Monday, 27 September 2010

Proposal. Crunchy Baharat Chicken and Sumac Rice

This is Loch Ken in south west Scotland, taken moments before I proposed to S. 

She said yes and I've never seen such joy pouring from a person's eyes. We will

marry in Cornwall in late September 2011.

There's nothing like a bit of exciting news to inspire you in the kitchen and this 

week brought the following delightful and somehow autumnal dish. I won't

pretend it's seasonal though.

This is chicken thigh strips in a baharat spice mix and ground toasted rice which 

gives it a crunchy and aromatic coating. Imagine a Turkish KFC and you'd be 

close. The rice contains diced red onion, pistachios, sultanas, parsley, garlic, 

sumac, cinamon and lemon juice. The recipe asks for saffron, but I recommend  

extra sumac as its a really interesting sour fruity flavour which is brought out by 

the lemon juice.

The Baharat spice mix is the fun part. You could buy the mix from a specialist 

shop but it's far more interesting to get to know your spices. Start with the

whole spices, create the mix, toast in a dry pan for a minute until you start to 

hear popping, then grind the spices while still warm. 

Turkish Baharat contains mint. This is the key ingredient. Use a large amount. 

Also black pepper and paprika are a large constituent. As with any spice mix, the

ingredients vary so you can include coriander, cumin, cinnamon, cloves, 

cardamom, cassia, nutmeg, allspice. I recommend at least the holy trinity of Cs 

(a termed coined by my father) which for me makes up the heart of any spice 

mix: Coriander (seeds), cumin and cardamom.

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