in Cape Town over December and it really hit the mark, not to hot and peppery but a little spicy with a fresh aftertaste. Green peppercorns are sold in small bottles and pickled in brine, it also uses yoghurt as well which makes it everything you could ask for.

Try this for a change from your regular chicken casseroles, it is a real winner and you will be amazed at the flavour. It takes virtually no effort unless you want to remove the skins from the chicken. (4 people)

What you need

12 chicken drumsticks or small thighs
1 medium onion finely chopped (grate if you can)
1 bay leaf
2 Tablespoons drained green peppercorns
1 cup hot water
2 Chicken stock cubes
2 Tablespoons Maizena(Cornflour)
200ml plain yoghurt
Black pepper

The process

Heat your oven to 180 Celsius.

Take a large casserole dish with a lid and place the chicken pieces in the bottom. Add the onion, green peppercorns and crumble the two stock cubes over the top.

Now toss in the bay leaf and pour over the hot water, then cover and into the oven for 45 minutes.

Mix together the yoghurt and the Maizena, give it a good season with black pepper and then pour over the mixture. Stir it about a bit to combine, cover and then back into the oven for another 15 minutes.

It’s as simple as that, done and delicious. Serve with rice.

The Tuscan Chicken Casserole is also a great Chicken Casserole or take a look at all of the Chicken recipes.

Marinated chicken skewers

Marinated chicken skewers

chicken skewers

Chicken skewers

This recipe for marinated chicken skewers was sent by a reader who had won a competition with the recipe and was kind enough to share it with us. Thank you Christine. I gave it a try and well, it is going to be on my braai menu from now on for sure. It turns out beautifully garlicy with a sweet and fiery aftertaste that is quite amazing. You just have to try it and best of all it’s so simple. (makes 6-8 skewers) I didn’t do it exactly as Christine did, I prefer to thread then marinade but you can marinade then thread if you like.

What you need

3 cloves garlic, crushed
4 tablespoons tomato sauce
2 teaspoons hot English mustard
2 Tablespoons honey
4 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons Tabasco sauce
3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts cut into thin strips
salt and pepper to taste

The process

Soak bamboo skewers in water while you prepare.

Mix together all of the marinade ingredients with a whisk and set aside.

Slice your chicken breasts through the center to butterfly them and then cut into 4 thin slices. Thread them onto a soaked skewer and place in a flat dish.

Pour the marinade over the skewers, roll them around a bit to ensure that they are completely covered with the marinade, cover with cling film and place in the fridge over night to marinade.

They were fabulous and as she suggests, the marinade can be used for wings or drumsticks as well. This along with the marinated pork ribs, sosaties and potato bake makes for a great braai.

Summer rice salad with warm chicken breast

Summer rice salad with warm chicken breast

Rice salad

As the weather warms up I thought it’s time for something a little more adventurous and summery. This rice salad recipe has a fantastic flavour with all sorts going on in your mouth. You just have to try it, the pears and the blue cheese in the rice are such a great combination with the warm chicken and it’s sauce. I rate this as a top summer lunch. (5 – 6 people)

What you need

6 spring onions roughly sliced
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
1 tablespoon mustard
6 skinless boneless chicken breasts
1 tablespoon flour
150ml chicken stock
1 apple diced quite small (1cm cubes)
1 tablespoon chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons fresh cream
Saltt and pepper
Olive Oil

Salad

250g cooked rice
2 pears diced small (1cm cubes)
150g blue cheese
1 red pepper diced small
2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander
1 tablespoon Sesame oil

The process

In a bowl add the spring onions, about 2 tablespoons of olive oil, garlic, mustard and tarragon, then season well with salt and pepper, mix together and toss in the chicken pieces. Toss them around a bit to cover the chicken pieces like a marinade. Set them aside for about 4 hours.

Remove the chicken pieces and shake off any onions. Cook the chicken pieces on a high heat for about 3-4 minutes on each side to brown nicely. Remove and set aside.

Now reduce the heat to medium add all of the marinade to the pan, add the chicken stock and the flour and mix well, add the apples and walnuts and allow to simmer for 5 minutes stirring from time to time.

Add the cream and the chicken pieces and simmer for another 2-3 minutes and remove from the heat.

In a separate bowl add all of the rice salad ingredients, mix them with a fork to separate the rice grains and distribute the colours evenly.

That’s it, serve the chicken over the rice salad with a bit of the sauce. It’s a party in your mouth I tell you.

Caribbean chicken morsels

Caribbean chicken morsels

Caribbean chicken morsels

These little crispy coconut chicken nuggets make such a nice change for a snack at parties, a lunch box extra or anytime fun meal. I was really impressed with the flavour of the sauce and could not get enough of these little crispy morsels. 1 chicken breast per person should be enough for a snack. You can do the same with whole breasts, just change the oven setting to 180 Celsius and cook a little longer.

What you need

4 chicken breasts, cut in strips or nuggets
1 cup dessicated coconut
1 cup flour
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 eggs

Sauce

1/2 cup marmalade
and 2 tablespoons mayonnaise mixed together

The process

Heat your oven to 200 Celsius and prepare a baking tray by lightly buttering the surface.

In a bowl add the coconut, flour and salt, give it a good mix to ditribute evenly.

Whisk the eggs well in another bowl.

Dip the chicken pieces in the egg, shake to remove excess and then in the coconut coating well (you need a nice thick coating all over)

Place the chicken pieces on your baking tray and bake for about 20 minutes turning after 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Crisp delicious taste of the caribbean.