Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Cardamom Chicken

This is the second night in a row that we've eaten something that just didn't do it for me. It's starting to make me despair and wonder where I went wrong figuring out the menu for this week. The fella had to convince me that not liking dinner wasn't an excuse not to write and share the recipes with the world. Perhaps someone else will love something I hated and who am I not to post the recipes for other people. Besides everyone has cooking failures, it would be dishonest not the show the bad along with the good. The fella is a very wise person. So here I am to tell you about another dinner I didn't like.

In this meal's defense after typing out the recipe I don't think I did it properly. The pan wasn't heating up and I was impatient so I ended up with soft thoroughly cooked chicken with no browning. Then of course the pan was too hot and the spices got over heated. Next the yogurt curdled halfway when I thought the heat was low enough to add it. This made the chicken taste unpleasantly like baby spit up and had the fella wondering what I'm eating when he's not around given that I could recognize that flavor.

Without the yogurt incident this probably would have been a completely different dish. I can't tell whether it is supposed to be saucy or creamy. Mine turned out a thick sauce with tiny curdles. Even so the fella loved it and would have eaten the entire thing if I hadn't restrained him and pointed him towards a lonely apple in order to jealously guard my portion of left overs for tomorrow. Maybe I'm too hard on my cooking and it was better than I realized. I'm just glad the fella is enjoying these dinners, someone should.

There were high points to the meal like the perfectly steamed asparagus we had on the side and the Washington Hills Gew├╝rztraminer we drank with the meal. The wine wasn't anything special on its own, very light and drinkable but missing the spicy profile that a Gew├╝rztraminer should have. With the slightly spice chicken however it really popped and showed sweetness and tropical fruit that I wasn't tasting while drinking it alone. Not too bad for a cheap wine sitting in the impulse buy case stacks at Whole Foods.

Cardamom Chicken

1 pound chicken breasts, cut in bite size pieces
2 tablespoons oil

1 onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon grated ginger

1 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground fennel
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
4 whole cloves
1 2-inch piece cinnamon stick

1/2 cup plain yogurt
cilantro, to garnish

Heat skillet over medium high heat and add 1 tablespoon of the oil. Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper then cook until browned lightly on all sides, about 5 minutes. Remove from skillet and set aside.

Add the remaining tablespoon of oil and saute onion, garlic, and ginger for about 3 minutes or until the onion is tender. Add the spices and lower heat, toasting for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

Reduce the heat further to low. Add the yogurt and slowly bring to a simmer, stirring the entire time. Do not boil.

Return chicken to the skillet and coat well with spice mixture. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes or until chicken is tender and cooked through. Garnish with cilantro.

Original recipe from 30-Minute Asian Meals by Marie Wilson.

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