Pan Seared Chicken Breasts With Potato Mash And Apricot Chutney


Now this is what I call comfort food. I love all the three things and make many variations of them but this one is my favorite.Dinner tonight is a complete potpourri of exotic flavours. I usually add different herbs to the marinade or grill/ pan sear the chicken without yogurt too. One can get creative with it and have many versions of the same dish. Chicken is low-fat and high protein and a perfect dish for light dinners.

Sometimes I make extra marinade and love to use it as a thick sauce that wraps the succulent chicken breasts. These fillets can be served on their own or with any condiment like the spicy sweet and tangy Apricot Chutney I made yesterday. Click on name for the recipe. It tastes yummy with the chicken.

Make sure to pound the breasts to get it grilled nicely and evenly so they don’t dry out and stay tender.

To make pan grilled/seared chicken breasts you will need

Boneless juicy chicken breasts – 2 ( clean and pounded evenly 1/2 inch thickness)

Marinade 

You can either marinade the breasts in olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest and lots of herbs, garlic and salt. Place it all in a ziplock bag and rub it properly so the flavours get infused as it rests for at least  2-4 hours. I sometimes keep it even longer. Use cilantro, oregano, parsley, rosemary or any other herb of your choice.

For the Spiced yogurt marinade you need:

1/2 cup plain yogurt

2 table-spoon Olive Oil ( I used extra virgin)

2 tablespoon lemon juice

Mix herbs ( powder or fresh or both)

Salt to taste

Freshly crushed black peppercorns – 6-7

Garlic pods – 5 crushed and roughly chopped

Red chilli flakes – 1/4 teaspoon or less

Lemon Zest – a little

Butter – 1 tablespoon

Prepare to grill/Sear  

Whisk together yogurt, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, crushed peppercorns and herbs. you can add a little powdered black pepper too. (I do)

Add the pounded chicken breasts and thoroughly coat them with the marinade,  Place the chicken with the marinade in ziplock bag or Tupperware box for a few hours. I keep it overnight in the fridge too or at least four hours.

You must make cuts in the chicken to let the marinade absorb into it.

When you are about to grill/sear, take the chicken out and let it come to room temperature if it was in the fridge.

Heat a skillet or a pan. Add olive oil and a dash of butter and coat the bottom. Once the oil is hot place the chicken breasts gently and pour the marinade over the fillets.

Cover for ten minutes on medium flame and then cook uncovered on high flame. Turn them over once nice crispy golden brown from one side. To check if the chicken is evenly cooked, make a cut in the thick part. If the knife smoothly cuts it then its done.

Keep stirring the marinade in the pan and tossing it over the chicken. If you are making with the sauce keep some marinade separately and once you take out the chicken in plate, Pour the remaining marinade in the pan and cook it till nice, thick and brown. Pour the rich pan sauce on the seared breasts when you serve. Keep the pan covered on very low heat for sometime to let the juices and flavours seep in. Dont keep lifting the lid to peek. 🙂

Turn off the heat and let the chicken breasts sit for another ten minutes in the pan before laying them on the serving plate.

Make the mashed potatoes along so the full meal is ready at the same time. You can steam some greens too. or perhaps some corncob. It goes very well with the chicken dish.

The best way to know if you are doing it right it to keep your sense awake. If it smells, looks, tastes good then you are doing it right. All the brown bits that stick to the pan give the flavour. We will use them while making mashed potato.

For the Potato Mash 

4 potatoes – medium size

Salt and crushed pepper corns ( to taste)

A few herbs maybe

I love garlic so a few pods of garlic skinned and crushed

Salted Butter – 1 table-spoon ( if using salted butter go easy on table salt. I use sea salt too)

Method:

Wash and boil the potatoes till tender. Peal and mash them properly so no lumps stay.

In the same pan in which we made chicken sprinkle a little olive oil and butter. ( there will be enough fat in it already and those gorgeous flavourful brown bits sticking to the pan)

Scrap the brown bits so they release the flavour in the oil , add the crushed garlic and stir till light golden brown. Keep the heat low.

Mix salt pepper to the mashed potatoes and toss the mix into the pan.Let it sizzle for a few seconds and turn over so all the brown chicken sauce etc sticking to the pan and clean it. Turn the heat off and remove the mashed potatoes a bowl.

If vegan , you can take a different pan and use just olive oil to brown the garlic and potatoes. or infuse the oil with roasted garlic and add to the mashed potatoes. Works well either ways.

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To assemble: 

Take a serving plate and place a good helping of mashed potatoes, arrange the seared chicken breasts to one side of it and place a generous portion of Apricot chutney on top of the hot chicken. If you wish you can add some greens, boiled corncob , toasted bread with cheese etc. Or just eat the chicken and potato mash with chutney.

Hope some of you will try this recipe and let me know your views.  The chicken and mash are delicious on its own too.

These mashed potatoes do not use any milk or cream and even butter can be replaced with just olive oil to make it pure vegan. I used the garlic infused fat that was left in the pan after making grilled chicken to slightly brown the mashed potatoes and give it a unique flavour.

Bon Appetit

Recipe – Spicy Lamb Curry with Dark Rum


I perfected this recipe in my kitchen and have fond memories of many Sunday lunches when friends came over and we had great times over food and drinks. The basic recipe is of Mughlai lamb ( Mutton) curry with addition of Dark Rum. The dish is rich and full of aromatic spices which is a specialty of Mughlai cooking.  Although Mughlai preparations can be eaten all over India but it is the specialty of the North India. This is not a dish for calorie conscious but for those who relish rich food a  perfect dish for a Sunday meal on a cold winter day. Hope you will enjoy it as much I do. So, here is the recipe for all you meat lovers.

Ingredients : 

Mutton (Lamb Meat)  –  1 kg ( shoulder of lamb and front quarter provides the best meat) Cut into small pieces

Yogurt – 1 cup (Beaten)

For Gravy –

Onions – 3 large (cut very fine)

Ginger – 1 inch (grated or finely chopped)

Garlic – 6 pods (finely chopped or grated)

Tomatoes – 5 Large (grated)

Spices –

Black cardamom – 3

Green cardamom – 4

Cinnamon stick – ½ inch

Clove – 4

Black pepper corn – 5 -6

Whole red chilies – 4

Bay leaf – 1

Cumin seeds – ½ teaspoon

Asafoetida – 2 pinch

Salt to taste

Red chilli powder – 1 teaspoon (as per taste)

Fresh ground coriander seed powder – 4 tablespoon

Garam masala – 1 teaspoon

(You can put first 7 spices in a small muslin pouch, tie it and drop it in the gravy or use them as it is)

Desi Ghee – ¼ cup (clarified butter)

Dark rum – 60ml

For Garnish – Fresh green Coriander – half cup ( finely chopped)

 

Method –

 

Marinade the lamb pieces by smearing yogurt and a little salt over them. Cover with cling foil and keep aside.

Heat ghee in a heavy bottom pan

Add all the whole spices (if using the pouch, just add cumin seeds and asafoetida)

Once the spices crackle add chopped onions and salt. (Fine chopping gives a different texture and flavor than grated. Adding salt will help the onions to become crisp brown.  Indian food is all about passion and the more you give it time and patience the better it going to be)

Keep the flame on medium and stir onions till translucent.

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Add garlic and ginger at this point. (It is important to follow steps. At what point a certain ingredient is added changes the taste of the dish)

Fry them till golden brown then add the red chili powder and half a cup of water so the chili powder doesn’t burn, adding chili at this point with give the gravy a good color.

When the water is reduced and the mixture becomes browner add the powdered spices and mix well. The aroma will tell you when they have blended well.

At this point add grated tomatoes. I don’t puree them, grating gives a better color.

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Keep the flame on high and stir the mixture till the oil starts leaving the sides.

Once the mixture is properly done add one cup water. (It you are using spice pouch, add it now)

Lower the flame and let it simmer till nicely browned and reduced to thick paste

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Add the lamb pieces and raise the flame to high.

Keep stirring till all the pieces are fully covered in the paste.

Roast the meat in the gravy till oil starts to separate and the mutton is nicely done.

Check with a fork or knife to see if it’s become a bit soft.  It should be half done by now.

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Add enough water to cover the lamb pieces completely.

Check salt and add more if needed.

Add dark rum at this point and keep the flame high.

I use Old Monk but you can use any dark rum. Rum is a tenderizer also and it gives a distinct flavor to the curry. You can use up to 120 ml of rum depending on taste.

Turn the flame to slow now and cover the pan with a lid.

Let the curry cook on slow flame till the lamb pieces are soft and break on touching.

I make thick gravy but you can change the consistency according to taste.

Once done, stir in half of the chopped fresh coriander.

Take out the aromatic mutton curry in a serving dish and garnish with the remaining fresh coriander

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Serve hot with Nan, Parathas, Roomali Rori, missi roti or rice.

Bon Appetit