All posts tagged: pepper

Chipotle Stew Chicken

Chipotle paste has joined the family of stable herbs and spices that I have in my cupboard. The deep rich, smoky chilli pepper just gets me excited! I add it to mayonnaise, bean stews, sauces, and now chicken. This recipe is a cross between another favourite of mine: brown stew chicken which is also on the blog. I didn’t have to leave the chicken very long to marinate before frying it: maybe 2-3 hours? Because I also used boneless chicken thighs, I think the flavours penetrated very quickly. Another important and fresh ingredient in this recipe is Annatto Powder. Annatto or Achiote Powder is a mexican spice which is used widely to give food a bright red colouring (think of tandoori chicken). It comes from the Achiote plant which bears seeds that are ground into this deep red powder. It has a mild sweet flavour. So if you want a fresh chicken recipe that leaves you licking the plate…try this one I guarantee you won’t be disappointed!       Advertisements

Perfect Fried Chicken: The Science bit

The days of munching on a bargain box of chicken and chips from KFC smothered in ketchup (I thought I was too sophisticated for the likes of Chicken Cottage or anything ‘cheaper’), are long behind me. But I still miss the crunchy coating and juicy chunks of white meat from that greasy cardboard box; I didn’t really care to know which 11 herbs and spices the Cornel chose to dunk and fry my precious chicken thighs in, I was just happy they bothered to season it at all. All these years I have been satisfied with, well good fried chicken that tasted amazing, but never  had the KFC combination of crispy, juicy and finger lickin’ tasty…time and time again. Maybe that’ been your experience too: just how do they do it? Well I think I have the answer. Here’s the breakdown: Stage 1 – The Chicken: For this type of recipe, it makes more sense to avoid the chicken breast and wings; chicken breast has too little flavour and takes way too long to cook. While the wings have too little …

Smokin’ Fried Plantain

Plantain…isn’t is just a big banana? Well no, because unlike regular bananas, it can’t be eaten raw. However just like a dessert banana, the longer its left to ripen, the sweeter and softer it becomes! Since as long as I can remember, I’ve enjoyed ripe Plantain in various ways: steamed, baked, fried… Basically if you treat it just like a potato you can make some really interesting dishes: salads, chips, crisps, even mashes. Unlike it’s close cousin the green banana, which I also love, but I’m finding hard to be win over to the masses because of its firm waxy texture (which makes it good for potato salads)  – see my ‘Fig Salad’ recipe for example 😉 To fry the plantain, you want the banana to be firm with some dark spots (like the middle row below), too soft and you won’t be able to slice it well, and the high sugar content will cause it to caramelise and stick to the frying pan. Not a pretty sight! This recipe combines two of my favourite ingredients: plantain and …

Cheesy Chipotle Rice ‘n’ Beans

I have to thank my friend Hayley for the inspiration behind this recipe. Last month she asked me to come up with a couple of lunch box recipes for students, tired of limp sandwiches and luke-warm pasta bakes. I completely understood where she was coming from as I have the same dilemma for work lunches; she wanted something tasty, fresh and filling that didn’t look like a dogs dinner after day 3; cheap but not compromising on nutrition and quality. Yeah she wasn’t asking for much really ;-). I’m not a great fan of brown rice. I know many people who eat it religiously and preach about its benefits, but to me it always felt like more effort than it was worth, until I created this recipe. I strongly recommend the use of short grain brown rice: it retains its shape and has a slight nutty texture and taste to it which means it can stand the pressure of being tossed around in a pan without turning into mush like so many other rice grains do. …

Bara and Channa (Doubles)

Yes Bara and Channa: the original street food of Trinidad. I soon learnt on my first trip to Trini, not to buy Bara and Channa from just anyone! My Dad and I still laugh about it to this day how we would drive 45 minutes away from my Uncle’s home, in the south, to buy fresh bara (bread) and channa (chick-pea) from a middle aged lady who made it straight from her isolated hut, passing many other vendors along the way. This lady’s bara was made right before our dry eyes and watering lips rather than fried beforehand and left to steam in a hot pan waiting for the first customer. The best bara is slightly crispy on the outside and fluffy in the middle with a mild curry flavour. This wouldn’t be a true hot sandwich without the condiments: the Anchar (pickled mango chutney), the tamarind sauces and the cool cucumber salad. If you follow this recipe correctly, you will also have the most lightest fluffiest bara you could ever want: easy to slice into a pocket or sandwich two bara’s together with a serving …

Trini ‘Tambran’ (Tamarind) Sauce’

I remember being about 6 or 7 at the time (for some reason I put a lot of childhood events between this age range) when I tasted my first Tamarind Ball. It was dark in colour and resembled a golf ball that had been rolled in sugar. My brother told me it was (pepper) ‘hot’, so as neither of us could bear hot pepper at the time I avoided them as best I could. But then a few weeks later, I thought I’d pluck the courage to go try one of these ‘sweets’ as my Dad called them. He had brought them back from a short trip he’d made to Trinidad to see my Grand – parents and extended family. I had watched on with envy as my Mum and Dad devoured them with child like pleasure all week and couldn’t understand the fascination with something that resembled liquorice but tasted like pepper. The moment the Tambran was in my mouth, I was met by an unusually sweet sticky texture which I chewed on for a couple of seconds, …

Red Hot Buffalo Chicken

I’ve never seen a larger variety of Chicken. I’m use to the four options that you get at Nando’s which range from very hot to no heat, nothing more exciting than that, but this was different. I could see 6 varieties in front of me, but I had been told that there were over 50! From popcorn to boneless, and tenders to BBQ wings. This was not some upstage restaurant in Manhattan. No.This was Walmart in Montgomery, Alabama. I actually walked away from the Deli Bar with just the fried okra, but I was amazed at how serious southerners take their Chicken. So this recipe is dedicated to the short spell I spent in Alabama last year, it was an incredible experience for me (read more on my blog: http://www.acottonstateofmind.com). From what I gathered, Buffalo Chicken is usually served with celery sticks and a blue cheese sauce. I achieved the crispy texture by mixing Panko breadcrumbs with regular plain flour as the Panko breadcrumbs on their own tend to burn too quickly, long before the …

Salt fish Fritters

Salt fish Fritters are a stable of most Caribbean households. Some eat it for breakfast, as a snack with bread or on its own. Unlike fish cakes which are made of a mixture of potato and cooked fish, saltfish fritters are made with flour and pack in a lot more flavour which makes them very filling. The end product should be crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. These fritters have the most flavour out of any fritter I have tasted recently and the key to this is a couple of things: grate all your ingredients where stated, that way all the flavour will be well-distributed into every bite. Secondly taste as you go along, yes taste the dough, that is the only way to achieve the flavour you want, because once you start frying there is no turning back. You can also adjust the measurements and flavours as you see fit, provided the texture of the dough is not too stiff or runny (do a sample fry first), this should take no more …