Saturday, November 7, 2009

Baked Chicken with lemon and garlic chives, new potatoes and mint flavoured rice

Do you have those days when you are in a whirl from the beginning to the end? oh sure, you say - most days at my house are like that!
Aah...but do you feel like you enjoyed every minute of it at the end of the day when you are absolutely exhausted? Now, those days are few and far between - the days when the exhaustion is self sought.....that feeling which makes all the tiredness completely worth it.

Yesterday was such a day - the previous evening, my daughter's best friend A, decided she wanted to have a sleepover at our place. It was the end of a long week at work and I had decided to stop to finish my grocery-veggie shopping on the way back home, so it was a bit later than usual when I reached home. But the sight of two 4 year old girls all excited about their sleepover, giggling over dinner, eyes shining at an unexpected sweet treat and chortling away at silly things (like the sound one makes while gargling) was enough to chase those dregs of life away. By the time they had changed into their night clothes, patted Teddy and Pinky and were tucked into bed, they were truly tired and fell asleep in no time.

A's Mom and I decided that since they would anyway be up early (all of us remember how hard it was to sleep on a sleepover!), we might as well make best use of the cool weather and take them on a picnic to Lodhi Gardens - something we do a lot when the weather is nice. So, the day started at 6 30 and soon we were on our way in two cars - it was a foggy day and the grass was wet with dew - but nothing a hot cup of tea and rava idlis and cheese sandwiches couldn't solve. A's baby brother looked placidly from his stroller while the two girls went ga-ga over all the different dogs which get walked here. Perfect beginning to the day!

Reached home at 10am and a quick change of clothes and I was out the door immediately to join a friend at the Dastkar mela - an annual Nature Bazaar I love visiting. We spend a lovely 4 hours browsing through all the stuff they had - from fresh red chilli flakes from Garhwal to grass chatais from Bengal. Grass magazine and cosmetic racks, Andretta pottery, Kumaoni jams and pickles, dried garlic chives, Zatar spice from Altitude, handmade soaps of vetiver and honey milk, a natural dye skirt in indigo with a lovely red and gold border, coconut wood fruit forks, Elephant poo notebooks and board games - these were some of my delightful finds. Hubby joined us at fag end after he had himself finished shopping for a couple of straight backed "chairs" (what do you call chairs which have no arms and just a curved spine for a back?) in the Cottage Industries next door and we stopped for a quick lunch at Saravana Bhavan. Personally I can't stand Saravanas and I had done lunch at the Bazaar itself - home cooked rajma chawal and wadis in paalak gravy with rice from Himachal at one of the food stalls - heaven!

Just an hour to rest then I raced off to my jazz dancing class 2 doors away - 2 hours of sheer energy! we have delightful young teachers who manage to push us through our stretches and exercises and even keep the energy flowing for the remaining half hour of dancing - it was fabulous though unknown parts of my body creaked and groaned at being pushed beyond their comfort zone!!

I came home surrounded with that warm glow of tiredness - to find my brother was in town and my husband had invited him for dinner. Quick marination of some boneless chicken (yaay for yesterday's shopping!), a hot shower and I settled down for some catching up over drinks while I fed my daughter her dinner. Dinner cooked itself while we chatted and I checked on the rice once in the 10 minutes it took to cook and everything was ready in just under two hours.

The grilled chicken I made for dinner was totally spur of the moment - the garlic chives were on top of my list since I had just bought them, so I added them to the marinade of lime juice, crushed pepper, olive oil and red chilli flakes. I cut some new potatoes into wedges and par boiled them; put them in along with the marinated chicken and chicken stock and baked them for half an hour. The rice was just mildly flavoured with mint and spices and cooked on the stove top with bell peppers. The perfect end to a lovely day.

Baked Chicken with lemon and chives, new potatoes and mint flavoured rice

Boneless Breast pieces of chicken - 2-3 (about 350 gm will serve 3 large portions)
4 potatoes, sliced into wedges (skin on)
Olive oil - 1 tbsp
1 chicken stock cube dissolved in 200ml of warm water and combined with 1 tbsp lightly roasted flour
( I used Better than Bouillon onion gravy mixture dissolved in warm water and simmered till thick)
juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp dried garlic chives
1 tsp red chilli flakes
1/2 tsp freshly crushed black pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
Coriander leaves - 2-3 tbsp
salt to taste

1.5 cups basmati rice soaked in 4 cups water
1 bell pepper sliced
1 bay leaf
1 cinnamon stick
1 onion sliced
2 tsp oil
fresh mint leaves - 1 cup
(or dried mint - 2 tsp)

1. Clean the breast pieces of chicken, make small slashes all over with a fork and mix in marinade ingredients. Set aside for atleast one hour.
2. Par boil the potato wedges in cold salted water for 5-7 minutes - they shouldn't be fully cooked. Drain, reserve the water and keep aside.
3. Dissolve the stock cube in 200-300ml of drained water from potatoes.
4. Pre heat the oven to 200C. Toss the potatoes in 1 tsp of olive oil, 2-3 tbsp of the stock and a few teaspoons of the marinade(add a pinch of salt if needed). Arrange in a baking dish
5. Place the marinated breast pieces of chicken on top of the potatoes. (You could briefly brown the chicken breasts on high heat in a pan with 1 tsp of oil - 3-4 minutes each side and then put into the baking dish - I forgot to do it this time)
6. Mix the marinade with the stock and the remaining olive oil and pour over the chicken and potatoes.
7. Bake the dish covered (with aluminum foil) for 30 minutes, you can remove the foil for the last 5 minutes.
8. Meanwhile, Heat oil in a pan and add the bay leaf and cinnamon, fry the sliced onions for about 6-7 minutes till translucent.
9. Add the sliced bell peppers and fry some more (3-4 minutes). Add the soaked rice (reserving the water) and fry for 3 minutes. Then add the reserved water, salt to taste and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes till just done.
10. Serve the baked chicken with the potatoes and rice on the side, spooning some gravy on the top.

Note: If you don't mind having grilled chicken without a sauce, you can avoid the stock altogether, the marinade is enough to keep it moist.


Nina said...

ohhhhhhhhhh so nice! altho i'm veggie - i was just drooling over your day and your shopping at dastkar - i used to buy so many masalas and pickles rice sounds great too...

Arch said...

Wow...what a wonderful day !! I can imagine the girls giggling..they are such cuties...You really have some energy lady and such a lovly meal after such an action packed day ! Truly WOW !!

Miri said...

@ Nina - I know, that place is amazing!

@ Arch - am paying for it today - couldnt get myself to do much at all!

The knife said...

looks like you had a wonderful day full of memories.

The chicken recipe looks very interesting. I must give it a shop. Health reasons dictate far more chicken than I'd like. Am often at a loss on what to make. This helps

Miri said...

I have similar chicken recipes posted previously Knife - all grilled and well seasoned - suits our palate and health...

Cham said...

The two little angels would have fully enjoyed. The market sounds fantastic. U really managed well ur day with chicken bake and rice!

Bong Mom said...

Tired !!! Would give anything to have a day like that, what fun :)
Did the 4 year olds sleep through the night ? The other girl didn't want "Mommy" at 12 ?? Again how lucky ;-)

My daughter loves sleep overs too but hasn't had one all by herself yet. So whenever friends are visiting and staying the night, she calls it a "sleep over".

The chicken and potatoes sound delish

Anita said...

That chicken looks really great, Miri!
I am determined to get to Dastkar tomorrow...Rajma-chawal - hmmm should be just perfect!

Miri said...

Anita - we should have planned a Delhi food bloggers meet at Dastkar!

Sandeepa - These 4 year olds are already quite independent - I don't remember having a sleepover until afetr I was 12. We were quite sure we would have midnight calls the first time we tried this last year. Nothing - they were absolutely fine. One year later they are veterans!

Vaishali said...

Elephant poo notebooks and chili flakes from Garhwal-- gosh, Miri, that sounds like such a wonderful mela. I think I could live there!