Wednesday, 24 June 2009

THE BLUESKIN BAYLEAF: Omani chicken

THE BLUESKIN BAYLEAF

By Rowan Holt

I hope you will accept my apologies for my absence the last few
months. What excuses do I have? I have been on holiday to Morocco and
Oman, I've been tired, I was busy, I had the flu, I had a tummy bug,
hey I even had a baby! All of this is true, and actually nothing more
exciting than spaghetti on toast has been coming out of my kitchen
lately.

All is back on track now and I have a bit of catching up to do! This
month's recipe is one I came up with while cooking a meal for a
Warrington family now living in Oman. Half the fun of course was
shopping for the ingredients and checking out the markets and
"Lulu's", Oman's equivalent of Gardens New World. Oman imports a
substantial amount of food and produce, simply because of the climate
and growing restrictions. However, the country is rampant with limes,
lemons, dates and great spices.

Omani Chicken

1kg of semi-boned chicken thighs or breasts

1t turmeric

1t cumin

4 cinnamon sticks or 1t cinnamon

8 whole star anise

10 whole cardamom pods

3 onions, thinly sliced

1T butter

2T grated fresh ginger

4 cloves minced garlic

1T brown sugar

1t salt

3 dried lemons

1 cup rough chopped dried dates

1/4 cup malt vinegar

1 1/2 cups boiling water.

Mix the spices together, sprinkle over the chicken in a bowl and stir through.

Heat 2T oil in a stove top casserole and brown the chicken all over
(for approximately 10 minutes). Return the chicken to a clean bowl to
rest while you get the other part ready.

Sauté the onions in butter slowly until they are transparent. Add the
sugar, salt, ginger and garlic and stir until the mixture is a bit
sticky. Add the dates, lemons, vinegar and chicken and stir well. Add
1/2 cup water and simmer for 5 minutes, letting the sauce reduce. Add
another 1 cup water and simmer a further 15 minutes.

Saffron Rice

3 cups cooked basmati rice

Dissolve a pinch of good saffron in 1/4 cup of boiled hot water. Stir
and dissolve for a couple of minutes. Liquid should become a deep
saffron colour. Stir though cooked rice and serve with Omani Chicken
and a green salad.

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Warrington, Evansdale, Waitati, Doctors Point), Dunedin, New Zealand.
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