Friday, May 24, 2013

IHCC: May Potluck

Potluck time has rolled around again at I Heart Cooking Clubs, and I was unprepared yet again. But we were both needing an Indian fix, so picked up At Home with Madhur Jaffrey, one of my newer Jaffrey books, and had a look around. Ed thinks roast chicken is about the best thing there is to eat, so I settled on Whole Chicken Baked with an Almond and Onion Sauce (p99).

The chicken was really good and easy to make. First you skin the bird, slash it, and rub with salt and lemon juice. While that's sitting for 15 minutes, you whiz together a paste with more lemon juice and salt, yogurt, onion, ginger, garlic, cayenne, garam masala, and almond slivers. Pop the bird in a ziploc, add the onion paste, rub it in a bit, and let the bird sit in the fridge for up to 24 hours.

When you're ready to cook, preheat the oven to 400F, find a pan that holds the chicken, pop some cumin seeds in a bit of oil, add the chicken (breast side up) and all the marinade, cover and pop into the oven for 30 minutes. Then remove the lid, and bake for another 40 minutes, basting occasionally. Result, one amazingly tasty chicken that fell in half when I lifted it from the pan.

Following some of Jaffrey's go-with suggestions, I also made Yellow Basmati Rice with Sesame Seeds (p208) and Sweet-and-Sour Eggplant (p153). The rice is a fairly easy to make with only two groups of spices to be added in the process (a dried chili, urad dal, mustard seeds, and sesame seeds toasted at the start, then turmeric and salt added with the rice). The sesame seeds were an interesting addition.

The eggplant dish was quite interesting. To make a half recipe, I used a single eggplant of the appropriate weight; baby eggplants are asked, but mine were bigger. (This was a good amount for a side dish. Jaffrey suggests that this dish could serve as a vegetarian main course, but then I think you'd use a whole recipe to serve two.) You start by cutting each of your eggplants lengthwise almost into quarters, leaving them whole at the stem end. These are soaked in water for 30 minutes while you prepare a paste of toasted chickpea flour, ginger, cayenne, ground coriander, ground cumin, salt, chopped cilantro/coriander leaves, and water. Dry the soaked eggplants and coat the cut surfaces with the paste. Brown the eggplants on all sides, sprinkle with salt, add a bit of water, cover, and simmer gently for 25 minutes. (Since our eggplant turned out very soft, I think about 20 minutes would be fine here.) Remove the cover, stir in a syrup of sugar, lemon juice, and water, then cook quickly until a thick sauce remains. We didn't find this sweet-and-sour taste very noticeable, but the dish as a whole was quite good.

And we have another monochrome but delicious Indian dinner.

Visit I Heart Cooking Clubs to see what other folks are make this week!


  1. A lovely meal! The roasted chicken sounds very flavourful and wonderful with the rice and eggplant! I made one of MJ's recipes too!

  2. Love Jaffrey's techniques! You've given us a great Pot Luck offering!

  3. I bet this chicken is incredibly tender. I imagine the lemon juice and the yogurt work together to break down the meat so that it melts in your mouth. We don't usually keep nuts in the house since my youngest is highly allergic, but I'd love to taste this dish. It looks and sounds very comforting!

  4. The chicken sounds fantastic! Honestly, I've never been very good at roasting whole chickens. All of the flavors in the paste sound too good to pass up though.

  5. Sounds like a veritable Indian feast!

  6. I think Ed may well be right - a roasted chicken is definitely one of the very best things to eat. This sounds like a delicious way to have a roasted chicken, and I'm very keen to give this a try. The eggplant sounds wonderful too - I know I would love it.

  7. Yay for Madhur! The sauce for this dish sounds so good and they chicken looks moist and tender. I like the whole meal--the eggplant sounds really flavorful! ;-)