Monday, May 25, 2009

Lemon Chicken & Cauliflower Pilaf

The dog days of summer are here and planning meals is even more of a chore now - the only thing one feels like having is lots of cold water, buttermilk and a chilled glass of beer. Can't survive on that though, so one has to think of something to eat. Cold soups, chilled salads, cold pasta, curd rice - after exhausting all the permutations and combinations I was quite stumped for our Sunday evening meal. So out came my go-to book in these situations - Good Food's 101 Healthy Eats. And to make it even easier, I plonked it down in front of Hubby and asked him to pick!

Lemon Chicken & Cauliflower Pilaf is what he asked me whether I could rustle up - he couldn't have picked anything easier than that! Chicken breasts cooked along with long grained rice and cauliflower and beans - a one pot meal. My neighbourhood guy delivered the chicken breasts in half an hour in which time I cut the onions and vegetables and soaked the rice. The whole meal was done in a a little over an hour.

I modified it to suit our palate which needs a little more spice than the recipe called for. Some whole spices in the tempering along with some slit green chillies and half a tsp of red chilli powder and it was just right - not too spicy and not too bland. I also marinated the chicken breasts for about half an hour - I just can't seem to bring myself to cook chicken without marinating it first, it seems to make all the difference to the dish.

This one pot meal is just the ticket for when you are pressed for time and don't have the energy to fuss - the taste is absolutely delicious - that balance between comfortingly familiar and still refreshingly different. This dish goes to this month's edition of Meeta's Monthly Mingle - Ravishing Rice Recipes being hosted by Nags of The Edible Garden

Lemon Chicken & Cauliflower Pilaf

4 Boneless chicken breasts (the recipe asked for skin on, I prefer skinless)
1 1/2 cups basmati rice
1 cube chicken stock dissolved in 4 1/4 cups water
1 cup cauliflower florets
1 cup beans, cut into 2 inch pieces

1 tbsp oil
2 green chillies slit
1'' cinnamon stick
3 cloves
1 bay leaf
1 large onion, sliced thin
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 1/2 tsp curry powder (I used sambar powder)
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1 cup coriander leaves, stalks separated and kept aside
1 lemon, halved anc cut into slices
salt to taste

1. Clean the chicken and marinate in 1 tbsp lemon juice and a tsp of salt for about half an hour.
2. Soak the basmati rice in water for half an hour.
3. In the meanwhile, slice the onions, chop the cauliflower and beans.
4. Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pan, add the whole spices and then the slit green chillies. Saute for 3 minutes , then add the sliced onions and saute 5 minutes till transluscent.
5. Put in the marinated chicken and fry on high, keeping each side for about 4 minutes till it browns just a bit.
6. Add the turmeric powder, the sambar powder and the chilli powder and finally the rice and fry for 3-4 minutes.
7. Add the vegetables, the salt, lemon slices, coriander stalks and the chicken stock. Bring to boil, then turn down the flame and simmer after covering the pan with a tight fitting lid.
8. Cook for about 10-12 minutes, stirring just once in a between - the rice will be cooked but separate and the chicken will be tender.
9. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with a tomato raita.


Happy cook said...

Just looking to the pic i am hungry.
Looks really yumm.

indosungod said...

I love the color of the dish Miri. Cauliflower with chicken is indeed a great combination.

Sig said...

Love such one pot meal ideas, easy cooking and easy cleanup! It looks great too!

Arch said...

Wow...nice combination - would have never thought of chicken with cauliflower !! Looks so tempting !!

sra said...

That's an unusual combination! It sounds interesting, though. Quite envious that you have someone who delivers meat/chicken home - we do too, but they all come when I'm all bathed and ready to go to work, and I don't like the idea of freezing it without washing it right away, so we eat only now and then, when we find the time to go and get it.

Nags said...

oh my! this looks so good!! thanks for the yummy entry :)

Bong Mom said...

This looks great, I have not tried lemon chicken before

Cham said...

Lemon chick and pilaf, the color is very inviting!

Miri said...

Sra - this guy delivers in the evening also, which is why it makes it easier for me to order on impulse...

Mallugirl said...

bookmarking this recipe for my cauliflower recipes.

Sophie said...

WOW (impressed look). Your Lemon Chicken looks so yummy.

Here I bought a sauce pack for Lemon Chicken so as to skip all the seasonings! and i will try this friday after work.