Just like el Pollo Rico but my way

So there was this one time I visited my cousin ,Dharam in Washington DC . At that point of time I was working in Trinidad and Tobago at the Hilton and while trying to play tennis had fractured my wrist in two spots .

There wasn’t much point of continuing to work or trying to so for once in my hospo career I had time off for xmas.

So what could I do..i was bored stiff living on the island since it had limited things on offer…so I called Dharam and said I’m stuck here ..he very kindly said come on over . The adventure had just begun with the world worst airline possible American and me landing in Miami late after refusing to eat a damn turkey sandwich or cookie as a main meal.

Delayed arrival meant I would have to run really hard between international arrivals and domestic departure in Miami . Since it was my first arrival and I was handicapped with a cast ..the airport security took extra special care to ensure that I don’t leave on time .

Finally after the finger printing and all the rest was over I run over to Dulles departure and boom I’m late by 1 min and 90 seconds and the pende…wont give me the time of the day.

The next 3 hrs I tried to see if I can take another flight to Dulles but not a chance..so I’m stuck with hardly any money no luggage and no clothes apart from what I was wearing and no clue what to do.

Anyhow I made my own way to the Miami Hilton paid for the room myself and blasted the American Airlines who sent me a stupid letter and voucher which I never used .( I never used the airline either)

So Dharam so a gourmand and knew the way to the best places for the food and took me to the best damn charcoal roasted chicken ever…they would only sell chicken fried with salsa verde and alfajores with dulce de leche . Nothing else nada.but the chicken was finger licking good that I still salivate at the thought of it.

With all the story my Pollo is still crudo.

So you need a chicken whole is better skin on too doesn’t have to be free range unless you get really deep pockets.

It’s better to have one split in half unless you got a rotisserie and a fancy pants oven , which most of us might not have. If you do..then by all means use it

So we marinde the chicken with salt pepper and some olive oil inside and out..

Then make a paste with

Garlic cloves -5-6 smash them first

Chipotle chilli in adobo -1 or more if you lie it hotter..

Chicken stock powder- 1/2 tsp.

Olive oil – 20 ml/ 1 Tb

Lime/ lemon juice- 1-2 Tb depending on how acidic these are.

Mariande the chicken under the skin and over it too.. and keep for minimum of 12 hrs , over night s even better.

Next you can fire up your bbq / charcoal oven or your regular home oven. Heat it to about 220 C first to get it nice and hot.- abot 20 mins on mine, I dont know yours , but you could invite me to yours with some nice warm beers and ill cook it for you.

keep your chicken skin side up , on a griddle/ trivet so the excess fat drains off and you use that to baste over your chook.

After the initial high heat, drop the temperature to 150-160 C, and keep on low and slow till done.

How to check that it is done, well you can use a meat thermometer or use a small paring knife and pierce near the thigh, if the clear juice runs out will be done. Takes about 35-40 mins.

During the roasting process, take the juice which is dripping down and use that to pour over your chicken and keep it moist and flavourfull

Serve your chicken with some thick cut french fries dusted with toasted cumin powder mixed with smoky paprika , salt and a bit of pepper.

Some green salsa or a Salsa rojo will go well too..How do we make those…Well thats another story for another time…

Chiwda or more tails of growing up.

So when were young or rather younger, we as in my younger brother Deep and I would go off to my Ajjis( grandmother in Marathi)house. Aai and Baba being doctors were busy so would send us there before school began at 1230 .

Since I always had a taste for the savoury or rather the tasty snacky bits I and Deep too would get a bowl of Ajjis chiwda. For the uninitiated Chiwda is snack or pharal made at any time of the year but also predominantly at Diwali the festival of lights.Every family claims that their secret recipe is Manna from heaven .Having been an afficionado since me tender years I can also make vague claims like these..

Makes you happy , makes you smile..all nonsense..

So you need to make this with poha ,( a kind of flattened rice flakes) , which I don’t know the history of.I am not going to say these are hand beaten by young Marathi people in one little lane of Pune , but it could be true..and add some embellishments to my little tail.

Now these rice flakes come in varying thicknesses and this particular recipe is for ” Paratlela pohyachya Chiwda”, which needs the thinnest variety called Pattal poha or Nylon poha.

Poha flakes- 500 g

Oil-20 ml

Ghee- clarified butter-20 g or so..

Mustard seeds black 1/2 t about 1 g if you wanted to be pedantic and weigh it

Cumin seeds/ Jeera- 1 t, 2.5 g

Curry leaves-1 sprig

Green chilli-1-2. Chopped fine ,can go a bit more if you like to burn your taste buds

Garlic -1-2 cloves sliced very thin…cant do it ..go back to post where you learn to sharpen your knife.

Asafoetida- small pinch Ferula asafoetida comes from Afghanistan or Iran and is compounded and mixed with wheat flour usually.. this is typically used as anti flatulent in most indian foods which are snacky or with lentils beans …

Roasted peanuts with skin on typically…yay you can go berserk with quantity here I’ve developed an intolerance over the years but love these still.

Roasted chickpeas skinless called daliya- about 2 T, 25 g or so.

Cashew nuts – 2 T, 50 g or so..if you are feeling rich..can be made without and tastes just as good.

Ok moving on to the method…At the end I’ll share a story of how I eated a whole lot and drove my Ajji mad.

So traditionally the poha flakes are sauteed lightly over a low heat for a long time till they get cripsy..( the typos are deliberately put in to check if you are noticing)

But I like to roast these in an oven low heat so that avoids breaking the grains..so about 120 C for about 30 mins on low fan or zero fan . Turning every ten mins or so.

Then you heat the oil, and add the mustard seeds and crackle them , take off he heat add cumin, curry leaves , chilli garlic , asafoetida and turmeric ( which I hadn’t added to the list of the ingredients so about 1/2 t or 2 g)

Add also the daliya, peanuts and cashew and saute..of course by now you have gotta put back on the heat. This you do till the cashew and the daliya is toasted and cruncheee.

Then add salt and sugar which are also not in the list of ingredients..because U need to gauge how much you want to add here ..and the rice flakes .turn that oven off now and U could use the residual heat to dehydrate mandarin slices or so..

Then continue to saute till the rice flakes are well mixed and not burning..low heat..please.Add in the ghee and check for seasoning and taste from time to time . At this point my wife shouts saying stop being greedy.

Usually I have this stuff stored all through the year like Ajji used to.

She was 70 + when we were kids so I’m pretty sure we harassed her a fair bit without meaning to..there was once I climbed up on the chair took down the container of chiwda and ate it all up.when she woke up from her afternoon nap she was furious…as was meant to be rationed over the next few weeks …ohh the memories..”arree melyano, khetra ni badveen”( meaning, you little brats/ rascals, i want to smack you with my slippers).

Turkish pide /Tanzhong style

This remains one of my favourite breads to eat…like a few dozen other, but truly a nice pide/ or its relative the barbary naan bread are sooo good with a stew or a grilled chicken kebab , to mop up some curry, or even simply like in a panini s/w.

will update more when im riding the train today in Sydney…

And what can be more fun than juggling a cup of latte ,praise the Lord for cups with lids.

So we first need to the make this sticky paste which is called tangzhong in china and shokupan in Japan where you cook some starch with a liquid and then use that as a base for your bread .this allows for the bread to absorb more water , which allows for the bread to stay cottonsoft for a lot longer without any other additives .

So for that first I took

Milk 300 ml and cooked it with 30 g of flour and butter to make a kind of a bechamel or white sauce. Keep 1 spoon separately.Cool that down till you can touch it with your fingers and add about 100 ml water .( Very important that it’s not too hot or you going to kill them yeastie babies

Then to that you add 6 g of yeast, and 10 g sugar and 10 g salt mix lightly and add flour 400 g( I used 50 g spelt, 200 whole wheat and 150 regular. I then just lightly mixed it up .

Then I proofed it in the fridge with some plastic wrap so it doesn’t get dry.

Then you knock it back , gently and divide into 4.round it up and leave it for a few minutes.

Then you sort of elongate the dough and make it into a rectangle shape . Dimple the top and proof again.

Test the side by touching the side.if it springs back immediately it’s not ready to bake just yet.

Prrheat your oven to 200 C and brush your bread dough with diluted bechamel+ 30ml of olive oil which you have saved in the first step…didn’t save it..Curses ..

Then top it with sesame seeds ,Nigella and I used some fennel too with some cracked salt.

Bake for approximately 14-16 minutes turning midway through the cooking process .brush with olive oil when done and serve..

Pumpkin Pie!!

This is a very american Thanksgiving dessert, and sometimes not that popular with the rest .Partly i giess due the texture and the colour.But properly made it can be very satisfying and nice, alomst with a cheesecake type consistency.

so for this we need

  1. Flour 120 g
  2. butter-60 g
  3. sugar – 30 g
  4. Egg – 1/2

This wil give you enough pastry to make one pie and have a bit to spare.Crumble the butter sugar and flour with your fingertips .Add the egg and knead very lightly to form the dough. /line your pie tin with the pastry evenly and rest for atleast 15-30 minutes before par baking .Par bake at 170 C for 15 minutes.

For the filling we will use.

  1. Pumkin puree – 250 g
  2. eggs -1.5+ use up the half leftover from the pastry.- no waste
  3. brown sugar-150 g
  4. cinnamon- pinch
  5. dry ground ginger – large pinch
  6. allspice- pinch
  7. melted butter- 20g
  8. evaporated milk -240 ml

to make the filling whisk eggs with sugar and then add the rest of the ingredients.use a stick blender to blend all of it smooth.

Pour it into your par baked pie crust and cook for 10 mins at 1170 c, and then lower temperature to 130 C for a further 30-35 minutes.the filling should be barely set.

allow to cool down and then refrigerate and serve.

Wonton/ Hun tun

Will write about one of my fav appetizers here coming soon as soon as I finish walking many kms.

I learnt how to make these not in some random little tea shop in Canton like some of them famous people claim.

Nah that’s not for me I instead had to make these as per order(8 ) for every portion and sometimes for banquets at the Krishna Oberoi a luxury hotel in Hyderabad. For banqueting they were ordered in dozens so the chef would tell out to me.” Hey bamboklat in the break just make 125 dozen wontons”. What the *#”@’:&_&–..

So I had to get pretty fast at it or would get no break at all….This was when I was a trainee from the Oberoi school of hotel management..and we were treated like the lowest of the low by all. The staff hated us cos at some point of time we would become their bosses / supervisors and the supervisors would think yeah right , let’s see if this young fella can take as much torture as I think he can…no how about 24 hr shifts..yeah just have a nap on the oil drum in the dry store .

Ok before we go far far away in the tales of the enchanted forest..lets go back to these delectable morsels.

You will need to find a good source of wonton/ hun tun wrappers somewhere in your town.too hard to make from scratch and they are reasonably cheap to buy ready made .1.9$ at local supermarket in Sydney and can be used also to make teeny tiny spring rolls ( also make a 85 dozens of those Yash) and Shu Mai/ sui Mai .

For the filling we need

  • Chicken mince – 250 ( can use a mix of chicken and prawns )
  • Chinese rice wine ( Hua Tia chiew)-5 ml
  • Chicken stock powder/ Ji Jin – pinch
  • Light soy sauce- 2 ml or so
  • Celery chopped fine- 5 g
  • Coriander stems -2 g
  • Cracked pepper- pinch
  • Sesame oil – 2 ml
  • For the outer we will use store bought wrappers ..we’ve already said why before in the rambling stuff written above.
  • so you fold the wrapper in half and then twist it amd stick them behind each other to form that funky shape.(hmm you probably are going to need a video or so to get it right).
  • but once i do that you can poach or fry these beauties and sing happy songs!!

stories of foods from the world over, laced with a hint of sarcasm and some black humour, its not for everyone, but then never was meant to be..