Persian Fried Chicken

persian chicken

This is an absolutely wonderful dish that is very easy to prepare and requires some advance planning. A yogurt marinade helps tenderize the boneless, skinless chicken thighs, infusing them with saffron and paprika, and a quick frying lends the meat a crispy, minty coating. The chicken must marinate for several hours, or overnight for the best results,  before it can be cooked and the marinade contains that costliest of spices, saffron but the wait and splurge are worth it.

Enjoy!

Serves 8

Ingredients:

½ teaspoon saffron or turmeric*
2 cups plain whole-milk yogurt
1 Tablespoon chopped garlic
2 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 Tablespoon dried mint
1 Tablespoon salt, more for sprinkling
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
Vegetable oil, for frying
1 cup walnut clusters, for garnish
1 lemon, cut into wedges

Directions:

In a small bowl, combine saffron with 1 tablespoon water and let soak 10 minutes. Place in food processor with yogurt and garlic and purée until smooth and  pale yellow. Place chicken in ziploc plastic bag; pour yogurt mixture on top, seal the plastic bag and turn to coat; place the ziploc bag in a bowl and and refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight, for the best results.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, paprika, garlic powder, mint, salt and pepper. Dredge the chicken pieces in flour mixture, dip the chicken in the yogurt batter once again and dredge in the flour a second time. Place the chicken on a wire rack and allow the breaded chicken to sit for  about 1o to 15 minutes before frying.

Heat a generous half-inch oil in a  deep cast iron skillet over medium heat. Drop in a bit of bread to test temperature; oil should bubble vigorously. Working in batches to avoid crowding, fry the chicken until it is golden brown on both sides, about 7 minutes per side. Remove and drain on paper towels.

Sprinkle with salt and top with walnuts and lemon wedges. Serve with basmati or jasmine rice, family style.

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*Cook’s Notes: 

Saffron, long among the world’s most costly spices by weight, is native to Greece or Southwest Asia and was first cultivated in Greece.saffron_thread.jpg
Saffron is a spice derived from the flower of Crocus sativus, commonly known as the “saffron crocus”. Saffron crocus grows to 20–30 cm (8–12 in) and bears up to four flowers, each with three vivid crimson stigmas, which are the distal end of a carpel. The styles and stigmas, called threads, are collected and dried to be used mainly as a seasoning and coloring agent in food.
In terms of flavor, no substitute for saffron exists. It is completely unique.

Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a rhizomatous herbaceous perennial plant of the ginger fturmeric.jpgamily, Zingiberaceae. It is native to southwest India.

When not used fresh, the rhizomes are boiled for about 30–45 minutes then dried in hot ovens, after which they are ground into a deep-orange-yellow powder commonly used as a spice in Bangladeshi cuisine, Indian cuisine, Pakistani cuisine and curries, for dyeing, and to impart color to mustard condiments. One active ingredient is curcumin, which has a distinctly earthy, slightly bitter, slightly hot peppery flavor and a mustardy smell.

Turmeric has a very strong, distinctive flavor, and could easily overpower or clash with other flavors in a recipe not written for it. You might be very unhappy with the results in a dish that’s supposed to have the subtlety of saffron. However, it would certainly work in certain dishes, albeit with an entirely different flavor profile.

If the primary interest is coloring, there is the suggestion of annatto, as it imparts a beautiful color with essentially no flavor.

Personally, rather than try to a substitute for the saffron, I would continue to use it in those recipes that call for it, especially if it’s key in the flavor profile. For example, saffron pilaf just won’t work without it.  If your  budget is  tight, just make those dishes less frequently and savor them all the more, when you use saffron.

TODAY.com Parenting Team FC Contributor

 

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Chickpea Sliders

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I am always looking for new and interesting things to eat. Sometimes your palate just needs a break from the routing hum and drum of ordinary foods….And viola, I stumbled across this recipe from Blue Apron, a food delivery service, entitled “Chickpea Burgers with Vadouvan-Roasted Carrots & Feta-Yogurt Sauce“.

The very title of the recipe had me intrigued and I am always willing to try something new. The star of this recipe is the vadouvan curry powder. You can find more information at the following link. You can purchase it as a dry powder or make it on your own and use it like a sofrito.

The chickpea or chick pea (Cicer arietinum) is a legume of the family Fabaceae, subfamily Faboideae. It is also known as gram, or Bengal gram, garbanzo or garbanzo bean and sometimes known as Egyptian pea. In Northern India, it is known as the ceci, cece or chana or Kabuli Chana. Nutritionally speaking, its seeds are high in protein, and they are more than just a salad garnish and more than hummus. Did you know that chickpeas are one of the earliest cultivated legumes? Nearly 7,500-year-old remains of chickpeas have been found in the Middle East. Imagine that!

This is definitely a delicious spin on the veggie burger that combines, onions, shallots, garlic and chickpeas. And the feta -yogurt sauce is the perfect condiment to top this sandwich off.

It’s a Keeper in my book…..Happy Eating!

Ingredients:
4 Sesame Seed Buns
One 15-Ounce Can Chickpeas
½ Cup Greek Yogurt
2 Cloves Garlic
2 Pounds Carrots
1 Lemon
1 Ounce Arugula
1 Persian Cucumber
1 Yellow Onion
1 Tablespoon Vadouvan Curry Powder
½ Cup Crumbled Feta Cheese
¼ Cup Chickpea Flour
¼ Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 450°F.

Wash and dry the fresh produce. Halve the buns. Drain and rinse the chickpeas; transfer to a bowl and smash with a fork. Peel and mince the garlic. Peel and small dice the onion. Peel the carrots and cut into 3-inch-long sticks. Thinly slice the cucumber into rounds. Quarter and deseed the lemon. In a bowl, combine the Greek yogurt, feta cheese and the juice of 2 lemon wedges; drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.


Roast the carrots:

Place the carrots on a sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt, pepper and half the vadouvan curry powder; toss to coat. Arrange in a single, even layer and roast in the oven, stirring halfway through, 21 to 23 minutes, or until tender and slightly browned. Remove from the oven and toss with the juice of the remaining lemon wedges. Transfer to a serving dish.

Cook the aromatics:

While the carrots roast, in a large pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the garlic, onion and remaining vadouvan curry powder. Cook, stirring occasionally, 3 to 5 minutes, or until softened and fragrant. Transfer to the bowl of smashed chickpeas. Wipe out the pan.

Form the chickpea patties:
While the carrots continue to roast and once the aromatics are cool enough to handle, add the chickpea flour and Parmesan cheese to the bowl of smashed chickpeas and cooked aromatics. Season with salt and pepper and mix to thoroughly combine. Using your hands, divide the mixture into 4 equal-sized portions; form into 1-inch-thick patties.

Cook the chickpea patties:
In the same pan used to cook the aromatics, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Carefully add the chickpea patties. Cook 3 to 4 minutes per side, or until golden brown and cooked through. Remove from heat.

Toast the buns and serve the dish:

While the chickpea patties cook, place the buns on a sheet pan, cut sides up. Toast in the oven 4 to 6 minutes, or until the edges are lightly browned. Transfer to a clean, dry work surface. Divide the cooked chickpea patties between the bottoms of the buns. Top with the feta-yogurt sauce, sliced cucumber, arugula and the tops of the buns. Serve with the roasted carrots on the side. Enjoy!

Cook’s Note:

You can make your own vadouvan. Click here for the recipe.