chicken in rice (khao mok gai) low-fat version

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Low-Fat Version of Chicken in Rice (Khao Mok Gai)
Prep time: 15 minutes
Marinating time: 2-12 hours
Cooking time: 30 minutes

8 chicken drumsticks with the skin removed
1 package Lobo brand Spicy Chicken-in-Rice Seasoning Mix (2 seasoning packets inside)
8 oz or 250g Greek style yogurt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups white jasmine rice (Recommend basmati rice, if available)
250 ml coconut cream or coconut cream substitute
1 ½ cups water
1 shallot or red onion, sliced and fried (optional)

Equipment: a large pot with a tight fitting lid. If you haven’t got a tight fitting lid, cover the top of the pot with a sheet of tin foil that’s slightly wider than the pot. Then place the lid on top of that.

DSC053261. Remove the skin from the chicken legs. To do this, grasp the top and the bottom of the leg with paper towels and pull down towards the bony end, just like pulling down one’s pants! Pull off the bits of fat. Discard the skin and fat.

Cook’s Note: You can add other chicken pieces like breasts and thighs, but remember they cook at different rates from the legs. It’s better to use all breasts, all thighs, or all legs so that you can control the cooking time.

DSC053282. Open one Lobo seasoning packet in a bowl and spread it on the chicken pieces. Add the yogurt and mix it in thoroughly. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours or overnight.

Cook’s Note: Wear a disposable glove to season the chicken because you don’t want to stain your hands with the turmeric in the seasoning packet.

DSC053313. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Remove the chicken pieces from the marinade and carefully put them in the hot oil. Do not discard the marinade. Fry the chicken pieces briefly in the oil just to brown them. Remove chicken and set aside.

4. To the hot oil in the skillet add the rice, half the remaining packet of seasoning, and scrape in the remainder of the marinade. Stir fry the rice until it is translucent, about 10 minutes, and the seasonings have been absorbed. If it looks dry, add water 1 tablespoon at a time, up to 1/4 cup of water.

5. Return the chicken to the skillet. Add the coconut cream and the 1 1/2 cups of water. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to low so that the chicken and rice can cook together, about 15-20 minutes.

Cook’s Note: Do NOT open the pot lid to check it. Only open it after 15 minutes. Taste to see if the rice is cooked. If it isn’t and the rice seems dry, add 1/4 cup of water and cover the pot again. Cook 5 minutes more or until all the water is absorbed.

6. Serve with fried shallots on top of the rice for garnish, if desired. Add sliced cucumber on the side and a sweet-vinegar dipping sauce. This is an easy one to try:

Sweet-Vinegar Dipping Sauce
1/4 cup vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
2-4 tablespoons sugar
1/2 onion, chopped fine
1 clove garlic, chopped fine

In a small saucepan heat the vinegar, salt, and 2 tablespoons sugar until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Set aside to cool. Meanwhile, chop the onion and garlic as fine as possible. Mashing the garlic with a fork helps to make it paste like, even finer. Put the onion and garlic in a small bowl. Pour the cooled vinegar sauce over the onion and garlic. Serve over chicken.

chicken legs with forty cloves of garlic

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…more or less. Actually, I used 3 bulbs of garlic, the big kind called elephant ears. I adapted the recipe from one I found on Food 52 which itself was adapted from a James Beard recipe.  I cooked this chicken the way the Thais cook with cilantro, with the root. In the end, the chicken was seasoned just right, aromatic with garlic, celery, and the cilantro. We ate the drumsticks with thick slices of fresh whole wheat Farmer’s Bread that had the cooked garlic rubbed into it like a paste. You would think that the  garlic would have a pronounced flavor but it was mild compared with raw garlic.  Now you can have your garlic and enjoy it too.

Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic
8 whole chicken legs
1-2 teaspoons kosher salt (if using bouillon cube, reduce salt)
40 cloves garlic (3 bulbs), peeled
1 cup Chinese celery, stripped of leaves, chopped into 2 inch lengths
2 tablespoons olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
Freshly ground nutmeg
4 sprigs cilantro with the roots, washed well
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/3 cup chicken stock made from 1/3 of a bouillon cube
Crusty bread or toast for serving

  1. Heat the oven to 375ºF. Season the chicken legs all over with the salt. To cut calories, I stripped the skin off 4 of the legs. Arrange the chicken legs in a single layer in an ovenproof baking dish with a tight-fitting lid.
  2. Scatter the garlic and celery into the gaps between the chicken pieces, and then drizzle everything with the olive oil. Grind some black pepper and a bit of nutmeg over the chicken and vegetables and arrange the parsley on top. I used cilantro with the roots still attached.
  3. Pour in the wine and the chicken stock. Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil and put on the lid. Bake the chicken for 45 minutes to 1 hour, without removing the lid until the 45-minute mark. When the chicken is really tender, and the garlic is soft enough to spread, remove the dish from the oven.
  4. Serve the chicken in shallow bowls with plenty of the fragrant sauce; spread the softened garlic on the bread and then dunk it into the sauce as you eat your chicken~Merrill Stubbs, Food 52.

oven-roasted tandoori chicken drumsticks with cilantro-red onion relish

DSC_0368Date night! Home-cooked dinner with Danny Collins, a feel-good movie.

Yesterday Andy rebelled against yet another vegetarian meal, when I made the zucchini-ricotta fritters. So to make it up to him,  I made chicken for tonight’s dinner. I found this recipe on the Food and Wine website and halved it, because it served four. We ate these chicken drumsticks with sesame rice salad. The drumsticks were indeed a treat because I left the skin on. They came out tender and juicy, spicy without the heat. Plus the skin was crispy and slightly charred around the edges, just the way I like it.

Tandoori Chicken Drumsticks with Cilantro-Red Onion Relish (adapted from Food and Wine)
Prep time: 30 minutes
Grilling time: 40 minutes
Servings: 2

Ingredients:
1/2 tablespoon sweet paprika
1/2 tablespoon garam masala
1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 tablespoon ground coriander (I didn’t have this so I increased the cumin slightly)
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric (original)
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated fine (original)
4 cloves garlic, minced (original)
1/4 cup Greek-style yogurt (original)
Juice of 1/2 a medium lime
1/4 cup plus 4 tablespoons rice bran oil, divided (original; Substitute: canola oil)
Salt and pepper
6 chicken drumsticks with the skin on

Relish
1/3 cup cilantro, coarsely chopped (3/4 cup in the original)
1/2 medium red onion, minced (Substitute: 1 medium shallot)
3 tablespoons white vinegar

Pre-heat the oven to 450˚F/230˚C. Line a baking tray with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray for easy clean up.

Pat dry the chicken drumsticks with paper towels and set them aside. Some recipes state that this makes the chicken skin crisp up.

In a 10 inch skillet combine the ground spices, and heat them, until they release their fragrance, about 1-2 minutes. Scrape the spices in a medium bowl to cool slightly. Add the ginger, garlic, yogurt, lime juice, and 2 tablespoons oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Make 2-3 slashes in the thickest part of the chicken. Put the chicken in a large bowl with 2 more tablespoons of oil, and toss to coat thoroughly. Season with salt and pepper. Scrape the yogurt spice mixture onto the chicken and toss to coat thoroughly.

Roast 40 minutes or until the drumsticks reach an internal temperature of 160˚F. Turn the chicken once after 20 minutes. Check after 35 minutes. If the chicken doesn’t show signs of charring, put them under the broiler for about 5 minutes. I skipped this step because the drumsticks showed signs of charring after 40 minutes.

Make the relish. In a small bowl combine the chopped cilantro, red onion, vinegar and 1/4 cup of oil.

I recommend doubling the ginger and garlic and use a whole lime when doubling this recipe for 12 drumsticks. I like ginger and garlic together.

DSC_0370The sesame rice salad pictured here is a variation on a rice salad recipe I found in a South Beach Diet cookbook. I used red and brown rice here, but brown rice is recommended in the original recipe. I used sugar snap peas and green peas, but your favorite combination of two vegetables will do. I added a tablespoon of minced Chinese celery stalks for flavor. The dressing is easy: 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, and 2 teaspoons sesame oil. Whisk with a fork and pour over the rice. Add vegetables and toss.