Monday, September 15, 2008

Chicken with Yellow Rice from a Homecook Hero

Despite my new blogging self, underneath it all I am an old fashioned girl who still gets a newspaper delivered hard copy every day. I love everything about the paper, especially that I can rip things out like recipes, and my favourite ripping day is Tuesday when the Sydney Morning Herald publishes its food section, Good Living. It is full of food and foodie news with restaurant openings and closings, reviews, new products, feature articles, a wine column, as well as a section called Homecook Hero. Each week, the Homecook Hero features a non-professional cook who has been nominated by friends and family for their talent and passion for food. Often they are migrants with interesting back stories and I love to see them looking so proud as they share their most special recipe with the world.

This Homecook Hero recipe is from a Thai immigrant called Roong Smithisumpun, and appealed to me because the story in Good Living talked about how the local kids in the Oatley West football team all loved it. One of my current missions is to get my children eating curry, and I thought that this sounded like a good, gentle one to start with. I have now made this dish half a dozen times, and my mission appears successful: the kids like it, and even better, the adults do too.

Khao mok gai (Chicken with yellow rice)

from Good Living, Sydney Morning Herald, March 6th 2007

500g chicken breast fillets (I used thigh fillets because they are more tender)
1 tbsp fresh ginger, finely chopped
1 tbsp fresh garlic, finely chopped
¼ cup yoghurt
¼ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup butter (I halved this and it was fine)
2 1/2 cups water
1 tsp salt
350g jasmine rice
1 tsp curry powder (for the rice)

Spice mix
1 tsp roasted coriander seeds *
1/2 tsp roasted cumin seeds *
¼ tsp turmeric
A pinch of pepper
¼ tsp cinnamon
2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp salt

For the spice mix: Grind the spice grind ingredients together in a mortar and pestle.
Cut the chicken into large chunks and place in a bowl with the spice mix plus the ginger, garlic and yoghurt. Stir and marinate for at least 2 hours or overnight. Preheat oven to 180C. Heat the oil and butter in a wok. Brown the chicken. Transfer to an ovenproof dish, reserving the oil. Cook for 15 minutes or until done. Set aside.

Put the rice in salted water, and bring to the boil. Once the water boils, reduce the heat to low and allow the pot to simmer until the rice is cooked (about 15 minutes). Reheat the reserved oil, stir in the cooked rice with the curry powder and mix well. Transfer half the rice to a large non-stick saucepan, then place half the chicken on top. Do another layer of rice and chicken then pour over the chicken's cooking juices. Warm very gently for 10-15 minutes with the lid on before serving.

* To roast the seeds, heat in a dry pan and until aromatic and slightly browned.

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