Monthly Archives: November 2018
The only thing to know about cooking octopus is that you must poach it very, very slowly until the tip of a sharp knife slides easily into the flesh. Think of treating it the way you would a cheap cut of meat – low and slow. Once it is tender, allow it to cool completely in the cooking liquid, drain and use in an octopus or mixed seafood salad, chargrill it like this, add it to pasta like the Italians do or rice like the Portuguese do.
- 12 large chicken thighs, skinned or 6 large chicken legs cut at the joint and skinned
- 2 tablespoons of paprika, 1 tablespoon coriander, 1 tablespoon garam masala, ½ tablespoon turmeric, 1 large teaspoon cumin, 1 teaspoon chilli powder*
- 2 large or 3 medium onions
- 2 large or 3 medium tomatoes
- 2 or 3 Scotch Bonnets, pierced with the tip of a sharp knife
- Couple of sprigs or fresh or dried thyme, handful of fresh coriander if you have it in
- 1 tsp salt, 3 chicken stock cubes
*or as much as suits your liking for heat!
Slice the onion and tomato, and chop the garlic. Make up the chicken stock cubes with two pints of boiling water.
Mix all the spices in the biggest bowl you’ve got and toss the chicken in them until they’re all completely coated. There will be spice mix left at the bottom of the bowl. Save that, you’ll use it later. Pour about a one centimetre layer of oil in a large non-stick pan, put it on a medium heat and add either 4 or 6 pieces. Don’t overcrowd the pan because you’ll notice some milky white liquid sometimes comes out of the chicken pieces. If there are too many pieces too close together that white stuff won’t evaporate off and instead of frying/browning the chicken, it will be sitting in liquid.
This part takes a bit of patience but it’s worth it because it’s the part most people get wrong. Don’t move the chicken for at least 4 minutes after you first put them in because the spices make it more likely to stick, even in a non-stick pan. The pan will build up heat so if you think it needs to go down a bit to get a nice steady browning temperature, turn it down a bit. When you think the chicken pieces are nicely browned on one side, turn them over and do the other side. When that batch is browned on both sides lift them out, put them on a plate and do the rest in the same way, adding more oil to the pan as you go (the chicken will absorb oil).
When all the chicken pieces are browned put the onion, tomato and garlic in the same oil, adding a bit more if you need to and stir over a low/medium heat until softened. (Don’t worry about any browned or slightly charred chicken/spice bits stuck in the pan – it’s all good flavour and you’ll find there’s something in the tomatoes that lifts them off – acid, probably). When they’re soft add in that left over spice mix and gently cook it though for a few minutes like you would with curry. Then pour the chicken stock in, add the browned chicken pieces, the thyme, the pierced Scotch Bonnets and the salt.
Simmer for 40 minutes, topping up with boiling water if the liquid level evaporates too much. It isn’t meant to have a thick sauce as such, but obviously you cook it to the consistency you like. I like a lot of ‘juice’.